Film Noir 2022
Screening Dates
  • August 3, 2022 8:30
  • August 15, 2022 6:30
  • August 20, 2022 8:45
New Restoration

Excitingly tawdry … A rancid Oz forever stuck in Kansas … Once seen, not easily forgotten.”

J. Hoberman, Village Voice

Thank Guillermo del Toro and his slick, star-studded remake for drawing overdue attention to this high-end noir shocker, set against the freaks-and-geeks lower depths of showbiz. Romantic lead Tyrone Power, cast against type, plays hick Stan Carlisle, huckster at a sleazy, second-rate carnival. Obtaining the secrets of Zeena (Joan Blondell), the midway’s fake psychic, Carlisle enjoys a precipitous rise in status as The Great Stanton,” spiritualist to—and swindler of—Chicago’s wealthy and privileged, before fickle providence consigns him to a suitably nasty fate. Based on a cult pulp novel by William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley ranks as one of the most unjustly neglected Hollywood films of the 1940s. The characterizations in Nightmare Alley are studies in film noir … venal, gullible, and obsessed with success at any price” (Joan Cohen).

Dark and cynical … [It] Induces a soul-sickening feeling that courses through your system like the wood alcohol that poisons one of the characters. The sense of fatalism, a noir staple, is pervasive.”

Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times