Friday, May 20, 2016

Lulu by the Bay: Beggars of Life Exhibition History

Beggars of Life is the opening night presentation at this year's San Francisco Silent Film Festival! The acclaimed 1928 film, directed by Oscar winner William Wellman and starring future Oscar winner Wallace Beery, will be shown on Thursday, June 2nd at 7:00 pm at the historic Castro Theater in San Francisco. The film will be shown with live musical accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. More information, including ticket availability, may be found at HERE.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival first screened the film in 2007. It first showed at the Castro Theater on February 17, 1929.

The film made its Northern California debut at the Modesto Theater in Modesto on October 16, 1928. It then played at the California in Pittsburg (Oct. 28-29, 1928) and Strand in Gilroy (Nov. 5-6, 1928) before opening in San Francisco at the Warfield (Nov. 10-16, 1928). Later San Francisco screenings include the New Fillmore in San Francisco (Jan. 19-20, 1929); New Mission in San Francisco (Jan. 19-20, 1929); Alexandria in San Francisco (Feb. 3, 1929); Irving in San Francisco (Feb. 7-8, 1929); Alhambra in San Francisco (Feb. 23, 1929 with Forbidden Love); Royal in San Francisco (Feb. 24, 1929 with Forbidden Love); Haight in San Francisco (Feb. 27-28, 1929); Metropolitan in San Francisco (Mar. 3, 1929); New Lyceum in San Francisco (Mar. 6-7, 1929); Harding in San Francisco (Apr. 3-4, 1929); Avenue in San Francisco (Apr. 28, 1929);  Riviera in San Francisco (May 1, 1929); Excelsior in San Francisco (May 8-9, 1929); Roosevelt in San Francisco (May 22-23, 1929); and Casino in San Francisco (June 20-21, 1929).

San Mateo, California

Other Bay Area showings from the time include the California in San Jose (Nov. 17-19, 1928); Orpheus in San Rafael (Nov. 19-21, 1928); New Stanford in Palo Alto (Nov. 21-23, 1928); Tamalpais in San Anselmo (Nov. 22-24, 1928); New Niles Theatre in Niles (Nov. 25-26, 1928); Hippodrome in Napa (Nov. 27-28, 1928); Hub in Mill Valley (Nov. 27-28, 1928); Oakland Theater in Oakland (Dec. 1-7, 1928); Royal in South San Francisco (Dec. 4-5, 1928); Sequoia in Redwood City (Dec. 5-6, 1928); Princess in Sausalito (Dec. 6-7, 1928); U.C. in Berkeley (Dec. 12-14, 1928); Mountain View Theatre in Mountain View (Dec. 13-14, 1928); Playhouse in Calistoga (Dec. 16-17, 1928); Fox California in Richmond (Dec. 19-20, 1928); New San Mateo Theater in San Mateo (Dec. 19-21, 1928); California in Petaluma (Dec. 21-22, 1928); El Campanil in Antioch (Jan. 6, 1929); and Theatre of the Golden Bough in Carmel (Jan. 13-14, 1929). In fact, the film continued to be shown as late as December of 1929 (more than a year after its release), when it screened at the Century in Oakland on December 6-7, 1929 on a double bill with Trent’s Last Case.

Salinas, California

In 1965, director William Wellman wanted to bring Louise Brooks to San Francisco and screen Beggars of Life as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival, but it never came to be. Instead, he screened Wings for a packed house at the Masonic auditorium.

The film (likely William Everson's print) was next screened at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley (Aug. 17, 1976) with It’s the Old Army Game, and then again at an impromptu showing at the old San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Aug. 22, 1976 with It’s the Old Army Game). Later it was shown at the Avenue Theater in San Francisco (June 26, 1981) with Hollywood Without Makeup.

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