Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Little seen Louise Brooks film The Show Off to screen in Australia

The little seen 1926 Louise Brooks film, The Show Off, will be shown in a theatre in Australia on Saturday, December 5th. This rare pandemic era screening will take place at The Majestic Theatre in
Pomona, QLD. More information about this event can be found HERE. (I have seen The Show Off a number of times, and think it is one of Brooks' better comedies, though her role is that of a supporting player.)

The Majestic Theatre is located in the heart of the Noosa Hinterland in the small historic town of Pomona, in Queensland, Australia. The Majestic Theatre is a not for profit, small community run theatre and cinema that has been in operation for almost 100 years as both a community hall and a silent film theatre. They show silent films every Saturday at 12 noon, and claim to be the "World's Longest Running Silent Film Theatre." Check their calendar for other silent film offerings, including Clara Bow's It on November 28.

The Majestic Theatre description of its upcoming Louise Brooks screening reads:  "The Show Off is a 1926 American silent film comedy produced by Famous Players-Lasky and distributed by Paramount Pictures, based on the play of the same name by George Kelly. Directed by Mal St Clare, the film stars Ford Sterling, Lois Wilson and Louise Brooks. This film is one of two films that co-starred popular Broadway actor Gregory Kelly (first husband of Ruth Gordon who died shortly after The Show-Off wrapped production. The film was produced in Philadelphia and New York City thus becoming a sort of time capsule record of buildings long gone and neighbourhoods changed. No need to book. Tickets at the door. 12 noon to 2pm. Doors & Bar open 11.30am. $15 for adults & free for kids. Snacks & refreshments available."

Ford Sterling, Lois Wilson, Gregory Kelly, and Louise Brooks in The Show Off

Though released in the United States in August, 1926, The Show Off only debuted in Australia in mid-January, 1927 when it opened in Brisbane (Queensland), Sydney (New South Wales), and Hobart (Tasmania). To learn more about the film, visit the Louise Brooks Society webpage on the film.

Pomona, the site of next month's screening, is about 124 kilometers from Brisbane, the capital and the most populated city in the Australian state of Queensland. When The Show Off first opened in Brisbane, it played briefly at the Valley Theatre as part of a double bill with Romola, starring Lillian and Dorothy Gish, Ronald Colman and William Powell. Ahead of its showing, the local Brisbane Truth newspaper described The Show Off as a "sparking comedy," while the Sunday Mail described it as a "interesting and humorous production."

A couple of months later, The Show Off played elsewhere in Queensland, including March and April runs in Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, and the Toowoomba region. It was described favorably, and said to be "well worth seeing." None of the Queensland articles or reviews singled out Brooks beyond mentioning her and Lois Wilson were in the cast; instead, most of the coverage was focused on comedian Ford Sterling, one of the original Keystone Cops. Below is the advertisement which ran when the film showed in Mackay.

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