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POP EYE

November 29, 1987|PATRICK GOLDSTEIN

ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK: Haven't you always wanted to see "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle"? Did you ever wonder what happened to "Cream's Last Concert?" And I'll bet you've never seen "Jimi at Monterey." Don't worry--rock film aficionados will get a huge cinematic fix beginning New Year's Eve when "Rock on Film," a retrospective tribute to the most explosive cultural force of the 20th Century, debuts at the Wiltern Theatre. Presented by the American Cinematheque in association with the Wiltern, the three-week program will feature 22 separate-admission programs crammed with rock-movie rarities and classics. (Films will air Thursday through Sunday nights, with two screenings each evening, from Dec. 31 through Jan. 17.)

"This is something we've been trying to put together for years," said Gary Essert, artistic director of the American Cinematheque. "We took it to the Wiltern, where management has been interested in developing a film presence at the theater, but we also think it's a great series for us so that we can show the breadth of projects we can do. The idea is to make each evening a real rock experience from the moment you walk in. We're going to have special exhibits in the lobby, a major rock personality will introduce each program and we've gotten some great prints--many from private collectors and archivists."

Each festival program has a specific theme, though opening night will box the rock compass, offering everything from "Rock Around the Clock" to "Rock and Roll High School," plus a live band on stage at midnight. Other high points include a rock '50s tribute, two separate Beatles programs, a '60s-in-England night, a Doors show (with never-before-seen footage), a Dylan program, a Stones collection and, on Jan. 16, a special benefit program that will include the first L.A. showings of two D. A. Pennebaker documentaries, "Jimi at Monterey" and "Shake" (with Otis Redding).

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