Thursday, January 12, 2012

Power of 10

Author Eddie Muller benefits from an impressive write-up today in the San Francisco Chronicle (a paper for which he once served as crime-fiction critic). The article’s principal hook is that the 10th annual version of Muller’s San Francisco Film Noir Festival--aka Noir City--is scheduled to begin on Friday, January 20, and run through Sunday, January 29. (Details of that event can be found here.)

But staff writer G. Allen Johnson also takes advantage of this occasion to explore Dashiell Hammett’s old apartment at 891 Post Street, in which the Pinkerton detective turned detective novelist wrote several of the books that made him famous, including The Maltese Falcon (1930). Johnson notes that this Post Street flat--which was declared a local literary landmark in 2005--served as the basis for private eye Sam Spade’s apartment in Falcon. He goes on to explain:
For years, the apartment was leased by Noir City festival announcer Bill Arney. When he left for a bigger place, local writer Robert Mailer Anderson took over and has painstakingly been re-doing the apartment exactly as it was when Hammett lived there, complete with vintage refrigerator and the apartment’s original bathtub and toilet.

Although Anderson and Muller are not exactly sure what to do with the place once restoration is complete (open it to the public? private tours? “Right now, it’s kind of like a boys’ club,” Muller chuckled), it’s coming in handy as the Noir City festival celebrates its 10th year. The festival’s poster was photographed here, with Muller and this year’s Miss Noir City, Helena Blanca Stoddard, and why not? Noir City began with an all-San Francisco program in 2003, and that festival’s opening and closing films also open and close this year’s festival:
Dark Passage (on Jan. 20) and The Maltese Falcon (Jan. 29).
Click here to read more about those two classic movies. And below is the video teaser for this year’s film festival.*

* The Film Noir Festival’s Web site accompanies that video with the following explanation: “To commemorate its 10th anniversary, Noir City has returned to the source. This year’s poster was created in the San Francisco apartment where Dashiell Hammett, between 1927 [and] ’29, wrote Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, and The Maltese Falcon, laying the foundation for film noir. Ms. Noir City 2012, Helena Bianca Stoddard, portrays The Maltese Falcon’s duplicitous Brigid O’Shaughnessy, in a variation on a scene cut from all filmed versions of the book. When one of the ten $1,000 bills he’s been paid to locate the Black Bird goes missing, Sam Spade demands that Brigid undress to prove she’s hasn't stolen the money.”

READ MORE:Up in Sam Spade’s Room,” by Thomas Burchfield.

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