Monday, June 26, 2017

New Book: Asheville Movies Volume 1: The Silent Era by Frank Thompson

I want to recommend a new book, Asheville Movies Volume 1: The Silent Era, by film historian Frank Thompson. Recently published, this is a work of film history, but more specifically, local film history. In that regard, it is a pioneering work -- as well as interesting, entertaining, thoroughly researched, and briskly written. I recommend it highly.

Back in the silent era, there were a handful of regional centers of film making. Films were made in New York City and Los Angeles, as well as in Chicago, Florida, New Jersey, the San Francisco Bay Area, and elsewhere.** As well, just about every town had it's own film company; these local companies shot not only local events of note (parades, visiting dignitaries, civic anniversaries, etc...), but occasionally, if they were a little more ambitious, a drama which utilized local scenery and landmarks as well as individuals.


In Asheville Movies Volume 1: The Silent Era, author and film historian Frank Thompson rediscovers a lost era of North Carolina history. Thompson's new book is the first exploration of the films made in and around Asheville from the earliest actualities in 1900 to the final silent film, We're Careful Now, in 1929. Itinerant movie makers as well as major national film companies such as Edison, Selznick, Vitagraph, Metro, and Paramount found Asheville provided the perfect backdrop to all kinds of films from urban dramas to mountain adventures. One allegorical movie, The Warfare of the Flesh (1917), which survives in very fragmentary form, even recreated Hell in a quarry in near-by Swannanoa.


Of the fifty-plus motion pictures filmed in and around Asheville, only one survives today more or less complete: The Conquest of Canaan (1921), starring Thomas Meighan and Doris Kenyon and filmed almost entirely on the streets of Asheville (see image below). Six silent films made in Asheville between 1916 and 1929 were cast locally. Each were sponsored in part by local newspapers. All these films are missing, and presumed lost. Also lost are nearly all the memories of these important pieces of film history and North Carolina history. Thompson, as a kind of film archeologist, has done a superb job digging up the cinematic history of Asheville and environs.

Actor Thomas Meighan steps off a trolley car in front of the Swannanoa-Berkeley Hotel at 45-47 Biltmore Ave in Asheville. Director R. William Neill stands with his back to us, while Harry Perry cranks the camera. Reflectors were used to coax a little more light onto the star. Photo courtesy of the N.C. Collection, Pack Memorial Library

Some of the other major productions shot in Asheville and documented in this new book include The Foolish Woman (1916), with Clara Kimball Young, The Panther Woman (1918), with Olga Petrova, The Ordeal of Rosetta (1918), with Alice Brady.

As much as Asheville Movies Volume 1: The Silent Era is the story of local film history, it is also the story of American film history. So much of what took place in Asheville was also taking place around the country. The book is illustrated with 133 stills, photographs, posters, ads and other imagery, most of which has not been in print for a century and some which have never been published anywhere.

Asheville Movies Volume 1: The Silent Era should appeal to those interested in silent film, including fans of Louise Brooks. The star of the most significant film made in Asheville, The Conquest of Canaan, later appeared in the 1927 Brooks' film, The City Gone Wild. And as well, the cinematographer of The Conquest of Canaan was Harry Perry, who shot another 1927 Brooks' film, Now We're in the Air (which included Emile Chautard, who directed The Ordeal of Rosetta). The scenario for The Conquest of Canaan, by the way, was by Frank Tuttle, who directed another Brooks' film, The American Venus, from 1926. I also came across mention of another Brooks' associate, Ruth St. Denis. As skirt dancer Ruth Denis, she appeared in what was likely the first film shown in Asheville, a Kinetoscope made in 1895!


On July 2, The Conquest of Canaan, starring Thomas Meighan and Doris Kenyon, will be screened at Asheville's Grail Moviehouse. It will be introduced by Frank Thompson. 

Thomas Meighan and Doris Kenyon in a scene from The Conquest of Canaan


Asheville Movies Volume 1: The Silent Era will appeal to those interested in silent film, no matter where they live. It is an exemplary book, and one I would love to see others across the country emulate. Thompson’s book is currently being sold in three Asheville locations, the Grail Moviehouse, Battery Park Book Exchange, and Malaprop’s. Copies of Thompson's latest can also be purchased online HERE. Want to find out more, here is a LINK to a review of the book.


