The Maltese Falcon? Too slick. Out of the Past? Too classy. Thieves Highway? Too heady.
How about something a little more blunt and basic? Something nice and nasty and self-explanatory, like The Hoodlum, The Burglar, The Pretender, or The Guilty? Something that knows just what you need, like Suspense, and Violence, and gets right to it?
You might also need to take a shower and go to confession after sitting through some of the films in I WAKE UP DREAMING: The Haunted World of the B Film Noir!, but that's the seedy beauty of it. All those capital letters and that exclamation mark should give you the idea: Two weeks' worth of desperate, depraved, and down-and-out characters, all full of twisted ethics, preposterous plotlines and dialogue so hard-boiled that all the water has gone out of the pot.
Maybe that whole package sounds to you like some kind of Raw Deal, or a Hollow Triumph? Well, good.
Or maybe it sounds like too much of a man's world. Well, quit gripin', grandma. It's also got its share of Allotment Wives and Women in the Night. Not to mention No Man's Woman, Wife Wanted, and, oh yes, whoever it is that's Under Age.
This plentiful pulp-fiction production was curated by former Roxie programmer and Noir connoisseur Elliot Lavine. Maybe now you're asking, "Who the deuce is he?" Maybe you're all hopped up on something, ain't ya? Well, good.
"These are not the glitzy and glamorous classics most filmgoers are familiar with," says Lavine in the program notes. "Rather, they are the doomed and forgotten, rough and ready step-children of Hollywood's lower depths; poverty-row gems that, in many ways, capture the true, brutal essence of noir far better than many of their upper-crust cousins."
So there it is. Now don't say you weren't warned. Or Framed or Railroaded!
I WAKE UP DREAMING: The Haunted World of the B Film Noir! runs through May 28, 2009 at the Roxie Cinema. For a full schedule visit roxie.com.