US / 18 minutes / bw / Detour Dir & Scr: Elliot Lavine Pr: Elliot Lavine, Fred Klein Cine: Greg Wardell, Deland Nuse Cast: John X. Heart, Alan Dowell, Harry Rosenbluth, Harry Freeman, Sheila Lichirie, Larry Stofer, Lisa Barnett, David A. Radovich, Freddy Klein, Eddie Detour
A somewhat more ambitious movie than the same director’s earlier effort, Blind Alley (1981), being longer and with a more involved plot. However, while it’s shot in a very noirish fashion and has a screenplay that’s primarily voiceover, in a sense it seems to me less close to the heart of noir than its pared-down predecessor, being more of a psychological piece.
That’s not to say that it doesn’t have precursors that are very firmly in the film noir genre, notably Fear in the Night (1947) and Nightmare (1956), both directed by Maxwell Shane and based on the Cornell Woolrich story “And So to Death” (1941, Argosy; vt “Nightmare”), written by Woolrich under his William Irish pseudonym.
John X. Heart as Del
Advertising artist Del Garvin (Heart) is being troubled by a recurring dream:
“Night after night it’s the same dream. What’s it supposed to mean? These hallways, where do they lead? Corridors, spinning and twisting . . .”
Eventually, in the dream, he finds himself in front of the door to Room 11. When the door opens to his knock he stabs Continue reading
US / 11 minutes / bw / Detour Dir & Scr: Elliot Lavine Pr: Mary Kay DeLucco, Elliot Lavine Cine: Howard Dowell, Eddie Detour Cast: Gregory Pace, Ronald Gregoire
A splendid brief noir outing, shot in glorious black-and-white, that’s been completely overlooked by the compilers at the IMDB. You can, however, watch it for yourself here.
After robbing a meat-packing plant of close to $50,000 in payroll funds, Benny (Pace), his face masked by a stocking, leaps into the back of the getaway car behind driver Leo (Gregoire). After they’ve gone some distance, Continue reading
How This All Came About
In November last year I came across an interesting-looking noir short on YouTube, Blind Alley (1981). A few days later I watched it and was blown away: eleven minutes of noirish ecstasy.
I sat down to write an entry on it for this site and discovered that information on the movie, its director and its cast was extremely thin on the ground. There was nothing on IMDB to give me a lead as to where I might find stuff—nothing at all on IMDB, in fact—and searches with Qwant and Bing at first revealed very little more.
One of the results did, however, jog my memory. In his posting of the movie to YouTube the director, Elliot Lavine, mentioned his work curating film noir festivals for the Roxie Cinema in San Francisco. Sure enough, up popped a couple of interviews with him in that capacity; here’s one. I’d read the interview before, I realized, and that reminded me that someone else who curates movie seasons for the Roxie has commented a couple of times here on Noirish (displaying an embarrassingly greater knowledge of the movies concerned than mine own): Don Malcolm.
From Blind Alley
Oh, and I learned, too, that in 2010 Elliot was honored at the 9th San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards with the Marlon Riggs Award (“for courage & vision in the Bay Area film community”):
Elliot Lavine, in recognition of his two decades of film programming, his revival of rare archival and independent titles, and his role in the renewed popularity of film noir and pre-Production Code features.
Anyway, I plucked up my courage and contacted Elliot through YouTube to ask for more info about Blind Alley. Soon we were chatting via email, and Elliot very generously agreed to answer my pesky queries. In fact, he did so with such zeal and panache that Continue reading