Saturday, May 19, 2018

The 2018 Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival: Friday

After a terrific opening night at the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival, we were up bright and early Friday morning!

We started off with a stop at our favorite place to eat breakfast in Palm Springs, Elmer's, and then, since we'd seen the first movie of the day in a theater within the last few years, my husband decided to do one of his favorite things and go on a horseback ride.

After dropping him off at the stables I had some extra time so I drove past the former home of one of my favorite actresses, Loretta Young, which was just a minute or two from Elmer's:

It was fun to take a quick peek at the exterior. Readers may recall that last year we stopped by Frank Sinatra's famous home, Twin Palms.

Then it was time to head to the Palm Springs Cultural Center for the 10:00 a.m. film! The day kicked off with LARCENY (1948), starring John Payne, Joan Caulfield, Dan Duryea, and Shelley Winters. (Click any hyperlinked movie title for my corresponding past review.)

I'd been fortunate to see LARCENY on a couple prior occasions, including at the 2014 Noir City Film Festival, but I was happy to revisit it.

Payne and Duryea play con artists out to fleece wealthy widow Caulfield; Winters, in a ferocious performance, plays Duryea's mistress, who'd prefer to have Payne as her boyfriend.

LARCENY isn't a perfect film -- I always feel like it could have been a bit longer than its 89 minutes -- but it's highly entertaining, and I enjoyed watching it again. It's of note that LARCENY was one of several films screened at the festival which is not available for home viewing in any format.

The next film, THE TURNING POINT (1952), was screened at this year's Noir City Hollywood festival, but I was able to save a trip to Los Angeles since I knew it was on the schedule for Palm Springs! It was shown in a restored digital print by Paramount Pictures, one of only two digital films screened at the festival.

THE TURNING POINT is a solid film in which prosecutor Edmond O'Brien and reporter William Holden team up to bring down a mobster (Ed Begley Sr.), aided by Gal Friday Alexis Smith. Although set in an unnamed city, there's fantastic location filming in Los Angeles, including the Angels' Flight Railway (seen in screen shot at right). This was a much better print than I had seen via Netflix streaming a few years ago, and it was very worthwhile to watch it again.

No word on when or if this restoration will come to DVD or Blu-ray, so here's hoping.

We decided to skip the third film of the day, THE UNSUSPECTED (1947), only because we had just seen it at UCLA in February! It was the only one of the festival's 12 films which I didn't see.

THE UNSUSPECTED has a great cast, including Claude Rains, Audrey Totter, Constance Bennett, and Joan Caulfield, who was also in LARCENY. It's an entertaining film which I recommend; it won't be too long before I'm ready to see that one again. For those who'd like to check it out, it's available on DVD via the Warner Archive.

After dinner it was time for one of the films I most looked forward to seeing at the festival, THE WEB (1947). THE WEB is another not-on-DVD film which stars Edmond O'Brien, Ella Raines, Vincent Price, and William Bendix. I'll have more on this film in a separate review soon. (Update: Here is my review of THE WEB.)

Following the film Price's daughter Victoria was interviewed by Alan K. Rode. An articulate and positive speaker, she particularly emphasized how her father was able to help many other actors and artists over the years, usually behind the scenes without others knowing. Price was a man of many interests, including not just acting and art but also cooking, and we were fortunate to have his daughter share some of her memories with the audience.

Victoria is the author of VINCENT PRICE: A DAUGHTER'S BIOGRAPHY, which I purchased as a gift for my husband when it was published a few years ago. As a Price fan he enjoyed it a great deal.

Coming soon: A review of THE WEB and an overview of Saturday's screenings.


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