Thursday, July 19, 2012

Denver's Historic Elitch Gardens Theatre -- "Film on Fridays"

Historic Elitch Gardens Theatre’s “Film On Fridays” Lights Up the Summer Skies

Step to the front tomorrow night, July 20, as the Historic Elitch Gardens Theatre's outdoor film series proudly presents Alfred Hitchcock's brilliant REAR WINDOW (1954), featuring a remarkable three Elitch acting alumnus: Grace Kelly and Raymond Burr, along with Wendell Corey.

Only 21 and a relatively unknown Broadway and TV actress, Kelly was reportedly paid $125/per week for the summer as an ingenue, appearing in eight 1951 productions, including The Man Who Came to Dinner. She lived for the summer in a basement apartment with her mother at 4020 Raleigh St, often riding a bike to rehearsals. Backstage on Aug. 10, Kelly received the famous telegram from producer Stanley Kramer asking her if she could come to Hollywood to co-star opposite Gary Cooper in High Noon. This and other roles led to her three-film association with the celebrated director Alfred Hitchcock, beginning with Dial M for Murder in 1954. She would famously marry Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956 and become Princess Grace Grimaldi of Monaco, retiring from acting.

Raymond Burr, of course, would go on to great fame after several Hollywood films as TV's Perry Mason in 1957 and, later Ironsides. Burr was a terrific friend to Denver, filming several episodes of his Perry Mason TV movies here (at the former Bonfils/Lowenstein Theater) in the 1980s and 1990s. He also raised millions of dollars for Denver educational and medical facilities.

Tickets: $5 suggested donation, with Elitch Theatre Members and kids under 14 free. Lawn seating begins at 7 pm, with the film at dusk, preceded by live music and tours. Grab your lawn chairs and blankets, but you won't need your binoculars! 
Projected in authentic 35mm prints whenever possible, Elitch's Film on Fridays is "Keeping it Reel," offering a diverse lineup for young and old ranging from director Billy Wilder’s Oscar-winning Sunset Boulevard to Mel Brooks’ ageless comedy Young Frankenstein. Curated by Thomas Delapa, Film on Friday's includes rare prints from the UCLA Film & TV Archive, NBC Universal, Criterion Pictures and Swank Motion Pictures. All proceeds go to the theater’s renovation campaign as a landmark performance-arts center. The Elitch Theatre is located at 4500 W. 38th Ave (at Utica), Denver, CO 80212. More information at and on Facebook.

Remaining Schedule
Aug. 3Sunset Boulevard (1950), directed by Billy Wilder and starring Gloria Swanson (Elitch’s, 1967) and William Holden, with Cecil B. DeMille (Elitch’s, 1905)
Aug. 17Beetlejuice (1988), directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton and Sylvia Sidney (Elitch’s, 1928)
Sept. 7 – Stay tuned for surprise sci-fi classic!
Sept. 14Young Frankenstein (1974), directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder and Cloris Leachman (Elitch’s, 1983, 1986)

About the Historic Elitch Theatre
The Historic Elitch Theatre’s mission is to create a vibrant, multidisciplinary cultural arts center in Northwest Denver that strengthens and engages the community through innovative live arts programming accessible to a diverse public.

The Elitch Theatre has been an important part of Colorado’s cultural landscape since its inception in 1891. It was the first cultural center in Colorado, and is the oldest summer stock theater in the nation. In 1896, it was also the site of one of the West's first showings of Thomas Edison's "Vitascope" motion pictures. Many pioneers and famous faces such as Grace Kelly, Douglas Fairbanks, Edward G. Robinson, Sylvia Sidney, Raymond Burr, Patricia Neal, Cecil B. DeMille, and Robert Redford, to name a few, passed through this iconic American theater at one point in their careers. One early star at Elitch’s was only 15 years old when she first appeared on the Elitch Theatre stage and was called “Tony” for short. This Denver girl grew up to be the famous Broadway producer, Antoinette Perry, for whom the Tony Awards are named. The Elitch Theatre delighted Denver audiences for 100 years, with the last production occurring in 1991. In 1931, DeMille called it "one of the greatest cradles of the drama in American history.''