When Stanley Kubrick Went Noir, and Extra: Palm Springs’ Annual Film Noir Competition Returns With Extra Gloomy-and-White Larceny


When Stanley Kubrick Went Noir, and Extra: Palm Springs’ Annual Film Noir Competition Returns With Extra Gloomy-and-White Larceny


The barren region will again be a hotbed of deceit and larceny in luxurious unlit-and-white as the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Competition returns to Palm Springs this Thursday through Sunday, with the quintessential noir classics “The Killing” and “Double Indemnity” bookending a marathon weekend that in any other case tends toward more infrequently ever screened ‘40s and ‘50s titles.

Several sons or daughters of the novel actors or directors would perhaps be on hand, but of particular ardour to festival attendees continuously is the presence of actually apt one of many particular filmmakers: James B. Harris, 94, Stanley Kubrick’s producing accomplice for several of his easiest early movies, who’ll be in a jam to talk first-hand about the making of 1956’s “The Killing,” the crime drama that turned out to be Kubrick’s first staunch masterpiece.

“I’m correct fully thrilled that ‘The Killing’ will imprint and Jimmy continuously is the guest on opening evening,” says the festival’s longtime guiding light, writer and great noir expert Alan K. Rode. “The festival’s been around for 23 years, and I’ve been the producer, programmer and host for the final 16, and I’ve never confirmed the identical film twice. This festival started out exhibiting obscure movies of the film noir era, after which I started mixing within the classics. Earlier this year, I was once privileged to invent the commentary on a 4K edition of ‘The Killing,’ actually apt one of many greatest heist movies ever made, if no longer the greatest. All over the identical time, a buddy launched me to Jimmy, and it’s been a privilege to win to clutch Jimmy and hear his immense reservoir of recordsdata and insightfulness and honesty about this film and his profession, as smartly as Stanley’s. Having a film worship this and having James Harris there is correct a win-win for all americans.”

Harris tells Diversity that the classification that is now worn for crime movies of the era never came up all around the production of “The Killing,” as any student of the artform will know, because it was once most moving coined by international critics years after the motion had already waned. “No, that period of time never came up,” the producer says, “but even genre never came up. Noir or genre never entered our minds. It was once correct a quiz of taking a legitimate legend and turning it right into a legitimate film.” In this case, it was once Harris exhibiting up with essentially the most moving legend, as he was once the one who chanced on the unconventional “Clear Ruin” in a e book shop and introduced it to Kubrick as the source topic topic for the most significant of their three seminal collaborations — soon adopted by “Paths of Glory” and “Lolita.”

A poster for Stanley Kubrick’s 1956 crime film ‘The Killing’ starring Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, Ted de Corsia, Joe Sawyer, and Jay C. Flippen. (Portray by Film Poster Image Art/Getty Photos)
Getty Photos

Other company at the four-day festival at the Palm Springs Cultural Middle consist of David Ladd, who will talk after a screening of his father Alan Ladd’s starring appearance in “This Gun for Hire,” and, following an especially rare exhibiting of director Josef Von Sternberg’s “The Shanghai Gesture,” a focus on with Nicholas Von Sternberg, that filmmaker’s cinematographer son, and singer Victoria Extinct, the daughter of actually apt one of many film’s stars, Victor Extinct.

Several of the flicks would perhaps be screened in rare 35mm prints, attributable to of projectors the Palm Springs Cultural Middle (beforehand the Camelot Theatre) retains on hand partly for the functions of hosting Rode’s noir festival on its mountainous display veil every Mother’s Day weekend. Some are equipped by studios, but two of the prints approach from the Library of Congress and the George Eastman Rental. (Scroll down for a full lineup of the festival’s choices, alongside with times and impress recordsdata.)

In a cell phone conversation with Rode, Harris talked a little about the origins and makings of “The Killing,” offering a preview of the dialogue they’ll have all around the festival’s opening evening Thursday (that would also very smartly be adopted by a celebration for full passholders).

