Anthology Film Archives


November 20 – December 8

The fascinating career of Cyril (Cy) Endfield (1914-95) was one marked by struggle, exile, the frustration of working on failed or subpar projects, and the professional trauma of the blacklist. But despite all these obstacles, Endfield was responsible for two of the most astonishing and progressive of Hollywood film noirs (THE UNDERWORLD STORY and TRY AND GET ME!, aka THE SOUND OF FURY), a gritty classic of 1950s UK cinema (HELL DRIVERS), and the epic masterpiece ZULU, as well as a number of remarkable films that are little-known today. This extensive retrospective, organized in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cinematheque, and the first to grace US screens in more than two decades, will feature Endfield’s acknowledged masterpieces as well as excavating the more neglected corners of his filmography.

Born and raised in Scranton, PA, Endfield attended Yale before leaving early to work in the New Theatre League in New York. He arrived in Hollywood in 1940, briefly working for Orson Welles’s unit at RKO before joining MGM as a shorts director. (Endfield was one of the few people to see the uncut version of THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS.) His breakthrough films were THE UNDERWORLD STORY and THE SOUND OF FURY in 1950, but his radical associations caught up with him the next year when he was named before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and blacklisted. Rather than ‘name names’ he left America for the UK in late 1951.

Gradually re-establishing his filmmaking career in London, Endfield brought his “alienated eye” (his phrase) to his adopted country, and gained fame with the cult trucking drama HELL DRIVERS (1957) and the classic ZULU (1964). His career declined after the commercial failure of SANDS OF THE KALAHARI (1965), but he lived long enough to enjoy late recognition from critic Jonathan Rosenbaum and the Telluride Film Festival, which presented a career retrospective in 1992.

This retrospective has been timed to coincide with the publication of a new book chronicling Endfield’s life and work: THE MANY LIVES OF CY ENDFIELD: FILM NOIR, THE BLACKLIST AND ZULU (University of Wisconsin Press), by film scholar Brian Neve. Both Neve and Endfield’s daughter Suzannah Endfield Olivier will be here in person to present select screenings!

Organized in collaboration with Jim Healy, University of Wisconsin-Madison Cinematheque. Special thanks to Brian Neve, Suzannah Endfield Olivier, Eve Kahn, Fleur Buckley (BFI), Chris Chouinard (Park Circus), Eric Di Bernardo (Rialto Pictures), Bernd Brehmer (Werkstattkino e.V.), Jack Durwood (Paramount), Michael Horne (Sony), Matt Jones (University of North Carolina School of the Arts), Tim Lanza (Cohen Film Collection), Eddie Muller (Film Noir Foundation), Kristie Nakamura & Nicki Woods (WB), and Todd Wiener & Steven Hill (UCLA Film & Television Archive).

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