San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Announcements of upcoming theatrical silent film exhibitions.
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rudyfan

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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostMon Jul 16, 2012 3:37 pm

IA wrote:It's interesting to compare her to Stanwyck, whose innate shrewdness somewhat played against the role. By contrast, Bennett emphasizes Stella's vulgarity and coarseness, yet does so with--as you noted--vulnerability and sweetness. The film, and her performance, were every bit the equal of the sound version and Stanwyck. Henry King's direction also seemed a bit sprightlier than King Vidor's.


I think Bennett's performance surpassed the Stanwyck version by leaps and bounds. This was the movie I came away from the festival absolutely gobsmacked. The entire film worked, it was note perfect. Every single performance was great. Even Doug Jr. who had precious little to do but look youthful and handsome, was lovely. Alice Joyce was also just wonderful. Lois Moran never struck a wrong note as Laurel. Bennett's performace was one for the ages for me. It was as brave as Louise Dresser's was in The Goose Woman. I think next to Tol'able David this is Henry King's finest silent that I've yet seen. I was a mushy mess at the end. ymmv
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostMon Jul 16, 2012 4:10 pm

missdupont wrote: THE WONDERFUL LIE OF NINA PETROVNA looked gorgeous and had its moments of tragic love, but seemed long, with a twitchy performance from Brigitte Helm.


She was pretty twitchy in METROPOLIS. Is this her SOP?
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostMon Jul 16, 2012 4:20 pm

rollot24 wrote:She was pretty twitchy in METROPOLIS. Is this her SOP?


I didn't find her twitchy in Wonderful Lie. She was quite seductive, and her "come hither" glances drew amused wonderment from the crowd.
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostMon Jul 16, 2012 4:33 pm

For me, she was twitchy and couldn't seem to stand still. As someone else said to me, it was almost like she had the D.T.s. Twitchiness was good for the false Maria but doesn't work for someone who's supposedly a smooth seductress and courtesan.
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostTue Jul 17, 2012 7:11 am

missdupont wrote:For me, she was twitchy and couldn't seem to stand still. As someone else said to me, it was almost like she had the D.T.s. Twitchiness was good for the false Maria but doesn't work for someone who's supposedly a smooth seductress and courtesan.


That observation seems weird to me too, and I've watched the film a lot. Her languid and smooth movements, from the balcony and restaurant scenes at the beginning through during the final confrontations, make her look like a woman used to being in control of her life who is out of her depth falling in love with a frustratingly straightforward man. Nothing like the false Maria.

Several people told me that they though Nina Petrovna was the highlight of the festival, one saying that the film surpasses Sunrise in the beauty and cinematic nature of its storytelling. For me, it was great to finally present the un-censored version of the film, which may well have been an American premiere. The seduction scene in the apartment (completely missing from the American version) generated a lot of audience response! And one fellow, two days later, told me he had our love theme still stuck in his head, poor lad.

The subtitle malfunctions were very unfortunate (the system worked fine in rehearsal, of course), but since the film's introducer had explained the first part of the plot, it turned out not as badly as it could have. I'm really glad that the SFSFF presented the film, and obtained such a nice print.
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostTue Jul 17, 2012 9:39 am

Rodney wrote:
missdupont wrote:For me, she was twitchy and couldn't seem to stand still. As someone else said to me, it was almost like she had the D.T.s. Twitchiness was good for the false Maria but doesn't work for someone who's supposedly a smooth seductress and courtesan.


That observation seems weird to me too, and I've watched the film a lot. Her languid and smooth movements, from the balcony and restaurant scenes at the beginning through during the final confrontations, make her look like a woman used to being in control of her life who is out of her depth falling in love with a frustratingly straightforward man. Nothing like the false Maria.

Several people told me that they though Nina Petrovna was the highlight of the festival, one saying that the film surpasses Sunrise in the beauty and cinematic nature of its storytelling. For me, it was great to finally present the un-censored version of the film, which may well have been an American premiere. The seduction scene in the apartment (completely missing from the American version) generated a lot of audience response! And one fellow, two days later, told me he had our love theme still stuck in his head, poor lad.

The subtitle malfunctions were very unfortunate (the system worked fine in rehearsal, of course), but since the film's introducer had explained the first part of the plot, it turned out not as badly as it could have. I'm really glad that the SFSFF presented the film, and obtained such a nice print.


