Fall Films 2013
With our first-ever car show Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed approaching the starting line, NCMA film curator Laura Boyes was given license to explore on-screen autos from multiple vantage points. What would movies be without cars, after all? Their metallic bodies spark fantasy and desire, and they thrill and terrify with reckless speed. Cars provide an intimate conversational space, a means to make a living or simply the best way to get from here to there. Our series, which extends through and beyond the run of the exhibition, takes an admiring look across the decades at crime cars, race cars, chauffeured cars, working cars and just plain cool cars. The NCMA Cinema has the keys to your automotive dreams—sit back and enjoy the ride.
The French Connection (1971) Directed by William Friedkin. Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey (104 min) Rated R
Based on the true crime story of New York City’s largest drug bust, this rattling neo-noir thriller was Oscar’s Best Picture, also winning for Best Actor, Director, Writing and Editing. Hackman’s alarmingly passionate racist cop trails an urbane drug dealer through urban alleys, skidding through cinema’s premiere car pursuit. “Hits the sweet spot of urban grit” (New York Sun). Film notes for The French Connection.
Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Directed by Robert Aldrich. Ralph Meeker, Maxine Cooper, Wesley Addy Chloris Leachman (106 min).
Nuclear war panic informs this film noir swan song. Detective Mike Hammer picks up a distressed hitchhiker in his sleek Jaguar spiraling into a labyrinthine underworld of radioactive secrets. “A crucial influence on what would become the French new wave, an irresistibly seedy trip through the Los Angeles underworld, and a valuable artifact of Cold War anxiety” (Time Out). Introduced by film writer Lewis Beale.
The Crowd Roars (1932) Directed by Howard Hawks. James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak, Frank McHugh. (85 min).
A champion driver tries to keep his kid brother away from fast cars and fast women. Penned by the scribes who wrote Cagney’s Public Enemy, and directed by Scarface’s Howard Hawks, 1930 Indy 500 winner Billy Arnold is in the driver’s seat for the thrilling action and fiery crashes. “This is no movie for weak-hearted people” (New York Graphic). Plus, the legendary street racing short film, "C'etait un Rendezvous." Film Notes for The Crowd Roars.
Bullitt (1968) Directed by Peter Yates. Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn, Jacqueline Bisset (114 min).
Lt. Frank Bullitt, stoic and incorruptible, is tasked by an ambitious politician with protecting a mob witness stashed in San Francisco’s shadows. A grungy, neo-realist procedural, Bullitt ignites during an unforgettable 150 mph duel between a Dodge Charger and McQueen’s Mustang, sailing over Fog City’s hills. “Yates' taut, realistic direction encapsulates the prevailing cinematic brand of late 1960s cool” (BBC). Film notes for Bullitt
Two Lane Blacktop (1971) Directed by Monte Hellman. James Taylor, Dennis Wilson, Warren Oates (103 min).
A souped-up ’55 Chevy driven by 22 year old James Taylor and Beach Boy Dennis Wilson challenges a mysterious muscle car to a cross-country race. The journey’s more important than the destination in this haunting Existentialist L’Avventura with a GTO. “The purest American road movie, ever…like a drive-in movie directed by a French New Wave director” (Director Richard Linklater). Introduced by NC State Film Studies Professor, Devin Orgeron.
Car Wash (1976) Directed by Michael Schultz. Darrow Igus, Otis Day, Antonio Fargas, Ivan Dixon, Bill Duke (97 min) PG
One day at a shabby car wash, as hourly workers dream, scheme and cleanse, and where George Carlin, Richard Pryor or the Pointer Sisters might drop in. Groovy 70s threads and pulsing funk classics add to the fun. “Held together by the music, which is nearly wall-to-wall, and by the picture's tremendous sense of life…a wash-and-wax "MASH." (Roger Ebert). Film Notes for Car Wash.
Heat Lightning (1934) Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Aline MacMahon, Ann Dvorak, Preston Foster. (64 min).
An ex-gun moll on the lam dons mechanic’s overalls to run a Mohave Desert gas station, shielding her wild kid sister from the abusive men she knows too well. Forget Thelma and Louise, these hard boiled dames (along with gold diggers Glenda Farrell and Ruth Donnelly) are the real deal. This Western noir was banned by the Legion of Decency. Plus, the Vitaphone short film, "Frank Whitman: That Surprising Fiddler." Film notes for Heat Lightning.
Out of the Past (1947) Directed by Jacques Tourneur. Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas (96 min).
A former private eye running a podunk gas station is sucked into working for a ruthless gambler. The weary detective in a rumpled trench coat, in thrall to a no good dame, narrating his troubled past: this is quintessential film noir. “Cinematic perfection, a Hollywood classic that's as great and as enjoyable as its reputation has promised” (San Francisco Chronicle).Film notes for Out of the Past.
All films are shown in 35mm unless noted, and begin Fridays at 8:00 pm
The galleries and Iris Restaurant will be open prior to screenings
Box Office: (919) 715-5923
Tickets: $7.00/$5.00 NCMA Members
Introductions are by Film Curator Laura Boyes unless otherwise noted.
For more information about the NC Museum of Art: ncartmuseum.org