Free screenings of a series of six film noir classics in the garden at Hearsay Restaurant in Ashland kick off Tuesday, Aug. 23, with "Scarlet Street," a 1945 film directed by Fritz Lang starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea.

The series, dubbed "Trigger Warnings: A Celebration of Film Noir," is hosted by Southern Oregon University professor of noir literature Bobby Arellano. Austin Gurwell, a former student of his, co-curates.

"Film noir" is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as "A style or genre of cinematographic film marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace. The term was originally applied (by a group of French critics) to American thriller or detective films made in the period 1944–54 and to the work of directors such as Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, and Billy Wilder."

Local professors and literary personalities will introduce each film with intriguing trivia, hard-boiled dialogues and notorious historical context, organizers say. SOU professor and co-host of the Literary Ashland radio hour Michael Niemann will introduce "Scarlet Street."

“Scarlet Street brings together director Fritz Lang, Edward G.Robinson, Joan Bennett and noir villain Dan Duryea in a classic noir tale,” Niemann says.“Two crooks take on a meek cashier and amateur painter, believing he's rich. When that turns out not to be true, they try to sell his paintings instead. Things go downhill from there."


Screenings start at 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays through the end of September.

Hearsay Restaurant is at 40 South First St. in Ashland, at the former site of Dragonfly Restaurant. Call 541-625‐0505 for details.