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Culture, The Exhibitionist Bay of the Living Dead: The Last Case of August T. Harrison

Bay of the Living Dead: The Last Case of August T. Harrison

Welcome to Bay of the Living Dead, a twice-a-month column about the horror genre. Wunderkind filmmaker Ansel Faraj was the subject of the very first edition of this column. He was featured again some months later. I'm delighted to chat…
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Calendar, Night&Day Cities at Night, In Black & White

Cities at Night, In Black & White

New York and Los Angeles are sometimes unrecognizable in films noir because A) it was often taken for granted that those movies simply needed a big city as a backdrop, and B) many of those films lacked location photography. San…
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Calendar, Night&Day 90 Years Young

90 Years Young

The masterful director Howard Hawks had a simple strategy: Craft great scenes. String enough of ‘em together, and you have a great movie. The Big Sleep (1946), starring Humphrey Bogart as smart-mouth punching bag Philip Marlowe and Lauren Bacall as…
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Culture, Artcap

"Dead Men Don't Look Like Me": Paul Schiek's Arresting Images

At Stephen Wirtz Gallery, prison mug shots from the 1950s offer a striking counterpoint to the tense portrait of a closed-eyed Ross Mirkarimi. Unidentified Georgia inmates stare straight into the camera, some looking quizzical, some perplexed, defiant, or even smug.…
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Calendar, Night&Day Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

The engine of film noir isn’t lust or greed, as primal as those impulses are. It’s guilt. And not the weak-tea stuff they serve in Catholic school, but a soul-gnawing, whiskey-craving amalgam of remorse, regret, and retribution. Ask wronged man…
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Dining, Eat Room With a View

Room With a View

There are so many ways to discover the city, from the prosaic to the poetic. Exploring a city through its restaurants, as pragmatic as that may seem, inevitably draws in other elements: history, architecture, sociology. In every city I've lived…
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Best of San Francisco, People & Places

Best Fictional San Francisco Character

Sam Spade With this being the 75th year since the publication of The Maltese Falcon, can the city claim a better sleuth than writer Dashiell Hammett's hard-boiled 1920s crime-solver? We think not. In Falcon, Spade (or Humphrey Bogart, if you're…
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Best of San Francisco, Arts & Entertainment

Five Best San Francisco Movies

It's a tossup which of the two San Franciscos filmmakers embrace more frequently: the lovely, hilly backdrop of What's Up Doc? and Pal Joey or the fog-shrouded demimonde of Experiment in Terror and The Lady From Shanghai. With so many…
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Calendar, Halloween

REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): I heard a song on the radio the other day that had a line you should know about. "All the things that matter most," an unknown woman's voice crooned, "caught me by surprise." From my reading…
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Film,

Second Time Around

Walsh at Warners The Roxie's weeklong series of Warner Bros. films of the 1940s (Friday, Dec. 26, through New Year's Day) spotlights four films by action specialist Raoul Walsh, three of which are at least as good as the more…
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Film,

Second Time Around

Films by Nicholas Ray Nicholas Ray was the tormented genius of excessive 1950s cinema. His finest work might have come not in his celebrated color melodramas -- Johnny Guitar, Bigger Than Life, above all Rebel Without a Cause -- but…
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Film,

Second Time Around

The Big Sleep The enormous reputation of this convoluted thriller has everything to do with the charisma of stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall and, critically, the latter-day cachet of director Howard Hawks, considered the ultimate filmmaker by everyone from…
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Film,

Second Time Around

The Big Sleep (Pre-Release Version) This version of The Big Sleep is a rediscovery of a lost original that never played U.S. theaters. Warner Bros. held back the whodunit in 1945 in favor of time-sensitive movies with war-related themes. Meanwhile,…
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