Now Entering Noir City

Hard-boiled high jinks get set to cast shadows at the Egyptian.

Courtesy of the Film Noir Foundation

If you're looking for clowns and balloons and sparkles and sunflowers in your movies, you don't want to go noir.

The clowns'll all be in fedoras, scowling. The balloons'll cast round and sinister shadows. The sparkles will turn to dust and the sunflowers will be wilting in the middle of some dame's coffee table.

But if you want mucky mystery and jabby short talk and complicated, nasty situations, you probably adore noir. And, if you call LA home, chances are you're probably mad for the stuff, since noir is one of the homegrown genres we can claim as our own. (We know, New York, and other places, that you may want to challenge us on this, to which we say, politely, watch "Double Indemnity" and read Raymond Chandler and all the other crime writers that started in Hollywood and then we'll talk.)

Noir City is a two-week hard-boiled-a-thon that celebrates some of the bigger and lesser-known films of the genre's fedora-and-seamed-stocking heyday. It opens on Friday, April 20 at the Egyptian Theatre.

The titles? Oh, we love a good noir handle. Here are some favorites coming up: "Big House USA," "Kid Glove Killer," "Afraid to Talk," "Private Hell 36." Oh, and "Mary Ryan, Detective." Remember when movies and books commonly had a person's name and then their occupation? Hollywood, start doing that again, because it charms.

There are loads of special guests, as is the way with American Cinematheque and the Egyptian. We're trying to imagine the interviews being all staccato and terse, but we bet all the celebs will be friendly and full of interesting tidbits. Fun times in Noir City.

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("Three Strangers" poster courtesy of the Film Noir Foundation)

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