SFN Presents: Devil in a Blue Dress & L.A. Confidential at Chapeltown Picture House

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor
Image courtesy of Chapeltown Picture House

SFN Presents: Devil in a Blue Dress & L.A. Confidential at Chapeltown Picture House, Manchester, 26 November 2021, from £8.00 - Book now

The 1990s were a boom time for neo-noir, as new filmmakers and novelists pushed the envelope, taking the conventions of the mode and integrating contemporary social perspectives. Movies such as the Wachowski sisters’ Bound (1996) or John Dahl’s The Last Seduction (1994) retained the dark themes (albeit rendered more explicitly) and shadowy style of the original cycle of Film Noir from the 1940s and ’50s, while updating their setting to present day America.

Other films looked back though, applying a modern lens to the same historical period seen in classic noir — and it is two of these titles that Single Film Nerd have chosen for their #Noirvember double bill at Chapeltown Picture House this month. Based on novels by Walter Mosely and James Ellroy respectively, Carl Franklin’s Devil in a Blue Dress and Curtis Hanson’s L.A. Confidential approach the period from a remove — for better and worse — using genre conventions for a slick, clear-eyed window into the problems of the era.

L.A. Confidential

Franklin’s is the better film; a moody, sexy noir with Denzel Washington at its centre as Mosely’s Easy Rawlins — a struggling, black WWII veteran tasked with finding a missing white girl. There’s a spectacular early career role for Don Cheadle as Rawlins’ friend Mouse, as we trawl the black bars and jazz joints seldom glimpsed in the noirs of the 40s and 50s.

Hanson’s adaptation is more loudly indebted to its cinematic forebearers. Danny DeVito’s scene-setting narration leads us into a hyper-violent world of police corruption, sexual exploitation and plastic surgery, with memorable turns all round from an all-star cast boasting Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger (who won an Oscar for Supporting Actress) and James Cromwell.

Often compared to one another, the two films should make for a fascinating (not to mention entertaining) double feature. Chapeltown Picture House is housed within Manchester street food sensation GRUB, where you can find a selection of independent traders alongside one of the city’s best craft beer bars.

SFN Presents: Devil in a Blue Dress & L.A. Confidential at Chapeltown Picture House, Manchester

26 November 2021 6:30 pm
From £8.00

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Activity Until 14 August 2022, from £2.00

Heaton Park Pump Track

The Gruffalo at The lowry
Families Until 21 August 2022, from £10.00

The Gruffalo at The Lowry

Festivals Until 31 August 2022, from £9.95

Flying Fighters of Taiwan at HOME

Activity Until 31 August 2022, from £40

Northern Quarter Taster Walk with Manchester Food Walks

One Man, Two Guvnors
Theatre Until 3 September 2022, from £15.00

One Man, Two Guvnors

Exhibitions Until 4 September 2022,

British Art Show 9

Power UP at the Science and Industry Museum
Families Until 4 September 2022, from £6.00

Power UP at the Science and Industry Museum

Families Until 4 September 2022, Free entry for under 16s when accompanied by a paying adult.

Summer Fun in Gaskell’s Garden