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Silverton to star in Western Movie Festival
From Silverton Standard, the place where you can write!
Posted on August 09 2012, 1:22pm by Mark Esper in Local News category
Three Western movies filmed in and around Silverton in the late 1940s and 1950s will be shown over Labor Day weekend in the first-ever Silverton Western Movie Festival.
The event is a fundraiser for the Silverton Standard & the Miner newspaper, which is operated by the nonprofit San Juan County Historical Society.
“Clearly the highlight of this festival will be the showing of the movie ‘Sand,’ ” said Mark Esper, editor and publisher of the Standard.
This movie was filmed in the San Juan Mountains in 1949 and had its world premier in Durango later that year.
But it has been unattainable on DVD or VHS. However, a special VHS tape has been made by the studio (at a cost of more than $400) for the Silverton All-School Reunion, which will also take place over Labor Day weekend.
“It’s likely that no audience has seen this movie in 60 years or more,” Esper said. 
“Sand” will be shown at 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday nights.
The movie is based on a story by Will James, and stars Mark Stevens as Jeff Keane, whose expensive show horse escapes from a train and runs wild in the Colorado wilderness. Keane searches for the horse while the horse learns the ways of the wild.
Much of the movie was filmed in the Molas Lake area and near Durango.
Also featured at this year’s festival will be:
• “A Great Day in the Morning” (1956), starring Robert Stack, Virginia Mayo, Ruth Roman and Raymond Burr. The movie involves a conflict in Denver during the Civil War, with Silverton’s Blair Street serving as downtown Denver. The movie also features several Silverton children.
• “The Maverick Queen” (1956), starring Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan and Scott Brady. A Pinkerton detective goes undercover to infiltrate a gang of cattle rustlers whose boss is a feisty lady headquartered in the Grand Imperial Hotel, which is featured prominently in the movie.
“Now for the best part — admission is free!” Esper said. “We are, however, suggesting donations of $7 for adults and $4 for children.”
Popcorn, soda and pizza slices will be offered for sale. Esper expressed thanks to the Silverton Youth Center for volunteering to help out with concession sales.
The festival will be held in Silverton School’s new Activity Room, with a capacity of 100 people and a brand-new DVD projection system, sound system and big screen.
“I’m hoping this can be an annual Labor Day weekend festival for Silverton,” Esper said. “There are many more movies that were filmed around here that we could show in the future.”
TIME MOVIE                    VENUE
Friday, Aug. 31: 
7 PM “Sand”                   School Activity Room
9 PM “Great Day in the Morning”  School Activity Room
Saturday, Sept. 1: 
7 PM “Sand”                      School Activity Room
9 PM “Maverick Queen”            School Activity Room
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