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Letter: Film Festival thumbs up

I want to applaud the Lake Tahoe Film Festival and the community that supported it for the tremendous festival presented this past weekend. I had the good fortune to be a part of it as the director of the tribute to Tab Hunter and as the individual who introduced the premiere of the film, “With a Friend Like Harry.” I am an independent filmmaker and professor of film and was honored when the festival asked me to participate.

“With a Friend Like Harry” was originally scheduled to be the opening night film. As the introducer of “With a Friend Like Harry,” I suggested that the festival’s executive director, Denise Sloan, consider swapping that film with the Billy Wilder classic, “Some Like it Hot.” I’d like to explain why.

Although the festival was honored with Miramax’s (the film studio distributing the film) decision to screen the film at the festival, they had not provided the festival with a screening copy of the film or any related materials and thus Denise and her colleagues were unable to see the film prior to programming it. I was able to see the film in Hollywood the day before the festival began.



What the festival organizer didn’t know was that “With a Friend Like Harry” – a French film with English subtitles – was a dark drama about murder. I knew that this year’s festival was a celebration of Hollywood comedies. Therefore, I advised Denise that it might be more appropriate to screen “Some Like it Hot” – the No. 1 comedy of all time as determined by the prestigious American Film Institute – for the opening night gala. I thought that the audience would be expecting a comedy to open a festival dedicated to comedies. Denise agreed, and courageously changed the program at the last minute. And I believe that almost everyone at the Harrah’s showroom that night enjoyed seeing the antics of Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe on the big screen. “With a Friend Like Harry” was presented on Sunday in the slot originally intended for “Some Like it Hot.”

I want to congratulate Denise and the Lake Tahoe Pioneering in Film Festival once again and I look forward to participating and contributing to it in the years ahead.



Mitch Levine

Los Angeles


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