Monday, January 31, 2011

For the Love of Film (Noir): Call for Posts

Zowie, a beautiful YouTube clip from the inimitable Greg Ferrara on the Siren’s blog. She doesn’t do clips very often. And look at the banner, with beauteous Joan Bennett getting her fatale-ism on with dear Fritz Lang, the Siren’s favorite autocrat.

Something’s afoot. Monocle-shopping? A boudoir interior-design rethink chez Siren? Valentine’s Day reservations, perhaps?

Better than that, way better. It is time for us to band together once more to do our bit for film preservation. Yes, it is the Call for Posts for (crescendo)

For the Love of Film (Noir)

The concept is simple. This year as last, the Siren and the great Marilyn Ferdinand of Ferdy on Films are calling on bloggers to band together. Together we will urge people to donate in order to restore and preserve endangered film.

Donations this year go to the Film Noir Foundation, which marvelous organization, under the leadership of Eddie Muller, works to save movies in this beloved genre, movies from many eras and from many countries. Eddie is a gentleman, a wit and a scholar, a man with an incredible love for and dedication to film. Marilyn and I are proud to be helping the foundation to which he has devoted so much.

And this year, in a nifty plot twist, we know the film to be restored ahead of time--a fine and important noir called The Sound of Fury, aka Try and Get Me.

Fritz is gracing the banner for a reason; The Sound of Fury tells the same story as Lang’s celebrated 1936 Fury. Directed by Cy Endfield, who was fated to be blacklisted later on, The Sound of Fury stars Lloyd Bridges in as good a role as that fine actor ever got to play. When the Siren announced that this was the film to be restored, several of her distinguished, all-seeing commenters popped up to remark that they preferred this version to the Lang. As Marilyn noted before, when Lloyd’s sons--Jeff and Beau, you may have heard of them--saw the film, they were “blown away” by Lloyd’s performance. More from Marilyn:

A nitrate print of the film will be restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, using a reference print from Martin Scorsese’s personal collection to guide them and fill in any blanks. Paramount Pictures has agreed to help fund the restoration, but FNF is going to have to come up with significant funds to get the job done. That’s where we come in.

Our Facebook page is updated continuously with information about the blogathon, including ideas for posts, should you need any.

This year as last, we are offering raffle prizes to donors. The loot includes:

1. The brand-new deluxe DVD edition of The Prowler

2. A DVD documentary on Eddie Muller, The Czar of Noir, featuring his short film with Marsha Hunt, The Grand Inquisitor.

3. Illustrator Steve Brodner will be contributing a drawing of Lloyd Bridges as a raffle prize during the blogathon. Look in the photo album on the Facebook page for samples of his work.

4. A full set of all nine posters for the Film Noir Foundation’s NOIR CITY film festival, held each year in San Francisco since 2003.

5. A set of all three NOIR CITY SENTINEL annuals. Noir City is the Foundation’s flagship publication.

6. Programs from NOIR CITY 8 and 9

7. An autographed copy of Eddie Muller's first novel, The Distance.

Here are the Rules for Blogathon Participants, as elegantly simple as black-and-white:

1. Post on any topic related to film noir, at any time during the week of Feb. 14 through Feb. 21.

2. In your post, include the all-important donation link for the Film Noir Foundation.

3. Send the link to your post to Marilyn Ferdinand of Ferdy on Films (; email and to the Siren here ( or via email, We will be keeping track of the submissions and linking to them on our respective blogs.

4. Follow the links here and at Marilyn's site to read the contributions; remember too that nothing gladdens a blogger's heart like a nice comment.

And, most vital of all,

5. DONATE GENEROUSLY to the Film Noir Foundation, and urge your readers to do the same.

Our grand total last year was more than $30,000 in contributions and matching funds; those funds saved films through the National Film Preservation Foundation. One of the Siren’s great joys was seeing the spreadsheets and realizing that there were some large gifts, and also a great many people kicking in small donations, one after the other, until the numbers really began to add up. It all counts. It all helps.