The film was once in fact Kubrick’s third directorial effort, but, some would enlighten, the most significant in fact fair appropriate, let alone substantial, one after “Anguish and Need” and “Killer’s Kiss.” “This was once no longer a cash maker for both Jimmy or Stanley, the least bit,” aspects out Rode. “And the truth that this got made for a little over $300,000 is out of the ordinary.” Despite its A-level solid and production values, in some contrivance it literally ended up going out as a B-image, on the motivate finish of double aspects. Talked about Harris, “It was once disappointing that the film be troubled up as the 2nd characteristic to ‘Bandido’… When you’re accustomed to distribution, you’ll know that that the 2nd characteristic in most cases was once correct flat rentals, so it would have a cramped contaminated capability.” But there was once no limit to how it space Kubrick as much as turn out to be actually apt one of many substantial directors within the history of cinema.

Harris stresses that the film’s brilliance is no longer Kubrick’s alone. The substantial novelist Jim Thompson was once actually apt one of essentially the most significant scripters, even supposing he was once relegated to an “extra dialogue” credit, a option on the director’s allotment that is actually apt one of many few things he a little bit knocks his primitive accomplice for. After which there was once the source novel itself.

“I stress the importance of beforehand printed topic topic. I don’t have faith ample credit is given to the authors of the books attributable to they did all of the heavy lifting,” Harris stated. “Lionel White, in writing ‘Clear Ruin,’ which became ‘The Killing,’ in fact structured the flashback topic, which could per chance imprint the assignment of every participant within the theft, and so we needed to return to imprint the beginnings of every participant. That was once an attractive intrepid ingredient for us to invent, attributable to flashbacks to a substantial extent weren’t a smartly-liked produce of telling a epic, we had been steered.

“Actually when we carried out the film, all americans who we screened it for in fact instantaneous that we reedit the image right into a straight-line legend attributable to flashbacks would irritate the viewers. Because when you insist them to the purpose the establish the theft’s gonna rob design after which you flash motivate to stuff all all yet again with the plenty of individuals, they stated the viewers is actually going to be irate, and you’re gonna have an proper topic on the phrase of mouth. This was once something the establish, if ample folks show you you’re sick, you feel which that it is advisable well need to lie down. We felt we needed to no much less than disappear over it again and glance: Had been we on the impolite song here? Final we figured that, if we’re going to fail, we can need to fail with our dangle recommendations, no longer somebody else’s.”

And yet, Harris great, “We did strive to reedit the film earlier than we delivered it to United Artists. We rented an modifying room and tried to redo it as a straight-line legend. And halfway through we checked out every assorted and stated, ‘What on earth are we doing?’ Because your entire cause that we had been drawn to the legend was once the construction that Lionel White had laid out within the e book. And so we straight away place aside it motivate the system we have faith it needs to be. And as Alan correct stated, it would also very smartly be actually apt one of essentially the most productive heist movies ever made. So what I’m getting at is that Lionel White, who wrote the e book, did the entire heavy lifting, even supposing that it is advisable enlighten that we had essentially the most moving sense to worship this and rob fair appropriate thing about it.”

The one most significant departure from the unconventional, space-wise as Harris recalls it, is the climax. (Very miniature spoiler ahead.) “Stanley and I had been having dinner one evening at the Automat in Times Sq., and we had been discussing about how we had been gonna finish the image. I came up with the basis of: Wouldn’t it be ironic within the event that they are attempting through all this anxiousness and total the theft and at the very finish, they win to the airport to rob off, and in some contrivance the cash all comes free and blows away? Stanley jumped on this notion attributable to I guess it reminded us of ‘Fancy of the Sierra Madre’  — and in stutter that’s a departure from the e book.”

American actor Elisha Cook, Jr. (1903 – 1995) as George Peatty with Marie Windsor (1919 – 2000) as his wife Sherry, in a mute from the film ‘The Killing’, 1956. The film was once directed by Stanley Kubrick for United Artists. (Portray by United Artists/Archive Photos/Getty Photos)
Getty Photos

Harris and Rode both mentioned what was once most significant about the noir motion to them, or even how it would also be defined. The producer went on an intensive riff, comparing it to the substantial song of the era.

