Monday, May 18, 2015

The 2015 Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival in Review

This weekend I had a fantastic time at the 2015 Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival in Palm Springs!

This was my first time to attend the festival, which was celebrating its 16th year. It's held at the Camelot Theatres, an ideal location for the festival; it's a spacious and comfortable venue with friendly staff and a huge screen. It's worth noting that the Camelot provides considerably more leg room than the typical theater, a real plus when one is watching a dozen or so movies in a single weekend!

Since festival founder Arthur Lyons died in 2008, Alan K. Rode of the Film Noir Foundation has acted as the festival's producer and host.

He was ably assisted this weekend by Film Noir Foundation head Eddie Muller and FNF board member Foster Hirsch, who took turns with Alan introducing the festival's dozen movies.

I unfortunately had to miss the opening night screening of MILLER'S CROSSING (1990), attended by cast member Jon Polito, but by all accounts it was a terrific evening. I arrived in Palm Springs early on Friday morning and didn't miss a single one of the 11 movies shown between Friday morning and Sunday afternoon!

The festival's additional guests were J.R. Jones, author of the new biography THE LIVES OF ROBERT RYAN, Bernard Herrmann biographer Stephen C. Smith, and actors Gordon Gebert and Norman Lloyd, who turned 100 last November!

There was a very nice-sized audience on hand; while not a complete sellout, each screening was well attended, with an enthused crowd. It was also fun to note that actor Clu Gulager, beloved to many of us for his role as Ryker on THE VIRGINIAN TV series, was sitting front row center during many of the films, just as he often does at classic screenings in the L.A. area.

The Arthur Lyons Festival was somewhat akin to the Lone Pine Film Festival in that it was an intimate, relaxed setting which provided an opportunity to chat with festival guests as well as fellow attendees. (I especially enjoyed getting to know Max, one of my readers who also hails from Orange County.) The movies were typically 75-95 minutes in length and were spaced at 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., so unlike some other festivals, there was ample time to eat meals in between movies.

The combination of plenty of movies at a relaxed pace in a lovely desert setting made it an ideal "classic movie getaway" weekend.

I hadn't been to Palm Springs in more years than I can remember, and I was pleasantly surprised to realize how compactly located everything was. The theatre, my hotel, and a variety of restaurants were all within a five-minute drive of each other. Prospective attendees might also like to note that Palm Springs International Airport is just a mile and a half away from the Camelot.

I'll take a moment to recommend the nearby Best Western Plus Las Brisas Hotel on South Indian Canyon Drive, which was beautifully landscaped and had a friendly staff and comfortable rooms.

I might be inclined to get a room on the top floor next time, as the sounds of people walking above me were more noticeable than the norm, but I'll definitely stay here again. The location was ideal.

Sci-fi fans take note: Alan Rode will also be hosting the first Palm Springs Classic Sci-Fi Festival at the Camelot Theatres from October 23-25, 2015. The full schedule has not yet been announced, but it will include Julie Adams in person at CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) and David Hedison attending THE FLY (1958).

Over the next few days I'll be posting an overview of each day's screenings and guest appearances, including sharing thoughts on revisiting familiar films, and I'll also have separate reviews of the pair of movies which were brand-new to me, THEY WON'T BELIEVE ME (1947) and THIEVES' HIGHWAY (1949). I'll be adding the links to the end of this post so that all of my coverage can be easily found in one place.

I can't recommend the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival highly enough. I definitely hope to attend again, and I'd love to see some of my readers there in 2016!

Additional festival posts: Tonight's Movie: They Won't Believe Me (1947); The 2015 Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival: Day One; The 2015 Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival: Day Two; The 2015 Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival: Day Three; Tonight's Movie: Thieves' Highway (1949).

Update: The 2017 Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival in Review.

Sincere thanks to Alan K. Rode and the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival for providing an All Access Pass to help facilitate my festival coverage.


Blogger Jerry E said...

Looks like a fabulous trip, Laura! I am very much looking forward to your write-ups on the films seen.

Wish it wasn't so far away!

6:55 AM  
Blogger KC said...

This sounds amazing! I didn't realize it had been around for so long. Well, I don't know if I'll be able to make it next year, but I do want to check this out. The idea of having time to eat and still binge films is just too luxurious to pass up. Can't wait to read the rest of your coverage!

9:20 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Jerry, I wish there were a way for you to "cross the Pond" for this, what a great time you'd have! Thanks so much for your interest in my posts.

KC, it really was a completely fantastic weekend. I know it may be hard for you to get away to things like this often while your girls are still little, but definitely keep it in mind for the future, I think you'd love it! Thanks so much for reading. And have a wonderful time at the SIFF!

Best wishes,

11:35 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Late to the game. I didn't know Arthur Lyons was dead.

Jacob Asch is the real deal.

6:54 PM  

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