Film festival kicks off with some classics

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE - If you're a film fan and missed the first two days of the Lake Tahoe Pioneer Film Festival, don't fret.

You can still take in the last day and see the widely acknowledged all-time best film "Citizen Kane" at 11 a.m. today and at 2 p.m. catch the romantic classic "Casablanca."

Unfortunately, you've missed a screening of "Rear Window," Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece in remastered beauty.

And speaking of beauty, the appearance of the late Grace Kelly in "Window" was like a sudden rainbow in a darkened room. She is simply awesome in how she turns "Window" from the dark of Jimmy Stewart with broken leg window-peeking on his neighbors into an adventurous lark.

The festival opened with the cutting of a mock film strip across Casino Corridor in Stateline with plenty of dignitaries standing by. This was followed by a classy reception in the Elvis Suite at the Horizon Casino Hotel.

Then Friday night, "Rear Window" was screened at Harrah's showroom. The film was introduced by Mitch Levine, a stage and film director, who pointed out that this was the 20th anniversary of the death of director Hitchcock, "who never received an Oscar for his films but did receive one for his contributions. He took the Oscar with a curt, 'Thank you,' and marched off the stage."

Levine noted that it took years to remaster "Rear Window" from fast disintegrating negatives and suggested that the audience notice the brilliant restoration of the Technicolor print.

Saturday the Festival screened "The Manchurian Candidate," starring Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Harvey at 10 a.m. and then in the afternoon "Psycho," starring the special guest at the festival, Janet Leigh. Later in the afternoon the film "Hollywood Mavericks" was shown at the Boathouse Theater at the Tallac Center.

Saturday evening a special Celebrity Tribute was paid to Leigh at Harveys Cabaret, where a look back at some of her screen triumphs was staged by Mitch Levine.

Following Sunday's showings of "Citizen Kane" and "Casablanca," comedy shows by Mark Brown will be shown at Planet Hollywood. And in keeping with the Hollywood theme, a wrap party will be tossed at Nero's Nightclub in Caesars in Stateline.

A limited number of tickets are available for Sunday's screenings. Call (530) 577-7770. Prices for passes to the event ranged from $275 for an all-inclusive ticket to $25 opening and closing night packages.

This was the inaugural of the Lake Tahoe Film Festival and was rated by the organizers as "moderately successful," said Denise Sloan, director of the event and editor the Tahoe Daily Tribune Action section. But ...

"Wait until next year," said Sloan enthusiastically.


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