By Dave Montalbano
While it is later this year, it is hard to believe that the 29th Annual Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival concludes this weekend. One of Robin Williams last films, A Merry Friggin’ Christmas will be screened this Sunday night at Cinema Paradiso. The two screenings will also present a special tribute to the fallen idol.
This weekend also features multiple tributes to Palm Beach resident George Hamilton. While best known as a sun-tanned icon from 1960s beach blanket movies, Hamilton’s resume is far more diverse and concrete. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Hamilton produced and starred in Love at First Bite (as a disco dancing Dracula) and Zorro: The Gay Blade. Both were lightweight comedies, conservatively produced, and provided Hamilton a nice nest egg for his later years.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Hamilton revealed performance potential at an early age when he attended Palm Beach High School. His first film Crime & Punishment, U.S.A was a modern adaptation of Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime & Punishment. His persona as a “sun burned lothario” became evident in color motion pictures, most notably Where the Boys Are and Light in the Piazza, starring Yvette Mimieux and Olivia de Havilland.
When Robert Duvall turned down his appearance in The Godfather: Part III, Hamilton became Al Pacino’s lawyer. In contrast to portraying a smooth professional in Brooks Brothers suits, Hamilton gave a sincere performance as singer Hank Williams in Your Cheatin’ Heart.
While Hamilton will be acknowledged at the Awards Gala Friday night, this Saturday evening he will be hosting, At Home, On Stage at Cinema Paradiso- FTL.This program is a 90 minute presentation that features film clips and montages. Hamilton will be the Master of Ceremonies of this one-man performance and will be taking questions from the audience. Info: www.fliff.com
With FLiFF29 wrapping up this weekend, it is now time to consolidate my top 10 list for the end of 2014. At the moment, there are not enough films for a Top 10. Therefore, I am reviewing DVDs from highly recommended word of mouth considerations.