** Louise Brooks appeared in films made in and around New York City and Los Angeles, and also went on location to Connecticut and Florida, as well as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Berkeley and Jacumba, California.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Prix de beauté screens in Bologna, Italy

The sensational 1930 Louise Brooks' film, Prix de beauté, will be shown on Sunday, June 25 at the Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna, Italy. The silent version of the film will be shown with Italian subtitles, and with musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne. More information and more HERE.


Cinema Lumiere - Sala Officinema/Mastroianni > 18:15
PRIX DE BEAUTÉ
Augusto Genina


PRIX DE BEAUTÉ


Prix de beauté represents a truly successful mix of the tenants of neorealism and elaborate fantasy (note the names of the screenwriters). Despite unrefined post recording and overacting by Georges Charlia, in standard silent movie fashion, the film is a masterpiece. The ever present documentary style, evident in the scenes of weekend beach resorts and the printer’s work, clashes with two departures from the world of film: Genina’s expert directing on one hand, and the attraction that film holds over the pretty girls uncomfortable in their social milieu on the other. The film emphasizes this with its dirtiness and coarseness (skillfully captured by the camera) that seem to affect the very core of the heroine’s being. The temptation to leave this squalid universe, which is more unhealthy than vulgar (and this is the real subtlety of the film), proves too strong for her. The first suicide attempt is prompted by curiosity; the second by an unbearable contrast between two lifestyles. Death is the end product of this choice. Her lover from the beach ends up shooting her during the projection of the screen tests that would launch Lucienne as the new star. There is nothing more beautiful than the dead face of Louise Brooks illuminated by the flickering lights of the projector as the screen tests end with her singing: “Je n’ai qu’un amour, c’est toi…”. A superb ending that closes an exceptional film, above and beyond the legendary and justifiable attraction that the actress may have exerted over the director. Genina asserts himself not only as a precursor to the Italian school, but also as an immensely talented film author. The most remarkable aspect of his work is his ability to integrate all the elements of a screenplay, fashionably, yet treating them with simplicity: the character of the boyfriend as naive and pleasant; the dangers that threaten the aspiring star in the corrupt environment of cinema, which makes genuine love appear more reassuring and pure by contrast. But no, this is not the case! Genina proves it with his stark style: love and jealousy go hand in hand, gnawing away at the banality of day-to-day, which is no longer sublimated by feelings. The extraordinary beauty of light and the skill and intelligence with which it is used add other noteworthy elements, placing this movie among the most important works of the first years of talkies even though it is a silent film!
Paul Vecchiali, L’Encinéclopédie. Cinéastes ‘français’ des années 1930 et leur œuvre, Éditions de l’Œil, Montreuil 2010

Cast and Credits

Sog.: Augusto Genina, René Clair, Bernard Zimmer, Alessandro De Stefani. Scen.: René Clair, Georg W. Pabst. F.: Rudolf Maté, Louis Née. M.: Edmond T. Gréville. Scgf.: Robert Gys. Mus.: Wolfgang Zeller, René Sylviano, Horace Shepherd. Int.: Louise Brooks (Lucienne Garnier), Georges Charlia (André), Jean Bradin (Adolphe de Grabovsky), Augusto Bandini (Antonin), André Nicolle (segretario di redazione), Yves Glad (maragià), Gaston Jacquet (duca de la Tour Chalgrin), Alex Bernard (fotografo), Marc Zilboulsky (manager). Prod.: Sofar. DCP. D.: 113’. Bn.

