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November Brings the Dark Shadow of Film Noir to Tibbits Opera House

On Saturday, November 10 at 7pm, the Tibbits Classic Film Series descends into the dark and gritty world of film noir with the Orson Welles thriller The Lady from Shanghai and the twist-ladened Detour.

First up is Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai. Against his better judgment, seaman Michael O’Hara (Orson Welles) agrees to work on a yacht, sailing from New York to San Francisco, owned by well-known criminal lawyer Arthur Bannister. Upon meeting Bannister’s wife Elsa (Rita Hayworth), Michael is immediately taken with her and begins a secret affair. Midway through their trip, the group is joined by Bannister’s friend George Grisby and he brings with him a lucrative proposition for Michael. If Michael helps him fake his own death, Grisby will give him $5,000. Thinking this money will help him and Elsa run away together, he accepts. When Grisby is murdered for real, Michael is charged with the crime and must find a way to prove his innocence. In addition to starring, Orson Welles wrote and directed this film noir classic.

Up next is the dark and moody Detour. New York nightclub pianist Al Roberts hitchhikes to Hollywood to join his girl Sue. In Arizona, he gets a ride from Charles Haskell, a sleazy gambler and bookie who happens to been headed to L.A. himself. When Haskell dies under mysterious circumstances, Al is worried about what the police will think and decides to take his identity. Realizing this was a mistake Al later makes a bigger one by giving a ride to another hitchhiker, Vera, who had previously been given a ride the real Haskell. Deciding to blackmail him into helping her pulling off a risky scheme, Vera drags Al deeper and deeper into trouble.

Mostly characterized by shady characters, bad decisions, dramatic chiaroscuro lighting, and most often than not, a murder or two, noir films first gained popularity post-World War II. Since then what classifies a film as “noir” has been highly debated. Traditionalists believe true noir films were made during a specific period, such as Gun Crazy (1950) and The Big Sleep (1946). Others argue film noir is more of a style or mood than a genre as in such films as Blade Runner (1982) and Dark City (1998).

The Tibbits Classic Film Series, a 10-part set of monthly double features, showcases Hollywood classics from such genres as sci-fi, film noir, musicals, comedies, and mysteries. The entire Classic Film Series is sponsored by Dr. Matthew Christopher, DDSAdmission to the film series is free unless noted. Concessions, including a cash bar, will be available for purchase. For more information, please visit Tibbits.org or call 517-278-6029.