The 43rd Telluride, Colorado Film Festival kicks off today and will run through the entire Labor Day weekend. Cutting edge new films, revivals of classics, and a special award presentation to Casey Affleck highlight the events.
Among the revival films are classics like The Barefoot Contessa, directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, The Fire Within, directed by Louis Malle and Spies, directed by Fritz Lang.
As I mentioned in the last blog, the festival always has a unique poster. The commissioned artists is free to draw whatever she/he wants, with only one stipulation: it must contain the word “show.” Of all of the posters Telluride has featured, my favorite is the Charlie Chaplin work shown above.
Snuggly situated in the San Juan Mountains, Telluride is surrounded by the highest concentration of 14,000 foot mountains in the United States. Hiking is absolutely breathtaking – aside from Tom Boy Road, which I mentioned in the last blog, my family and I also like the Bridal Veil Falls trail.
Founded in 1875, Telluride history is replete with charming and nefarious incidents. One of the most famous of the latter took place on June 24, 1889: Butch Cassidy and his gang robbed their first bank on that date in Telluride. Pictured above is the Mahr Building, which bears a plaque noting the event. The actual bank building burned down and was replace by the Mahr Building on the same site in 1892. Rumored to be part of the robbery was the Sundance Kid, who helped the outlaws escape by setting up relay horses. No telling if this is true or not.
For years the Skyline Guest Ranch, which is located south of town, was the place to go for a rustic mountain vacation. Some may not associate the author, Vladimir Nabokov, with rural living, but he was an avid butterfly collector; along with his wife, Vera, Nabokov stayed at the Skyline in July of 1951. Collecting some 60 specimens, most of them on Tom Boy Road, he proclaimed that Telluride was one of the most beautiful places to engage in his hobby. Also pictured above is my son, Jon, when he was much younger.
About 15 years ago, I was researching material on Telluride and met with Martha Peterson who, along with her husband, Art, owned the Skyline Ranch. My wife and I spent a delightful afternoon talking with her about the experiences she and her husband had while running the ranch. Vividly recalling Nabokov, because of his continental demeanor, she said that he and Art would take long walks together, discussing a highly divergent group of topics. She also remembered that the Nabokov couple frequently competed over the chess board, sometimes fiercely. As a parting gift, she gave my wife and I the guest book for the period of time the Nabokov’s were at the ranch. Unfortunately, Martha didn’t insist that every guest sign in, and of course, the Nabokov’s did not.
Today, Skyline Ranch is no more – the last I heard billionaire, Meg Whitman, had purchased the property, preserving it for conservation purposes. Which, the now late Martha and Art Peterson, might find to be a perfect wrap to the Skyline story.
Today, Telluride is more known for famous habitués like Tom Cruise, but under that trace of glitz, the spirit of Telluride has proved to be a magnet for people with a variety of interests.
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