PRIX DE BEAUTÉ


Mélange davvero riuscito tra le premesse del neorealismo e una finzione molto elaborata (vedi i nomi degli sceneggiatori). Malgrado una post sincronizzazione approssimativa, e (secondo lo stile del muto) la recitazione caricata di Georges Charlia, questo film è un capolavoro. La visione documentaria, costantemente presente, dai bagni marini della domenica al lavoro dei tipografi, si scontra con una doppia irruzione del cinema: la regia esperta di Genina, da una parte, e dall’altra la fascinazione che esercita la settima arte sulle graziose ragazze a disagio nel loro contesto sociale. Viene sottolineato questo quotidiano dove sporcizia e grossolanità (d’altronde magnificamente fotografate) sembrano colpire l’eroina nel profondo di se stessa. Sarà più forte la tentazione di sottrarsi a questo universo più malsano che volgare (qui risiede la finezza del film) attraverso il suicidio. Una prima volta per curiosità. Una seconda perché il contrasto fra queste due forme di vita è troppo forte. La morte è l’approdo finale di questa scelta. Il suo innamorato della spiaggia arriva a spararle addosso durante la proiezione dei provini che impongono Lucienne quale nuova star. E nulla è più bello del viso morto di Louise Brooks sottomesso ai fremiti delle luci del proiettore mentre terminano i provini dove lei canta: “Je n’ai qu’un amour, c’est toi…”. Superbo finale che chiude un film sempre ispirato, ben al di là dell’attrazione legittima e leggendaria che l’attrice poteva esercitare sul regista. Genina si afferma non solo come un precursore della scuola italiana ma anche come un immenso autore di film. L’aspetto più rimarchevole del suo lavoro consiste nell’aver saputo integrare tutti gli ingredienti di una sceneggiatura ricalcata sulla moda dell’epoca trattandoli con semplicità: personaggio del fidanzato ingenuo e simpatico, pericoli che incombono l’aspirante-vedette nell’ambiente corrotto del cinema davanti al quale l’amore sincero dovrebbe apparire più puro, più rassicurante. Eh no! Non lo è per niente. Genina ce lo mostra nella sua crudele nudità: amore e gelosia vanno di pari passo, erodendo il quotidiano la cui banalità non è quindi più sublimata dai sentimenti. La straordinaria bellezza della luce e l’intelligenza con cui viene usata, aggiungono altri motivi di fascino, innalzando questo film al rango principale delle opere dei primi anni del sonoro, anche se è stato girato nel muto!
Paul Vecchiali, L’Encinéclopédie. Cinéastes ‘français’ des années 1930 et leur œuvre, Éditions de l’Œil, Montreuil 2010

Cast and Credits

Sog.: Augusto Genina, René Clair, Bernard Zimmer, Alessandro De Stefani. Scen.: René Clair, Georg W. Pabst. F.: Rudolf Maté, Louis Née. M.: Edmond T. Gréville. Scgf.: Robert Gys. Mus.: Wolfgang Zeller, René Sylviano, Horace Shepherd. Int.: Louise Brooks (Lucienne Garnier), Georges Charlia (André), Jean Bradin (Adolphe de Grabovsky), Augusto Bandini (Antonin), André Nicolle (segretario di redazione), Yves Glad (maragià), Gaston Jacquet (duca de la Tour Chalgrin), Alex Bernard (fotografo), Marc Zilboulsky (manager). Prod.: Sofar. DCP. D.: 113’. Bn.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Now We're in the Air screens tonight at Library of Congress

Now We're in the Air will be shown tonight at the Library of Congress Packard Campus (19053 Mt Pony Rd., Culpeper, Virginia). Here are at few more details on this late breaking event.



Now We're in the Air & Corporal Kate, tonight @ 7:30

NOW WE’RE IN THE AIR (Paramount, 1927) Louise Brooks appeared in 14 American films during the silent era. Five of these features are currently thought to be entirely lost, while two others survive only as fragments or incomplete copies. Following a tip from Academy Award winning film historian Kevin Brownlow, Robert Byrne learned of a fragmentary nitrate print of the hitherto considered lost “Now We’re in the Air” (1927) stored in the vaults of Národní filmový archiv in Prague. In this presentation, Byrne will present a brief description of the project to restore and preserve what remains, followed by a screening of the entire 22-minute restoration. 

CORPORAL KATE (DeMille Pictures Corp., 1926) Frequently cited as one of the first war films to feature the female angle, “Corporate Kate” is the story of a pair of Brooklyn manicurists who go to France during WWI to entertain the troops with a song-and-dance act. Both girls struggle not only with the brutalities of war but also with their love for the same man. This is the premiere screening of the newly preserved DeMille Pictures Corp. feature that stars Vera Reynolds, Julia Faye and Kenneth Thompson. Andrew Simpson will provide live musical accompaniment for the evening’s screenings. Seating may be limited for this screening as it is part of “Mostly Lost 6: A Film Identification Workshop” and many of the registered participants will be attending. Black & white, 85 min. No reservations - seating is on a walk-in basis.

 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sneak peak at the forthcoming Beggars of Life DVD / Blu-ray

Here is a sneak peak at the forthcoming Beggars of Life DVD / Blu-ray from KINO Lorber. The release date is expected to be in August. The fantastic cover art is by my longtime friend Wayne Shellabarger, the artists responsible for the equally fantastic films posters for the film issued last year.

Synopsis: Louise Brooks has become a legend of cinema who continues to fascinate and Beggars of Life showcases her timeless beauty, her striking modernity, and the depth of her talent. While costar Wallace Beery receives top billing, it is Brooks who captivates the camera and captures our imagination.

