Man in the Dark. 1953. USA. Directed by Lew Landers. 70 min.
Screenplay by George Bricker. With Edmond O’Brien, Audrey Totter, Ted de Corsia, Nick Dennis. The prolific and occasionally personal B filmmaker Lew Landers shot this “three-dimensional chiller” in a breakneck 11 days, enabling Columbia Pictures to rush the film into theatrical release a mere 48 hours before Warner Bros.’ House of Wax and launch a brief 3-D arms race among the Hollywood studios. An experimental brain surgery designed to cure O’Brien of his criminal impulses instead gives him an unfortunate case of amnesia, as his former gangster colleagues kidnap and beat him senseless to discover where he’s stashed the payroll loot. Only the comforts of Audrey Totter, a golden-hearted, golden-haired fatale, can soothe his weary soul. A contemporary Variety review pointed out that “Miss Totter’s figure is a definite 3-D asset,” while Elliott Stein, in a more recent Village Voice review, noted, “This seems to be the 3-D flick that most exploits the short-lived medium. An endless array of stuff comes whiffling at your face—a lit cigar, a repulsive spider, scissors, forceps, fists, falling bodies, and a roller coaster. The prolific Landers may not have been a great director, but he was a pretty good pitcher.” Screening in 3-D, in a newly conformed DCP from Sony Pictures. 3D: Digital projection.
Saturday, August 2, 2014,2:30 p.m.T1, Theater 1The Museum of Modern Art
Friday, August 1, 2014,4:30 p.m.T1, Theater 1The Museum of Modern ArtIntroduced by Robert Furmanek, founder and director of the 3-D Film Archive