Eddie Muller: The Czar of Noir in San Francisco

100 Profiles: SF Weekly interviews 100 people in San Francisco arts and culture.

No. 98: Eddie Muller

It was a few years ago at Tosca in North Beach, where his easy retro style made him seem like a fixture, that I finally asked Eddie Muller how he got so into film noir. He told me just what he'd told other interviewers before: that he'd traced it back to Thieves' Highway, which he saw as a teenager, and which is “set in downtown San Francisco, my hometown, takes place entirely in the dead of night, and suggests that life will always be a struggle against the worst aspects of human nature.”

Not surprisingly, that classic has showed up more than once in Muller's annual Noir City film festival, a public portal to the nonprofit film preservation and exhibition concern he's been running for nearly a decade now — while also cranking out a heap of books and articles and some of the best DVD commentaries ever. “The common denominator,” Muller said, “is the desire to preserve the past. The culture moves too fast.”

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