Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival Palm Springs

The Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival


2019 Schedule

Thursday, May 9, 2019 through Sunday, May 12, 2019

Opening Night
Thursday May 9:
Gala 20th Anniversary Opening Night followed by reception.

6:30pm  Cake Cutting and Celebratory Toast

7:30 pm: THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955) Park Circus/MGM/UA, 93 min. Dir: Charles Laughton. Robert Mitchum essays his most memorable performance as an odious sociopath posing as a devout country minister who attempts to reap a secret bounty hidden by two innocent children. While Shelley Winters might be snookered, the legendary Lillian Gish knows evil when she sees it. Brilliantly helmed by the great Charles Laughton (his first and last directed feature) from Davis Grubb’s novel, this timeless noir fantasia of good and evil was produced by long time Coachella Valley resident Paul Gregory.  Scheduled Special Guest Kathy Garver.

Friday May 10:

10:00 am: SOMEWHERE IN THE NIGHT (1946) Fox, 111 min. Dir: Joseph L. Mankiewicz. A discharged U.S. Marine combat veteran (John Hodiak) afflicted by film noir’s venerated trope of amnesia wanders through the underbelly of Los Angeles searching for “Larry Cravat” as the sole clue to his true identity.  Joe Mankiewicz’s second directorial feature is an overlooked milestone of the post World War II noir movement. Co-starring: Lloyd Nolan, Nancy Guild (film debut), Richard Conte along with a host of familiar faces.


1:00 pm: Brand-new 35mm print! THE SCARLET HOUR (1956) Paramount, 95 min. VistaVision. Dir. Michael Curtiz. Nearing the end of his legendary career, Michael Curtiz produced and directed this intricately plotted L.A. crime story with a cast of new discoveries.  A tony seductress (Carol Ohmart) and her lover (Tom Tryon) overhear a plan for a jewel robbery, believing that the scheme will be their redemptive deliverance from Ohmart’s possessive husband (James Gregory). Co-starring Jody Lawrance, E.G Marshall, Elaine Stritch (film debut), Edward Binns and David Lewis. Adding heft is a guest appearance by Nat King Cole singing “Never Let Me Go” in the Crystal Room of the Beverly Hills Hotel. An ultra rarity: Not available on DVD, blu-ray or streaming. 


4:00 pm:  5 FINGERS (1952) Fox, 107 min. Dir: Joseph L. Mankiewicz.  Fact-based World War II espionage thriller stars James Mason as the English valet to Britain’s Turkish ambassador who spies for the Germans under the code name of “Cicero” while romancing an alluringly seductive Countess (Danielle Darrieux). This beautifully crafted film garnered Oscar nominations for best director (Mankiewicz) and screenplay (Michael Wilson) while including one of the most deliciously twisted finales in cinema history.  Also starring: Michael Rennie and Walter Hampden. 


7:30 pm: ALL MY SONS (1948) Universal, 94 min. Dir: Irving Reis.  Edward G. Robinson gives one of his most dramatic performances as successful businessman Joe Keller, grappling with guilt over having framed his business partner for a crime he committed. When his son (Burt Lancaster) becomes engaged to the convicted man’s daughter, the sins of the past hauntingly return. Reis and writer-producer Chester Erskine - aided by the noir-stained cinematography of Russell Metty - create a powerful (and inexplicably rare) version of Arthur Miller’s Tony Award-winning play. Along with Robinson and Lancaster, a brilliant ensemble cast includes: Mady Christians, Louisa Horton, Howard Duff, Frank Conroy, Lloyd Gough, Arlene Francis and Harry Morgan.  

Scheduled Special Guest: Joanna Lancaster

Saturday May 11

10:00 am: Newly restored 35mm print! TRAPPED (1949) Eagle-Lion, 78 min. Dir: Richard Fleischer.  Producer Bryan Foy replicated the success of T-MEN (1947) with a gritty tale of Secret Service agents tracking down a counterfeiting racket through the streets of Los Angeles. Expertly helmed by director Richard Fleischer, the film pairs a young Lloyd Bridges with 22-year old Barbara Payton, whose tempestuous career and tragic life became a staple of ’50s tabloids. Also starring a debonair John Hoyt, with a climactic showdown inside the downtown L.A. Red Car barn.


