Noir Kind of Town, Chicago Is

Film Noir festival runs through August 6

It was a time of stark contrasts when it wasn't only about figuring out who's good and who's bad, but determining who's just slightly sinister and who is pure evil incarnate. 

Sharp-tongued criminals, shady private eyes, and the women who should avoid them like the plague came together with movie magic during the great film noirs of the 1940s and '50s -- and the Music Box Theatre is bringing the classic genre back to the big screen with Noir City: Chicago.

The film fest is set to run through Thursday August 6 and it is being presented in conjunction with the Film Noir Foundation, an organization that currently hosts film noir festivals in San Francisco, Washington D.C. and other cities.

Chicago's Noir City festival will give moviegoers a special treat when famed singer and actor Harry Belafonte stops by on August 1 as a special guest of the series.

Belafonte will be on hand Saturday night to discuss Odds Against Tomorrow, a 1959 noir in which Belafonte played a dual role of star and co-producer.  The film, which is said to be a classic example of film noir, centers on a bank robbery plot in which an African-American musician with a huge gambling debt is forced to work alongside a racist ex-con.

Viewers who take in the screening of Odds Against Tomorrow on Saturday will have a chance to hear Belafonte speak about the film during a Q&A after the screening.

Throughout the rest of the seven-night festival, Noir City: Chicago will pair landmark films with hidden gems.

For instance, Double Indemnity, the classic tale of a dubiously amoral insurance salesman duped into a murder plot by a seductive housewife, is being shown as part of a double feature before The Prowler, a less-known noir that explores infidelity and the somehow sexy theme of insurance fraud.

If you are interested in seeing some of the screenings, make sure you check the listings before going.  To help distinguish between the films, every night has been assigned a name to help highlight the particular evening's brand of films, like A Double Dose of Deadly Games or the likely Windy City favorite Chicago Noir evening, which is set for Monday, Aug. 3.

The Chicago-centric evening will feature the films The Chicago Syndicate and Call Northside 777.

For more information on Noir City: Chicago, Harry Belafonte's appearance and for a complete list of films and show times, check out the home page of the Music Box Theatre.

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