Tonight it was time to head back for another wonderful evening at the Noir City Film Festival. It's hard to believe this was my fourth trip to Los Angeles in eight days! It's almost been like a vacation for me, taking time off from the regular routine to visit Hollywood and see such terrific movies. So far I've seen eight films at the festival and I've thoroughly enjoyed each one.
On the way to Hollywood late this afternoon my son shot some photos. For you non-Angelenos, this is some of what I have to wade through to get from Orange County to Los Angeles. Obviously I really want to see these movies! (Grin)
I've actually been fairly lucky on my drives this week and have made it up there in a little over an hour. When we saw WEST SIDE STORY it took two hours and 15 minutes! It's quite a different story late at night, sailing home on empty freeways in about 45 minutes.
The drive does have its compensations, such as the view of this historic sign:
Speaking of which, Chris Yogerst Tweeted yesterday that there's an excellent new book, THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN: FANTASY AND REALITY OF AN AMERICAN ICON, by Leo Braudy.
Here's the historic Pantages. The shows I've seen there over the years include Yul Brynner and Constance Towers in THE KING AND I, Jane Powell and Howard Keel in SOUTH PACIFIC, and one of the greatest stage productions I've ever seen, Gary Morris in LES MISERABLES.
Alan K. Rode of the Film Noir Foundation was on hand tonight at the Egyptian to introduce the movies, JOURNEY INTO FEAR (1943) and THE BRIBE (1949).
Rode also announced the schedule for Sunday, April 17th, which had been held under wraps pending confirmation that prints of two newly restored titles would arrive from England in time. The movies that night will be DOWN THREE DARK STREETS (1954), starring Broderick Crawford, Ruth Roman, and Martha Hyer, along with John Saxon and Linda Cristal in CRY TOUGH (1959).
The second film on tonight's double bill, THE BRIBE (1949), was reviewed by me in 2009. It stars Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, John Hodiak, Charles Laughton, and Vincent Price. I again found it highly entertaining, and the fireworks shootout finale looked spectacular in 35 millimeter. And speaking of spectacular, Ava Gardner has one of the best noir entrances ever, singing "Situation Wanted" in an amazing black gown. She was an unbelievably beautiful woman. Since I'm a Robert Taylor fan, it's really been a treat to see two of his films on a big screen, with THE BRIBE following last week's screening of HIGH WALL (1947).
Coming soon: a review of the first film of the evening, a relatively obscure film noir featuring the Mercury Players, JOURNEY INTO FEAR (1943). It was written by Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles, based on a novel by Eric Ambler, and was directed by Norman Foster and the uncredited Welles. (Update: The review is now posted.)
This weekend movies will give way to our third MouseAdventure, but I'll be heading back to the festival again next week!