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Eastman House celebrates film noir with Dryden series and a talk with mystery writer Charles Benoit

Rochester, N.Y., January 26, 2010—Benoit is the author of mystery novels Out of OrderNoble Lies, and Relative Danger, the latter named “Best Mystery/Suspense Book of the Year” by the Independent Publishers Association, and a nominee for an Edgar Allen Poe Award, regarded as the “Oscar®” for mystery writers. Out of Order has also received acclaim and recognition, with The Denver Post noting, “It’s the kind of book Alfred Hitchcock would have filmed.”

Benoit's talk will take place before the 8 p.m. Dryden Theatre screening of Dark Passage (Delmer Daves, 1947, 106 min.), and also will include discussion of the work of Dark Passage author David Goodis. Dark Passage stars Humphrey Bogart as an innocent man convicted of murder. After he escapes from prison, plastic surgery allows him to go undetected as he searches for the true killer. Fun and technically dazzling, the film was the third to team Bogart with his new bride, Lauren Bacall. Here, she plays Bogie’s protector and love interest.

Benoit’s talk and the screening of Dark Passage are part of a two-month film series titled Essential Film Noir: 2010 Edition, running in January and February. Remaining screenings include the double feature of Kiss the Blood Off My Hands and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (February 11), Where the Sidewalk Ends (February 18), and The Postman Always Rings Twice (February 25).


“America’s fascination with crime has been reflected on film as early as 1903, but it was the films noir of the ’40s and ’50s that most closely examine the criminal, by making him the protagonist and focusing on the reasons behind his actions, as well as the crimes themselves,” said Jared Case of the Eastman House Motion Picture Department. “These films are mostly set in a postwar America, a place where many men have returned from overseas with a legacy of violence and hatred that no longer has an outlet. In the world of film noir, that hatred turns inward, and one way to release it is through a life of crime.”


Admission is regular Dryden admission ($7 general admission/$5 students and seniors) and includes the screening of Dark Passage. Benoit's talk will take place in the Curtis Theatre, with entrance through the Dryden Theatre. To learn more about the Essential Film Noir series or the Benoit talk, please visit dryden.eastmanhouse.org.