The scenario for Beggars of Life is based on the 1924 autobiographical novel by Jim Tully, a writer called "the missing link between Jack London and Jack Kerouac" by one of his biographers. Tully spent several years of his childhood in an orphanage and, when he was twelve, worked for a farmer who abused him, perhaps planting the seeds for this story of escape and survival riding the rails. Dubbed the "Hobo Writer" because of his knockabout past, Tully held a wide variety of jobs, including as a publicist for Charlie Chaplin, before becoming an acclaimed writer for Vanity Fair and H.L. Mencken's American Mercury.

Louise Brooks, in her best American film, is luminous as a freight-train hopping runaway who dresses in a flat cap and trousers to escape capture by the police. She joins up with young vagabond Richard Arlen, and along the way they encounter a hobo encampment and its charismatic leader, played by Wallace Beery in a performance that Brooks later called "a little masterpiece." William A. Wellman, whose Wings (1927) had just won the first-ever Academy Award for Best Picture, directs with nuance and grace.

Special Features:

    NEW 2K restoration from 35mm film elements preserved by the George Eastman Museum
    Audio commentary by actor William Wellman, Jr.
    Audio commentary by Thomas Gladysz, founding director of the Louise Brooks Society
    Booklet essay by film critic Nick Pinkerton
    Musical score compiled and performed by The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, employing selections from the original 1928 Paramount cue-sheet
    Reversible DVD and Blu-ray artwork

STREET DATE: AUGUST 22.

And don't forget, my new book, Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film, has just been released. It features more than 50 images (many of them rare), some 15,000 words of text, and an introduction by William Wellman, Jr. The book is available on amazon.com and elsewhere. Autographed copies are available for $13.50. Please contact me through email (_silentfilmbuffATgmailDOTcom_) or Facebook to place an order.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Wowza - Louise Brooks Giphoscope from Now We're in the Air

Here is something you don't see everyday, an analog GIF player .... The San Francisco Silent Film Festival Collection giphoscope displays animated GIFs excerpted from restored silent films selected by Robert Byrne, SFSFF Restorer and President. The first in the collection is Now We're in the Air (1927), featuring an image of Louise Brooks.


The Louise Brooks Giphoscope displays a 24 frame animated GIF excerpted from Now We're in the Air, a 1927 silent film starring Brooks and restored by the SFSFF in 2017. Only a few copies of these handmade objects will be produced. You can order the Louise Brooks Giphoscope in 2 versions: one comes with a one-piece aluminum structure, the other has a one-piece brass structure. More information may be found HERE.


I have one, whioch was given to me to honor my contribution to bringing this once lost film back to the screen -- 90 years after it was first shown. Trust me, these objects are very, very, very, very cool.





Thursday, June 1, 2017

Louise Brooks / Beggars of Life booksigning with Thomas Gladysz

I will be signing copies of my new book, Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film, at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival this weekend at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, on Friday June 2 following the Clara Bow / Louise Brooks double restorations (featuring Now We're in the Air), and on Saturday June 3 following the Polish classic, A Strong Man (one of my personal favorites).  

I promise to bring along my Now We're in the Air analog gif player given to me to honor my contribution to the restoration of that once lost film. 

 And of course, I will also be signing Diary of a Lost Girl books and DVDs. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The 2017 San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Here is the line-up of films for the 2017 San Francisco Silent Film Festival at the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco. Not only am I and Louise Brooks fans everywhere excited about seeing Now We're in the Air 90 years after it was first released, but I am especially thrilled to see what is certainly one of my favorite silent films, the Polish classic, The Strong Man. Hope to see you at one or more of these screenings!

THE FRESHMAN
with musical accompaniment by Berklee Silent Film Orchestra
Thu, Jun 1 7:00 PM 
 
Harold Lloyd’s biggest box-office hit stars Lloyd as Harold Lamb, a college freshman who dreams of being a big man on campus and gets advice from pamphlets such as “Clever College Clothes” and “How to Play Football.” A disastrous tryout lands him a spot on the football team as a human tackling dummy before he becomes the team’s water boy. But Harold holds on to his dreams, aided by his sweetheart, Peggy (Jobyna Ralston). The Freshman’s climactic football game was filmed at UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium! 
 
