Obeying a seemingly ubiquitous impulse, Scorsese also rolls out his favorite shot-in-New York classics. (The American Museum of the Moving Image's recent, identically themed New York Film Critics Circle series used some of the same movies.) Thus, the Scorsese-beloved '50s predominate (Woody Allen's Manhattan is the only post-Nixon inclusion), and being mostly noir, few of the entries are very joyful. Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront, Abraham Polonsky's seminal Force of Evil, Stanley Kubrick's wicked indie Killer's Kiss, Jules Dassin's The Naked City, and, of course, Alexander Mackendrick's Sweet Smell of Success all offer glimpses of post-war Manhattan brimming with vice and capitalist desperation. (The juxtaposition of Polonsky and Kazan—the HUAC's forgotten Jesus and forgiven-by-some Judas—is its own implicit plea for healing.) Likewise, Hitchcock's The Wrong Man is as paranoid and discomfiting a portrait of New York bureaucracy as Hollywood ever produced—and it's a true story. Hey, Marty, what's wrong with The In-Laws?

Love bite: Susan Lynch in Morlang
photo: Tribeca Film Festival
Love bite: Susan Lynch in Morlang


Tribeca Film Festival
May 8 through 12

The semi-rarities are Raoul Walsh's Regeneration, a 1915 melodrama shot on and around the Bowery and the East Side docks. Walsh recruited lowlife extras from the neighborhood, and the movie's portrait of WW I-era downtown is pure lightning-as-history. Also relatively difficult to find, Anthony Mann's Side Street (1950) reunites Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell from the previous year's landmark They Live by Night for a classically grim noir scenario that presages the opening absconded-funds movement of Psycho. Again, Manhattan's a maze for hapless rats, particularly as Mann shoots it—in almost Rossellinian overhead angles and with the scrupulous, crystal-clear regard for landscape Mann famously demonstrated in his westerns as well as Men in War. So be it: For New Yorkers, a little bad luck, despair, and pessimism never meant having to say you're sorry to live here. —Michael Atkinson

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