Beginning this past weekend and continuing through June 15, Manhattan's Film Forum (the last theater in North America with no drink holders on the seats) is hosting a six week mini-festival of films they deem 'B Noir.' Cinematical's own Martha Fischer and myself will be dropping in here and there and reviewing some of the grab-bag selections of the fest, which include psycho-drama noir, Japanese-American noir, caper-gone-wrong noir, and my personal favorite, Abraham Lincoln noir. While a few household-name films have been slipped into the mix -- including D.O.A., The Big Combo, and Stanley Kubrick's The Killing -- don't expect to see Fred MacMurray getting off the trolley car or Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum blowing smoke in each others' faces. That would ruin the hip 'B' angle Film Forum has gone to the trouble of cooking up. Which, mind you, is in no way a complaint: From a quick glance at the selections, the series promises wheelchair-bound contract killers, amnesia victims on the run from nameless crime syndicates, little girls used as human shields, and skeletons washing up on the beach.

Some expected highlights of the fest include the screening of a new print of Pushover, with Kim Novak in an early role as a cold-blooded moll, a screening of Don Siegel's The Lineup, which follows a pair of killers who enjoy writing down their victims' final words in a little book for kicks, and Nicholas Ray's On Dangerous Ground, with Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino as a tortured cop and a blind woman who may hold the clues to a grisly murder. There's also Robert Siodmak's Phantom Lady, starring Alan Curtis as a man whose only hope of slipping the noose for the murder of his wife is to track down his alibi -- the dizzy dame he was romancing at a local dive at the time of the crime.


Admission is ten bucks for two films.