Thieves Highway assembles the usual film noir suspects — femme fatale, double-crossing boss, revenge-driven hero — but the events unfold in a unique setting: a fruit market. Directed by Jules Dassin, this 1949 movie stars Richard Conte as Nico Garcos, a trucker avenging his burgled father; Lee J. Cobb as monstrous produce mogul Mike Figlia; and Valentina Cortese as Rica, a temptress with complex motivations. Screenwriter A.I. Bezzerides nails the quiet desperation of long-haul truckers, but he also crafts snappy exchanges between Nico and Rica. When Nico chronicles the apple's labor-intensive trip from tree to bin, Rica responds, "I don't know what you're talking about, but I have a new respect for apples." Similarly, Thieves Highway uses unfamiliar subject matter to inspire fresh appreciation for film noir. The movie screens at 6 tonight at the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library (625 Minnesota in KCK, 913-551-3280).
Tue., Jan. 15, 6 p.m., 2008