In honor of the 2009 CineVegas Film Festival (June 10 – 15), this week’s flash back is to the 1952 world premiere of “The Las Vegas Story” held at the Fremont Theatre in Downtown Las Vegas.
The movie starred Jane Russell, Vic Mature and Vincent Price. The story revolves around Linda (Russell) and Lloyd Rollins (Price). On their way from Boston to Los Angeles, the Rollins stop off in Las Vegas where Linda used to work as a lounge singer at the Last Chance Club. There, they encounter Lt. Dave Andrews, a former love interest of Linda’s who is now a sheriff’s deputy. Lloyd soon racks up a large gambling debt, Linda’s $50,000 diamond necklace goes missing, there’s a murder, kidnapping and helicopter / car chase across the desert.
The film is noted for three songs: “I Get Along Without You Very Well”
and “My Resistance Is Low,” both sung by Russell, and “The Monkey Song” performed by Hoagy Carmichael.
The premiere in Las Vegas was one of several movie premieres organized by Lloyd Katz. Katz owned not only the Fremont Theatre, but also the Huntridge Theater. Katz had a number of Hollywood connections and was able to organize not only the premiere of “The Las Vegas Story” but also “Suddenly” and “Oceans Eleven.”
Sadly, the Fremont Theatre no longer stands, but Las Vegas has not lost its close relationship with Hollywood. The CineVegas Film Festival is now in its 11th year.
The CineVegas 2009 lineup includes:
OPENING NIGHT FILM
Saint John of Las Vegas (USA, 2009)
Director: Hue Rhodes
Cast: Steve Buscemi, Sarah Silverman, Romany Malco, Peter Dinklage, Tim Blake Nelson, John Cho and Emmanuelle Chriqui
Steve Buscemi plays John, an ex-gambler-turned fraud investigator who must return to Las Vegas to investigate an insurance claim.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
World’s Greatest Dad (USA, 2009)
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
Cast: Robin Williams, Daryl Sabara, Alexie Gilmore, Tom Kenny, Geoffrey Pierson, Henry Simmons, Toby Huss
After a freak accident, Lance (Robin Williams) suddenly faces both the worst tragedy of his life, and the greatest opportunity. Determined to make lemonade from life’s lemons, Lance treads a path that could land him everything he’s ever dreamed of, as long as he can live with the knowledge of how he got there.
A collection of highly anticipated world premieres
Asylum Seekers (USA, 2008)
Director: Rania Ajami
Cast: Pepper Binkley, Bill Dawes, Judith Hawking, Daniel Irizarry, Stella Maeve, Camille O’Sullivan, Lee Wilkof
Six people on the verge of a breakdown decide to check themselves into an insane asylum, only to discover there is just room for one.
Daylight (USA, 2009)
Director: David Barker
Cast: Alexandra Meierhans, Michael Godere, Aidan Redmond, Ivan Martin
When pregnant newlywed Irene is violently taken hostage, she confronts the truth about her marriage – and finds a state of unexpected grace – in her fight to survive.
Easier with Practice (USA, 2009)
Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Cast: Brian Geraghty, Kel O’Neill, Marguerite Moreau, Jeanette Brox, Jenna Gavigan
While on a road trip to promote his unpublished novel, Davy Mitchell finds himself falling for a mysterious phone sex caller.
Etienne! (USA, 2009)
Director: Jeff Mizushima
Cast: Richard Vallejos, Megan Harvey, Caveh Zahedi, Rachel Stolte, Solon Bixler
After Richard’s best and only friend, a dwarf hamster named Etienne, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decides to take his pocket pet on a bicycle road trip up the California coast to show it the world before he must put it to sleep.
Godspeed (USA, 2009)
Director: Robert Saitzyk
Cast: Joseph McKelheer, Cory Knauf, Courtney Halverson, Ed Lauter, Jesse Ward, Hallock Beals
An intense, dramatic thriller set in the lingering light of the Alaskan midnight sun.
Mercy (USA, 2008)
Director: Patrick Hoelck
Cast: Scott Caan, Wendy Glenn, Troy Garity, Erika Christensen, Alexie Gilmore and John Boyd, with Dylan McDermott and James Caan
A successful but cynical young writer writes about love but does not really believe in it until he meets Mercy, who turns his world upside down.
Patriotville (USA, 2008)
Director: Talmage Cooley
Cast: Justin Long, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rob Corddry, Keir O’Donnell, Missi Pyle
An idealistic museum manager and a beautiful troublemaker go to war with a corrupt mayor to stop a casino from being built on their town’s “historic” battlefield.
Redland (USA, 2008)
Director: Asiel Norton
Cast: Lucy Adden, Mark Aaron, Sean Thomas, Kathan Fors, Bernadette Murray, Toben Seymour
As a family struggles to survive in rural isolation during the Great Depression, their daughter’s secret affair begins a journey into the unknown.