“One of those directors whose work renews your enthusiasm for movies…his own touch as a filmmaker is elusive yet tangible, like the presence of a ghost—in a way, you could say that Tourneur’s touch is so refined and subtle that he haunts his films.”
—Martin Scorsese

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announces Jacques Tourneur, Fearmaker, a wide-ranging retrospective of Tourneur’s body of work and the largest in New York City since FSLC’s 2002 exhibition programmed by NYFF director Kent Jones, December 14 – January 3.

The son of Maurice Tourneur, one of early French cinema’s preeminent directors, Jacques Tourneur ranks among the most fascinating yet most elusive filmmakers of his time. After working as an editor for his father and a director of shorts and B-features at MGM in his adoptive America, Tourneur eventually found a home in Hollywood with the success of his 1942 horror movie Cat People. He went on to make a series of striking low-budget pictures in the 1940s and ’50s: distinct, atmospheric works in a variety of genres (including the landmark 1947 noir Out of the Past), all notable for their wit, irony, and simultaneous precision and ambiguity. Tourneur mixed the uncanny with the psychological, located even the most outlandish premises within familiar spheres, and roguishly circumvented financial constraints through his singular artistry.

Highlights of Jacques Tourneur, Fearmaker include three films made with his longtime collaborator Val Lewton, exploring fear of the other in Cat People, The Leopard Man, and I Walked with a Zombie, all presented on 35mm; a number of his late ’40s and early ’50s Westerns, including Great Day in the Morning, Canyon Passage, and the Joel McCrea-starring Wichita, Stranger on Horseback, and Stars in My Crown; the Italian-language The Giant of Marathon, co-directed by Bruno Vailati and Mario Bava; and a shorts program featuring a rarely screened selection of his earliest one-reelers—an assortment of Pete Smith Specialties and John Nesbitt’s Passing Parades—produced at MGM between 1936 and 1942.

Other notable films include his work in the horror and mystery genres, including the crackling espionage thriller Berlin Express, starring Robert Ryan and Merle Oberon; Night of the Demon, a slow-burning chiller about witchcraft in contemporary England; the brooding, menace-edged Circle of Danger, starring Ray Milland; the first two entries in the Nick Carter trilogy, Nick Carter, Master Detective and Phantom Raiders, starring Walter Pidgeon as the super sleuth; and the moody psychological mystery Experiment Perilous, starring Hedy Lamarr as the disturbed wife of a wealthy man who may—or may not—be going mad.

Organized by Dennis Lim and Tyler Wilson in partnership with the Locarno Film Festival, where a Jacques Tourneur retrospective was presented in 2017, curated by Roberto Turigliatto and Rinaldo Censi, in collaboration with the Cinémathèque Française in Paris and the Cinémathèque Suisse in Lausanne.

Tickets go on sale Friday, November 30, and are $15; $12 for students, seniors (62+), and persons with disabilities; and $10 for Film Society members. See more and save with the 3+ film discount package or $125 All-Access Pass.

Academy Film Archive; British Film Institute; The Cinémathèque of the City of Luxembourg; Cineteca di Bologna; Eye Filmmuseum; Library of Congress; UCLA Film & Television Archive

All screenings will take place in the Francesca Beale Theater in the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (144 W. 65th St.) unless otherwise noted.

Anne of the Indies
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1951, 81m
One of the most unique and fascinating swashbucklers of the studio era stars a commanding Jean Peters as a notorious pirate who captains a ship of plunderers terrorizing the West Indies, duels with Blackbeard himself, and exacts ruthless revenge on any man who double-crosses her—“the vilest-hearted she-monster that ever came out of the sea,” according to the suave French officer Pierre (Louis Jordan). Throughout, Tourneur fills every inch of the frame with teeming action and movement, emphasizing both the dreamy beauty of the Technicolor images and, as the proceedings turn increasingly lurid, the savage darkness at the story’s center.
Saturday, December 22, 3:45pm
Wednesday, December 26, 6:30pm

