Monday, January 26, 2015

William Gillette Sherlock Holmes - A First Video Glimpse!

Just linking to the BBC article, video is embedded there and it looks fabulous!

Click Here!

Yes, it looks fabulous and yes I am beyond excited for the May screening!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Vive la France!

Like everyone else, #Je Suis Charlie #weeping

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 A Year With Alfred Hitchcock

Lovely thing I received for Christmas in 2014
There are numerous books, blogs, articles and examinations of the films of Sir Alfred Hitchcock.  2015 will be the year I dedicate myself to viewing each one of his extant films.  I would not dare to presume I would have the least bit of original thought on Hitch or his films.  For me, this will be a real pleasure as I will have the chance to see some films new to me (silents) and old familiar friends.  I do not know if I will view them in chronological order or not.  I can say, this is a project I am looking very much forward to completing over the course of the next twelve months.

Along with directors such as Michael Curtiz and George Steven, for entirely different reasons, Hitchcock is a director whose work almost never ceases to delight me.  More so with repeated viewings as there are so many delightful little surprises that, well, surprise you.

Ivor Novello as The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

I will likely also be reading a few of the books on Hitch I've not picked up in years, or those which have escaped me during this project.

1922      No. 13 (lost)
1925      The Pleasure Garden       
1926      The Mountain Eagle  (lost)           
1927      The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog    
1927      The Ring
1927      Downhill
1928      The Farmer's Wife
1928      Easy Virtue         
1928      Champagne       
1929      The Manxman   
1929      Blackmail
1930      Murder!
1931      Rich and Strange
1932      Number Seventeen
1933      Waltzes from Vienna
1934      The Man Who Knew Too Much
1935      The 39 Steps
1936      Secret Agent
1936      Sabotage
1937      Young and Innocent
1938      The Lady Vanishes
1939      Jamaica Inn
1940      Rebecca
1940      Foreign Correspondent
1941      Mr. & Mrs. Smith
1941      Suspicion
1942      Saboteur
1943      Shadow of a Doubt
1944      Lifeboat
1945      Spellbound
1946      Notorious
1947      The Paradine Case           
1948      Rope
1949      Under Capricorn
1950      Stage Fright
1951      Strangers on a Train
1953      I Confess
1954      Dial M for Murder
1954      Rear Window
1955      To Catch a Thief
1955      The Trouble with Harry
1956      The Man Who Knew Too Much
1956      The Wrong Man
1958      Vertigo
1959      North by Northwest
1960      Psycho
1963      The Birds
1964      Marnie
1966      Torn Curtain
1969      Topaz
1972      Frenzy  
1976      Family Plot

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Rudolph Valentino 2015 edition calendar is now available

Support independent publishing: Buy this calendar on Lulu.
Shameless, I know, but it is that time of the year.  If you like Valentino or know someone who does, this is an ideal gift!

The 2015 edition of the Rudolph Valentino calendar celebrates Valentino's cinema career through some of the "lobby art" used to promote the films in theaters.
The calendar is coil bound, full color 8x11 and there is a full preview right here:

Never, never, never forget to google for a coupon code for lulu as you can usually get a discount!
End of shameless commericial!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Artistry of the Credit Roll #7

Warner Brothers

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sherlock Holmes (1916) - Major Lost Film Being Restored and Will Premiere in San Francisco

Yesterday there was BIG news ricocheting all over the internets, the announcement that the 1916 long considered lost film Sherlock Holmes has been found at the Cinematheque Francais and is undergoing restoration with help from our friends at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. 

I have linked to the SFSFF press release above, but must share this quote from SFSFF Board President (and restorer) Rob Byrne,  “It’s an amazing privilege to work with these reels that have been lost for generations. William Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes has ranked among the holy grails of lost film and my first glimpse of the footage confirms Gillette’s magnetism. Audiences are going to be blown away when they see the real Sherlock Holmes on screen for the first time.”

Mark your calendars!  The European premiere will take place at the Cinémathèque Française’s festival of film restoration, Toute la Mémoire du Monde, in January 2015. The American premiere will take place at the San Francisco Silent Film festival in May 2015.
The 20th Anniversary of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival starts with a BANG!

Color me extremely excited!  I am sure there will be more shared about this film, the restoration process in the future from many corners of the blogsphere.
Am I excited about this?  Elementary My Dear Watson, you bet you're sweet bippy I am!