“I advise I compare making motion photos to taking part in jazz,” stated the producer. “Jazz is basically basically based on improvisations and variations on the melody. Jazz is an unpopular produce of song attributable to it’s too subtle for folks — attributable to, once the melodic line is stated, then the improvisation takes design and the variations, basically basically based on the chords that make stronger the melody, and folks lose song of it. When they lose song of the melody, then they’re lost, and to boot they don’t worship what’s going on.

“Now, I liken making motion photos to taking part in jazz, in that you just in fact must dramatize things the system that you just glance them, and rarely they don’t hook up straight with the system folks glance them. These who worship favorite song, they’re the identical folks who worship motion photos that have happy endings which could per chance be uplifting, so when they approach out of the theater, they honestly feel fair appropriate about things. But some of us desire to expose reviews the system they honestly are in life. And that becomes noir, attributable to they don’t all the time have happy endings, or they’ve endings that leave you wondering what’s in fact going down. …  The phrase noir in fact is something that that got caught on the more or much less movies that don’t have happy endings and that take care of the wrong facet of folks, the establish it forces you to in fact root for folks which could per chance be committing crimes and things. They turn out to be the hero of a allotment, which is actually contradictory to mainstream motion photos.”

“Crime from the attitude of the criminals,” provides Rode, in a nutshell.

Rode believes noir is the genre or motion of the previous that tends to have the greatest enchantment for younger audiences. “I have faith film noir is actually apt one of essentially the most significant umbilicals that connects a younger era with traditional film, attributable to the characters and the storylines in most of these movies take care of the human situation and these things which could per chance be so total to noir — and to folks — worship lust, larceny, greed and betrayal. I have faith no topic how a younger era could per chance no longer establish why docs smoke cigarettes, and women and men place aside on silly hats, and the telephones explore worship the scale of boomerangs, it doesn’t topic. They title with the dialogue, with the legend, with the characters. Serve when Art (Lyons, the slack mystery writer) based this festival in 2000, his motto was once, ‘It’s all within the legend,’ and I have faith that that mute holds correct.

“And that’s why folks continue to approach motivate out and glance these movies the system they had been intended to be viewed: in a neighborhood, in a darkened theater on a mountainous display veil,” Rode continues. “So I have faith asserting asserting the viability of the flicks and the theatrical ride, which is under siege now with streaming, and after COVID, is highly, a must have. Of us must no longer rob it with out a consideration that these movies will all the time be readily available. Exhibiting film itself has gotten significant more no longer easy, correct in the case of the tools, the qualified projectionists and so forth. It’s significant more no longer easy in stutter to point to these movies as they had been intended in a theater than ever earlier than in the case of availability and fee. Yearly gifts a new topic, however the ingredient that’s particular about the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Competition is that every year the Palm Springs Cultural Middle and myself and the folks that make stronger this characterize that we’re as much as the topic.”

For followers of noir in Los Angeles who are no longer in a jam to invent it out to Palm Springs, there are assorted alternatives coming up that involve Rode — although none of them involve the probability to glance as many as 5 noirs in a single day, as the Lyons Competition does.

First off, for somebody wondering about the fate of Noir City Hollywood, which Rode and Eddie Muller have programmed and co-hosted at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre attributable to the Nineties (with a immediate put up-COVID pass to the Hollywood Legion), that festival will return in 2023… correct no longer, as all americans has found out by now, in its regular April time slot.

“Noir City Hollywood would perhaps be coming to the Aero Theater the most significant week of August,” Rode confirms. “Eddie Muller and I will have a substantial program alongside with the American Cinematheque for that, alongside side some live occasions that we’re engaged on. We held off for a whereas attributable to we wanted to glance if the Egyptian Theatre could well per chance be readily available. And because it looks, the refurbishment and the rebuild of the theater (by new proprietor Netflix) doesn’t explore worship it’s gonna total this year, so we’ll be at the Aero.”

