Tuesday, March 19, 2019

21st Annual Noir City Hollywood Festival Opens March 29th

The 21st Annual Noir City Hollywood Festival opens at the Egyptian Theatre on Friday evening, March 29th.

As has been the case for the past three years, the festival will take place over ten consecutive days, concluding on Sunday, April 7th. The festival will be hosted by the Film Noir Foundation's Eddie Muller and Alan K. Rode.

This year's theme is "Film Noir in the '50s." Other than the opening night title THE FILE ON THELMA JORDON (1949), the festival will be entirely focused on films of the 1950s. The majority of films will be screened in 35mm, along with a few digital prints.

2019 will be the ninth year in a row I've attended opening night of the festival, now a cherished tradition, and this will be my tenth Noir City festival overall.

I'll be attending all three nights of the opening weekend, and I am likely to attend several other evenings as well. I attended eight nights in 2016 and all ten nights in 2017, while last year, when I was recovering from surgery, I made it to half the nights. Hopefully this year I'll surpass last year's total, as there are many great films on the schedule!

Here's a look at this year's lineup; click any hyperlinked title for my past review.

I'm especially excited about opening night, March 29th, which kicks the festival off with 35mm prints of a pair of new-to-me films, TRAPPED (1950) and THE FILE ON THELMA JORDON (1949).

TRAPPED, which features L.A. locations, stars Lloyd Bridges and Barbara Payton, seen at left. THE FILE ON THELMA JORDON stars Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey, and the great Paul Kelly.

I'm also really looking forward to the double bill on March 30th, featuring 35mm prints of a new-to-me Alan Ladd film, APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER (1951), and an old favorite, MGM's SHADOW ON THE WALL (1950). Alan Ladd as a postal investigator sure gets my attention!

Former child actress Gigi Perreau, who's wonderful in SHADOW ON THE WALL, will be on hand to introduce the film. It will be interesting to hear her memories of working with the film's fine cast, which included Ann Sothern, Zachary Scott, Nancy Davis (Reagan), and Kristine Miller.

I'll also be on hand on March 31st to see a new digital restoration of Joan Crawford in SUDDEN FEAR (1952), which I've never seen; I've heard it's a terrific film. It's playing with one of my all-time favorite movies, THE NARROW MARGIN (1952), starring Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, and Jacqueline White. THE NARROW MARGIN will be shown in 35mm.

Monday, April 1st is another tempting evening featuring CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS (1953) and 99 RIVER STREET (1953). I've enjoyed both films in the past but have never seen 99 RIVER STREET in a theater, and that's a must for me, with favorites John Payne, Evelyn Keyes, and Peggie Castle. CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS is a new digital print while 99 RIVER STREET is 35mm.

April 2nd is another interesting double bill of two films I've never seen, PLAYGIRL (1954) and HELL'S HALF ACRE (1954). Although I only tolerate PLAYGIRL lead actress Shelley Winters in low doses, I like her costars Barry Sullivan and Colleen Miller (FOUR GUNS TO THE BORDER). HELL'S HALF ACRE has a great cast including Evelyn Keyes, Marie Windsor, Wendell Corey, and Nancy Gates. Both films are digital prints.

April 3rd is the amazing THE BIG COMBO (1955), which I saw at the Million Dollar Theatre in Downtown L.A. back in 2012. I'll be tempted to make the drive just to see John Alton's dazzling black and white cinematography on a big screen again, although I'm less interested in the second half of the double bill, having seen BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (1955) on Blu-ray fairly recently. Both films will be shown in 35mm.

I'm very interested in seeing A KISS BEFORE DYING (1956) on April 4th, starring Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter. It's playing with Humphrey Bogart in THE HARDER THEY FALL (1956). Two more 35mm prints!

There's another pair of 35mm prints on April 5th: THE MIDNIGHT STORY (1957) with Tony Curtis and Gilbert Roland, which sounds interesting, paired with Cameron Mitchell in MONKEY ON MY BACK (1957).

April 6th features a 35mm print of the original theatrical cut of TOUCH OF EVIL (1958), paired with a digital print of the French film ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS (1957). I'm curious about the second film but will probably skip this night as I saw TOUCH OF EVIL five years ago, and a little of that one goes a long way for me. I'd watch it again sometime, but it's not one I want to re-watch with any frequency.

The festival closes on April 7th with 35mm prints of Susan Hayward in I WANT TO LIVE! (1958) and John Saxon in CRY TOUGH (1959). This is a very rare closing night I won't be attending. I saw I WANT TO LIVE! as a teenager and said then that I would never watch it again. I haven't changed my mind in the years since. Happily I'll have seen a lot of great movies earlier in the fest!

I love the way the films are programmed in chronological order, taking us from '49/'50 on opening night to 1959 on closing night. It's a wonderful lineup.

Coming soon: My picks for the TCM Classic Film Festival, which opens on April 11th -- the schedule went live today! (Update: Here is my TCM schedule post!) I'm also looking forward to the announcement soon of the schedule for the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival, which takes place in Palm Springs in mid-May.

Key posts on past Noir City Hollywood Festivals: A Visit to the Noir City Film Festival (2010); A Visit to the 13th Noir City Film Festival (2011); First Preview of 14th Annual Noir City Film Festival; Schedule Announced for Noir City 14 in Hollywood; Final Week of Noir City 14 Schedule Announced; A Visit to the 14th Annual Noir City Film Festival (2012); Schedule Announced for Noir City 15 in Hollywood; A Visit to the 15th Annual Noir City Film Festival (2013); Schedule Preview of Noir City 16 in Hollywood; A Visit to the 16th Annual Noir City Film Festival (2014); 17th Annual Noir City Film Festival Opens in Hollywood This Friday; A Visit to the 17th Annual Noir City Film Festival (2015); 18th Annual Noir City Film Festival Opens in Hollywood This Friday; A Visit to the 18th Annual Noir City Film Festival (2016); 19th Annual Noir City Film Festival Opens in Hollywood March 24th; A Visit to the 19th Annual Noir City Film Festival (2017); 20th Annual Noir City Festival Opens in Hollywood April 13th; A Visit to the 20th Annual Noir City Film Festival (2018).

Update: A Visit to the 21st Annual Noir City Film Festival.


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Trapped is a new title to me and has moved over to the "check it out" list.

Janet and I watched Sudden Fear last year for the first time and it is a dandy. I think you'll really like it.

The Big Combo always rises to the top of my favourite noir list.

This festival sounds amazing. Looking forward to your reports.

5:58 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm really curious about TRAPPED!

Great to hear about SUDDEN FEAR. I'm very curious about it.

THE BIG COMBO really stuck with me after I saw it a few years ago. Very memorable!

I feel so fortunate that this festival is local and I can enjoy so much of it!

Best wishes,

7:57 PM  

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