 
AMAZING TALES FROM THE ARCHIVES
with musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin
Fri, Jun 2 10:00 AM

Sharing their amazing preservation tales are Library of Congress’s George Willeman, who has managed to sync cylinders from Edison National Historical Park with eight films from LOC’s collection for his presentation on Edison Kinetophones from 1912–13; Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi from EYE Filmmuseum, whose presentation will reveal the wonders of EYE’s UNESCO-inscribed Jean Desmet collection; and Heather Linville from the Academy Film Archive, sharing rarely seen footage of globetrotting filmmaker adventuress Aloha Wanderwell.
 
GET YOUR MAN
with musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne / Introduced by Cari Beauchamp
Fri, Jun 2 1:00 PM
 
Silent-era “It” girl Clara Bow falls for French aristocrat (Buddy Rogers!) after they are locked overnight in a Paris wax museum. There’s a sticking point, though—Rogers’s blueblood is betrothed to another! The Library of Congress has reconstructed the film from recovered materials, filling in missing sequences with key photos and intertitles—and in the process rescuing Bow’s incandescent performance for posterity. Restoration by the Library of Congress

Plus: SFSFF’s Rob Byrne made a remarkable discovery in the National Film Archive of the Czech Republic—footage from the lost Wallace Beery/Louise Brooks comedy, Now We’re in the Air! He was able to restore the 23-minute fragment in time for its premiere in this program. Restoration by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and National Film Archive, Czech Republic


THE DUMB GIRL OF PORTICI
with musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin and Frank Bockius / Introduced by Shelley Stamp
Fri, Jun 2 3:30 PM
 
Legendary ballet dancer Anna Pavlova was at the height of her fame when she teamed up with director Lois Weber to make The Dumb Girl of Portici. Pavlova choreographed, produced, and starred in this historical epic, Universal’s most expensive production to date and the first blockbuster ever directed by a woman. Set in mid-17th-century Spanish-occupied Naples, Pavlova’s mute fisher-girl sparks a revolution. 
 
BODY AND SOUL
Musical accompaniment and introduction by DJ Spooky
Fri, Jun 2 7:00 PM
 
One of the few surviving titles from the groundbreaking African-American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, Body and Soul features the great Paul Robeson in his film debut. Robeson is magnificent in dual roles—as an escaped convict posing as a preacher and the corrupt preacher’s honorable twin brother.  

THE INFORMER
with musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne, Guenter Buchwald, and Frank Bockius /
Introduced by Bryony Dixon, BFI Curator of Silent Film
Fri, Jun 2 9:30 PM
 
The earliest adaptation of Liam O’Flaherty’s novel, this Irish revolutionary drama anticipates film noir in its aesthetics and fast-moving narrative. Set among Dublin revolutionaries in the early days of the Irish Free State (formed in 1922), the action starts when a clandestine meeting of revolutionaries is raided by the police and the police chief is shot and killed. Director Arthur Robison's taut masterpiece was famously remade in 1935 by John Ford.
 
 
MAGIC AND MIRTH: A Collection of Enchanting Short Films, 1906–1924
with musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin and Frank Bockius / Introduced by Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films
Sat, Jun 3 10:00 AM
 
This enchanting collection of short films was selected by Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films to commemorate preservationist David Shepard’s contribution to film culture. Titles include THOSE AWFUL HATS (USA, 1909, d. D.W. Griffith), CARTOON FACTORY (USA, 1924, p. Fleischer Studios), THE MASQUERADER (USA, 1914, d. Charlie Chaplin), FIRST PRIZE FOR CELLO PLAYING (France, 1907, p. Pathé Frères), FANTASMAGORIE (France, 1908, d. Émile Cohl), TIT FOR TAT (France, 1906, d. Gaston Velle), WHEN THE DEVIL DRIVES (UK, 1907, d. Walter Booth), DOWN IN THE DEEP (France, 1906, d. Ferdinand Zecca), THE DANCING PIG (France, 1907, p. Pathé Frères), THE WITCH (France, 1906, d. Georges Méliès). 
 
 
A STRONG MAN
with musical accompaniment by Guenter Buchwald and Sascha Jacobsen / Introduction by Eddie Muller
Sat, Jun 3 12:00 PM
 
Unsuccessful writer Henryk Bielecki coaxes his friend Jerzy to suicide so he can steal the manuscript of Jerzy’s book and publish it as his own. The book becomes a bestseller, leading to fame and fortune for Henryk—and a stage production. But as the play is about to go on, Henryk’s secrets start to unravel. This elegant thriller is based on a novel by Polish modernist Stanislaw Przybyszewski. 
 