Appointment in Honduras
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1953, 79m
Tourneur’s mastery of mood and unsettling ambiguity transform a diverting jungle adventure into something resembling existential horror. Glenn Ford plays a hard-bitten political operative leading hostages played by Ann Sheridan and Zachary Scott on a treacherous mission through the Central American rainforest—envisioned as a primeval anti-paradise quivering with menace and the ever-present threat of death. Forgoing narrative drive in favor of hallucinatory visuals and doom-laden atmosphere, Appointment in Honduras is, observes Tourneur scholar Chris Fujiwara, “a rare example of a Hollywood film that offers a formal experience comparable to contemporary avant-garde art.”
Friday, December 21, 3:15pm
Saturday, December 29, 1:30pm

Berlin Express
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1948, 35mm, 87m
Shot on location amid the ravages of postwar Frankfurt and Berlin, this crackling espionage thriller plays like Hollywood’s answer to the European rubble films of the era. En route from Paris to Berlin, a motley crew of international strangers—including Robert Ryan’s American government worker and Merle Oberon’s mysterious French secretary—find themselves thrown together in the fight to save a German peace activist from assassination. A tour through the ruined monuments and smoky underground cabarets of Germany’s hollowed-out cities, Berlin Express artfully blends shadowy intrigue with a genuinely moving plea for tolerance in the face of nationalism, hatred, and fear. Print preserved by The Library of Congress.
Wednesday, December 19, 7:00pm*
*Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street
Tuesday, December 25, 6:30pm

The Leopard Man


Canyon Passage
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1946, 35mm, 92m
Ablaze in breathtaking Technicolor, the first of Tourneur’s remarkable Westerns is a complex, morally ambiguous portrait of an Oregon mining community where the friendship between an enterprising merchant (Dana Andrews) and an avaricious gambler (Brian Donlevy) is tested by romantic rivalry, gold, and greed. An unusually rich, philosophical frontier tale, Canyon Passage conjures a dreamily idyllic vision of the Old West punctuated by sudden, shocking bursts of violence—Tourneurian flashes of a world ruled by chaos and chance. The result is what Martin Scorsese has called “one of the most mysterious and exquisite examples of the Western genre ever made.”
Friday, December 21, 7:00pm
Monday, December 24, 6:30pm
Friday, December 28, 9:00pm

Cat People
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1942, 35mm, 73m
The most successful of the Val Lewton–produced horror films redefined Tourneur as a visionary filmmaker who bore a singular aesthetic under financial constraint. The story concerns a Serbian woman (Simone Simon) who believes she is cursed to transform into a murderous feline after engaging in any kind of intimacy with her American lover (Kent Smith). Made as a B picture with few special effects and changes in scenery, Cat People invokes its uncanny tale through a palpable sense of dread and innuendo: an inventive use of sound that effectively complements the film’s interplay of light and shadow (courtesy of DP Nicholas Musuraca, who would photograph Out of the Past five years later). Print preserved by the Library of Congress.

Preceded by:
The Ship That Died
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1938, 35mm, 10m
Originally part of John Nesbitt’s Passing Parade docudrama series, this short explores the many theories surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the merchant ship Mary Celeste in 1872. Print courtesy of the British Film Institute.

Friday, December 14, 7:00pm*
*Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street
Saturday, December 22, 9:15pm
Monday, December 31, 7:15pm

Circle of Danger
Jacques Tourneur, UK, 1951, 35mm, 86m
This brooding, slow-burn mystery is a disquieting, echt-Tourneurian inquiry into the frighteningly elusive nature of truth. Ray Milland is a surly American who travels to England in hopes of getting to the bottom of his brother’s suspicious death during the war—but the more he finds out, the less he seems to know. Amplifying the pervasive sense of anticipatory dread, Tourneur manages to make even the bucolic landscapes of the English countryside hum with menace, while offering a rarity in mid-20th century cinema: a queer character (played by Powell and Pressburger regular Marius Goring) of unusual courage and complexity. Print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
Tuesday, December 18, 7:00pm*
*Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street
Saturday, December 29, 5:00pm