This year, the Siren has received some queries about participation, and thought perhaps others might have similar concerns. Switch on the desk lamp, it's time for the Blogathon Q&A. If you have other questions, the Siren will be right here in comments.

1. I neglected to participate last year. I feel such torments of guilt, like Van Heflin in Act of Violence. Please, can I redeem myself by contributing a post this year?

We called off Robert Ryan. Come back. All is forgiven.

2. Can I post that week even if I don’t sign up now?

Sure, just let us know when you do.

3. I am a blogger based outside the U.S., and I would like to contribute a post.

Please do! We love the international character of the blogathon.

4. I love film and want to do my bit, but my blog is focused on food/mascara/politics etc. Can I still contribute?

Absolutely. To cite one example, last year Tinky Weisblat, at the time primarily a food blogger, did a wonderful post and included a recipe. Marilyn tried the recipe out and pronounced it delicious; the Siren was all set to cook it herself but then she ripped the lace on her apron and got depressed.

Anyway, the post itself should be about film noir, and the donation link should be there. If the topic of the post is “False Eyelashes in Film Noir,” that would be...completely awesome, actually. The Siren would read that. She might even post that herself.

5. I want to write about a new movie that I consider to be noir. Is that all right?

Knock yourself out, dollface. Although, if you are writing about a new movie because you secretly prefer new to old, for heaven’s sake don’t say so outright as the Siren will be deeply hurt.

6. I wrote a post a while back about film noir, and I don't like to brag, but it was great. This post got me a fan letter from my Cousin Millicent. It got me a date in a hot tub. It got me a paying critic job. Can I repost this inspired post for the blogathon?

All right, all right! If you haven't got anything shiny new we won't go all Veda Pierce on you. Please do freshen it up, however, with an appeal for donations and the all-important donation link.

Anyway, surely you get the general idea. This year as last, there is no obnoxious door policy at the For the Love of Film (Noir) blogathon. You may come as you are. And you don’t have to know what you will write about now; the promise to post is enough.

Tonight, the Siren plans to start updating this post with names of contributors, and Marilyn plans to do the same. Let us hear from you!


Peter Nellhaus said...

As for the "Q & A" (the title of a pretty good Lumet neo noir), I'm glad to see No. 5. If Film Noir orthodoxy was the name of this game, I for one would be in big trouble.

Vanwall said...

I'm a miner, I'll go down.

JavaBeanRush said...

I'm in.

- Java

rudyfan1926 said...

I'll be posting and I'd love to donate a raffle prize. Might be of interest to SF local noir fans, it's an art photo of some of the old, unrestored Castro Theater seats. My butt remembers them well. It's signed and framed and I'd be thrilled to offer it up as a raffle prize and had no clue who to write, so I'm writing you.

pvitari said...

Count me in! ;)

Meredith said...

definitely in!

DavidEhrenstein said...

The "noir" I long to see preserved is The Big Night (1951).
Directed by Joseph Losey an adapted bfrom Stanley Ellin's novel by Losey, Ellin (the official credits) and Hugo Butler and Ring Lardner Jr. (uncredited as they were blacklisted) it stars Drew Barrymore's father in the perfomance of his life as the son of a small bar owner (Preston Foster) who is caned right before his eyes by a bigtime political "boss." Seeking vengeance our young and exceptionally callow hero goes in search of bigwig only to discover that the world he thought he knew is not what it sems -- and neither is his father.

Not only is this Losey's last American film you can sense him packing his bags as the last reel concludes.

Also in the cast, Dorothy Commingore.

It was her very last role.

Years later John came to Losey to confess to him that the FBI had told him to spy on the director during the shooting to find out what he could. He told them nothing -- as there was nothing to tell -- but was heart-wrenchingly guilty about the whole thing. Losey told him he had nothing to be ashamed of.

Oh and while we're at it Losey's not merely "underrated" but virtually ignored remake of M is also great and more than worthy of preservation.

Doug the Boug said...