 
FILIBUS
with musical accompaniment by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra /
Introduced by Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi of EYE Filmmuseum
Sat, Jun 3 2:30 PM
 
Glamorous Baroness de Troixmonde has a secret—her alternate identity is a criminal mastermind called Filibus! The masked sky-pirate flies around in her technologically advanced zeppelin—manned by black-suited, masked, obedient male acolytes—committing crimes and toying with the police. When a reward is offered for information leading to the capture of the notorious criminal, the Baroness visits the police station to declare her intention to prove that Filibus is no other than the detective assigned to the case! The beautifully tinted and toned print adds to the wonderment! 
 
 
OUTSIDE THE LAW
with musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne and Frank Bockius
Sat, Jun 3 5:00 PM
 
San Francisco crime boss Silent Madden and his daughter, Molly ‘Silky Moll’ Madden are friends with respected Confucian master Chang Lo, whose influence is shifting the Maddens’ thinking toward the straight-and-narrow. But nefarious bad guy Black Mike Sylva has other ideas! Sylva frames Silent for murder and manipulates Molly into a return to crime. Lon Chaney has dual roles in the story—as the evil Sylva and as Ah Wing, Chang Lo’s dedicated servant—but the real star is the tough-as-nails Priscilla Dean as Molly. Look for Anna May Wong in one of her earliest roles!
 
BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (Bronenosets Potyomkin)
with musical accompaniment by the Matti Bye Ensemble
Sat, Jun 3 7:15 PM
 
Battleship Potemkin changed cinema history forever. Commissioned to mark the 20th anniversary of the failed 1905 revolution, Sergei Eisenstein’s masterpiece is a vibrant paean to collective heroism. From the moment of its 1925 premiere at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, the film was hailed as a masterpiece and Eisenstein’s theories of montage became aesthetic tools for filmmakers everywhere. But almost from the beginning, Potemkin was the object of censorship and suffered decades of re-cuts and re-translations that blunted its energy and originality—which makes it a special delight to present the film in its definitive restoration, completed in 2007.
 
 
A PAGE OF MADNESS (Kurutta Ichipeiji)
with musical accompaniment by Alloy Orchestra 
Sat, Jun 3 9:30 PM
 
A retired sailor volunteers to work odd jobs at the asylum where his wife has been confined since her attempt to drown their infant son many years before. Without intertitles, Page evokes a world as seen by the mentally disturbed—through shifting images and rapid editing—and creates a modernist tour-de-force as psychologically and aesthetically compelling as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
 
 
HE DOLL (Die Puppe)
with musical accompaniment by Guenter Buchwald and Frank Bockius / Introduced by Jay Weissberg, director of Le giornate del cinema muto
Sun, Jun 4 10:00 AM
 
Baron von Chanterelle has one condition in his will: His beloved nephew Lancelot must be married to inherit the estate. But Lancelot is so averse to marriage that he flees to a monastery, where the financially ailing monks devise a plan that will make everyone happy! One trip to the dollmaker and ersatz wedding later, Lancelot brings his mechanical bride back to the friary, planning to share the bequest with the brothers. What could possibly go wrong?
 
SILENCE
with musical accompaniment by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra / Introduced by SFSFF President Robert Byrne
Sun, Jun 4 12:00 PM
 
This Cecil B. DeMille production was considered lost for many decades and the recent discovery of materials at the Cinémathèque Française is cause for celebration! Based on a successful Broadway play, Silence opens with gallows being constructed. Jim Warren (H.B. Warner) awaits hanging for murder, but his lawyer is certain that Warren is innocent and shielding the guilty person. What follows is a gripping tale of love and sacrifice. 
 
A MAN THERE WAS (Terje Vigen)
with musical accompaniment by the Matti Bye Ensemble / Introduced by Jay Weissberg, director of Le giornate del cinema muto
 Sun, Jun 4 2:00 PM
 
Terje Vigen inaugurated Sweden’s Golden Age of film and confirmed Victor Sjöström’s primacy as a filmmaker. Here he brilliantly captures the spirit of Henrik Ibsen’s epic poem, aided by Julius Jaenzon’s beautiful camerawork. Sjöström plays the sailor Terje, who braves a British blockade to find food for his starving family but is captured and imprisoned by a heartless British captain. While languishing in prison, Terje’s family dies. His bitterness and desire for revenge grows until... 
 
