Staff Picks: Anne Hockens

Anne Hockens Staff PicksOffice Manager by day, movie maven by night. Anne Hockens, Fandor’s devoted and beloved Office Manager, possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of film history, especially when it comes to film noir and pre-code titles. We’ve all hit her up for a recommendation or two and her expertise always comes in handy when San Francisco’s annual Silent Film and NOIR CITY festivals roll into town.

A lifelong lover of movies, Anne became enchanted with cinema as a child after watching W.S. Van Dyke’s The Thin Man. Her passion for film led her to work at several independent video rental stores where she advised thousands of customers on what to watch and why. In addition to working at Fandor, where she interacts with the whole staff to keep company operations running smoothly, she currently serves as the Director of Communications for the Film Noir Foundation.

1) Metropolis (1927) directed by Fritz Lang

Metropolis by Fritz Lang

Fritz Lang’s dystopian silent masterpiece depicting a carefree upper class supported by a hidden and deeply oppressed working class remains depressingly relevant for today’s world. Lang’s wife and cinematic collaborator Thea Von Harbou made immense contributions to the film, including writing the screenplay. Seeing this 2010 restoration (incorporating an additonal twenty-five minutes of re-discovered footage) at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival was one of my most pleasurable movie going experiences.”

2) The Taming of the Shrew (1929) directed by Sam Taylor

The Taming of the Shrew by Sam Taylor

Mary Pickford produced as well as starred in this early sound adaption of Shakespeare’s comedic battle of the sexes. This remains one of my favorite Shakespearean adaptations due to Pickford’s and husband Douglas Fairbanks’ excellent performances and hostile but sexy chemistry, no doubt partly fueled by their own marital troubles. This is Fairbanks’ best piece of acting and it’s gives me a pleasurable shock every time I watch ‘America’s Sweetheart’ playing a domestic tyrant.”

3) Scarlet Street (1949) directed by Fritz Lang

Scarlet Street by Fritz Lang

“No matter how many times I see it, Scarlet Street – one of the most influential, entertaining and bleakest film noirs – immerses me completely in its cynical world. Sleazy Johnny Prince (Dan Duryea) persuades his conniving girlfriend Kitty (Joan Bennett) to put the bite on naïve cashier and Sunday painter Chris Cross (Edward G. Robinson), whom they mistake for a wealthy artist. Not surprisingly, things end badly. Director Fritz Lang and co-star Bennett produced the film through their independent company Diana Productions.”

4) The Hitch-hiker (1953) directed by Ida Lupino

The Hitch-hiker by Ida Lupino

“It scared the pants off me the first time I watched this gripping suspense piece, and repeat viewings gave me an appreciation for the deeper social issues intertwined in the story. A murderous madman (William Talman) on the lam kidnaps two businessmen (Edmond O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy) on a hunting trip in Mexico. Directed by the talented Hollywood actress turned writer, director and independent producer Ida Lupino. Like her other films, she deftly combines film noir with social insight, in this case, raising questions about masculinity in post-war America.”

5) Teknolust (2002) directed by Lynn Hershman Leeson

Teknolust by Lynn Hershman Leeson

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is on my personal top ten list of novels and this is my favorite cinematic riff on it. This funny, sexy and thought provoking independent comedy insightfully answers the question: ‘what if Doctor Frankenstein were a woman?’ Instead of the creator who abandons his creation to a pitiless world, director/writer Lynn Hershman Leeson presents one who tries to protect her creations from it. Tilda Swinton plays the socially awkward scientist Rosetta Stone and her three creations who are eager to experience the world against Rosetta’s wishes.”

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