Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Frank Buxton Silent Film Festival to feature two Louise Brooks films on November 17

Thomas Gladysz and Frank Buxton
The Frank Buxton Silent Film Festival, a two-day celebration of silent film, is scheduled to show two seldom exhibited Louise Brooks' films, It’s the Old Army Game (1926), and the surviving fragment of Now We’re in the Air (1927). For the latter film, the event marks the film's first screening in the Pacific Northwest in nearly 90 years!

According to it's website, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art in Bainbridge, Washington is proud to present the debut of the Frank Buxton Silent Film Festival, a two-day cinematic excursion exploring the pleasures, history and lost art of American silent film.

The Festival is a tribute to the late Frank Buxton (1930-2018), a local resident and longtime champion, advocate and appreciator of the arts. Programming for the Festival was curated by Frank's friend and program collaborator John Ellis in partnership with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. More information HERE.



- 6:30 pm - Opening Party
Visiting artists, guests and weekend pass holders enjoy a pre-screening reception with food and refreshment in the Museums First Floor Gallery

- 7:30 pm - Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929)Original score from Erin O'Hara

The Buxton Silent Film festival kicks off with a rare screening of Alfred Hitchcock's silent version of Blackmail, one of his earliest and most atmospheric films. The dark drama is orchestrated by Erin O'Hara, who created the entire score from the point of view of Alice, Anny Ondres character who murders her would be rapist with a bread knife. With an ensemble of electric and acoustic instruments and voices, O'Hara expresses the interior voice of heroine Alice, as she navigates her way through a journey of assault, survival and the murky search for justice. One reviewer said, Her soundtrack is both a signal contribution to Hitchcock's art and a bold rejoinder to it.


- 10 am - Classic Comedy ShortsMusical accompaniment by Miles and Karina (David Miles Keenan and Nova Karina Devonie)
Featured films:
  • One Week (1920) with Buster Keaton
  • The Immigrant (1917) with Charlie Chaplin
  • Battle of the Century (1927) from Laurel & Hardy
- 2:00 pm - Louise Brooks TributeMusical accompaniment by Miles and Karina (David Miles Keenan and Nova Karina Devonie)
Featured films:

- 7:30 pm - The Unknown starring Lon Chaney (1927)
Original Score composed and performed live by Jovino Santos Neto Quarteto
The Unknown is an American silent horror film directed by Tod Browning, a story of yearning, frustration, resentment and betrayal. Lon Chaney stars as carnival knife thrower Alonzo the Armless and Joan Crawford is the scantily clad carnival girl he hopes to marry. The film is brought to life by a live score composed and performed by Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto, a five-piece local jazz ensemble led by Brazilian jazz pianist Jovino Santos Neto. Neto offers a fresh take on the musical conventions of silent film accompaniment. Instead, he mines the deep, dark melancholy conveyed by the actors' facial expressions to create a 50-minute suite that blends sounds, textures and improv from vibraphone, bandoneon, bass, drums, percussion, piano, flute, melodica and electronics. Special thanks to Seattle Theater Group. Join film-goers for a short after-party.

I knew Frank Buxton, and know that he loved silent film, comedy, and Louise Brooks! He was a many of many accomplishments in a remarkable and eclectic career. Read the obits from Variety and the Hollywood Reporter and KitSap Sun. This event, the Frank Buxton Silent Film festival, is fitting tribute. Above is a picture of Frank on stage with Buster Keaton in 1949. Frank had autographed the page in my Keaton book where this picture appeared, and pointed himself out. (Buxton was also the co-author of a classic book on early radio, The Big Broadcast.)

Frank Buxton and I kept in touch over the years, chatting about film books and our favorite stars. Not long before he died, I was able to share with him a copy of my recent book, Now We're in the Air, a Companion to the Once "Lost" Film.

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