THE LOST WORLD
with musical accompaniment by Alloy Orchestra / Introduced by Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films
Sun, Jun 4 4:00 PM
  
This was the first of many film adaptations based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel about an Amazonian land where prehistoric creatures hold sway, and for decades it could only be seen in an abridged version. This new edition combines portions of eleven film elements to present the most complete reconstruction possible. Wallace Beery arranges an expedition to the Amazon and a motley crew—including Lewis Stone, Bessie Love, and Lloyd Hughes—sign on. But the creatures engineered by Willis O’Brien (King Kong) are the true stars.  
 
 
TWO DAYS (Dva Dni)
with musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne
Sun, Jun 4 6:30 PM
 
Set during the 1917–21 Civil War in Ukraine, Two Days tells the story of a faithful servant, Anton, who remains behind to guard the master’s mansion as the family flees the approaching Bolsheviks. In the chaos of their escape, the landowner’s young son is left behind and Anton hides the boy in the attic. The Bolsheviks arrive to occupy the house, and it turns out that Anton’s son—whose political beliefs run counter to his father’s—is their leader. What unfolds is a complex drama, full of nuance and expressively told. 
 
THE THREE MUSKETEERS
with musical accompaniment by the Guenter Buchwald Ensemble / Introduction by Tracey Goessel
Sun, Jun 4 8:15 PM
 
The story is familiar—young Gascon D’Artagnan shows up in 1625 Paris eager to join forces with the King’s musketeers to save the Queen’s honor—it’s been told many times. But through sheer force of his exuberant physicality, Douglas Fairbanks puts his indelible stamp on Alexander Dumas’s character—and creates the playbook for swashbucklers in the meantime. The Three Musketeers features lavish sets, romance, intrigue, and sword play aplenty!  
 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Win tickets to world premiere of the once lost Louise Brooks' film Now We're in the Air (1927)

How would you like to win a pair of tickets to the world premiere of the recently found & newly restored Louise Brooks' film Now We're in the Air (1927)? The 23-minute fragment will be shown with the recently recovered Clara Bow film, Get Your Man (1927), on Friday June 2nd at the historic Castro Theater in San Francisco. To enter, simply email the Louise Brooks Society (LouiseBrooksSociety AT gmailDOTcom) a sentence or two or three stating as to why you would like to see this very special program. (This contest does not provide transportation to the theater, simply entrance in.) The winner will be picked and announced on Saturday, May 27th.



And what's more, the lucky winner will have a chance to see this very special item which was given to Thomas Gladysz for his help in the restoration of Now We're in the Air. It is a hand-made, analog gif player. Five were made to be given to the principals involved in bringing this Louise Brooks film back from oblivion.



Imagine being among the first people in the world to see these two films 90 years after they were first released--and what's more, to see them on the big screen in a silent era theater and with live musical accompaniment! It's almost like time travel. Here is a little more about this very special event.

FRIDAY, JUNE 2
1:00 pm  $16 / $14
direct ticket link

GET YOUR MAN with live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne
Directed by Dorothy Arzner | USA, 1927 | 53 m.
With Clara Bow, Charles “Buddy” Rogers, Josef Swickard

Silent-era “It” girl Clara Bow falls for French aristocrat (Buddy Rogers!) after they are locked overnight in a Paris wax museum. There’s a sticking point, though—Rogers’s blueblood is betrothed to another! The Library of Congress has reconstructed the film from recovered materials, filling in missing sequences with key photos and intertitles—and in the process rescuing Bow’s incandescent performance for posterity.
Restored by the Library of Congress
Presented in 35mm



NOW WE'RE IN THE AIR with live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne
Directed by Frank Strayer | USA, 1927 | 23 m.
With Wallace Beery, Raymond Hatton, Louise Brooks

Plus: SFSFF’s Rob Byrne made a remarkable discovery in the National Film Archive of the Czech Republic—footage from the lost Wallace Beery/Louise Brooks comedy, Now We’re in the Air! He was able to restore the 23-minute fragment in time for its premiere in this program.
Restored by San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Presented in 35mm



Remember, to enter, simply email the Louise Brooks Society (LouiseBrooksSociety AT gmailDOTcom) a sentence or two or three stating as to why you would like to see this very special program.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Louise Brooks related book launch in NYC today!

What happens when an Irish author living in Australia is so taken by an American painter's work that he writes 60 short stories inspired by his paintings? The result is 


LULU IN NEW YORK & OTHER TALES
Words by Robert Power  -  Paintings by Max Ferguson


Book Launch
Wednesday, May 24th
6:30-9:00 PM

Readings by the author and DJ Ken Dashow
Models dressed as they are in the paintings
Unveiling of a new painting
A splendid time is guaranteed for all!



