The annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival winter event is less than one week away. This year’s all-day happening, at the historic Castro Theater, will take place on Saturday, February 12th.
The Festival, recently named by MovieMaker Magazineone of the “20 Coolest Film Festivals” in America, has put together an exceptional line-up of films, music and special guests. Three programs will grace the Castro’s big screen – and each with exceptional musical accompaniment.
The day begins with three shorts from Charlie Chaplin’s stint at the Mutual Film Corporation. Each serves as a glimpse into a master perfecting his craft. Pianist Donald Sosin – a regular at SFSFF events – will accompany “It’s Mutual: Charlie Chaplin Shorts” (which features The Adventurer 1917 /The Pawn Shop 1916 /The Rink 1916).
Greed and sex drive Marcel L’Herbier’s adaptation of Emile Zola’s celebrated novel about financial speculation, L’Argent (1928). The excess of the story is mirrored in the filmmaking – opulent sets, breathtaking camerawork, and a rhythm that conveys glamour and modernity. The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra will play for this special screening, the West Coast Premiere of a restored print of this acclaimed but seldom seen film whose cast includes Brigitte Helm and Antoin Artaud. Notably, Mont Alto’s main theme for L’Argent, the “Herod Overture,” was composed by Henry Hadley – the San Francisco Symphony’s first conductor!
La Bohème (1926) has been filmed many times, but King Vidor’s version starring Lillian Gish as Mimi and John Gilbert as Rodolphe is certainly the best – and certainly the most romantic. La Bohème will be accompanied by Dennis James, the Master of the Mighty Wurlitzer.
Three authors will also be on hand to sign books at the Winter Event. The book signings are set to take place after “It’s Mutual: Charlie Chaplin Shorts” and before L’Argent. Start time for the signings is approximately 2:15 pm, or at the conclusion of the Chaplin program. Admission to the signings is by Festival ticket.
The authors signing books are Karie Bible, co-author of Location Filming in Los Angeles (Arcadia),Thomas Gladysz, editor of the “Louise Brooks edition” of The Diary of a Lost Girl (PandorasBox Press), and Julie Lindow, editor and co-author of Left in the Dark: Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theatres (Charta).
For more info: Additional details on the films, the Winter Event Celebration Party, and ticket availability can be found at http://www.silentfilm.org/event-home.php
Thomas Gladysz is an arts journalist and author. Recently, he wrote the introduction to a new “Louise Brooks edition” of Margarete Böhme’s classic book, The Diary of a Lost Girl (PandorasBox Press).