Directed by the estimable Jacques Tourneur, set in a lost America of neon signage and out-of-town newsstands, the 1956 Nightfall is not only a nifty late noir, but a model of economical filmmaking—well-sketched atmosphere, deft characterizations, and a 78-minute run time. “You’re the most wanted man I know,” the young, sultry Anne Bancroft tells beleaguered hero Aldo Ray, an ordinary guy who’s under constant, mysterious surveillance and is also being tracked by a pair of implacable desperados. Occupying 48 hours, the action shifts from the bright lights of Hollywood Boulevard to the snowy wilds of Wyoming—a pristine landscape that serves to emphasize the hero’s innocence. The cocktail lounge pickup is adroitly staged, the action climax is expertly choreographed, and a fashion-show set piece is worthy of Hitchcock. Aspiring filmmakers should take notes. (NR) J. HOBERMAN

Nov. 5-11, 7 & 9 p.m., 2010

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