Friday, April 05, 2013

A Visit to the 15th Annual Noir City Film Festival

Tonight marked the fourth year in a row I've attended the Noir City Film Festival, and the third year straight I was there on opening night.

In the handful of years since 2010, Noir City has become a treasured filmgoing experience. I love the discovery of unknown films, the chance to revisit old favorites in gorgeous 35mm prints, and the enthusiastic introductions by the Film Noir Foundation's Eddie Muller and Alan K. Rode.

A noir side note for fans of GUN CRAZY (1950): Tonight I snapped a photo of the First Baptist Church on Selma Avenue, behind the Egyptian Theatre; this church, along with the decades-old newspaper stand on Las Palmas Avenue, can be spotted when Bart and Laurie take a taxi ride:

Upon arrival in Hollywood, my husband and I enjoyed dinner at the Pig 'N Whistle next door to the theater, then headed to the Egyptian where we had the chance to say hello to Eddie and Alan, as well as Kimberly Truhler of GlamAmor. I believe I also spotted Raoul Walsh biographer Marilyn Ann Moss in attendance this evening.

I also picked up the beautiful program created for this year's 11th Annual Noir City Festival in San Francisco; I wish it were possible for the older Hollywood festival to have its own program. There's some overlap between the two festivals, but a great many of the titles shown are different in each city.

There was an excellent crowd for the double bill of TRY AND GET ME (1950) and HELL DRIVERS (1957); unlike opening night last year, it wasn't a complete sellout, but that was perhaps because TRY AND GET ME was just screened at the UCLA Festival of Preservation last month. This fascinating restored film will be shown again in late April at the TCM Classic Film Festival, with Eddie Muller hosting once more.

Having just watched the very intense TRY AND GET ME for the first time almost exactly a month ago, I hadn't expected to see it again so soon, but I didn't want to miss the chance to see HELL DRIVERS on a big screen, especially as it had been recommended to me by my friends Toby of 50 Westerns From the 50s and Kristina of Speakeasy. I thus found myself watching TRY AND GET ME for the second month in a row.

I found TRY AND GET ME a little easier to watch the second time, since I knew what was coming, and I also picked up on some interesting new aspects of the film. For instance, the first time I was focused on the flashy performance of Lloyd Bridges plus Frank Lovejoy's utter agony; this time around I noticed just how good Richard Carlson is as the reporter covering the case. Watch his eyes shifting repeatedly when he's unexpectedly confronted by Mrs. Tyler (Kathleen Ryan); he's terribly uncomfortable, wishing he could be anywhere else, but gradually his humanity takes over and he steps closer to her and helps her finish reading Howard's letter.

HELL DRIVERS was a real treat which I've reviewed in a separate post, linked below. As has been the case for the past couple of years, this introductory post will gather together the review links for films seen during the festival in a single place:

New reviews of films seen for the first time at the 2013 Noir City Film Festival: HELL DRIVERS (1957); STREET OF CHANCE (1942); APPOINTMENT WITH A SHADOW (1957); GUILTY BYSTANDER (1950); THE KILLERS (1946).

Previously reviewed films seen at this year's festival: TRY AND GET ME (1950); REPEAT PERFORMANCE (1947); HE WALKED BY NIGHT (1948); NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES (1948); CRY OF THE CITY (1948).

Posts on past Noir City Festivals which contain review links for all films seen each year: A Visit to the 14th Annual Noir City Film Festival (2012); A Visit to the 13th Noir City Film Festival (2011); A Visit to the Noir City Film Festival (2010).


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