Noir City San Francisco - Rififi

Last weekend, we went to see the Noir City Festival at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. We love watching movies at the beautiful Castro Theater. So, it was nice to be back there. We went to see Rififi, a French noir movie made in 1955. I decided to wear a midcentury style outfit. I donned my leopard cape which I wore before here. I paired it with a dress and pearl costume jewelries. I realized I forgot my gloves but fortunately it was a fairly warm night. [Pardon the blur, the theater was packed and the picture was shot quite in a haste]

Leopard Cape: Macys // Dress, Pearl Necklace, Stole: H&M // Earrings: Vintage // Bag: Goodwill // Pointed Kitten Heels: DSW

Here are some interior pictures of the beautiful Castro Theater. The theater was built in 1922 and comes equipped with a Wurlitzer organ. The theater cost $300,000 to build and was designed by the renowned architect Mr. Timothy Pflueger.

The movie was directed by Jules Dassin, an American movie director who made the movie in France after he was blacklisted from Hollywood during the McCarthy era. Rififi has quite a plot and storytelling. There were definitely quite a bit of themes: crime, relationship, betrayal, family, domestic violence, greed.

Here are some of my favorite scenes in the movie. I am not a professional movie critic but I thought I'd share with you bits and scenes from the movie without adding too many 'spoilers'. In the movie, we were taken into the noir world of Paris in the 50s. Shifting from the Parisian bistros, coffeehouses and apartment buildings, we moved on to gambling parlors, brothels and crime scenes. It was surreal.

I might say that I was quite intrigued by the relationship between Mado (played by Marie Sabouret) and Le Stephanois (played by Jean Servais). Theirs is quite complex and displays how a relationship evolves over time. I promised no 'spoilers'; therefore, I will leave it at that :-)

One thing I want to add though is I think Marie Sabouret brilliantly played the complex character of Mado. I actually did research on her because I wanted to see more of her movies. She was obviously a very talented French actress and was admitted to the Comedie Francaise. However, she sadly passed away from Leukemia at the age of 36 in 1960, five years after Rififi :-(

Entertainers and performers were such intertwined with the mafias and gangsters back then, which was a part of the story line int the movie. I was really captivated when I watched Magali Noel (who played Viviane, the entertainer) sang and performed Rififi. Watch it on video here.

And here is the infamous L'Age d'Or -- the night club where the entertainment was performed and other 'services' might be rendered. If you are interested in the history of Parisian vintage 'entertainment' scene (i.e. brothels of the past), check out Messy Nessy's page here and here, where she takes you on virtual tour to the former brothels of Paris.

As a fan of Paris, I was thrilled to see that Rififi showed many beautiful nooks and crannies of the city. I was curious about the locations of the movie scenes. I asked myself if L'Age d'Or was or still is a real night club. However, I found out that they actually constructed the elaborate entrance to the club for the movie. If you are interested in Rififi's movie locations, check out this excellent site hereThis site has quite a bit of information on movie locations, which I love especially for classic films. I myself did a walking tour in San Francisco to revisit the movie scene of Hitchock's Vertigo, it was really interesting to see how the city has changed from the time the movie was shot.

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