PostModern Joan's blog, BOILING SAND, will be there with a post on Edgar G. Ulmer's CLUB HAVANA (1945).

Gareth said...

That's bizarre. When the blogathon was first proposed, I trawled through the Film Noir Foundation site in search of ideas, and lighted on Try and Get Me, partly because I'd just seen a couple of Endfield's other movies.

Sure enough, I watched and loved it, but I might focus on something else instead given that the movie is already getting plenty of love - maybe Phil Karlson's 99 River Street. I'm not sure how I missed the announcement that Try and Get Me one would be getting the restoration treatment!

Brian Darr said...

Sign me up as a definite participant, if you haven't already. How can I pass this up?

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

You just knew I'd want in on this caper. Still trying to decide what I'll write on, though.

Brandie said...

I'm definitely in! 99.9% certain I'll be writing about Lured (1947).

True Classics

Anonymous said...
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Ms.Zebra said...

This is so wonderful! I'm in. Though, as I've been unemployed for 7 months out of the past year, my donation might not be so "generous". How about "frugally well-meant"?

Also, I don't know if this means anything, but other bloggers seem to be having their say regardless, so, my personal opinion, as far as noirs that desperately need preserving and subsequent releasing are The Reckless Moment, The Story of Molly X (which screened at Noir City a couple of years ago, and is, in a word, awesome) and Christmas Holiday. And Repeat Performance. Damn, I'd better just stop now.

Joe Thompson said...

I'll be there as soon as I can shake the little guy who has been tailing me.

William said...

Well, I am certainly not on the knowledge level of so many of you commenters, but this industry caught my attention. And I learned about it in, of all places, the beginning of an old VHS tape of a classic movie I was watching with a friend.

The experts at UCLA were talking about restoring the Guns of Nararonne, and long story short if it weren't for the generosity of a private collector who had an original 35mm print , the original intent of the director, screenwriter, and cinematographer would have been lost. Forever.

Amazing that the effort of so many from the actors to the producers, would have been lost forever.

Yojimboen said...

A small advance contribution: You can see free, gratis, legally, more than 65 Films Noirs - everything from Ida Lupino’s The Hitch-Hiker, thru Kubrick’s The Killing to Kazan’s Panic in the Streets - over at the Internet Public Domain Archive.
You can view them, or download them for later. Again, absolutely free and legal.

Bill Wren said...

I'm in too. I'm not sure what I'll be posting on Piddleville or how often but I'll definitely be doing something!

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

I'll be doing "The Prowler" (1951), baby. What's it to you?

rudyfan1926 said...

Okay, I'll be posting on The Faces of Film Noir and also Joan Crawford's film Sudden Fear.

Trish said...

I don't have a blogger's credit, but I'd love to contribute. I'll be there.

justjoan123 said...

Count me a donor. The fundraiser in me is hard-wired to respond. But back to Noir -- today, at hoe waiting for the NYC sidewalks to de-ice I rewatched The Woman in the Window and again wondered the following: Why are young children in these films always calling "Mother" women of at least grandmtherly age? In this flick it happens twice: Edward G. and his wide are way too old to be parents of his two youngsters, and in the elevator lobby scene a single-digit kid is accompanied by a woman straight out of the Ilka Chase School for Aging Matrons. Oy!

Bryce Wilson said...

Count me in.

It's been far too long since I've seen Kiss Me Deadly...

Then again a few minutes between Kiss Me Deadly views is too long.

Arthur S. said...

I am definitely in. I have been thinking of Film Noir for months now, wondering what it means. I don't know which film I'll write about or what I'll write about what I'll write about but I hope I do something nice.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Maria Schneider R.I.P.

hamletta said...

Siren, you wench woman!

When I saw the subject was Film Noir, Act of Violence was the first film I thought of. And you just had to mention it first in the FAQ. Now everybody'll be all over it!

Just kidding. There's a reason it was first in my thoughts: There's a lot of there there, and it all sticks with me because of my own philosophy/history/biases.

