May 11-14, 2023
2023 Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival Schedule of Events
Thursday May 11
7:00PM Opening Night Film THE KILLING
The Killing (1956) 84 min. Harris-Kubrick Productions. D: Stanley Kubrick. One of Hollywood’s most acclaimed heist films was brilliantly directed by Stanley Kubrick and produced by James B. Harris with a script adapted from Lionel White’s novel by Kubrick and renowned noir fiction writer Jim Thompson. An ingenious scheme for a racetrack robbery led by Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) morphs into much more than he and his ensemble of miscreants bargained for. In addition to leading lady Coleen Gray, a veritable character actor Hall of Fame provides unforgettable performances: Marie Windsor, Elisha Cook Jr. Ted de Corsia, Jay C. Flippen, Joe Sawyer, Vince Edwards, Jay Adler Joe Turkel and Tito Vuolo. An evolutionary picture establishing both Kubrick and Harris as filmmakers of consequence.
Scheduled Special Guest: Producer/Director James B. Harris
Friday May 12
10:00AM 2nd Day First Film DIAL 1119
Dial 1119 (1950) 65 min. MGM/Warner Bros. D: Gerald Mayer. An insane murderer (Marshall Thompson) runs amuck while seeking the police psychologist (Sam Levene) who testified at his trial. In the vanguard of “message” films from MGM’s production chief Dore Schary, this picture is notable for its stark perspective of criminality and mental illness while deploying an innovative plot point about embryonic television. With: Virginia Field, Andrea King, Leon Ames, Keefe Brasselle, James Bell, Richard Rober and William Conrad.
1:00PM BLOOD ON THE MOON
Blood on the Moon (1948) 86 min. RKO/Warner Bros. D: Robert Wise. Robert Mitchum ditches his fedora and trench coat for a Stetson and chaps in this evolutionary noir-stained western. Robert Wise’s stellar “A” picture debut is complemented by screenwriter Lillie Hayward’s adaptation of Luke Short’s novel transplanting the rain slicked alleys of 1940’s Los Angeles into the wide open spaces of the 19th century West. Gorgeously lensed by ace noir cinematographer Nicholas Musaraca, this picture was the forerunner of a darker genre of Westerns that became preeminent on the big and small screens during the following decade. Co-starring: Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Preston, Walter Brennan, Phyllis Thaxter, Tom Tully, Frank Faylen and Charles McGraw.
4:00PM THE NAKED CITY
The Naked City (1948) 96 min. Mark Hellinger Productions/Universal International/ Janus Films. D: Jules Dassin. Mark Hellinger’s cinematic valentine to his beloved New York established the prototype police procedural that was emulated by countless movies and television shows. Screenwriter Malvin Wald haunted line-ups, interrogations and autopsy rooms to create an ultra-realistic story of an NYPD murder investigation led by a cast-against type Barry Fitzgerald. Directed on location by Jules Dassin and narrated by Hellinger, this influential classic is presented in a faultless digital restoration. With: Howard Duff, Don Taylor, Dorothy Hart and a reptilian Ted de Corsia.
7:00PM THIS GUN FOR HIRE
This Gun For Hire (1942) 81 min. Paramount/Universal. D: Frank Tuttle. Albert Maltz and W.R. Burnett’s screen adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel rocketed Alan Ladd to stardom as killer-for-hire Philip Raven. This initial screen pairing of Ladd and Veronica Lake is perhaps their finest collaboration with stellar support from a stolid Robert Preston and an oily Laird Cregar. One of the most important early films of the noir canon is beautifully photographed by cinematographer John Seitz who would be behind the camera for twenty five other Alan Ladd films. With: Marc Lawrence and Tully Marshall.
Scheduled Special Guest: Actor & Producer David Ladd.
Saturday May 13
8:00AM 3rd Day First Film THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE
A Special Early Bird Screening presented by the Library of Congress and the Film Noir Foundation for Pass Holders Only.
The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947) 67 min. RKO/Warner Bros. D; Felix Feist. This obscure, but essential “B” film noir has been made available for this special screening courtesy of the Library of Congress who preserved the film and the Film Noir Foundation who partially funded this sparkling 35mm restoration. A breakneck chase from San Diego to Los Angeles is part camp cinema and all nightmare with a fearsome Lawrence Tierney as the diabolical back seat driver from hell. With: Michael North, Nan Leslie and Andrew Tombes.
