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Signs and spaces

By Lynn Rapoport

Best Free Film Noir
Several times a year a shadowy group of film noir aficionados operating as the Danger and Despair Knitting Circle a reference, for novices, to Out of the Past surfaces on Thursdays nights to screen classic, offbeat, and plain obscure film noir for everyone's favorite admission price: free! It's strictly an underground operation reservations are mandatory, and most screenings take place in vacant downtown offices but we have no complaints. The chairs are comfortable, most prints are 16mm, and the stuff they show ... Many of the titles never even made it to DVD or video: the recent "Poverty Row" series included a few films that survive only in the archives of private 16mm collectors. This summer expect a brace of pre-code crime films, followed by fall's "Film Noir of 1941: A Look at the Gateway Year" and winter's "The Red Scare: Those Nasty Commies in Film Noir." Looks like our Thursday nights are booked for the year. E-mail screenings@hotmail.com or visit www.noirfilm.com.