I Walked with a Zombie


The Comedy of Terrors
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1964, 35mm, 84m
Produced by American International Pictures as a follow-up to Roger Corman’s hit The Raven, this marvelously goofball horror spoof brings together a dream team of genre greats: Vincent Price as a boozehound undertaker who takes matters into his own hands when the dead body business dries up; Peter Lorre as his much-kicked-around assistant; Boris Karloff as a doddering, dearly hated father-in-law; and, out-hamming them all, Basil Rathbone as a Shakespeare-spouting would-be victim who just won’t die. Tourneur’s smoothly atmospheric style provides an ideal canvas for his stable of veteran scene-chewers to let loose their mischievous screwball interplay.
Wednesday, December 26, 8:30pm
Monday, December 31, 3:30pm

Days of Glory
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1944, 35mm, 86m
Tourneur’s first assignment at RKO following his hugely successful collaborations with Val Lewton stars a debuting Gregory Peck as the leader of a band of Russian guerrilla fighters grappling with questions of loyalty, love, and duty as they combat Nazi forces. One of a handful of pro-Soviet films made by Hollywood during World War II that would quickly fall out of favor in the HUAC era, Days of Glory avoids propagandistic bombast thanks to Tourneur’s sensitive, understated direction. The result is one of the filmmaker’s most neglected works: a subtly atmospheric, surprisingly affecting portrait of ordinary people swept up in the tide of history. Print courtesy of the British Film Institute.
Monday, December 24, 2:30pm
Wednesday, January 2, 7:00pm

Doctors Don’t Tell
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1941, 35mm, 65m
Just before he propelled the B movie to new heights in Cat People, Tourneur directed this seldom-seen crime drama for Poverty Row stalwart Republic Pictures. Flashes of the director’s sophisticated visual sense enliven the story of two friends and physicians (John Beal and Edward Norris) vying for the love of the same woman (Florence Rice) even as they embark on wildly different paths: one as the state medical examiner, the other as doctor to the gangland underworld. Studded with outré musical numbers and oddball comedy, Doctors Don’t Tell is an ultra-rare curio from a master filmmaker on the cusp of artistic breakthrough. Print courtesy of the British Film Institute.
Sunday, December 23, 5:15pm
Friday, December 28, 3:30pm

Easy Living
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1949, 35mm, 77m
Money, sex, and football: the three cornerstones of American life spell doom in Tourneur’s tough, subversive anti-marriage melodrama. Victor Mature is a star quarterback with a fatal heart condition who’s willing to risk death on the field to give his power-hungry wife (Lizabeth Scott) the life she wants, even as she pursues a sordid affair with a Wall Street sugar daddy. Co-starring Lucille Ball—who delivers some of the film’s most memorable moments as a hard-nosed working girl spouting world-weary cynicisms—Easy Living is a Sirkian sports movie with a dark noir undercurrent. Print courtesy of the British Film Institute.
Sunday, December 30, 4:45pm
Thursday, January 3, 3:15pm

Days of Glory


Experiment Perilous
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1944, 35mm, 91m
An unsung gothic gem amongst Tourneur’s extraordinary 1940s work, this mood-drenched psychological mystery bristles with an air of anxious uncertainty. A chance encounter aboard a train plunges an inquisitive doctor (George Brent) into sinister goings-on at a turn-of-the-century Manhattan mansion, where the disturbed wife (Hedy Lamarr) of a wealthy social lion may—or may not—be going mad. Told in a complex web of flashbacks and shifting viewpoints, Experiment Perilous is an unsettlingly ambiguous tale of illusion versus reality etched in some of Tourneur’s most intricate mise en scène—including a startlingly surreal climactic image worthy of Magritte.
Tuesday, December 18, 8:45pm*
*Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street
Tuesday, January 1, 7:00pm

The Fearmakers
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1958, 35mm, 35mm, 85m
The “fearmakers” in the title of Tourneur’s rarely screened Red Scare thriller are communist elements that, having wormed their way into a major Washington PR firm, go about trying to convert the American public away from their capitalist roots. Dana Andrews, who stars as a brainwashed Korean War vet alert to the dark secret of the firm to which he’s just returned, had worked with Tourneur on Night of the Demon the previous year, and it was he who insisted that Tourneur be brought on to direct The Fearmakers. What attracted the filmmaker to the project was, he later suggested, a theme that he’d been dealing with explicitly since at least I Walked with a Zombie: “The power of people who control ideas.”
Monday, December 24, 4:30pm
Sunday, December 30, 3:00pm
Thursday, January 3, 8:45pm

