Wednesday, May 19, 2010

June "Dark Harbor" Film series at Freebird

Dark Harbor film series at Freebird Books in June; Book launch on June 6
Port of New York (June 3) * Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (June 10) * Edge of the City (June 17) * Murder Inc. (June 24)

In conjunction with the release of Dark Harbor: The War for the New York Waterfront, author Nathan Ward curates a series of classic films about the crime that once defined our working waterfront.

Each Thursday throughout the month of June, Freebird will screen four movies that depicted the more sordid side of New York stevedoring in the wake of newspaper exposes and crime commissions in the 1940s and ‘50s.

Labor racketeering on the docks was an open secret in the city in the first half of the 20th century. But it wasn’t until the intrepid reporting of Malcolm Johnson in the late 1940s that federal and state authorities took serious notice of the murders, extortion, and intimidation that was rampant in waterfront communities like Red Hook.

Dark Harbor details the incidents that led to Johnson’s investigations for the New York Sun and his Pulitzer prize-winning articles on the subject. The articles would unleash new scrutiny of mob control of the longshoremen’s unions and inspire countless novels, plays, and films about the subject.

Though the Elia Kazan-Budd Schulberg production of On the Waterfront--originally based upon Johnson's articles--is the most famous on-screen example, the Dark Harbor series focuses on lesser known classics shot around the city in the aftermath of the New York Sun expose. Nathan Ward will introduce each film and place them in the context of the present day working waterfront outside Freebird’s door—before containerization and the BQE altered the landscape permanently.

Thursday, June 3, 7:30 pm

Port of New York

This early docu-drama from 1948 uses the real events around the case of the S.S. Florentine: A body thrown from a ship in New York Harbor leads to a double-cross and ultimately a master heroin-smuggler played by with cruel charisma (and hair!) by Yul Brynner. There's an undercover Treasury agent and a jilted mol in this dragnet picture.

Sunday, June 6, 2 to 6 pm

Book launch for Dark Harbor
Refreshments and bonus film to follow

Thursday, June 10, 7:30 pm

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

This 1957 movie comes from the memoir of Assistant D.A. Bill Keating, the man who sent racketeer "Cockeye" Dunn away for the murder of a West Village hiring boss, Andy Hintz. The movie does a pretty fair job reenacting the Hintz job and doesn't overplay Keating's own heroism until the movie's prosecutor joins a dockside brawl. Some excellent waterfront locations and a surprisingly malevolent young Walter Matthau as a racketeer.

Thursday, June 17, 7:30 pm

Edge of the City

Sidney Poitier and John Cassavetes play hipster-longshoremen working under a corrupt boss played by Jack Warner. The final duel with cargo hooks is inevitable but dramatic. Released in 1957.

Thursday, June 24, 7:30 pm

Murder Inc.

If you love Peter Falk, you'll want to see him at his creepy best, playing the all-time most influential mob turncoat, Abe "Kid Tist" Reles, the 1930s Brooklyn gangster who revealed the personalities, crimes, and very existence of the organization that came to be called 'Murder Inc.' You'll never look at Lieutenant Columbo quite the same. Released in 1960.
Freebird Books
123 Columbia Street (between Kane and Degraw streets)
Brooklyn, NY 11231
New hours: Sat-Sun 11 am-10 pm (def); Thurs-Fri 6 to 10 pm (mostly); the rest of the week (by chance)

No comments: