OSSESSIONE
1943, 131 min, Italy, Dir: Luchino Visconti

Based on James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, the first acclaimed work of Italian neorealism is a gritty, earthy (and unlicensed) adaptation of the famous noir novella, much closer in tone and spirit to Cain’s tale than the 1946 Hollywood version. Clara Calamai and Massimo Girotti burn up the screen as the doomed lovers, but Visconti makes the story as much about poverty as about lust and greed. The film was reviled and banned by Italy’s Fascist government, and MGM (legal holder of the movie rights) confiscated and destroyed all the prints it could find. Yet OSSESSIONE survives, a stunning hybrid of noir and neorealism - the director’s first masterpiece. In Italian with English subtitles.


IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY
1947, Rialto, 92 min, UK, Dir: Robert Hamer

A former barmaid, now the harried matriarch of a family in impoverished Bethnal Green, jeopardizes everything when she shelters the escaped fugitive who was once her lover. A slice-of-life noir and prototype of British “kitchen sink” drama. Googie Withers stars.


TWO MEN IN MANHATTAN
DEUX HOMMES DANS MANHATTAN
1959, Cohen Film, 84 min, France, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

When a French delegate to the United Nations vanishes into thin air, two French journalists comb nocturnal Manhattan in search of answers. Melville's obsession with the look and sound of American culture is given free rein in this jazzily directed homage to film noir and New York. In French and English with English subtitles.


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