The Film Noir Festival is one of my festivals that take place in the Coachella Valley all year long.  The under-hyped, culturally rich film fest does not just purely sell me on entertainment value alone , but I also appreciate the significance of this era in film history and having the opportunity to experience it on the big screen the way it should be experienced in all its glory.

And sometimes, well, it’s not just purely about the film and the historical significance either… sometimes it’s just the fact that the Film Noir festival is just about the best date night idea that anyone has ever had (*hint *hint).  It’s a night to dress up, go out, have a martini, attempt to revitalize classic romance and add just a pinch of drama to your life.

Film Noir 2012 in palm springs, ca

presented by the Palm Springs Cultural Center


Founded in 2000 by the late mystery author and Palm Springs community leader Arthur Lyons, this unique festival features an eclectic mixture of landmark and obscure vintage movies from the classic film noir era. Laden with period post war cynicism, these glorious black and white films are laden with suspense, sexuality and crime portrayed from the perspective of the criminals.

Each year, the festival showcases the best of film noir accentuated by a scintillating array of movie stars who appear on stage for post screening Q&A discussions, autographs and book signings.

The Arthur Lyons Film Noir Film Festival wouldn’t be possible without the generous gifts of corporate sponsors and individual donors who believe that Palm Springs should be the home of one of the best film noir Film Festivals in the world!

For more information on the how to support the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival
email Jason Bruecks