Decoy (1946) 76 min. Monogram/Warner Bros. D: Jack Bernhard. A disturbed doctor (Herbert Rudley), a dying woman’s (Jean Gillie) confession and a murderer (Robert Armstrong) brought back to life after execution in the gas chamber are but a few of the startling attributes of this bizarre film produced and directed by Jack Bernhard, an underrated Poverty Row artisan (who was married to Gillie). Scripted by Nedrick Young (The Defiant Ones, Inherit the Wind) from an original story by producer and former festival special guest Stanley Rubin. With: Edward Norris and Sheldon Leonard.
1:00PM THE BIGAMIST
The Bigamist (1953) 80 min. The Filmmakers/Paramount. D: Ida Lupino. Trailblazing filmmaker Ida Lupino directed herself in a groundbreaking study of a salesman (played by film noir’s everyman Edmond O’Brien) who is secretly married to a pair of women (Lupino and Joan Fontaine) and keeping house with them in different cities. Scripted by producer (and Ida’s ex-husband) Collier Young and filmed on location in San Francisco and Los Angeles. With: Edmund Gwenn, Kenneth Tobey and Jane Darwell. Restored 35mm print courtesy of the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
4:00PM AN APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER
Appointment with Danger (1950) 90 min. Paramount. D: Lewis Allen. Alan Ladd stars as a no-nonsense postal inspector who will stop at nothing to solve the murder of a co-worker by a brutal robbery gang; even if it means endangering the only witness to the crime, a nun (Phyllis Calvert). This stylishly crafted “docunoir” receives additional heft from a stellar supporting cast comprised of a sinister Paul Stewart, tough moll Jan Sterling and a duo of lowlifes played by Jack Webb and Harry Morgan prior to their assignment to the LAPD day watch on TV’s Dragnet.
7:00PM The Shanghai Gesture
The Shanghai Gesture (1942) 95 min. Pressburger Films. D: Josef Von Sternberg. This melodramatic fever dream of a movie is a miraculous adaptation of John Colton’s lurid play that the censor’s office banned for fifteen years until Arnold Pressburger and Von Sternberg managed to get their script approved. Beautifully rendered by Von Sternberg, this rarity features a young Gene Tierney as a British thrush, Victor Mature donning a fez as “Doctor Omar” with Walter Huston as a British expat attempting to buy a vengeful Mother Gin Sling’s (Ona Munson) casino. With: Phyllis Brooks, Maria Ouspenskaya and Mike Mazurki. Restored 35mm print provided by George Eastman House.
Scheduled Guests: Cinematographer & Educator Nicholas Von Sternberg and songstress Victoria Mature
Sunday May 14
10:00AM 4th Day First Film THE LADY GAMBLES
The Lady Gambles (1949) 99 min. Universal-International. D: Michael Gordon. Barbara Stanwyck is front and center as a sophisticate whose marriage and life hits bottom after becoming addicted to gambling. A virtual time capsule of early Las Vegas locations scripted by Roy Huggins features a sinister gambler (Stephen McNally-aping Bugsy Siegel) reeling in a hooked Babs at his casino named “The Pelican” doubling for The Flamingo which opened three years earlier. With Robert Preston as the distraught husband, Edith Barrett a neurotic sister and John Hoyt, as an unctuous doctor prescribing period pop psychology.
1:00PM SCANDAL SHEET
Scandal Sheet (1952) 82 min. Sony-Columbia D: Phil Karlson. Sam Fuller’s novel The Dark Page receives the fast-paced noir treatment from director Phil Karlson in this sharp-elbowed tale of an ambitious New York tabloid reporter (John Derek) digging up a scoop on a murder that his editor (the perpetually bellicose Broderick Crawford) is eager to cover up. Stellar support is provided by a youthfully lush Donna Reed, a bereft Rosemary De Camp, an inebriated Henry O’Neill and a cynical Harry Morgan.
4:00PM Last Movie of the Festival is the Fantastic…DOUBLE INDEMNITY
Double Indemnity (1944) 106 min. Paramount/Universal. D: Billy Wilder. The movie responsible for establishing what would later come to be recognized as the quintessential film noir style. One of Hollywood’s all-time best screenplay adaptations as composed by Wilder and Raymond Chandler (who has a brief cameo) from James M. Cain’s 1936 novel is perfectly complemented by the performances of Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson. With stunning photography by John Seitz and an unforgettable score by the great Miklós Rózsa; you don’t want to miss seeing this classic on the historic Camelot Theater’s big screen! With: Tom Powers, Jean Heather and Porter Hall.