Tribute to Joan Bennett

The Hollywood actress Joan Bennett (1910–1990), known to noir fans mainly from the American films of Fritz Lang, came from a large acting family. Her mother Adrienne and father Richard (who also appeared in silent films), as well as her older sisters Constance and Barbara, performed on the stage. It was with her parents and sisters that Joan Bennett appeared in front of a movie camera for the first time at the age of six in The Valley of Decision (1916).

She began to make a name for herself in Hollywood in the late 1920s, and by the 1930s she was – still as a natural blonde – already widely cast. As Spencer Tracy’s acting partner, she appeared in the romance She Wanted a Millionaire (1932) and the comedy Me and My Gal (1932). Alongside another 1930s star, Katharine Hepburn, she appeared in one of the film adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (1933).

Bennett’s subsequent career was linked to the independent film producer Walter Wanger, who was also her husband between 1940 and 1965. She gradually began to appear in roles of glamorous, seductive femmes fatales, alongside Louis Hayward, for example in the adventure romances based on Alexander Dumas‘ The Man in the Iron Mask (1939) and The Son of Monte Cristo (1940).

Bennett first worked with Fritz Lang on the war thriller Man Hunt (1941), and a few years later on a pair of now-iconic noirs, The Woman in the Window (1944) and Scarlet Street (1945), in which she portrayed the femme fatale of an elderly man with the face of actor Edward G. Robinson. Lang’s other film in which she appeared, the gothic noir Secret Beyond the Door (1948), remains equally popular today.

Bennett’s noir filmography also includes films such as The Woman on the Beach (1947) directed by Jean Renoir, Hollow Triumph (1948) by Steve Sekely with cinematography by noir magician John Alton, and The Reckless Moment (1948) directed by another German émigré, Max Ophüls. The latter film, which will be present in this year’s program as a tribute to her, marks her shift into the roles of caring wives and mothers. She became most famous for these in a pair of comedy films directed by Vincente Minnelli, Father of the Bride (1950) and Father’s Little Dividend (1951), where she appeared again alongside Spencer Tracy.

The actress’s film career at the time was damaged by a well-publicised scandal, dragging on since December 1951, when her husband Walter Wanger shot her agent Jennings Lang out of jealousy. Hollywood studios chose not to cast her, so she began performing on the theatre stage. It was not until the mid-1950s that she returned in front of the camera, for example in Douglas Sirk’s successful melodrama There’s Always Tomorrow (1956). In 1966–1971, she appeared in the horror soap opera Dark Shadows, which aired on ABC, followed by the feature-length vampire horror film House of Dark Shadows (1970), in which she reprised her role. Her film career also ended in horror – her last acting role was as Madame Blanc in the famous giallo Suspiria (1977) by Dario Argento.

Introducing the main program section of the 11th edition


Not only the characters of criminals and detectives, but also the characters of journalists have a stable place in films noir. As protagonists, whose journalistic work is an important part of the plot and moves the action forward, journalists were given the most prominent role at the turn of the 1940s and 1950s – a time when, under the influence of wartime newsreels, documentary stylization was implemented in film noir, and the gritty stories of private detectives, often based on fictional novels, were replaced by journalists (or policemen). The latter substituted the activities of private eyes in their investigations, adopting their character traits such as cynicism and workaholism, and not infrequently sex appeal and philandering.

The 11th edition’s main program section, aptly titled NEWSPAPER NOIR, will feature, among its central five titles, Chicago Deadline (1949, dir: Lewis Allen), in which Alan Ladd embodied a reporter in a narrative variation of Laura (1944) and Citizen Kane (1941). A sensationalist journalist-turned-opportunist gets his say in the noir Shakedown (1950, dir: Joseph Pevney), while the tabloid tactics and inner tensions in the newsroom are the subject of Scandal Sheet (1952, dir: Phil Karlson).

Have a wonderful new year 2023!

11th year of NFF again at Český Šternberk Castle

It’s here! As every year on St. Nicholas Day, we announce the date and location of the next edition of the Noir Film Festival. Next summer we will be looking forward to seeing you again at Český Šternberk Castle, from 24th to 27th August 2023.

Generous passes will be available for purchase from 1 February 2023, and the rest from 1 May 2023.
The complete programme will be published on Monday 26 June 2023.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year 2023 to everyone!

Your NFF team

Thank you for the great participation at the NFF Echoes 2022!

We would like to thank all visitors for the wonderful three days with five screenings of films from the 10th Noir Film Festival, which we spent in the Lucerna cinema in Prague. We look forward to seeing you all on August 11. NFF!