The Flame and the Arrow
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1950, 35mm, 88m
Burt Lancaster’s megawatt grin and acrobatic athleticism light up this grandly entertaining swashbuckler. He tumbles, vaults, and swings his way through the role of a Robin Hood-esque rogue who executes dazzling feats of derring-do as he and his rough-and-ready band of mountain men launch a rebellion against the occupying German gentry in 12th-century Italy. The filmmaker’s powers as an aesthetician are on full display in the exquisite Technicolor compositions, including one particularly striking moment of Tourneurian shadow play: a climactic duel in the dark wrought in finely shaded chiaroscuro.
Friday, December 21, 9:00pm
Monday, December 31, 5:15pm

Frontier Rangers
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1959, 16mm, 83m
In the 1950s and ’60s, Tourneur increasingly turned to television work, directing several episodes of the short-lived series Northwest Passage, three of which comprise this rollicking, feature-length adventure. Set during the French and Indian War, Frontier Rangers traces the exploits of intrepid partisan fighter Major Robert Rogers (Keith Larsen) as he tracks down an enemy spy, rescues a trio of women (including Angie Dickinson) from indentured servitude, and sets out to discover the mythic Northwest Passage. Despite the project’s small-screen origins, Tourneur’s touch shines through in the scenic splendor and typically expert choreography of action and movement. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.
Sunday, December 23, 3:00pm
Thursday, December 27, 7:00pm

The Giant of Marathon / La Battaglia di Maratona
Jacques Tourneur, Bruno Vailati, and Mario Bava, Italy/France, 1959, 35mm, 90m
Italian with English subtitles
Like so many other veteran Hollywood filmmakers in the 1950s, Tourneur decamped for Italy to direct this sword-and-sandal spectacular. The Herculean physique of bodybuilder turned international peplum icon Steve Reeves stars as Philippides, an ancient Greek Olympic hero who must navigate traitorous political machinations and wily seduction schemes as he leads the Athenian charge against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon. Shot and partially directed by Mario Bava—who helmed the film’s striking, hallucinatory underwater fight sequences—La Battaglia di Maratona is a fascinating union between Tourneur’s understated refinement and the Italian maestro’s boldly stylized vision. Print courtesy of Cineteca di Bologna.
Wednesday, December 26, 3:00pm
Sunday, December 30, 6:30pm

Cat People


Great Day in the Morning
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1956, 35mm, 92m
Tourneur’s moral and aesthetic complexity elevates this dark, anti-heroic Western. Set on the brink of the Civil War, the deceptively titled Great Day in the Morning stars Robert Stack as a smooth-talking, opportunistic Southerner who drifts into Denver, his presence inflaming the already heated tensions between the Yankees and Confederates—and between two women he caddishly pursues, played by Virginia Mayo and Ruth Roman. As the film circles around themes of greed, jealousy, and violence, its increasingly sinister tone is mirrored by Tourneur’s intricate mise en scène, which begins in soft pastel hues and ends in noir shadows.
Thursday, December 20, 9:00pm*
*Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street
Friday, December 28, 5:00pm
Tuesday, January 1, 3:00pm

I Walked with a Zombie
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1943, 35mm, 68m
In Tourneur’s second collaboration with producer Val Lewton, a Canadian nurse working on an island in the West Indies turns to voodoo with the hope of curing her patient. Loosely based on Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, I Walked with a Zombie features a quite peculiar kind of romance, and is perhaps Tourneur’s most poetic film: a haunting, audacious studio picture that presents a complex meditation on colonialism and our relationship with the past, as seen here through the living’s uncanny connection to the dead. Print preserved by The Library of Congress.

