Science fiction fans. Your voice has been heard.
The Palm Springs Cultural Center (PSCC) will present the inaugural Palm Springs Classic Science Fiction Festival at the Camelot Theaters, Oct. 23-25.
“The notion for this event has been germinating for quite awhile, and it is fantastic to see it come to fruition this year,” says festival producer and host Alan K. Rode, who has been producing the annual Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival at the Camelot for the last eight years.
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PSCC Executive Director Michael Green agrees. “We believe there is a viable audience for these films, and we are excited to expand our relationship with Alan in bringing a new genre of classic cinema to Palm Springs,” he says.
The Sci-Fi Festival will follow a similar format to the Arthur Lyons fest with Rode introducing the films plus conducting interviews with featured special guest stars after several of the screenings.
“I’ve programmed some of the all-time classic sci-fi films from the 1950s along with some spectacular guest stars," said Rode.
7:30 p.m.: The Fly (1958) 94 minutes. Director: Kurt Neumann. A Canadian scientist (David Hedison) self-tests his atom-scrambling teleportation device with unforgettably monstrous results. This cult shocker written by James Clavell was a box office smash that spawned a pair of sequels while giving new meaning to “Please help me!” Also starring Vincent Price, Herbert Marshall and Patricia Owens. Scheduled Special Guest: David Hedison.
photo courtesy of showfilmfirst.com
A scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
10 a.m.: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) 80 minutes. Director: Don Siegel. A doctor returns to his hometown and discovers a weird epidemic of people claiming that their loved ones are emotionless imposters. The grimmest and most allegory-laden of all sci-fi movies memorably stars Kevin McCarthy as the initially bewildered sawbones along with a gorgeous Dana Wynter, Carolyn Jones, Larry Gates and King Donovan.
1 p.m.: Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) 79 minutes. Director: Jack Arnold. An expedition to the Amazon, i.e. the Universal Studios back lot, discovers the prehistoric Gill Man, who falls for gorgeous Julie Adams. This quintessential creature feature introduced the last of the iconic Universal monsters and also stars Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, and Nestor Paiva. Scheduled Special Guest: Julie Adams.
4 p.m.: The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953) 80 minutes. Director: Eugéne Lourié. A memorable collaboration between legendary sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury and renowned stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen results in a defrosted Rhedosaurus wrecking havoc from the North Pole to lower Manhattan. Starring Paul Christian, Paula Raymond, Cecil Kellaway and Kenneth Tobey.
7:30 p.m.: The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) 81 minutes. Director: Jack Arnold. The film that created an altogether different perspective of cats and spiders remains one of the most well made 1950s pictures of any genre. Grant Williams portrays the proportionally shrinking Scott Carey, whose entire world literally closes in on him. Richard Matheson adapted a suspenseful script from his novel that is heightened by ingenious special effects and stellar supporting turns by Randy Stuart, April Kent, Paul Langton, Raymond Bailey and William Schallert.
photo courtesy of musicboxtheatre.com
A scene from It Came From Outer Space.
10 a.m.: The Thing From Another World (1951) 87 minutes. Director: Christian Nyby. Renowned filmmaker Howard Hawks produced this stylish classic about a bloodthirsty alien terrorizing a North Pole research station. A sparkling ensemble cast headed by Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, Robert Cornwaithe, Douglas Spencer, Dewey Martin and Robert Nichols keeps everybody warm by clipping off the acerbic dialogue penned by Charles Lederer, Ben Hecht and Hawks. A keen sense of humor was required to combat the dreaded “supercarrot” organism memorably portrayed by James Arness before he patrolled Dodge City in TV’s Gunsmoke.
1 p.m.: It Came From Outer Space (1953) 81 minutes. Director: Jack Arnold. Nobody believes an astronomer (Richard Carlson) after he observes a spaceship crashing in the Arizona desert. As strange events begin to pile up, the xenophobic desert populace succumbs to panic. Filmed near Palmdale and Victorville, and co-starring Barbara Rush, Charles Drake, Joe Sawyer, Russell Johnson and Kathleen Hughes. Co-written by Ray Bradbury, this seminal sci-fi thriller also boasts an eerie music score composed by the great Henry Mancini. Scheduled Special Guests: Barbara Rush and Kathleen Hughes.
4 p.m.: Them! (1954) 94 minutes. Director: Gordon Douglas. Those annoying atom bomb tests strike again create a nest of gigantic ants in the New Mexican desert that threaten the world. The first of the “big bug” flicks remains the absolute best of its kind with crackling performances by James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, James Arness and Onslow Stevens. Filmed on location in the Mojave Desert and the downtown Los Angeles river basin.
Palm Springs Classic Science Fiction Festival, Oct. 23-25, Camelot Theaters, 2300 E. Baristo Road, Palm Springs, www.psscififilmfest.org/wordpress/