Sunday, May 21, 2017

The 2017 Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival: Sunday

Our long weekend at the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival in Palm Springs flew by! Almost before we knew it, it was Sunday morning and time to start watching the last few titles of the festival.

There were three films shown on May 14th; the final Sunday screening at this festival is at 4:00 p.m., which makes it easy for Southern Californians to travel home from the desert by early evening!

The 10:00 a.m. film was DESPERATE (1947), which I had previously been fortunate to see as part of an Anthony Mann festival at UCLA.

DESPERATE stars Steve Brodie and Audrey Long (above) along with Raymond Burr, plus there's a fun supporting turn by Jason Robards Sr. as a police detective.

Eddie Muller and Foster Hirsch shared the stage to jointly introduce the film, as seen at right. They commented on the film being a rare star turn for supporting player Brodie, who was "natural" but had "no star quality."

They also described how in his early films Mann would focus on doing a few key scenes really well, to show what he could do, but he tended to be more perfunctory about the rest of the film.

It was my husband's first time to see DESPERATE, and he had some trouble with the story and Brodie's choices, while I find I like the movie more each time I see it. The movie would be worth seeing simply for George Diskant's photography of shadows, swinging lights, and staircases, but I also really enjoy Brodie's rare leading man role, and I'm a huge fan of lovely Audrey Long, seen at left with Carol Forman.

I hope to review Long soon in Robert Wise's A GAME OF DEATH (1945), recently released by Kino Lorber, and as it happens Wise directed the next film of the day, THE BODY SNATCHER (1945).

THE BODY SNATCHER stars Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Henry Daniell, and the appealing child actress Sharyn Moffett, who the next year appeared in the classic film noir THE LOCKET (1946).

Karloff's daughter Sara was on hand to narrate home movies before the film and be interviewed by Alan Rode afterwards. I'll have more on that in a separate post on the film in the near future. Being a scaredy-cat, it's not really my kind of movie, but I enjoyed Sara Karloff very much -- and guess what, she's a scaredy-cat too!

Sara Karloff is seen here on the right, photographed Sunday afternoon with Eddie Muller, Monika Henreid, Victoria Mature, and Alan Rode.

The final movie of the festival, introduced by Alan Rode, was NIGHT AND THE CITY (1950), directed by Jules Dassin.

I saw this Richard Widmark-Gene Tierney film as part of UCLA's Hollywood Exiles in Europe series in 2014 and was a bit baffled by it. It's a dark film about an unsympathetic loser, which also left me with too many questions about the characters.

However, I had a feeling I would appreciate it more on a second viewing, as I'd know better what to expect going in, and that proved to be the case. It won't ever be a favorite, but I'm glad I gave it a second chance, as I got more out of it this time around. (Except for the brutal wrestling scene near the end...I shut my eyes!) And as someone who loves London, you can't beat the incredible photography of that city by Max Greene.

Additionally, I now know that Gene Tierney's character, who I perceived as an "afterthought" the first time around, really was just that! She was written into the picture at the studio's behest, to give her a chance to get away and work in Europe when she was going through a difficult time.

As Alan Rode described NIGHT AND THE CITY, "It's pure noir filmed in the back streets of London...the most appropriate way to close the festival."

With the conclusion of NIGHT AND THE CITY it was time to leave behind the festival's appealing mix of noir darkness and desert sunshine and head for home! We hit the In-N-Out Burger in Cabazon, not far outside Palm Springs, and then headed back to Orange County.

It was a fantastic weekend, and I very much hope to return in 2018. It would be wonderful to see more of my readers there next year!

Coming soon: Individual reviews of three films seen at the festival, plus a photo tour of a side trip to Desert Memorial Park.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older