Preceded by:
The King Without a Crown
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1937, 35mm, 10m
This MGM “Historical Mystery” considers the possibility that Marie Antoinette’s son Louis XVII fled to the United States during the French Revolution and was raised to be a missionary among Native Americans. Print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
Friday, December 14, 9:00pm*
*Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street
Saturday, December 22, 7:45pm
Wednesday, January 2, 9:00pm

The Leopard Man
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1943, 35mm, 65m
Tourneur’s third collaboration with Val Lewton is this adaptation of Cornell Woolrich’s novel Black Alibi, concerning a black leopard that escapes during a publicity stunt and becomes the suspect in a killing spree upending a quiet New Mexico town. Like in Cat People and I Walked with a Zombie, The Leopard Man stations real sentiments about racism, xenophobia, and fear of the other within its somewhat outlandish horror narrative, and makes particularly chilling use of music and sound: the trilling of castanets never conjured such dread as in this film.

Preceded by:
The Man in the Barn
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1937, 35mm, 10m
This bizzare short presents a conspiracy theory that John Wilkes Booth successfully fled to Oklahoma after assassinating Abraham Lincoln.
Wednesday, December 19, 9:00pm*
*Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street
Tuesday, December 25, 4:45pm
Sunday, December 30, 8:15pm

Nick Carter, Master Detective
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1939, 35mm, 59m
The first of two Nick Carter films Tourneur directed for MGM is a zippy, action-packed mystery starring Walter Pidgeon as the unflappable dime-novel super-sleuth who goes undercover at an airplane factory to track down spies stealing industry-revolutionizing aeronautical secrets. Laced with hints of the shadowy menace the director would unleash fully in his genre-redefining Val Lewton films, this briskly entertaining programmer features impressive aerial stunts (including a tailspin edited into a startlingly experimental montage sequence), outré antics from Donald Meek as a wannabe-criminologist beekeeper, and a bullet-riddled plane vs. boat climax—all in under an hour! Print courtesy of the British Film Institute.

Preceded by:
Reward Unlimited
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1944, 35mm, 11m
Produced for the United States Public Health Service during World War II, this docu-narrative dramatizes the training and work of cadet nurses.
Friday, December 14, 5:30pm*
*Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street
Tuesday, December 25, 3:15pm

They All Come Out


Night of the Demon
Jacques Tourneur, UK, 1957, 35mm, 95m
After a late-career return to the noir cycle with Nightfall, Tourneur traveled overseas to direct this adaptation of “Casting the Runes,” a short story by English medievalist and legendary ghost story writer M.R. James. The film stars Dana Andrews as an American professor brought to London for a parapsychology conference. Once there, he is pulled into an investigation surrounding a satanic cultist and the diabolical force he may have conjured. Although the titular monster was allegedly inserted into the film without Tourneur’s consent, Night of the Demon remains a heady, uncommon entry in the filmmaker’s oeuvre: a slow-burning chiller, peppered with irony and sly humor, about witchcraft in contemporary England.
Saturday, December 15, 9:15pm*
*Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street
Monday, December 24, 8:30pm
Tuesday, January 1, 9:00pm

Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1957, 35mm, 78m
Early in Tourneur’s terrifically compact, low-key adaptation of a 1947 David Goodis novel, a man and a woman (Aldo Ray and Anne Bancroft) strike up an acquaintance and decide to have dinner together. After they’re finished, the man is suddenly hijacked and spirited away by two thugs, played by Brian Keith and Rudy Bond. In an extended flashback, we learn that Ray had crossed paths with the two men a year earlier during a camping trip, where they had accidentally left a bag containing $350,000. Now they want their money back. As always, Tourneur sifts the action into the settings, in this case an L.A. beachfront and the open spaces of Wyoming (brilliantly photographed by In a Lonely Place cinematographer Burnett Guffey). Ray and Keith, both subtle, gruff-voiced, and amiable actors, fit perfectly into Tourneur’s oddly unsettled universe.

