Pandora's Box sold out before the Festival began. It was my great pleasure to introduce the film before a packed house - more than 1400 people. And there was only one heckler! I was also honored to introduce artist / filmmaker / Louise Brooks admirer Bruce Conner, who spoke before the film. (I came across a blog about his introduction which contains a very brief video clip.) A couple of days later, a local columnist ran this bit in theSan Francisco Chronicle.
A sellout crowd at Saturday night's screening of "Pandora's Box'' at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival was tantalized and seduced by Louise Brooks, whose sexiness 77 years ago makes Jennifer Lopez look like Marge Simpson. Artist Bruce Conner, who hails from Brooks' hometown, Wichita, Kan., talked before the showing about how after Brooks' short movie career, she'd returned to Kansas, where she not only turned down his father's invitation to dance but later on took a swing at him and "walloped him hard.'' (Don't feel so smug about the exciting nightlife here; hot times in Wichita, too.)Besides a number of Brooks fans, I had the chance to meet the head of the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York - who was on hand to introduce a couple of movies and speak about film preservation. We spoke about the Eastman House's Louise Brooks plans. I also met Sam Gill, the legendary archivist. And Hugh Munro Neely, director of the outstanding Louise Brooks documentary, Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu, was also on hand. We had not seen each other in a number of years. Hugh's latest project is a documentary about Theda Bara.
Organist Clark Wilson's music was meticulously cued to dramatic highlights, in keeping with the emotions, historically respectful and tuneful all at once. He also shared a principle of his craft that could be useful in all sorts of situations: When in doubt, trill.
I should mention that the Festival published a rather nice program with Louise Brooks on the cover. There was also a poster which featured the actress, as well as a really nifty t-shirt. The image on both the poster and the black t-shirt can be found on the festival homepage. I understand that the t-shirts were very popular. I bought two! For those wanting to read more about the Festival, a local news website, the San Francisco Sentinel , ran a long review. Check it out.