Not Necessarily Noir is a thrilling police lineup of double bills
The real gem, though, is Jack Garfein's criminally unavailable Something Wild (1961), which plays with his only other feature, the homoerotic military school drama The Strange One (1957). You know the gloves are off when within its first five minutes the ravishing Carroll Baker, the film's star and director's then-wife, is graphically raped. After running away to Manhattan, Baker's traumatized victim is rescued from a suicide attempt by Mike (Ralph Meeker, star of 1955's Kiss Me Deadly), a drunken mechanic who locks her in his rundown flat. Though, at times, Meeker and Baker lay on the Method acting pretty thick, Aaron Copland's dissonant original score and cinematographer Eugen Schüfftan's remarkable black and white photography of New York's slums and skyscrapers push Something Wild into wonderfully strange, surreal places.
Week two, which focuses more on recent incarnations of noir, might rankle purists, but offers plenty of bullets, bloodlust, and good men turned bad. Quentin Tarantino favorite Rolling Thunder (1978) offers much gruesome fun as its claw-wielding, Vietnam vet protagonist hunts down his family's murderers. Also worthy of rediscovery are Ivan Passer's harrowing Cutter's Way (1981), which also centers around a group of dissolute 'Nam vets, and neo-noir proponent Paul Schrader's Blue Collar (1988), a similarly working-man-minded drama about the fallout of a union office heist bungled by a group of broke Detroit auto workers.
NOT NECESSARILY NOIR
Aug. 20–Sept. 2, $5–$ 9.75
3117 16th St., SF