Preceded by:
What Do You Think? (N. 1)
USA, 1937, 35mm, 11m
This first film in the series What Do You Think? attempts to understand an array of mysterious, extrasensory events happening to a screenwriter (Tourneur would direct the third as well). Print courtesy of Eye Filmmuseum.
Saturday, December 15, 7:15pm*
*Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street
Friday, December 28, 7:00pm
Tuesday, January 1, 5:00pm

Out of the Past
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1947, 35mm, 97m
Tourneur’s landmark noir boasts one of Robert Mitchum’s most iconic roles. He is magnetic as Jeff, the low-key proprietor of a gas station in small-town California. When some ill-intentioned characters from Jeff’s shadowy past arrive on the scene looking for him, it sets off a riveting chain of events that reunites him with Kathie (Jane Greer, one of the all-time great femme fatales), the slippery girlfriend of powerful and shady Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas). Out of the Past is singularly rich with twists, turns, and profound ideas concerning the complex relationship between the past, the present, and fate.
Saturday, December 15, 5:15pm*
*Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street
Tuesday, December 25, 8:30pm
Monday, December 31, 9:00pm

Phantom Raiders
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1940, 70m
Walter Pidgeon and Donald Meek reprise their roles as super-sleuth Nick Carter and his beekeeper sidekick Bartholomew in this glossy, comic thriller set along the Panama Canal. The second in the Nick Carter trilogy finds the duo vacationing in Central America when they’re called to investigate the mysterious disappearance of British merchant vessels, a scheme headed by local gangster Al Taurez (Joseph Schildkraut). Like Nick Carter, Master Detective, Phantom Raiders is a clever, fast-paced suspense film with an exceptional brand of humor, courtesy of Meek, who stands in as a welcome lunatic foil to the suave private eye.
Sunday, December 23, 1:30pm
Thursday, December 27, 5:30pm

Phantom Raiders


Stars in My Crown
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1950, 35mm, 89m
One of the unsung glories of American cinema, Stars in My Crown was the only project that Tourneur—a director who famously took on any assignment the studio handed him—actively pursued. His passion for the material shines through in every lovingly composed frame of this glowingly nostalgic evocation of life, death, conflict, and community in a small western town in the mid-1800s, with Joel McCrea as the preacher whose idealism puts him at odds with the forces of prejudice and hate. A celebration of egalitarianism and a full-throated rebuke of racism, this serene western marries the frontier folklore of Twain with the transcendent spirituality of Dreyer.
Thursday, December 20, 7:00pm*
*Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street
Saturday, December 29, 7:00pm
Thursday, January 3, 5:00pm

Stranger on Horseback
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1955, 66m
The first of two superb westerns Tourneur made in 1955 with Joel McCrea (followed by Wichita), this adaptation of a Louis L’Amour story casts the actor as a rugged circuit court judge whose determination to bring the rule of law to an untamed frontier town brings him into conflict with a powerful, proudly defiant family and their imperious, whip-cracking niece (mononymous spitfire Miroslava). Though just over an hour, Stranger on Horseback achieves a sublime expansiveness thanks to the painterly Ansco color cinematography and Tourneur’s intelligent handling of one of his pet themes: the quest for order in an essentially chaotic world.
Sunday, December 23, 8:30pm
Saturday, December 29, 9:00pm

They All Come Out
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1938, 16mm, 70m
What began as a documentary on federal prisons became Tourneur’s first Hollywood feature: a punchy, crime-doesn’t-pay gangster saga shot on location in penitentiaries across the country  (including Alcatraz). Anticipating his most famous role in Detour, Tom Neal plays a down-and-out drifter who, along with a hard-boiled moll (Rita Johnson), journeys from the depths of the criminal underworld through the “rehabilitative” American penal system. Displaying his facility for wringing maximum atmosphere from a B budget, Tourneur imbues the film with a shadow-splashed, proto-noir look and caps things off with a knockout bit of brutality involving a blowtorch. Print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
Thursday, December 27, 4:00pm
Monday, December 31, 1:30pm

Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1959, 35mm, 91m
Tourneur’s penultimate Hollywood film is a pleasurably pulpy desert adventure starring Victor Mature as an every-man-for-himself American gunrunner playing both sides in the conflict between France and rebel tribes in West Africa. Along the way there is plenty of preposterous he-man dialogue, a Casablanca-style romance with French commander’s wife Yvonne De Carlo, and some creative, effectively skin-crawling sadism involving poison spiders. In spite of the film’s camp trappings, Tourneur’s distinctive touch is apparent in the arid, oddly barren visuals, lending the film a detached, otherworldly quality.
Friday, December 21, 5:00pm
Sunday. December 30, 1:00pm