Remarkable earlier than that, but additionally on the west facet, Rode is currently fascinated about the screening of some noirs at the Skirball Middle as allotment of that group’s ongoing sequence about the Hollywood blacklist of the ‘50s, running throughout the finish of August.

Meanwhile, Rode’s most popular e book, following his acclaimed biography of director Michael Curtiz, is about the film “Blood on the Moon,” which has been described as the final noir-Western hybird — a extraordinarily explicit sub-genre. Rode would perhaps be presenting it as allotment of the festival in Palm Springs this weekend, and signing copies of the e book earlier than the screening. But somebody certain to L.A. who’s fresh about the film or e book can approach to a exhibiting and signing at the Autry Museum’s theater in Griffith Park on Also can simply 20 at 1 p.m.

Going motivate to the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Competition this weekend, here’s a Rode-annotated recordsdata to the entire vintage movies taking part in, following the Thursday evening kickoff at 7 p.m. with Harris and “The Killing.”

Friday, Also can simply 12

10 a.m.: “Dial 1119,” directed by Gerald Mayer (1950)

“That’s a 65-minute film produced by MGM and directed by Gerald Mayer, who was once Louis B. Mayer’s nephew. This was once within the forefront of message movies from MGM’s production chief, Dore Shari, and it’s about an insane assassin who runs amuck whereas looking out for the police psychologist who testified at his trial and takes hostages in a bar. It’s a stark point of view of illegal activity and mental sickness, and it additionally uses comparatively a charming space point about embryonic tv, the establish that it is advisable have a bar with a giant TV space in 1950 — and the bartender, needless to claim, is William Conrad.”

Robert Mitchum within the Western/noir ‘Blood on the Moon’

1 p.m.: “Blood on the Moon,” directed by Robert Intellectual

“Robert Mitchum ditches his fedora and trench coat for a Stetson and chaps. This was once Robert Intellectual’s first A-image debut, tailored from a novel by a female screenwriter by the title of Lily Hayward who had in fact a moving Hollywood profession from the ‘30s onward, and lensed by the ace noir cinematographer Nicholas Musuroca. It in fact was once the forerunner of a darker genre of Westerns.”

‘The Naked City’

4 p.m.: “The Naked City,” directed by Jules Dassin

“A conventional policier directed on design in Unusual York by Jules Dasson, produced by Tag Hellinger. It’s in fact his cinematic valentine to his liked Unusual York. It established the prototype police procedural, written by Melvin Weld who haunted lineups, interrogations and autopsy rooms to invent an ultra-real looking legend of a NYPD execute investigation, led by a solid-in opposition to-form Barry Fitzgerald. The ingredient that’s additionally frosty about this: this film’s been confirmed loads — I’ve never confirmed it — but here’s a digital restoration that was once done in Germany from Janus Movies, and it’s never looked greater or sounded greater.”

7:30 p.m.: “This Gun For Hire,” directed by Frank Tuttle

“Adapted by the Hollywood 10’s Albert Maltz and the substantial W.R. Burnett; an adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel. it was once the preliminary display veil pairing of Ladd and Veronica Lake. And this made Ladd a giant title straight away as a sympathetic killer for rent. In the early allotment of the film, there’s a scene the establish he treats a cat with substantial gentleness. So I knew whether or no longer this guy was once a employed killer or no longer, I was once gonna worship him, correct?”

Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd in
‘This Gun for Hire’

Saturday, Also can simply 13

8 a.m.: An early-chicken screening of a only within the near previous restored 35mm print, introduced by the Library of Congress and the Film Noir Foundation for passholders most moving

10 a.m.: “Decoy,” directed by Jack Bernhard

“You have got a stricken doctor, a assassin introduced motivate to life after being accomplished within the San Quentin Gasoline Chamber, and a substantial femme fatale efficiency by a forgotten actress named Gene Gilley, who died younger, who provides Ann Savage a disappear for her cash. A enormously spirited film.”

