by Ben Terrall

Billed as “subversive cinema … for subversive times,” the Roxie’s four-day series “The Dark Side of the Dream” (March 23-26) is a powerhouse collection of hard-hitting American movies made between 1933 and 1964. Former Roxie programmer Elliot Lavine, who returns to San Francisco from his new home in Portland for this run, put together the program with assistance from Don Malcolm, known most recently for his “The French Had a Name For It Gallic noir retrospectives at the Roxie.

B&W card Connie T with half-sepia  effect.jpg

The twelve films on deck were picked for maximum relevance to today’s political climate. Lavine describes the offerings as “both timely and timeless, both eye-opening and mind-blowing.” It’s hard to argue with that assessment. They’re also beautifully shot movies that look great on the big screen.

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by Ben Terrall


Let’s start with the obvious question. This film line-up—which is very impressive, by the way—seems to be a response to the times we live in…by any chance has this been building up inside you for awhile now?

Thanks for noticing that. Yes, I think it’s safe to say this series is a direct response not only to the times we live in, but more specifically to the mortifying reality that Donald Trump is now the president of our country. The program began to take shape in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016, but it took a while to hone it into something truly forceful and meaningful. It also helped that my good friend Don Malcolm of Midcentury Productions had similar programming inclinations and he helped pave the way for this series to happen at the Roxie — which, if you know the Roxie’s history as well as my own history there, is the perfect venue for this program.

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Bigfoot Bonanza Film Festival

Dear Readers,

Seventeen years ago, I was walking in the snow to go knock on the door of the monastery in Khumjung, to see their sacred Yeti scalp. I had spent five weeks in Nepal, collecting Yeti stories and interviewing eye witnesses.

In the years that followed, I would interview similar witnesses, but to those who saw a Bigfoot. Were some of these hoaxes or did these people actually see these giant creatures of the unknown? How did movies turn these beings of lore into monsters in the public’s eye during the 1950’s -70’s? Are they really a race of hiding primates? Dimension traveling beings? Ghosts of cavemen? A hidden tribe of the missing link? I encourage you to explore each possibility at the “Bigfoot Bonanza Film Festival” and conference, Saturday and Sunday, March 10th and 11th at the historic Vogue Theatre in San Francisco.

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Let’s All Go To The Movies

Editor’s note: It is timely that veteran film distributor and film lover Gary Palmucci has written a review for us of Ben Davis’ new book  Repertory Movies Theatres of New York City: Havens for Revivals, Indies and the Avant-Garde, 1960–1994 (McFarland 2017) 


Dan Talbot with Alfred Hitchcock, January 13, 1965

The last week of December 2017 saw the passing of one of the giants in art film distribution and exhibition, Dan Talbot.  In March, 1960 Dan and Toby Talbot took over the rundown –but with great decor– Yorktown Theater on New York’s Upper West Side and renamed it the New Yorker, reusing the “York” portion of the neon and starting a policy of repertory cinema mixing classics and more recent films in eclectic double features.  The Talbots operated the New Yorker until 1973, often at a loss but with some surprise hits. 

“The theater had a policy of no policy,” Toby Talbot wrote in The New Yorker Theater and Other Scenes From a Life at the Movies. “We thought of it as our living room, playing movies we wanted to see on the screen.”” I’ll play new films, old films, foreign films, American films—whatever I think merits being shown.” Dan said. “And if the audience agreed with me, great. If they didn’t, too bad.”

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