So Dark the Night. 1946. USA. Directed by Joseph H. Lewis. 71 min.
Screenplay by Martin Berkeley, Dwight V. Babcock, based on a story by Aubrey Wisberg. With Steven Geray, Micheline Cheirel, Eugene Borden. A B-movie with A-class ambitions, Lewis’s psychologically tinged whodunit stars Austro-Hungarian émigré Steven Geray as a famously obsessive, overworked Parisian detective who falls for an innkeeper’s daughter while on holiday. On the night of their engagement, she and another suitor, a young farmer, mysteriously disappear, leading to a string of perplexing murders. Re-teaming with the brilliant cameraman Burnett Guffey after their sleeper hit My Name Is Julia Ross, Lewis limns his characters’ claustrophobic circumstances in Clouzot-like fashion, using window frames and mirrors, restricted camera movements, deep focus, and shadowy, destabilizing shots to give an increasingly sinister, almost schizoid cast to the bucolic landscape—all the more impressive given that he and Guffey transformed the ragged Columbia backlot into an authentic French countryside without ever once having stepped foot in France. Digital projection.
Thursday, July 31, 2014,4:30 p.m.T2, Theater 2The Museum of Modern Art
Sunday, July 27, 2014,4:00 p.m.T1, Theater 1The Museum of Modern Art