Echoes of the 10th Noir Film Festival

Like every year, we have organized the Echoes of this year’s 10th anniversary Noir Film Festival for our most loyal fans, as well as for those who could not come to Český Šternberk this August. At the traditional venue, the Small Hall of Prague’s Lucerna cinema, and at the traditional November time (17-19 November 2022), you can look forward to five films selected across the programme sections.

On Thursday 17 November, we will screen one of the titles from this year’s David Fincher mini-retrospective: Fight Club (1999), a cult film from the late 1990s based on the novel of the same name by American writer Chuck Palahniuk. On Friday 18 November, a pair of films await the audience: Kiss Me Deadly (1955), Robert Aldrich’s „apocalyptic“ noir that marks the end of the classic film noir phase, and Cape Fear (1962), which reunited Hollywood legends Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck. On the last day, Saturday, November 19, the San Francisco noir Thieves‘ Highway (1949), directed by Jules Dassin and included in this year’s main thematic section Blacklisted, and the noir classic Mildred Pierce (1945), based on James M. Cain and starring Joan Crawford in her only Oscar-winning role, will be available for viewing.

Tickets priced at CZK 130 can be purchased on the Lucerna cinema website.

Screening list:
Thursday, November 17, 20:00 – Fight Club (1999, 139 min., dir. David Fincher)
Friday, November 18, 18:30 – Kiss Me Deadly (1955, 106 min., dir. Robert Aldrich)
Friday, November 18, 20:45 – Cape Fear (1962, 106 min., dir. J. Lee Thompson)
Saturday, November 19, 18:30 – Thieves‘ Highway (1949, 94 min., dir. Jules Dassin)
Saturday, November 19, 20:30 – Mildred Pierce (1945, 111 min., dir. Michael Curtiz)

Partners of Echoes are the US Embassy in Prague and BRAVA machining s.r.o. Thank you for your support!

Noir thanks to everyone!

The halls of the Noir Film Festival were deserted less than two weeks ago, but I would like to thank once again all those who (not only) contributed this year to the fact that we could meet together for the tenth time at this stylish festival of film noir!
A big thank you to those who prepare this unmistakable festival – the programmers, the production teams, the festival centre, the projectionists and other equally important professions, without whom this event would certainly not have happened.

I would also like to thank our partners for their constant support, who have made the festival accessible to the general public, especially innogy ČR a.s., the US Embassy, the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the Central Bohemian Region.
Last but not least, my thanks go to the administration and owners of Český Šternberk Castle for their „new home“ and great cooperation, as well as to those who regularly support the festival with their donations and the purchase of generous and basic accreditations.

You are amazing, please stay loyal to us!
The 10th anniversary edition is already in the past, but preparations for the 11th one are just beginning…

Vítek Grigartzik, Festival Director

Video introduction by Samantha Fuller to Pierrot le fou

Samantha Fuller didn’t make it to the Noir Film Festival this year due to illness, but she did make a beautiful video greeting for the final screening of Pierrot le fou with an unforgettable cameo by her father, Samuel Fuller. ❤️

We’re going to the final

Yesterday we closed the 10th edition of the festival with a screening of Gilda with the phenomenal Rita Hayworth. However, today you can still see several films at Český Šternberk Castle: the cult Se7en by David Fincher, Abraham Polonsky’s Force of Evil starring John Garfield, the Spanish heist film The Andalusian Express or Godard’s Pierot le fou, which this year will commemorate the legacy of French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo in the farewell screening. Thank you to everyone who came to see us and who supported us. As always, it was wonderful. We look forward to seeing you next year!

Noir Film Festival is in full swing

Noir Film Festival is in full swing Death of a Cyclist, Dead Among the Living, The Big Sleep, Kiss Me Deadly… this is just a fragment of the films we enjoyed with our audience at Český Šternberk Castle in a warm noir atmosphere. We were visited by our long-time patron and guest Tomáš Hanák, who received the Noir Eye Award from festival director Vítek Grigartzik, which the festival regularly awards to those who popularise film noir. Before the screening of The Big Sleep, where Tomáš Hanák aka Phil Marlowe read from Chandler’s novel of the same name, we christened another Blu-ray: Aldrich’s apocalyptic noir Kiss Me Deadly, released by Alan Záruba’s company Art4Film, this time with an accompanying original essay by Noir Film Festival programmer Milan Hain. The godmothers of the launch were actresses Judit Bárdos and Ivana Chýlková. Today, the festival moved into its second half. But we’re not done yet! Enjoy!


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