Among other activities, our Palm Springs lifestyle includes the opportunity to see many great films during our annual festivals. One of these – the Film Noir Festival, returns to the Camelot Theatres May 28-31 under a new name – The Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival. An eclectic mix of Classic Film Noir “B” movies are typically shown, along with the occasional, very obscure and ‘not on DVD’ film, and sometimes a neo-noir film, such as Pulp Fiction. The new name this year honors the late Arthur Lyons, who along with Craig Prater, co-founded the festival in 2000.
The festival is now under the sponsorship of the Palm Springs Cultural Center, as announced recently by David Todd, Center Director. Another change this year is their redesigned Web site with many new features. As films are locked in for the upcoming festival venue, they are added to the schedule online. As of today, there are 10 entries, including two Burt Lancasterofferings, one of which is Criss Cross made in 1949 also starring Yvonne DeCarlo and Dan Duryea; another film which caught my eye is Female on the Beach from 1955, starrin gJoan Crawford and Jeff Chandler. When I read this next title, made in 1956 –The Bad Seed, I actually got goose bumps in remembering how shocking and sinister it was! A neo-noir film is included this year, entitled Thief, which dates back to 1981 and stars James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Willie Nelson, and Jim Belushi; the festival directors are touting it as the best neo-noir film of the last three decades.
One feature that makes this event so much fun is the attendance of stars and others in the industry who share their recollections from the Calssic Film Noir era. Last year’s appearances by Angie Dickinson and Jane Meadows were a real treat; they still have their star power. Jane proudly announced that she was pushing 80. Both looked fabulous. This year’s guests will include, among others, Patty McCormick of The Bad Seed, and Ann Jeffreys of Riff Raff, in which Pat O’Brien and Walter Slezak also starred.
The festival has steadily grown in popularity and draws noir aficianados from near and far. Last year, Dick and I had chosen seats on the left aisle, down front, each night, and we began to notice that a certain guy always sat there, as well. He came from out of state and told us that he attends the entire festival every year and buys the full pass. When it came time to say “good-bye”, we added, “See you next year!”
Go to Black is Back to learn more about this year’s films and special guests.