1 p.m.: “The Bigamist,” directed by Ida Lupino

“Proven in 35mm. I have faith here’s the most significant event of a female Hollywood giant title, within the case of Ida Lapino, directing and producing the film and directed herself. It’s in fact a groundbreaking gaze of a salesman played by noir everyman Edmund O’Brien, who’s married to a pair of girls, Ida Lapino in L.A. and Joan Fontaine in San Francisco, and he’s preserving house with them in assorted cities. Lupino’s accomplice was once her ex-husband, Collier Younger; they got divorced in 1951 so Collier Younger could per chance marry Joan Fontaine, who was once the co-giant title! I mean, which that it is advisable well per chance’t invent these things up.”

4 p.m.: “Appointment with Wretchedness,” directed by Lewis Allen

“One other 35mm print. Alan Ladd is a no-nonsense postal inspector who will finish at nothing to solve the execute of a coworker by a theft gang. And this has a substantial supporting assignment, alongside side a duo of low-life crooks which could per chance be played by Jack Webb and Harry Morgan, ahead of their assignment to the LAPD day perceive on ‘Dragnet.’”

7:30 p.m.: “The Shanghai Gesture,” directed by Josef Von Sternberg

“This restored 35mm print was once equipped by the George Eastman Rental. It’s essentially the most moving one. A Pressburger film directed by the substantial Joseph von Sternberg. The contrivance in which I will describe this film is a melodramatic fever dream, an adaptation of John Colton’s play that the censor’s place of work in Hollywood banned for 15 years unless Arnold Pressberger and Von Sternberg managed to win their script well-liked. A rarity, with younger Gene Tierney as a British thrush, Victor Extinct sporting a fez as Dr. Omar and Walter Huston as a British expat attempting to aquire a on line casino. They needed to expose it right into a on line casino comparatively than a bawdy house as within the novel play.”

‘Double Indemnity’

Sunday, Also can simply 14

10 a.m.: “The Lady Gambles,” directed by Michael Gordon

“Barbara Stanwyck’s marriage and life hit bottom after she becomes addicted to gambling. This was once written by Roy Huggins, of ‘The Rockford Recordsdata’ and ‘Maverick’ reputation on tv. It’s in fact a time capsule of early Las Vegas, because it was once made in ’49. Steven McNally, who more or much less plays a Bugsy Siegel clone, reels in Stanwyck at his on line casino that was once named the Pelican, which doubles for the Flamingo that had opened three years earlier. No longer continuously confirmed, and gorgeous fair appropriate.”

1 p.m.: “Scandal Sheet,” directed by Phil Karlson

“Adapted from Sam Fuller’s novel, ‘The Darkish Page.’ An proper keen-elbowed memoir of a tabloid reporter played by John Derek, digging up a scoop on a execute that his editor, the eternally bellicose Broderick Crawford, wants him to write down about, but is attempting to quilt up at the identical time, that contains a younger Donna Reed and substantial solid.”

4 p.m.: “Double Indemnity,” directed by Billy Wilder

“We wrap up with a film I’ve never confirmed earlier than that would also very smartly be essentially the most emblematic film of film noir. It in fact established what would turn out to be is called the quintessential film noir style, with the voiceover narration and the flashback. Undoubtedly one of Hollywood’s all time easiest screenplays as composed by Wilder and Raymond Chandler, tailored from James M. Cain’s novel. And Raymond Chandler in fact has a immediate cameo sitting in a chair within the insurance protection place of work. I’m definite many individuals have viewed it, but will need to you haven’t viewed it on the mountainous display veil, you haven’t viewed it.”

Particular particular person ticktets are $14.50, and a full festival disappear for all 13 movies plus opening evening celebration is readily available for $149. Screenings will rob design at the Palm Springs Cultural Middle, positioned at 2300 E. Baristo Aspect road.

Tickets will also be pre-purchased here.

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