Sunday, December 1, 2019

San Francisco Silent Film Festival Day of Silents on December 7

SAN FRANCISCO SILENT FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES

A DAY OF SILENTS 2019   

December 7, 2019
Castro Theatre, San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—A DAY OF SILENTS takes place at the beautiful Castro Theatre on Saturday, December 7. Five programs with live musical accompaniment by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, Donald Sosin, and Berklee Silent Film Orchestra; this is a day of stunning silent cinema and thrilling live music not to be missed!  The day begins with three comedy shorts by the endlessly entertaining duo of Fatty + Buster. “Fatty” Arbuckle discovered Buster Keaton, and these three sparkling shorts demonstrate the striking chemistry between the two geniuses. The morning laughs are followed by more serious fare. In Redskin, Navajo Wing Foot navigates between his western education and the traditions passed down by tribal elders. The film was shot in breathtaking two-color Technicolor at locations in New Mexico and Arizona (including Acoma Pueblo and Canyon de Chelly). Our third program, "Woman with a Movie Camera," brings French filmmaker Alice Guy-Blaché to the Castro screen. She got into the movie business at the very beginning—in 1894! One of the very first directors to make narrative films, her work is marked by innovation—she experimented with color-tinting, and special effects. The program includes six of her shorts. At 5pm, Ernst Lubitsch works narrative magic with knowing looks and subtle gestures in The Marriage Circle. This superb comedy centering around two couples—the sublimely-in-love Monte Blue and Florence Vidor, and the less-so Adolphe Menjou and Marie Prevost. We close out the day with the oldest surviving film version of Phantom of the Opera. Starring Lon Chaney—the Man of a Thousand Faces—in his most celebrated role, the disfigured, cloaked “phantom” who haunts the Paris Opera House will do anything for his beloved Christine. With original Technicolor and hand coloring! Tickets/Passes/Information: http://bit.ly/ADOS2019
 

FATTY + BUSTER
11:00 am | $17 general / $15 member
Live Music by Donald Sosin
Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was the preeminent film comedian of the 1910s. From the age of eight he appeared on stage as an acrobat and a clown and started his film career in 1913. By 1914, he had not only appeared in hundreds of Keystone comedies, but began directing the one-reelers. In 1917, he and producer Joseph M. Schenck formed the Comique Film Corporation—whose films were released through Famous Players—and Arbuckle became one of the highest-paid men in Hollywood. Arbuckle mentored Charlie Chaplin and discovered Buster Keaton, but his comedic brilliance has been overshadowed by the scandal that ended his career. These three sparkling shorts demonstrate a striking chemistry between Arbuckle and Keaton. Watching the two geniuses collaborate: a thing of beauty. The program includes THE COOK (1918, d. Roscoe Arbuckle), GOOD NIGHT, NURSE (1918, d. Roscoe Arbuckle), and THE GARAGE (1919, d. Roscoe Arbuckle).



REDSKIN
1:00 pm | $17 general / $15 member
Live Music by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
The story of a Navajo man, Wing Foot (Richard Dix), who was taken as a child to a US government boarding school and forced to assimilate resonates with contemporary headlines. Victor Schertzinger’s film explores the damage done by prejudice as it brings up issues of racial identity and cultural insensitivity to tell Wing Foot’s story. The film’s title acknowledges a racial slur used against its protagonist and it is used to illustrate intolerance, not endorse it. Wing Foot navigates between his western education and the traditions passed down by the tribal elders. Shot in breathtaking two-color Technicolor at locations in New Mexico and Arizona (including Acoma Pueblo and Canyon de Chelly)—the film changes from color to black-and-white when it leaves the Navajo and Pueblo lands.




WOMAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA
3:15 pm | $17 general / $15 member
Live Music by Donald Sosin
French filmmaking pioneer Alice Guy got into the movie business at the very beginning—in 1894, at the age of 21. Two years later, she was made head of production at Gaumont and started directing films. One of the very first directors to make narrative films, her work is marked by innovation—she experimented with color-tinting, special effects, and sound! In 1910 she and her husband moved to the United States and she founded Solax film studio. But a series of reversals—a severe bout of Spanish flu, a nasty divorce, the loss of her studio to creditors—forced Guy out of business and she returned to France with her two children in 1922. Through her own efforts—lecturing at universities and politely correcting historians’ mistakes—along with the efforts of diligent archivists, she has been rescued from unwarranted obscurity. Ninety-nine years after the opening of Solax, Alice Guy remains the only woman to have ever owned a movie studio. The program includes MIDWIFE TO THE UPPER CLASS (1902), THE RESULTS OF FEMINISM (1906), THE DRUNKEN MATTRESS (1906), MADAME HAS HER CRAVINGS (1906), THE GLUE (1907), and THE OCEAN WAIF (1916).


 

THE MARRIAGE CIRCLE
5:00 pm | $17 general / $15 member
Live Music by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
Ernst Lubitsch’s adaptation of the play Only a Dream was his second American film and would set the tone for all his sparkling comedies to follow. The titular “circle” alludes to the ring of infidelities that animate the plot—and while the story is exquisitely plotted with headlong narrative twists and sophisticated intelligence, it’s the intricacies of human behavior that concern Lubitsch. An expert at adapting dialogue-ridden theater to silent films with few intertitles, Lubitsch works narrative magic with knowing looks and subtle gestures—his characters are brimming with humanity ... and hilarity. Set in Vienna, “the city of laughter and light romance,” The Marriage Circle centers on two couples—the sublimely-in-love Monte Blue and Florence Vidor, and the less-so Adolphe Menjou and Marie Prevost. The New Yorker’s Richard Brody writes, “Ernst Lubitsch turned a drawing-room farce into bittersweet chamber music.”




THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
8:00 pm | $24 general / $22 member
Live Music by Berklee Silent Film Orchestra
The oldest surviving film version of Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel stars Lon Chaney—the Man of a Thousand Faces—in his most celebrated role, the disfigured, cloaked “phantom” who haunts the Paris Opera House and will do anything for his beloved Christine (Mary Philbin). Universal’s opulent set design replicates the palatial interior of the actual Paris Opera and the Phantom’s residence—the subterranean catacombs beneath the Opera—have inspired generations of horror sets. The print features the original tints and Technicolor of the 1929 theatrical version, restored by Film Preservation Associates, as well as the meticulously hand-colored sequences that reproduce the Handschiegl Color Process. Chaney’s self-designed make-up was kept a studio secret until the film’s premiere in 1925. The famous unmasking scene when Christine unfastens the Phantom’s mask, revealing his grotesque disfigurement remains one of the most shocking moments in cinema history.

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