The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: January 7-13

01/07/2015 12:17 PM |

Journey Into Fear (1943)  Directed by Norman Foster Shown: Orson Welles

Journey Into Fear (1943)
Directed by Norman Foster
This menacing and atmospheric wartime noir was supposed to be directed by Orson Welles, but is instead credited to Foster—all evidence to the contrary. Welles’s influence, from ceiling shot to shadowy staircase, is indisputable. Based on Eric Ambler’s thriller, the film stars Mercury Theatre alum Joseph Cotten (also credited with the screenplay) as Howard Graham, a naval engineer thrust into a continent-spanning Kafkaesque nightmare. Graham’s life is in danger; he’s directed to escape via boat by Turkish head of intelligence Colonel Naki (an always persuasive Welles). The claustrophobic, exasperating boat scenes are enough to wrench your nerves until the final flourish, a shootout atop a hotel in a relentless rainstorm. Samantha Vacca (Jan 11, 2:55pm, 6:20pm, 9:45pm; Jan 12, 2:25pm, 4:55pm, 8:25pm at Film Forum’s Welles centennial)