Books may be ordered from:


In conjunction with the book launch, 
there is an exhibition of Max Ferguson paintings.

MAX FERGUSON
SOLO EXHIBTION

Through May 27th

37 West 57th Street
New York

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Win tickets to Now We're in the Air starring Louise Brooks

How would you like to win a pair of tickets to the world premiere of the recently found & newly restored Louise Brooks' film Now We're in the Air (1927)? The 23-minute fragment will be shown with the recently recovered Clara Bow film, Get Your Man (1927), on Friday June 2nd at the historic Castro Theater in San Francisco. To enter, simply email the Louise Brooks Society (LouiseBrooksSociety AT gmailDOTcom) a sentence or two or three stating as to why you would like to see this very special program. (This contest does not provide transportation to the theater, simply entrance in.) The winner will be picked and announced on Saturday, May 27th.

Imagine being among the first people in the world to see these two films 90 years after they were first released--and what's more, to see them on the big screen in a silent era theater and with live musical accompaniment! It's almost like time travel. Here is a little more about this very special event.

FRIDAY, JUNE 2
1:00 pm  $16 / $14
direct ticket link

GET YOUR MAN with live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne
Directed by Dorothy Arzner | USA, 1927 | 53 m.
With Clara Bow, Charles “Buddy” Rogers, Josef Swickard

Silent-era “It” girl Clara Bow falls for French aristocrat (Buddy Rogers!) after they are locked overnight in a Paris wax museum. There’s a sticking point, though—Rogers’s blueblood is betrothed to another! The Library of Congress has reconstructed the film from recovered materials, filling in missing sequences with key photos and intertitles—and in the process rescuing Bow’s incandescent performance for posterity.
Restored by the Library of Congress
Presented in 35mm



NOW WE'RE IN THE AIR with live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne
Directed by Frank Strayer | USA, 1927 | 23 m.
With Wallace Beery, Raymond Hatton, Louise Brooks

Plus: SFSFF’s Rob Byrne made a remarkable discovery in the National Film Archive of the Czech Republic—footage from the lost Wallace Beery/Louise Brooks comedy, Now We’re in the Air! He was able to restore the 23-minute fragment in time for its premiere in this program.
Restored by San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Presented in 35mm



Remember, to enter, simply email the Louise Brooks Society (LouiseBrooksSociety AT gmailDOTcom) a sentence or two or three stating as to why you would like to see this very special program.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

American Cinematheque interview about Louise Brooks

Ahead of its May 20th screening of a pair of Louise Brooks films, Beggars of Life (1928) and Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)  in Hollywood, the American Cinematheque ran an interview about Brooks on its blog, "Movies on the Big Screen." The interview, conducted by former Los Angeles Times journalist Susan King, features comments from acclaimed film historian Cari Beauchamp, author of Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood and other books, and myself, Thomas Gladysz, author of Beggars of Life, A Companion to the 1928 Film, and editor of the "Louise Brooks edition" of The Diary of a Lost Girl.


Check out the interview, "The Eternal Louise Brooks," HERE.




DIARY OF A LOST GIRL / BEGGARS OF LIFE
Screening format: DCP

Join us in the courtyard at 6:15 PM, when The Chapwinds will perform music from Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera (which premiered in Germany the year before DIARY OF A LOST GIRL) and Samuel Barber’s “Summer Music,” the most prominent American work in the wind quintet canon.
DIARY OF A LOST GIRL

DAS TAGEBUCH EINER VERLORENEN
1929, Kino Lorber, 112 min, Germany, Dir: G.W. Pabst 
Seduced and abandoned by her father’s assistant, Louise Brooks descends into a lurid hell of reformatories and whorehouses. For a debauched party scene, Pabst insisted on realism – so Brooks complied by playing “the whole scene stewed on hot, sweet German champagne.” // New 2K Restoration!



BEGGARS OF LIFE
1928, Kino Lorber, 100 min, USA, Dir: William A. Wellman 
Rough-and-tumble writer Jim Tully’s autobiography served as the basis for what many consider Louise Brooks’ best American film. She plays a young woman who kills her abusive stepfather and hits the road (in the company of Richard Arlen) hoping to make it to safety in Canada. Wallace Beery delivers a memorable performance as hobo Oklahoma Red in this beautifully shot silent. // New 2K Restoration!

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