Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Top 10 Reasons to go to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival


10.  If you loved The Artist, you will love seeing a real silent film.  The Artist used footage from Douglas Fairbanks’ The Mark of Zorro in the film.  The on screen character of George Valentin was inspired by Douglas Fairbanks.  Do not miss this chance to see the real Douglas Fairbanks on the big screen.  The Mark of Zorro will screen on Sunday, July 15th at 10:00 am.  Accompanied by Dennis James on the Mighty Wurlitzer, it’s going to be grand swashbuckling fun.


9.  Authors!  You will get to meet authors, Emily Leider (author of Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino; Becoming Mae West) will be signing her book Myrna Loy The Only Good Girl in Hollywood; Jeffrey Vance (author of Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema, Harold Lloyd Master Comedian and Buster Keaton Remembered) will be signing his book Douglas Fairbanks.  Jeff Codori will be on hand to sign his new and long awaited biography of flapper extrodinare, Colleen Moore.  Colleen Moore: A Biography of the Silent Film Star.  Mary Mallory will be signing her book on the history of Hollywoodland.  Many more authors will be on hand to sign their books, leave your kindle at home and enjoy reading the old fashioned way! 



8.  Are you a Dr. Who fan?  If you are, do not miss your chance to meet Paul Gann (Dr. Who #8.  According to Thomas Gladysz’s excellent blog , “McGann is teaming up with acclaimed British pianist Stephen Horne to present South (1919), director Frank Hurley’s moving documentary of Ernest Shackleton’s failed 1914-1917 expedition to Antarctica. Now restored by the British Film Institute with original tints and toning, the film is a stunning record of one of the great adventures in the annals of exploration. McGann will narrate, reading Shackleton’s letters to Horne’s elegiac score.”  I'm really looking forward to this compelling film.  If it's anything like The Great White Silence from last year, it's going to be fabulous!

7.  Bring the Kleenex for the classic tearjerker Stella Dallas.  It’s a film that’s been on my list to see for years.  I repeat, Ronald Colman has nothing to do with it, I swear to you! Well, perhaps only a little.  Belle Bennett's performance is well regarded and there is nothing better than a real old fashioned tear jerker.

6.  Musicians!  We will have fantastic live music to accompany the films.  It’s how they did it in the silent era, and it’s how they do it at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.  Not only do we have Dennis James accompanying The Mark of Zorro, he will accompany the 1922 german epic The Loves of Pharoah.  The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra returns to San Francisco and will accompany William Wellman’s 1927 film Wings and The Wonderful Lie of Nina Petrovna and Buster Keaton’s 1928 film The Cameraman.  The wonderful Matti Bye Ensemble will accompany the recently restored Pandora’s Box featuring festival favorite Louise Brooks as well as the Mauritz Stiller film Erotikon.  Donald Sosin will accompany Little Toys, Irrepressible Felix the Cat, The Spanish Dancer, and The Docks of New York.  The accomplished Stephen Horne will accompany Mantrap, The Canadian, and Stella Dallas.  Finally Ken Winokur and the Alloy Orchestra will accompany and rock the house for the Soviet import The Overcoat.  Be prepared to be blown out of your seats!


5.  Clara Bow.  We get two films starring the incredible Clara Bow.  Mantrap and Wings.  If you’ve not seen Clara on screen, you will be amazed at the talent, charm and delicious quality she had.  She was a real star.


4.  The Castro Theater, as always.  It’s a 1000% pleasure to be able to enjoy and silent film as it’s supposed to be seen in a vintage movie theater.  Nothing better and the popcorn is fresh popped and good!



3.  Pola Negri.  Not only do we get Clara Bow, we get a primo, recently restored Pola Negri film The Spanish Dancer.  Paramount spared no expense on this film, it’s gorgeous to look at, Pola is great and Antonio Moreno is no slouch either.  The President of the Board of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and Archivist who worked with EyeFilm NL Rob Byrne will introduce the film and tell us all about the restoration.  The film geeks will appreciate this and getting the opportunity to say thanks in person is worth the price of admission.



2.  The Canadian. My prediction is this will be the sleeper hit of the festival.  Thomas Meighan, rugged actor 90% of you have never heard of.  Meighan worked with the cream of the crop and was one of the highest paid and most popular actors in the 1920s.  Do not miss it!

1.  The best reason for attending the festival is because it's incredibly fun.  You're surrounded by film geeks from all over the world who love movies, film, cinema as much as you do.  The films are top notch.  The prints are excellent.  The music fabulous.  Come join in the fun, see new movies and make new friends.  Buy your tickets and festival passes now!  Because True Art Transcends Time!


Be there or be square!

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