May 10-13, 2012


Thursday, May 10th – 
cry danger
7:30 PMCRY DANGER (1951) 79 minutes
An overlooked masterpiece from the era of classic noir stars Dick Powell seeking revenge after a surprise witness clears him from a robbery-homicide frame-up. Gorgeous Rhonda Fleming co-stars as the femme fatale with Richard Erdman providing both the alibi and crackling dialogue courtesy of a terrific script by Bill Bowers.  This superbly crafted debut by director Robert Parrish remains a visual time capsule of mid twentieth century Los Angeles. Also starring William Conrad and Regis Toomey.  Restored 35mm print funded by The Film Noir Foundation. NOT ON DVD
Following the screening, an on-stage discussion is scheduled with actor Richard Erdman
Friday, May 11th – 
10:00 AM: I LOVE TROUBLE (1948) 93 minutes
One of the best and most overlooked post WWII detective mysteries.  Adapted for the screen by Roy Huggins  — creator of Maverick, The Fugitive, The Rockford Files — from his novel The Double Take, and starring Franchot Tone as detective Stu Bailey (played on TV by Efrem Zimbalist in Huggins’ 77 Sunset Strip) investigating the murky past of a rich man’s wife. Tone clips off Huggins’ wisecrack laden dialogue while meandering through a plethora of double-dealing dames including Janet Blair, Janis Carter, Adele Jergens and Lynn Merrick.  Along for the wild ride are tough guys John Ireland and Raymond Burr.  Includes choice location sequences of Westwood Village, Venice and Santa Monica. NOT ON DVD
1:00 PM:  SHIELD FOR MURDER (1954) 82 minutes
Edmond O’Brien is front-and-center as Lt. Barney Nolan, LAPD’s most roguish cop who resorts to lethal force in his breakneck pursuit of the American dream. O’Brien yearns to trade in the mean streets of Rampart Division for relaxation in a Valley tract house with his chanteuse girl friend (Marla English).  Based on William P. McGivern’s novel, this directorial debut by Howard W. Koch and O’Brien is unrelentingly grim and uncompromisingly violent. With John Agar, Emile Meyer, Carolyn Jones, Claude Akins and William Schallert. The tag-line from the original movie poster tells all:  “Dame-hungry killer-cop runs berserk!’ NOT ON DVD.
4:00 PM: SLAUGHTER ON TENTH AVENUE (1957) 103 minutes
RARE SCREENING!  This fact-based racket-busting saga set on New York City’s corrupt waterfront returns to the big screen after decades of absence! Richard Egan stars an idealistic assistant D.A. taking on both the murderous waterfront crooks headed by an amusingly feral Walter Matthau and the apathetic political bureaucracy of his own office.  Egan’s case centers on eliciting the testimony of a murdered dockworker’s wife (Jan Sterling) despite the cultural tradition of never cooperating with the authorities and having a former district attorney (Dan Duryea) defending the mobsters. The all-star cast includes Julie Adams, Sam Levene, and a silver-haired Charles McGraw!  
7:30 PM: KEY WITNESS (1960) 82 minutes
Fred Morrow (Jeffrey Hunter) stops to make a phone call, observes a fatal East L.A. gang stabbing and becomes the sole witness against gang leader Dennis Hopper. Hopper unleashes a frightening jihad of urban terrorism on Morrow, his wife (Patricia Crowley) and children to make him renege as the L.A.P.D. flounders to protect them.  A gritty transition from noir to modern crime drama by director Phil Karlson featuring a contemporary interpretation of hipster dialogue and juvenile delinquency. Filmed on location in a changing Los Angeles with a jazzy musical score.  Also starring Susan Harrison, Corey Allen and Frank Silvera.  NOT ON DVD.
Following the screening, an on-stage discussion is scheduled with actress Patricia Crowley
Saturday, May 12th – 
10:00 AM: THE PROWLER (1951) 92 minutes
A startling, provocative film that challenged post World War II societal mores and the production censorship code!  Susan Gilvray (Evelyn Keyes) spends solitary evenings listening to live broadcasts of her radio DJ husband until a peeping tom frightens her into calling the police. Officer Webb Garwood (Van Heflin) casts a calculating eye on the sylvan Spanish hacienda and Susan’s figure in a bathrobe then discovers that Susan went to his high school and she is so lonely at night…  Brilliant direction by Joseph Losey, groundbreaking script by blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and produced by S.P. Eagle aka Sam Spiegel. A perverse, dark classic with the restored 35mm print funded by The Film Noir Foundation.
1:00 PM: THE BIG HEAT (1953), 89 minutes
One of the all-time classic film noirs in a new 35mm print! Glenn Ford’s indelible performance as hard-as-nails cop Dave Bannion seeking vengeance against a pervasively powerful criminal syndicate remains one of his seminal screen characterizations. Adapted from William McGivern’s novel by screenwriter Sydney Boehn, the set-piece supporting turns include Gloria Grahame’s cynical, heart-of gold moll, Lee Marvin’s coffee-hurling, cigarette-grinding thug and Alexander Scourby as the syndicate overlord whose career objective is,  “…not ending up in a ditch with the Lucky Lucianos.”  Brilliantly directed by the great Fritz Lang; don’t miss this opportunity to see one of the best films from the 1950’s on the big screen!
Following the screening, an on-stage discussion is scheduled with actor/author Peter Ford.
Peter will be signing his book, Glenn Ford, A Life before the screening in the Camelot Theatres lobby.
4:00 PM: HELL’S ISLAND (1955) 84 minutes
RARE SCREENING!  The dynamic duo of two-fisted John Payne and maestro action director Phil Karlson  (99 River Street, Kansas City Confidential) team up a third time for a fast-paced Technicolor thriller with overtones of The Maltese Falcon! Hard-drinking prosecutor Payne is canned by the Los Angeles D.A.’s office and surfaces as a bouncer in a Vegas casino.
After being hired by sinister, wheelchair-bound Francis J. Sullivan to find a missing ruby that vanished in a Caribbean plane crash, Payne runs afoul of an ex-flame (Mary Murphy) along with a motley crew of sinister characters (Arnold Moss, Paul Picerni, Sandor Szabo) as the double crosses and tropical intrigue accumulate to a startling finale.  This hard-to-find film, shot in Vistavision, has not been screened theatrically for decades! NOT ON DVD.
7:30 PM: THE GREAT GATSBY (1949) 91 minutes
RARE SCREENING! Missing for decades, a new 35mm print of the great American novel returns to the big screen!  Adapted from Fitzgerald’s novel and Owen Davis’ play, this post-war version of Gatsby directed by Elliott Nugent possesses a definitive noir texture after going through multiple screenplay iterations to obtain censorship approval. Starring Alan Ladd as Jay Gatsby, Betty Field as Daisy, Macdonald Carey, Ruth Hussey, Barry Sullivan, Howard da Silva, Shelley Winters and Elisha Cook Jr. A refreshingly dark take on a classic of American literature! NOT ON DVD.
Following the screening, an on-stage discussion is scheduled with actor/producer David Ladd.
Sunday, May 13th – 
10:00 AM: THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK (1941) 69 minutes.
Peter Lorre is superb as an immigrant watchmaker whose face becomes horribly disfigured in a fire and is subsequently shunned into a life of crime.  A chance relationship with a young blind woman (Evelyn Keyes) offers redemption, but can Lorre reconcile the relationship with his criminal life?  Tightly woven by director Robert Florey and co-written by Paul Jarrico, this noir forerunner deftly blends disillusionment, hope and tragedy as emphasized by one of Lorre’s greatest performances. Also featuring Don Beddoe and George E. Stone. NOT ON DVD
1:00 PM: ROADHOUSE (1948) 95 minutes
A duo of noir icons – Ida Lupino and Richard Widmark- are electrifying in this darkest of ménage-a trois melodramas. Ida is a sexy chanteuse who hooks up with Widmark, sings at his nightclub, and then gets involved with his boyhood pal Cornel Wilde. Temperatures rise as Ida croons “One for My Baby” and “Again” as Widmark’s jealous umbrage assumes critical mass.  Artfully directed by Jean Negulesco and co-starring Celeste Holm. Don’t miss this classic on the big screen!
Following the screening, an on-stage discussion is scheduled with actress Kathleen Hughes.
4:00 PM: POSSESSED (1947) 108 minutes
Joan Crawford in glorious apogee at Warner Brothers in an unforgettable performance!  Madly in love with an engineer (Van Heflin) who discards her after a brief affair, Joan embarks into a loveless marriage with a wealthy man (Raymond Massey) while becoming obsessed with winning over Heflin by any means necessary.  According to Crawford, this Oscar nominated portrayal of a woman’s decent into mania was the most challenging role of her career. The supple direction of Curtis Bernhardt is complemented by an adroit use of flashbacks, a dream-like prologue filmed in downtown L.A. and a memorable score by composer Franz Waxman.


Individual Tickets on Sale Now!
Matinee: $11 (10:00 AM Show) – General $13 (1:00 PM, 4:00 PM & 7:30 PM Shows)
All Access Pass: $120.00 (All Screenings)
Showclix Ticketing
Monday – Friday (6:00 AM to 6:00 PM)
Camelot Theatres Box Office
Open Daily from 11:30 AM to 8:00 PM