Monday's Pick: Not Necessarily Noir

Not Necessarily Noir

Film noir, as it's classically defined, had a circumscribed lifespan from the early postwar about-to-boom years through the late 1950s, when color films began to displace black-and-white. But the genre's allure and influence will never wane, as anybody who's winced at the term “neo-noir” will agree. Venerable programmer Elliot Lavine's latest foray into the catacombs of movie history, Not Necessarily Noir, extends a line from the “official” end of film noir to the end of the millennium. Every choice is inspired, from Mickey One, Arthur Penn's kooky, jazzy 1965 saga of a piano player (Warren Beatty) on the run, to Jonathan Demme's largely unknown Last Embrace (1979), which puts an intelligence spook (Roy Scheider) through Hitchcockian paces. Lavine mixes in a handful of little-known oddities from the '40s and '50s, but the post-Watergate films are the series' real revelation.

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