Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Beggars of Life screening in 35mm !

Speaking of Beggars of Life, a newly struck 35mm print of the film will be shown this summer as part of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. And what's more, actor William Wellman Jr., the son of the film's famous director, will be on hand to speak about the film. The press release announcing the festival was just released:

Special Programs and Classic Films Take To the Screen at 12th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival

    SAN FRANCISCO, April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The art of silent film will be 
restored to its original brilliance when The 12th Annual San Francisco
Silent Film Festival brings a classic love story, a dramatic portrayal of
hobo life, a British suspense-thriller and other great silent films back to
the big screen, all with live musical accompaniment, on July 13-15.
    "The majestic Castro Theatre in San Francisco will once again be the
site for a weekend-long celebration of silent film, so we can continue to
raise awareness of the need to protect, preserve and restore these precious
movies," said Artistic Director Stephen Salmons.
    "The movies that Hollywood produces today owe their inspiration and
their soul to the pioneering geniuses of the silent era, many of whom we
will salute at this year's festival," Salmons said.
    Among the special programs that will highlight the 2007 festival is an
Opening Night Presentation of Ernst Lubitsch's THE STUDENT PRINCE IN OLD
HEIDELBERG (1927), starring Norma Shearer and Ramon Novarro. "This is one
of the all-time great love stories, full of wit, zest and heart," Salmons
said. The festival also will screen William A. Wellman's BEGGARS OF LIFE
(1928), a gritty, unsentimental portrait of hobo life starring Richard
Arlen, Louise Brooks and Wallace Beery.
    "BEGGARS OF LIFE is a film we have hoped to show for years," Salmons
said. "It depicts homelessness in the pre-crash 1920s - something rarely
seen in mainstream cinema. Thanks to George Eastman House, the sole
surviving 16mm print has now been returned to 35mm, so we can finally show
the film again in its original format." Live musical accompaniment will be
provided by The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, a chamber ensemble that
performs period- authentic photoplay music.
    The festival will highlight the work of an early master of British
cinema "- and no, it isn't Alfred Hitchcock," Salmons said, "even though
the film we are showing is a real nail-biter, every bit as suspenseful and
surprising as anything Hitchcock dreamt up." A COTTAGE ON DARTMOOR (1929),
directed by Anthony Asquith, is a psychological thriller which relates the
story of a love triangle between a barber's assistant, a manicurist, and
one of their clients. The musical accompaniment also will be "the work of a
British master," Salmons noted. "We are importing pianist Stephen Horne
from London to perform his acclaimed solo score for this film."
    The festival's tribute to Turner Classic Movies will feature a rare
screening of the infamous 1921 version of CAMILLE, starring Rudolph
Valentino and Alla Nazimova.
    "It holds a unique position in film history as one of the most
flamboyant art films ever to come out of a Hollywood studio, "Salmons said.
"The costumes, the sets, and above all the extraordinary stylized acting of
Nazimova, a notorious figure of the silent era, make it a
once-in-a-lifetime experience. It will absolutely light up the big screen."
    The 12th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival opens on Friday,
July 13 and runs through Sunday, July 15, at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro
Street in San Francisco. Complete program details and information on how to
purchase tickets will be announced in May at http://www.silentfilm.org. The San
Francisco Silent Film Festival is a nonprofit organization dedicated to
promoting silent film as an art form and as a cultural and historical

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