Rockstar Recommends: Rare California-Set Films of the 13th Annual Los Angeles Festival of Film Noir

Posted on March 23 2011, 11:10am | Author: R* Q | Filed Under: Rockstar, Games

One week from this Friday, on April 1st, the 13th Annual Los Angeles Festival of Film Noir kicks off at the historic Egyptian Theater (an LA landmark that itself makes an appearance during a case in L.A. Noire).

Not just a one weekend event, the festival spans across three long weekends in a row with 28 films in total, the vast majority of which are gems not available on DVD and virtually impossible to see otherwise.  We definitely recommend checking it out if you’re lucky enough to be in southern California this April, and of course if you’re very lucky enough to be the grand prize winner in our Los Angeles Noire Weekend Sweepstakes – part of which means getting free passes to check out the movies at the Egyptian that weekend.

In the meantime, you can check out the full lineup of festival programming at their Facebook page here.
Given that we’re in such a west coast noir state of mind – here’s some of the rare films featured during the event that are also notably set in California…

Strangers in the Night” (1944; Anthony Mann)
Playing Friday April 1st
Anthony Mann was one of film noir’s most venerable directors, responsible for classics like “T-Men”, “Side Street”, “Raw Deal” and others. Mann also went on later in his career to direct some of the most highly regarded westerns like “Winchester ‘73”  and “Cimarron”, imparting the influences of noir style into that genre to help redefine it during its key 1950’s heyday. “Strangers in the Night” is a true rarity from very early on in Mann’s career. In it, a WWII marine stationed in the South Pacific returns home to the states and travels to a California town in search of a woman named Rosemary whom he’s never met – but who had been writing to him as a pen pal while he was at war. Rosemary’s mother, a mysterious and crippled old woman, tells him that Rosemary has moved away – but all is not what it seems – in true noir fashion.

The Threat” (1949; Felix E. Feist)
Playing Thursday April 7th
In this crime thriller, Red Kluger, a vicious ex-con, busts out of prison intent on exacting revenge on the three people who sent him up – a D.A., a detective, and the woman who betrayed him – lounge club singer Carol (played by b-movie starlet Virginia Grey who also appears in “Strangers in the Night”). Kluger and his henchmen kidnap all three, taking them to a remote hideout in California’s Mojave Desert. As the hostages await their fate, and the gangsters await their getaway plane – all does not go as planned…

Loophole” (1954; Harold D. Schuster)
Playing Saturday April 9th
An innocent Los Angeles bank teller takes the fall for a missing $50,000 from his bank drawer – the police, the bank, the insurance company, and local public opinion all convinced of his guilt. In the gut-wrenching tradition of noirs like “Detour”, this unassuming nice guy winds up spiraling into a living hell that only gets worse and worse. Check out a great write-up of the film at the Noir of the Week blog including a rare clip on YouTube.

Female on the Beach” (1955; Joseph Pevney)
Playing Wednesday April 13th
It’s hard to imagine a Joan Crawford film released by Universal being such a rarity, but this dark noir melodrama with shades of “Mildred Pierce” (a noir that is one of Crawford’s most acclaimed films, currently being remade as a mini-series by HBO) is among the hard to find entries not currently available on DVD. In it, Crawford plays Lynn Markham, a widow who moves into a Malibu beach house on the LA coastline – a rental property owned by her late husband. She discovers that a previous tenant, Eloise Crandall, died under mysterious circumstances. Adding to the intrigue, Lynn meets and falls head over heels for an attractive and charming local ‘beach bum’ who she soon marries. As she learns more of her new husband and his shady friends, the truth of Eloise Crandall’s death and much more come to light. You can see an interesting TV promo spot for the film posted on YouTube here.

Framed” (1947; Richard Wallace)
Mr. Soft Touch” (1949; Gordon Douglas & Henry Levin)
A double feature of Glenn-Ford-starring, California-set crime thrillers on the very weekend that the winner of the Los Angeles Noire Sweepstakes will be in town. In “Framed”, Ford plays a truck driver who breaks down in a small town only to fall under the spell of a seductive and manipulative femme fatale played by the stunning Janis Carter. Soon he’s embroiled in a web of murder, robbery, and betrayal. You can read a nice write-up of “Framed” at the noir blog, The Night Editor. In “Mr. Soft Touch”, Ford plays a returning WWII vet  who discovers that the San Francisco nightclub he owns is now controlled by the mob, his business partner murdered as part of the hostile takeover. In revenge, Ford steals $100,000 from the nightclub and goes on the lam, planning to skip town for good with the looted cash and the mob on his trail.

Previous Rockstar Recommends:
The Naked City | He Walked By Night | Chinatown | Scarlet Street | Detour

  • R* Yon May 9 2011, 3:35pmReplyFlag
    @chscott9525 Thanks!
    • chscott9525on May 4 2011, 8:22pmReplyFlag
      hey R*, been a huge fan of your games since the first GTA, still play gta2 on the game boy, its a hoot lol. i cannot even tell you how much im looking forward to la noire, something different in the land military shooters(yawn). i was wanting to let yall know about one of my favorite bands and music videos which, i guess you could say, fits in well with the la noire era, its Halestorm-Familiar Taste of Poison. that would be a cool case to see pan out in R* fashion., thanks for your time. COME ON LA NOIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      • R* Yon April 3 2011, 8:50amReplyFlag
        @artinmall Thanks for your kind words, we're glad you're enjoying all that Red Dead has to offer.
        • Josemonkeyson March 24 2011, 8:51pmReplyFlag
          Woooooow very nice looks real ¡!
          • R* Yon March 24 2011, 7:18pmReplyFlag
            @eddyze @LiL.A.King @artinmall Great to see you guys are looking forward to having the game in your hands this May, more coverage to come over the next few weeks.
            • eddyzeon March 24 2011, 5:54pmReplyFlag
              I'm so looking forward to play this game. This is the most realistic graphic i've ever seen. GTA IV came out like a bomb but this will be the real thing. I thing you can count this as GTA V. R* do you guys planing to make GTA V in the future, as i see you guys are busy with L.A Noire.
              • LiL.A.Kingon March 24 2011, 4:05pmReplyFlag
                R* is the best!! Looking forward to this game and also to gta 5!!
                • R* Yon March 24 2011, 2:39pmReplyFlag
                  @1800-Tequila We'll be giving out some details on the music of L.A. Noire in the coming weeks, look for that here on the Newswire.
                  • FrozenOne-94on March 24 2011, 1:18pmReplyFlag
                    Well with the recommendations we surely are prepared for the game. I recommend Rockstar Games (and Team Bondi for this title) as an example for other developers.
                    • joaquinnnon March 24 2011, 7:29amReplyFlag
                      it is godthe game
                      • 1800-Tequilaon March 23 2011, 10:23pmReplyFlag
                        @ R* When will the details for the music be discussed? I like listening to Jazz and all that its very relaxing.
                        • SFX6669on March 23 2011, 9:07pmReplyFlag
                          Pour les francophones, retrouvez toute l'actualité de Rockstar Games, L.A. Noire, Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto et bien plus encore sur :


                          For francophones, find all the news of Rockstar Games, L.A. Noire, Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto end more on :

                          • R* Yon March 23 2011, 6:54pmReplyFlag
                            @vince_42069 Nice - and be sure to check out all of our recommendations that we've posted so far:
                            • vince_42069on March 23 2011, 6:26pmReplyFlag
                              Thanks for the recommendations! Now I got some more movies to watch before LA Noire, I'll try and check out the ones mentioned if I can find them :)
                              • nash4mon March 23 2011, 4:52pmReplyFlag
                                very nice
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