Tag Archives: Criss Cross

Mark Schenker’s “How to Read a Film” series continues with “Criss Cross” Sun., Oct. 10

Best Video Film & Cultural Center is pleased to bring back Mark Schenker for the tenth installment of his popular “How to Read a Film” series, starting on Sun., Oct. 3, at 2 PM. Admission to each lecture is $7.

The series continues on Sun., Oct. 10, as Schenker illuminates the 1949 film noir classic “Criss Cross.” (Schenker explored the screwball comedy “Bringing Up Baby” as the first film in this series.)

In previous installments of “How to Read A Film,” Schenker has zeroed in on a specific director’s oeuvre or focused on four films in a particular genre, like film noir. For this series, he will “focus more broadly on genre, and how a consideration of three great genres of American film can yield a greater understanding of one of Quentin Tarantino’s masterpieces, “Inglourious Basterds,” which audaciously combines aspects of screwball comedy, film noir, and western.”

This will be an indoors event with the following covid protocols in place:

• 30 attendees max
• proof of vaccination required
• masks required (they can be lowered to take drinks or eat popcorn but should be raised back up when done)

The remaining schedule for the series:

Sun., Oct. 10, 2 PM: “Criss Cross” (1949, film noir, dir. by Robert Siodmak)

Sun., Oct. 24, 2 PM: “The Searchers” (1956, western, dir. by John Ford)

Sun., Oct. 31, 2 PM: “Inglourious Basterds” (2009, dir. by Quentin Tarantino)

In a capsule review in The New Yorker, Richard Brody writes:

Robert Siodmak’s grimly romantic film noir, from 1949, set in Los Angeles, offers a hectic fusion of on-location texture and stylish artifice. Burt Lancaster stars as Steve Thompson, an armored-car driver whose barroom brawl with a gangster, Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea), is staged to throw police off the trail of their criminal conspiracy. Yet their mutual hatred is real; it’s based on their rivalry for the love of Anna (Yvonne De Carlo), Steve’s ex-wife. Working with a script by the novelist Daniel Fuchs that features long flashbacks and interior monologues, Siodmak builds Steve’s morbidly subjective tale with startling visual flourishes, gestural details, and erotic tensions.

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by screenings of the films to illustrate the points he is making—it’s like a live commentary track! 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.