Saturday, November 5, 2005

Beyond the Rocks / booksignings

On Sunday November 13, 2005, The San Francisco Silent Film Festival will present the West Coast Premiere Revival Screening of Beyond the Rocks (1922), the only film that Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson made together. For nearly 80 years, only a one-minute fragment of Beyond the Rocks was thought to exist. But in 2003, a complete print was discovered among 2,000 unmarked cans of film by the Nederlands Filmmuseum. In partnership with Haghefilm Conservation, the Nederlands Filmmuseum employed state-of-the-art technology to create a dazzling new print of this long-sought-after film. 
Based on a novel by Elinor Glyn (author of IT ), Beyond the Rocks features Valentino as Lord Bracondale, a desirable bachelor who finds himself enchanted by Theodora (Swanson), a simple girl from the Dorset coast. There will be two screenings (at 2 pm and 7 pm) of this romantic drama at the Castro Theatre. Both programs will be presented with live musical accompaniment on the Mighty Wurlitzer by Dennis James. The Booksmith will also be on hand selling books on silent film, including new releases and autographed titles, as well as hosting three booksignings!

Lenny Kaye signing "You Call It Madness: The Sensous Song of the Croon"
after the 2 pm screening (signing will start at approximately 3:45 pm)

--- Crooner / Jazz Age personality Russ Columbo is the subject of a new book, a musical history combining the drama of a bestselling novel and a soundtrack from the Golden Age of Broadway and Hollywood. Hailed as "The Romeo of Radio" and "The Valentino of Song," and romantically linked to actresses Pola Negri and Carole Lombard, Russ Columbo is all but forgotten today, his limitless promise cut short in a tragic and controversial accident as he stood on the verge of winning the stardom that Bing Crosby, his great rival, would soon achieve.

Lenny Kaye is an acclaimed music writer whose work has appeared in Rolling StoneThe Village VoiceHit Parader, and Crawdaddy! He has been a guitarist for poet-rocker Patti Smith since her band's inception thirty years ago and serves on the nominating committee forthe Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Jack Tillmany signing "Theaters of San Francisco"
after the 2 pm screening (signing will start at approximately 3:45 pm)

--- Only a handful of the 100 or so neighborhood theatres that once graced the streets of San Francisco's streets still stand. However, they live on in the photographs featured in Jack Tillmany's new book. The heyday of such venues as the Clay, Noe, Metro, New Mission, Alexandria, Coronet, Fox, Uptown, Coliseum, Surf, El Rey, and Royal was a time when San Franciscans thronged to the movies and vaudeville shows, dressed to the hilt, to see and be seen in majestic art deco palaces.

Jack Tillmany, former owner of the Gateway Cinema in San Francisco and a revival programming pioneer, brings the city's theatres to life in this amazing selection of vintage images. Drawing from his personal archive collected during a 30-year career in cinema management, he paints a detailed story of the golden age of theatre, both live and cinematic. It was a time of stunning architecture, elegance, and opulence, and this volume is a reminder of the pre-multiplex days when almost every neighborhood boasted its own beloved theatre. 

Emily W. Leider signing "Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino"
prior to the 7 pm screening (signing will start at approximately 6:30 pm) 
--- Tango pirate, gigolo, powder puff, Adonis ­ all have been used to describe the silent-film icon Rudolph Valentino. From his early days as a taxi dancer in New York to his near apotheosis as the ultimate Hollywood heartthrob, Rudolph Valentino (often to his distress) occupied a space squarely at the center of controversy. In this thoughtful retelling of Valentino's short and tragic life ­ the first fully documented  biography of the star Emily W. Leider looks at the Great Lover's life and legacy, and explores the events and issues that made him emblematic of the Jazz Age. 
Emily W. Leider is the author of "Becoming Mae West" and other books. She lives in San Francisco, and will introduce the 7 pm screening.

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