1:00 pm: CALCUTTA (1947) Universal, 83 min. D: John Farrow. Returned to the big screen after decades in limbo, this long-lost noir stars real-life pals Alan Ladd and William Bendix as cargo pilots who seek revenge when their best buddy dies under suspicious circumstances. Gorgeous Gail Russell plays the dead man’s fiancée - but is she also the linchpin of an Asian smuggling ring? The sensational cinematography of John F. Seitz enhances the fantastic studio-bound exotica. This film is one of the long-missing titles on the noir résumé of the great John Farrow (THE BIG CLOCK, NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES, ALIAS NICK BEAL). Not available on DVD, blu-ray or streaming.


4:00 pm: ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW (1959) Park Circus/MGM, 96 min. D: Robert Wise. Bigoted ex-convict Robert Ryan’s mistrust of partner Harry Belafonte undermines the heist plans of their ex-cop leader (Ed Begley) in this searing, unforgettable crime drama - the first film noir to feature an African-American protagonist as produced by Belafonte and written by blacklisted scribe Abe Polonsky. Great on-location New York ambiance fills every exterior shot. With Shelley Winters and Gloria Grahame and featuring an atmospheric score by Modern Jazz Quartet pianist John Lewis.


7:30 pm: World Premiere of new 4K digital restoration! KING CREOLE (1958) Paramount, 115 min. D: Michael Curtiz. Elvis’s third starring role remains his best work on screen. He plays 19-year old Danny Fisher who is struggling to finish high school while living in a French Quarter flat with an unemployed father (Dean Jagger) and sister (Jan Shepard). The rebellious teen-ager navigates a veritable tightrope between a legitimate singing career and a wholesome girl friend (Dolores Hart) vs. a criminal life while romancing the mistress (Carolyn Jones) of a vicious gangster (Walter Matthau).  Produced by Hal Wallis and deftly helmed by Curtiz on location in New Orleans, this musical crime drama established Elvis as a legitimate actor with a stellar supporting cast including Paul Stewart and Vic Morrow.   Scheduled Special Guest: actress Jan Shepard

Sunday May 12:

10:00 am: SHAKEDOWN (1950) Universal, 80 min. D; Joseph Pevney. Unscrupulous newspaper photographer Jack Early (Howard Duff) feeds his ambition by contriving fake news until running afoul of a scheming racketeer (Brian Donlevy) and an ominous rival gangster (the ferocious Lawrence Tierney).  An early tale of journalistic cynicism nicely served up by former Palm Desert resident Joe Pevney (watch for him in a brief cameo) in his directorial debut.  Also starring: Peggy Dow, Bruce Bennett and Anne Vernon.  Not on DVD, blu-ray or streaming.


1:00 pm: THE GLASS KEY (1942) Paramount/Universal 85 min. D. Stuart Heisler.

Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake cemented their film noir legacy in Jonathan Latimer’s scintillating adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s 1931 novel. Ladd pulls the strings for two-fisted political boss (Brian Donlevy) who backs a reform candidate (Moroni Olson) after becoming smitten with his daughter (Lake). Donlevy’s contrariness pits him against an underworld chieftain (Joseph Calleia) and his vicious torpedo (William Bendix) with Ladd attempting to play both sides while solving a murder.  Hammett’s intricate tale of political corruption and double-dealing remains spot-on nearly 90 years after the fact.  Scheduled Special Guest: Julie Rivett.

4:00 pm: MILDRED PIERCE (1945) Warner Bros. 109 min. D; Michael Curtiz. Joan Crawford’s Academy Award winning renaissance of a performance highlights one of Hollywood’s greatest films.  Producer Jerry Wald and Curtiz’s vibrant adaptation of James M. Cain’s novel is laden with unforgettable turns. Oscar-nominated Ann Blyth as Veda, the “daughter from hell”, a smarmy Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden (Oscar-nominated), Bruce Bennett, and Lee Patrick.  Accompanied by a memorable score by the great Max Steiner.  Is there a better Mothers Day film? We think not! 


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