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L.A. NOIR.  Los Angeles, the City of Angels, ground zero for film noir.  From the pages of a Raymond Chandler novel to the embodiment of his detective Philip Marlowe on the big screen, L.A., the city itself, has been a main character.  The seedy, dark side of Los Angeles explained in books found the perfect mate with film noir, a genre that put shadows and mood to the forefront.  This month the Packard Campus Theater highlights Film Noir, specifically that are set in California, in the City of Angels.  A selection of classic noir, but also pre-noir and neo-noir set in a place Raymond Chandler called “A nice neighborhood to have bad habits in.”

The series will offer a film every Friday at 7:30 p.m., a matinee on Saturdays at 2 p.m. followed by a 7:30 p.m. screening. Programs are free and the matinee shows will be family friendly. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Seating at the screenings is on a first-come, first-served basis unless otherwise noted.  Please do note that we will be closed Friday, November 11 (Veterans Day), Friday, November 25.

Wearing face masks is recommended as the theater will open to 100% capacity. Patrons must go through an “airport style” security check, and no large parcels, purses or backpacks are permitted.

The Packard Campus is located at 19053 Mount Pony Road in Culpeper, Virginia. Access to the campus parking lot begins one hour before show time, entrance into the building begins 45 minutes before the show, and the theater opens for seating 30 minutes before the curtain. Please do not arrive early and queue at the Packard Campus gate.

The Library of Congress Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center oversees one of the largest collections of motion pictures in the world. Acquired primarily through copyright deposit, exchange, gift and purchase, the collection spans the entire history of the cinema. Since 2008, the art deco theater located at the Packard Campus has shown films each week and screened more than 2,500 titles. The programs will again highlight the best in cinema, including silent films, Hollywood classics, kids’ cartoons and foreign films.


Library of Congress Packard Campus Theater Schedule

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4 @ 7:30 p.m.- The Player (Warner Bros, 1992)

L.A. Noir is about the city’s underbelly… and where better to start than at a movie studio.  Tim Robbins stars and Robert Altman directs.  Color, 124 minutes. Rated R.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5 @ 2:00 p.m. – The Big Sleep  (Warner Bros, 1946) –NFR

Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall star in the film based on the book by Raymond Chandler. Perhaps the quintessential L.A. Noir film. B&W, 114 minutes.

 SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5 @ 7:30 p.m. – Harper (Warner Bros, 1966)

A different detective, the same city.  Paul Newman stars in what he called “A Bogie kind of film.” Also stars Julie Harris, Janet Leigh, Robert Wagner, Shelley Winters and Lauren Bacall. Color, 121 minutes.


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12 @ 2:00 p.m. – Double Indemnity (RKO Radio, 1947) -NFR

Director Billy Wilder filmed a Raymond Chandler novel to excellent result.  Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck star in what many consider the standard for film noir.  B&W, 107 minutes.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12 @ 7:30 p.m. – Devil in a Blue Dress (Columbia-TriStar 1995)

The film’s tagline: “In a world of black and white, Easy Rawlins is about to cross the line.”  Denzel Washington plays Rawlins, and he learns it ain’t so easy.  Color, 102 minutes. Rated R.


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18 @ 7:30 p.m. – L.A. Confidential (Warner Bros, 1997) – NFR

Based on the James Ellroy novel, the author a fitting successor to Raymond Chandler. A tale of corrupt cops and a shady town, not good tourism bureau material. Color, 138 minutes.. Rated R.


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19 @ 2:00 p.m. – Sunset Blvd. (Paramount, 1950) – NFR 

Many critics feel this is the best movie about Hollywood, others think it is top shelf film noir.  Either way, director Billy Wilder and stars William Holden and Gloria Swanson  deliver a masterpiece. B&W, 110 minutes.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19 @ 7:30 p.m. – Mulholland Drive (Universal, 2001)

Writer-Director David Lynch adds an element of surrealism to his take on L.A. noir.  Naomi Watts stars. Color, 146 minutes. Rated R.


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26 @ 2:00 p.m. – Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (Disney, 1988) – NFR

Funny, even cartoonish, take on the City of Angels.  Between the laughs, pay attention to the story and the style, it is absolutely L.A. Noir. Color, 104 minutes.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26 @ 7:30 p.m. – Chinatown (Paramount, 1974) – NFR

Jack Nicholson brings a rightful conclusion to our look at L.A. Noir.  Private detective Jake Gittes uncovers corruption dealing with California’s most sought after commodity… water. Color, 131 minutes. Rated R.


NFR = Indicates that the film is on the Library of Congress’ NATIONAL FILM REGISTRY.

For general Packard Campus Theater information, call (540) 827-1079 ext. 79994 or (202) 707-9994. For further information on the theater and its programs, visit Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or [email protected]. In case of inclement weather, call the theater information line no more than three hours before show time to confirm cancellations.

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