War-Gods of the Deep
Jacques Tourneur, UK/USA, 1965, 84m
Tourneur’s final film is a continuation of American International Pictures’ hugely successful Edgar Allan Poe cycle, loosely based on a poem by the author. Vincent Price plays the diabolical overlord of a secret city beneath the sea who holds a trio of unfortunates hostage in his aquatic lair where time stands still and an underwater volcano threatens to blast them all to smithereens. Despite the comic book plot and charmingly campy rubber-suited gill-men, this imaginative, Jules Verne-esque fantasy is intriguingly Tourneurian in its evocation of a world ruled by chaos and sinister, irrational forces.
Wednesday, December 26, 4:45pm
Wednesday, January 2, 3:00pm

Way of a Gaucho
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1952, 35mm, 93m
English with Spanish subtitles
Gloriously shot on location in Argentina, this majestic South American Western is beautifully writ in the dusty browns, pale greens, and brilliant sky blues of the Pampas. It’s there that a hot-tempered gaucho (Rory Calhoun) deserts the army and goes rogue to lead a band of cowboy outlaws in revolt against the railroad developers threatening their traditional way of life. Co-starring Gene Tierney as an aristocrat turned bandit bride, Way of a Gaucho is among Tourneur’s most pictorially ravishing films and one of the most eloquent variations on his enduring theme of individual freedom versus the subjugating forces of civilization.
Saturday, December 22, 5:45pm
Wednesday, January 2, 5:00pm

Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1955, 35mm, 81m
This masterfully crafted Western exemplifies the formal elegance and sophisticated worldview Tourneur brought to the genre. Joel McCrea stars as legendary lawman Wyatt Earp, who reluctantly takes on the job of marshal of the wild and woolly frontier town of Wichita and proceeds to run the trigger-happy gunslingers and carousing cowboys out of town—a move that doesn’t sit well with the city’s fat-cat businessmen. The director’s superbly composed CinemaScope frames and carefully controlled color palette lend an unassuming grace and grandeur to this subversive allegory about the clash between capitalism and moral right.
Sunday, December 23, 6:45pm
Saturday, December 29, 3:15pm
Thursday, January 3, 7:00pm

Out of the Past


Shorts Program (TRT: 75m)
We’re pleased to present a selection of Tourneur’s earliest one-reelers—an assortment of Pete Smith Specialties and John Nesbitt’s Passing Parades—produced at MGM between 1936 and 1942.

Killer Dog
USA, 1936, 16mm, 10m
A suspected killer dog is brought to trial in one of Tourneur’s first Pete Smith Specialties. Print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Romance of Radium
USA, 1937, 16mm, 10m
This Oscar-nominated short documentary looks at the accidental discovery of radium and its importance in modern medicine. Print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

The Grand Bounce
USA, 1937, 16mm, 11m
A broke gambler writes a bum check to his intimidating debt collectors (the “Or Else Boys”), and scrambles to deposit enough money before the check is cashed. Print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

The Face Behind the Mask
USA, 1938, 16mm, 11m
Tourneur explores the popular theories surrounding one of France’s greatest mysteries: the identity of a masked prisoner jailed during the reign of King Louis XIV. Print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Yankee Doodle Goes to Town
USA, 1939, 11m
Made shortly before the outbreak of World War II, Yankee Doodle Goes to Town surveys the history of American democracy and the dangers of fascism. Courtesy of Cinémathèque de la Ville de Luxembourg

The Incredible Stranger
USA, 1942, 16mm, 11m
In 1897, a mystery man—who communicates only via written letters—arrives in a small town, rousing many questions from the locals who are eager to learn of his past. Print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

The Magic Alphabet
USA, 1942, 16mm, 11m
Mixing documentary and dramatized scenarios, The Magic Alphabet looks at three ailing patients and their vitamin deficiencies. Print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
Saturday, December 22, 1:30pm
Thursday, December 27, 8:45pm