Out of the shadows: My Noir at Cornerhouse

Adam Scovell
My Noir, Cornerhouse, film noir

The arts cinema embarks on a four-month film noir season, including screenings of The Third Man, Mulholland Drive and Sunset Boulevard.

Cornerhouse chose the right time of year to stage its film noir season. As the days get colder and the nights get longer, the genre’s shadowy escapades and dark aesthetic makes for very appropriate viewing. A specially chosen programme of film noir screenings, My Noir runs until December and coincides with the gallery’s current Double Indemnity exhibition

Film noir is a genre that boasts almost guaranteed quality assurance. Even lesser-known pictures display a mature sense of composition rarely seen in the low-budget crime thrillers of today.  Cornerhouse pay homage to this by including two Orson Welles classics in their noir marathon: The Third Man and Touch of Evil. For a film in which his screen time barely adds up to fifteen minutes, Welles dominates The Third Man, almost outshining Joseph Cotton’s complex performance of a pulp Western writer. Touch of Evil sees Welles relish the opportunity to portray morally bankrupt police chief, Hank Quinlan in a film about the crime on the Mexican border. With a cast including Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh, Touch of Evil is a masterpiece of tension.

Film noir is a genre that boasts almost guaranteed quality assurance

As well as the “classic” era of film noir which spanned the 1940s and 1950s, My Noir also acknowledges the genre’s more surreal offerings. Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly displays all the hall marks of a typical noir but a plot twist involving a mysterious box that may or may not contain a nuclear substance gives it a refreshing dose of the fantastical. Even more surreal is David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, which Cornerhouse screens in November.  Initially conceived as a television show similar to Lynch’s Twin Peaks, the film is a multi-layered noir dreamscape with more ambiguity than coherence in its plot.  As a modern noir classic, Mulholland Drive channels many of other films shown as part of My Noir, including Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard.  Wilder’s film explores the dark underbelly of LA through the lens of cinema itself; something Lynch continues to explore in his own work.

Other highlights from the season include Chinatown, Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing and Mildred Pierce which saw Joan Crawford win an Oscar for her performance as self-sacrificing mother. My Noir demonstrates just how defining a genre of film can be when in the right hands at the right time.

Culture Guides

Writer Nicholas Royle. Photo by Zoe McLean


There are spooky stories, Christmas crime thrillers and plenty of books for stocking fillers as December unfolds and Manchester and the wider North region switches on the live literature lights.


The festive season is here, and whether you want to escape it or embrace it, we’ve got you covered.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


Contemporary cabaret, powerful monologues and world premiere musicals. Our theatre guide spans the festive season and beyond.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Explore the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North for autumn.

Backyard Cinema


It only takes a quick glance at the film listings to realise that Christmas is coming, and quick. We’ve rounded up some of our festive highlights alongside standout seasons and festivals.


Pause in the hustle and bustle of festive prep to take in some inspiration from this month’s top exhibitions.

Manchester Christmas Parade


It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Manchester is bursting with fun, family activities to keep the kids entertained in the run up to Christmas!

Tours and Activities

We’re deep into Autumn now but don’t let that stop you from finding a new tour or activity to get stuck into.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Cinema Until 8 December 2022, from £7.95

Aftersun at HOME

Elizabeth Gaskell's House garden. Photo by Chris Tucker
Literature Until 11 December 2022, from £4.50

Book sale at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Cinderella at Hope Mill Theatre
Families Until 11 December 2022, from £27.00

Cinderella at Hope Mill Theatre

Music Until 17 December 2022, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

Melissa Wan
Literature Until 17 December 2022, from £7

Ghosts at the Old Library

Flecky Bennett’s HALLOWEEN 2018 Ghost Walk
Activity Until 17 December 2022, from £15

Flecky Bennett’s Ghost Walks

Star of Wonder at Theatre Porto
Families Until 21 December 2022, from £0.00

Star of Wonder at Theatre Porto

Cinema Until 22 December 2022, from £20.00

Backyard Cinema