I am anxiously awaiting its delivery to my local library branch. I haven't written anything of substance in a long time, but I look forward to exploring this film that haunts me so.

Laura said...

I hope to participate as well...not sure what film yet.

FYI, I posted a "coming soon" post this evening to hopefully assist in drumming up a little advance publicity. :)

Best wishes,

Brandon said...

I created my blog just in time to contribute. Please count me in. Few genres are nearer or dearer to my heart than film noir.

Paulette said...

Le Quai des brumes, The Naked City, Nightmare Alley, The Woman in the Window, Double Indemnity, The Maltese Falcon(1941), Stray Dog, Remorques, Moontide, Kansas City Confidential, Where the Sidewalk Ends, M (1931), Ladri di biciclette, Back from Eternity, The Big Sleep, Address Unknown, Dead Reckoning, The Lady from Shanghai, The Letter, The Third Man, The Killers, In a Lonely Place, Sunset Blvd, Scarlet St, Drunken Angel - I have no idea if any of these films have been restored for posterity- sad to admit The Sound of Fury is new to me (and I'm a Bridges fan) sounds like the perfect choice.

I will definitely donate although living a noir-ish life myself right now (unfortunately for me this means snow and drywall dust and not fog and mist; furry winter boots with knitted cap, not patent leather stilettos with beret; vitamin C elexirs in lieu of booze; dwindling bank account-no sugar daddy reinforcements; day-to-day dealings with contractors and not the swarthy sexy type filmdom has taught me are plentiful, dress smart and are for hire with specialities typically involving sweet insurance payouts.) My donation is humble but forthcoming.

This old house restoration is not restorative for the soul, whereas film viewing certainly is and has saved my soul on too many occasions to count.

Ginny said...

This is a wonderful idea! I will be participating.

Noel Vera said...

I haven't the time, but I do have a post in mind--old one, sorry, but good I think.

D Cairns said...

I'll be there. Probably all week. Just going out to watch noirs all day with a couple of friends.

D Cairns said...

By the way -- though The Sound of Fury has strong thematic connections to Lang's Fury, and though it could indeed be seen as the more powerful and accomplished film, it's not actually based on the same story.

Edward Copeland said...

We're planning a post on each day Feb. 15-18, two by me, one by Venetian Blond and one by J.D.

David Robson, Proprietor, House of Sparrows said...

I'm in.

Anonymous said...

I'll toss my hat into the ring, as well. I'm thinking maybe "Shadow of a Doubt" or "Out of the Past" or Otto Preminger's "Laura."

DavidEhrenstein said...

Blogathon: M (1951)

The Siren said...

David, I love it! you'll be Top o the Pops when I post the links roundup tomorrow am. We're excited. Very Christmas-Eve-y sorta feeling chez Siren.

Vulnavia Morbius said...

Well, crap. I kinda sorta jumped the gun. I meant to schedule my first post for tomorrow morning, but I accidentally published it tonight. I suppose I could go ahead and save it to draft and republish it, but what the hell? Here it is in all its picturific glory.

The Siren said...

Eh, as long as it has the donation link, fire away. The one danger would be my or Marilyn's not seeing it because we'll be looking for posts in tomorrow's thread. But clearly I see it now. There are also people who have been running preview posts. And people already donating. It's all good. And thank you!

Noel Vera said...

Hallow Siren. Day early, but here;'s the link:

Old post, but I've added the donation link, changed the picture, and maybe rewrote a third of it. Check it out--Filipino noir!

W.B. Kelso said...

Here's my first (of hopefully many) contribution(s) to the retrospective.
Not too good with the words, so I'll leave that up to others more qualified, but I'm bringing plenty of art.


Ed Howard said...

Here's my first blogathon post, Siren:

It's on Fritz Lang's THE BIG HEAT. I'll be returning throughout the week with more reviews of classic noirs. I'm excited for this event!

Facets Multi-Media said...

Suzi Doll just posted on NIGHT MOVES over on Facets’ blog:

Anuj Malhotra said...

A contribution.

Elena said...

this is my contribution: