“Blind Alley” to be Screened at SF Noir Festival

It’s that time of the year when my husband and I talk about driving up to San Francisco for the annual Noir City film festival and don’t actually go. This year will be no exception, because while my 7-month-old daughter is brilliant, theater-going is not yet on her list of accomplishments.

This year’s line-up is especially of interest because they will be screening  the 1939 Columbia flick Blind Alley, directed by Charles Vidor, starring Chester Morris, Ralph Bellamy, and of course Ann Dvorak.

As I have previously discussed when it has aired on television, Blind Alley is one of my favorite Dvorak films. This tale of an escaped convict who with his gang, holds a dinner party hostage at a lakeside home while waiting for an escape boat is a bit campy but mostly compelling. How can one not be engrossed watching Ralph Bellamy use his super-psychiatric powers to drive Chester Morris completely insane? Ann plays the ever-devoted girlfriend, a role that was all too familiar in her Warner Bros days. At least this time her true love is a psychotic, murdering thug, and she is a gun-toting hard-ass who looks stunning while ordering the hired help to lock themselves in the basement.

Blind Alley will be screened at the Castro Theatre on Saturday, January 29th at 1:00pm and 4:30pm. It’s part of a double feature with Fritz Lang’s Secret Behind the Door, which as my husband commented, “sounds rad.”

The Noir City festival runs from January 21-30. The full program list can be found on their website.


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