Saturday, January 26, 2013

Peggy Cummins and Gun Crazy at Noir City 11

The eleventh annual edition of Eddie Muller's great 10-day Film Noir festival at the Castro Theatre had a sensational opener last night.

The legendary 1950 B-movie, Gun Crazy, about the love affair on the run between two gun fetishist sharpshooters, the male being a sweet, troubled pacifist, and the female a British blonde bombshell sociopath who likes to kill people "when she gets scared."

The boy is played by the troubled John Dall who died at age 52 in 1971, and the girl by Peggy Cummins above in what Muller called "the most ferocious female performance ever captured on celluloid," and he might be right.

Peggy Cummins is still going strong and and looking remarkably attractive at age 87, as you can see in the photo above. She was flown out from her home in England for a personal appearance and interview onstage, and the standing ovation she received from the full house of the Castro Theatre seemed to move her deeply. "When I return home in three days, and I'm at my sink washing the potatoes, doing the everyday things in life we all do, and my son asks me, 'so, how did it go in San Francisco, mum?', how on earth will I be able to describe all of this and the reception you have given me?"

Much of the audience not only dresses up for Noir City, but they are also seriously attentive, with not a single cell phone going off during the showing of Gun Crazy, as poster artist Bill Selby pointed out. In an introductory speech, Eddie Muller claimed that the festival is as much about a group of people "getting out of their houses" and attentively watching a film together on the large Castro Theatre screen, as it is about the movies themselves. A rich community has formed over the last decade around Noir City, and has started including bus tours and a period nightclub party.

The party is taking place next Saturday at the Regency Ballroom on Van Ness and Sutter, and one of the half-dozen acts will be Erin Brazill and the Brazillionaires above, who played a fun, wild set onstage at the Castro before the movie began.


Matthew Hubbard said...

Noir City would pass me by every year but for your attentive and brilliant reportage.

Anonymous said...

The essence of film is that it be a communal experience, sitting in the dark of a dream palace with hundreds of strangers, enthralled by light pouring through still images enlivening the illusion of motion. It is the metaphor of creation.

Civic Center said...

Dear Arye: Good definition.