Monday, September 22, 2014

San Francisco Silent Film Festival - Silent Autumn Recap

I had an enjoyable afternoon at the Castro Theater for the Silent Autumn event presented by The San Francisco Silent Film Festival.  Formerly known as the ‘Winter Event” we saw out the official ending of summer with a full program of terrific films.  Unfortunately, I was not able to stick around for the evening shows of The General and the newly restored (4K) The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. 

The day began with a trio of Laurel and Hardy silent shorts Should Married Me Go Home, Two Tars and Big Business.  Should Married Men Go Home features Oliver and Mrs. Hardy enjoying a peaceful afternoon at home.  Well, peaceful until Stan Laurel shows up.  In frustration, Mrs. Hardy kicks the pair out and off they head to the golf course.  They pair up with two girls for a foursome (because it’s only foursomes on Saturday) and mayhem (naturally) ensues and culminates in a mud fight on the links.  Insert obligatory deep hole in the water for Oliver Hardy, too.  Good fun, not clean, but fun!

Two Tars is one of my favorites in which the boys are on leave, rent a car and pick up two fun loving girls for an afternoon of fun.  They meet at a candy store with an uncooperative gumball machine, soon two completely destroyed gumball machines and a very angry candy store owner.  Fade out and fade in after a fun day, the four are wheeling back to the town and they get caught up in a traffic jam.  It begins by their backing in to Edgar Kennedy’s car and ends with more car wrecks than an auto salvage yard.

Big Business is famous and infamous as the short, as legend has it, they arrived on location and proceeded to destroy the wrong house to be used in the film.  Makes for a great story, not convinced it’s true.  The film, however, is still hilarious and a great thing to play right at Christmastime.  All three films were accompanied by the nimble fingered Donald Sosin.  The music was wonderful! 

Next on the program was The Son of the Sheik starring Rudolph Valentino and Vilma Banky.  Valentino’s final film can arguably said to be his best.  I’d argue that point, but, this film is very high on my list.  In fact, if no other Valentino film were extant, I’d say you would still be able to see exactly why he was such a big star based on this one film alone.  SFSFF boasted this was a brand new restoration and the premiere of a new score by The Alloy Orchestra. 

Ken Winokur, who worked on restoring the print and the new score assured me I would enjoy the score.  I have to say that I did.  This was far more melodic than the usual avant garde scores Alloy is known for.  They took a lot of care in using more traditionalist native themes and instruments and did scale down some of the percussion for the love scenes.  I did find some of the score a little overpowering but was cheering myself and providing a standing ovation (well deserved) as did the rest of the audience.    Alloy is traveling with this film, so if it shows up at a venue near you, I'd say you would enjoy it as much as I did!  Don't miss it!

The print was nicely tinted for day/night/interior scenes.  I found some of it a little soft and some scenes looked washed out to me.  Could have been some focusing problems, as well.  Regardless of these tiny caveats, how can you complain to see Valentino and Vilma Banky on the big screen?  You can’t, so I sure won’t! 
I would also like to thank Ken for his confidence in me to suggest to the SFSFF that yours truly introduce the Valentino film to a captive audience.  I hope I lived up to his confidence.  Thanks as well, to Anita Monga for the nice introduction of me!  It was a real pleasure and an honor to be part of the program.
Next was a gift programmed by Bryony Dixon from the BFI, An Evening at the Cinema in 1914.  We were treated to newsreels, shorts and odd little bits of film.  I think my favorite was Daisy Doodad’s Dial (face).  Florence Turner was hilarious as Daisy and makes me want to see out a few more of her comedies.  The Dogs for the Antarctic made me sad to see all those poor pups about to head out with Shackelton.  Donald Sosin again shined in the Vitaphone song film The Rollicking Rajah.  The soundtrack has long been lost, he more than made up for it with his idiomatic playing and jaunty rendition of the vocals.  My British pals will have to enlighten me on the charms of Lt. Pimple comedies.  Cheap or not, I found a lot of the humor lacking, until we got to the part with the messenger fish.

I had to regrettably bug-out after the 1914 program.  So I missed The General and Caligari.   I will get the 4k Caligari on DVD, but, it will not be the same as having been there. 

I am already looking forward to the 20th anniversary festival program for May 2015.  I have great hopes for tons of good stuff!