Noir City

Visiting film scholar Eddie Muller will introduce every evening double feature in SIFF's Noir City series. First up tonight is High Wall (Robert Taylor is mistakenly sent to the nuthouse), followed by Stranger on the Third Floor. This 1940 picture starts like a standard-wrong man thriller: A young journalist's testimony sends a guy to jail, but his girlfriend has doubts about the supposed murderer. Then a neighbor has his throat slit just like the first victim. And who's that silent creepy fellow with “big, protruding eyes” hanging around the neighborhood? Why say hello to Peter Lorre, the said stranger whose presence haunts the journalist's conscience. In the film's centerpiece, a long German Expressionist dream sequence, this newspaperman imagines how he might be wrongfully convicted of murder, victim of an unjust court, lax judge, and snoozing jury. The criminal justice system becomes a nightmare; and only the elusive Lorre—that serene little goblin—has the power to restore things to right. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Fri., Feb. 11, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.; Feb. 12-17, 2011

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