Mark Schenker’s “How to Read a Film” series on film noir masterpieces concludes Sun., July 14, with 1984’s “Blood Simple,” the debut Coen Brothers film

In this eighth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, has been presenting four lectures on “A Half-Century of Film Noir Masterpieces.” The lectures have been held on consecutive Sunday afternoons at 2 PM, starting on Sunday, June 23. Admission to each lecture is $7. The series concludes Sunday, June 14, with a focus on the 1984 debut film by the Coen Brothers, “Blood Simple.”

“A Half-Century of Film Noir Masterpieces” has featured works by four directors who are new to Mark Schenker’s presentations at Best. In movies that range from the early talkie “M” by German director Fritz Lang (explored June 23) through two Hollywood films of the classic noir period of the 1940’s-50’s, through the neo-noir of the Coen Brothers’ “Blood Simple,” the series covers more than a half-century of noir and showcases the acting talents (in addition to the 26-year-old Lorre in the afore-mentioned “M”) of Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frances McDormand and the great character actor M. Emmet Walsh.

From Janet Maslin’s 1984 review of “Blood Simple” in The New York Times:

Black humor, abundant originality and a brilliant visual style make Joel Coen’s ”Blood Simple” a directorial debut of extraordinary promise. Mr. Coen, who co-wrote the film with his brother Ethan, works in a film noir style that in no way inhibits his wit, which turns out to be considerable. This is a film in which a dying man, mistakenly shot by a woman who cannot see him (and who meant to kill someone else), can hear her shout one more insult at the intended victim – and answer her, ”Well, ma’am, if I see him I’ll sure give him the message.”

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by clips from the films to illustrate the points he is making. His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Billy Wilder (among others) and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Mark Schenker’s “How to Read a Film” series on film noir masterpieces continues Sun., July 7, with 1950 “In A Lonely Place,” featuring brilliant Humphrey Bogart

In this eighth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, presents four lectures on “A Half-Century of Film Noir Masterpieces.” All four lectures will be held on consecutive Sunday afternoons at 2 PM, starting on Sunday, June 23. Admission to each lecture is $7. The third film examined in this series will be “In a Lonely Place” on Sunday, July 7.

“A Half-Century of Film Noir Masterpieces” features works by four directors who are new to his presentations at Best. In movies that range from the early talkie “M” by German director Fritz Lang (explored June 23) through two Hollywood films of the classic noir period of the 1940’s-50’s, through the neo-noir of the Coen Brothers’ “Blood Simple,” the series covers more than a half-century of noir and showcases the acting talents (in addition to the 26-year-old Lorre in the afore-mentioned “M”) of Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frances McDormand and the great character actor M. Emmet Walsh.

From Bosley Crowther’s 1950 New York Times review:

Everybody should be happy this morning. Humphrey Bogart is in top form in his latest independently made production, ‘In a Lonely Place,’ and the picture itself is a superior cut of melodrama. Playing a violent, quick-tempered Hollywood movie writer suspected of murder, Mr. Bogart looms large on the screen of the Paramount Theatre and he moves flawlessly through a script which is almost as flinty as the actor himself.

For critic Roger Ebert, “In A Lonely Place” is a “Great Movie.” Writing in 2009, Ebert observed:

If there is one key element of film noir, it is the flawed hero. That, usually joined with a distinctive visual style and tone, defines the genre. The hero is sympathetic but weak, often haunted by mistakes in the past or fatally tempted by greed or lust. He is likely to discover himself capable of evil he had never dreamed of, and is consumed by guilt and fear.

Bogart embodies this noir quality flawlessly in “In a Lonely Place.”

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by clips from the films to illustrate the points he is making. His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Billy Wilder (among others) and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Mark Schenker launches new “How to Read a Film” series on film noir masterpieces Sun., June 23, at 2 PM

In this eighth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, presents four lectures on “A Half-Century of Film Noir Masterpieces.” All four lectures will be held on consecutive Sunday afternoons at 2 PM, starting on Sunday, June 23. Admission to each lecture is $7. The series kicks off with the 1931 proto-noir, Fritz Lang-directed classic “M.”

Mark Schenker offers another installment of his “How to Read a Film” series, with works by four directors who are new to his presentations at Best. In movies that range from Peter Lorre’s sensational performance as a serial killer in the early talkie “M” by German director Fritz Lang, through two Hollywood films of the classic noir period of the 1940’s-50’s, through the neo-noir of the Coen Brothers’ “Blood Simple,” the series covers more than a half-century of noir and showcases the acting talents (in addition to the 26-year-old Lorre) of Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frances McDormand and the great character actor M. Emmet Walsh.

From M.H.’s 1931 New York Times review of “M”:

Based on the fiendish killings which spread terror among the inhabitants of Düsseldorf in 1929, there is at the Mayfair a German-language pictorial drama with captions in English bearing the succinct title “M,” which, of course, stands for murder. It was produced in 1931 by Fritz Lang and, as a strong cinematic work with, remarkably fine acting, it is extraordinarily effective, but its narrative, which is concerned with a vague conception of the activities of a demented slayer and his final capture, is shocking and morbid. Yet Mr. Lang has left to the spectator’s imagination the actual commission of the crimes.

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by clips from the films to illustrate the points he is making. His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Billy Wilder (among others) and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining.

Schedule:

Sun., June 23: “M” (1931)
Sun., June 30: “Murder, My Sweet” (1944)
Sun., July 7: “In a Lonely Place” (1950)
Sun., June 14: “Blood Simple” (1984)

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.