Rodney, this was my top film until I saw Stella Dallas. I really enjoyed it and thought Helm was wonderful. I do not remember the Twitchiness Missdupont is referring to. It's okay, ymmv. :-) The film was terrific and I was very moved at the end, it was quite fabulous. Mont Alto had nothing to do with that, either... ;-) You guys rocked it!
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostTue Jul 17, 2012 3:01 pm

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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostTue Jul 17, 2012 5:02 pm

Nice review, Donna.
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostTue Jul 17, 2012 7:12 pm

Like missdupont, I really didn't see a single picture I didn't enjoy on some level, so apologies in advance for an avalanche of superlatives.

The new restoration of Wings was an ideal choice for opening film - a model for the modern action blockbuster, but a reminder that such films are nothing without heart. William Wyler Jr was on hand to explain why Paramount took a chance on his father, an untried talent, and the movie showed why they made the right choice. Buddy Rogers and Richard Arlen underplay their parts; Clara Bow is radiant and heartbreaking as the scrappy little girl next door. And then there are the magnificent flying scenes, which must have knocked a 1927 audience off their feet and are just as impressive today.

The Mont Alto Orchestra's score was quite audacious in its heavy use of Foley - two upturned pushbikes figured amongst their equipment. This worked particularly well in some of the flying sequences, where Foley took over almost completely, and was performed so effectively as to be indistinguishable from the real thing.

By the way, it was mentioned during the Tales from the Archive talk (which I hope to cover in a separate report) that the $700,000 restoration of Wings has not performed to expectations, which jeopardises the restoration of future silents. Please, everybody - buy a copy now!

Little Toys (1933) is not the best of the great Chinese star Ruan Lingyu's starring vehicles - in fact, it might better be described as an ensemble piece. There is a nice chemistry between Ruan and her real-life daughter, and the vivacious Li Lili, as the same character in young adulthood, almost steals the show. Ruan is excellent nonetheless, as she has been in everything I've seen her in. Richard J. Meyer's scholarly introduction gave some useful context on the film's main purpose as a Chinese nationalist propaganda piece.

Ernst Lubitsch's The Loves of Pharoah was a rather odd experience - clearly influenced by de Mille, and probably also the early Italian historical epics. Emil Jannings is the Pharoah of the title, and turns in a performance that is not as scenery-chewing as I feared it might be, although the performance of Dagny Servaes as the put-upon Greek servant girl Theonis is the closest the film gets to subtlety. The presence of a pantomime-style blackface Ethiopian army and a rather Teutonic looking race of Egyptians did not help to boost the realism.

A few short sequences are reconstructed with stills, but otherwise the images are sharp enough to have been shot yesterday, and show off some high production values. There was certainly skill on show here, it's just not self-evidently the skill we associate with Lubitsch. The organ accompaniment by Denis James helped a great deal to lift the slower moments.

I've seen a few reviews dismiss Mantrap as excessively light, and perhaps it might be if anyone but Clara Bow was the star, or anyone but Victor Fleming was the director. Clara has a way of filling every scene she's in, drawing every eye to her nuances, and most importantly for a story like this, making us forgive her entirely for being an incorrigible flirt. Ernest Torrance is lovable as Bow's slow-thinking hillbilly husband. In Victor Fleming's hands, its lightness becomes its strength. I found it a well-crafted, super snappy little comedy, and enjoyed every minute.

The Wonderful Lie of Nina Petrovna I liked but, in the final analysis, found a little bit thin. Brigitte Helm gets to wander around looking seductive and gorgeous as a world-weary kept woman who tires of being a plaything and is charmed by a feckless young soldier, played by Franz Lederer. It certainly looked beautiful, and I couldn't fault the performances, so I'm not sure what it was that I found lacking - perhaps the familiarity of the story. There were some problems with the projection of the intertitle translations which had us clinging on to the plot with our high school German for the early part, so perhaps it would reward another viewing.

The following morning's presentation of early Felix the Cat cartoons was wonderfully entertaining. Donald Sosin shared accompaniment duties with Toychestra, which, true to the name, makes use only of toy instruments. It could have been gimmicky, but it was very effective, especially in the more surreal cartoons such as Felix Trips Thru Toyland. 'Trips' is right - forget the famous urban myth about the suicidal Munchkin in the Wizard of Oz, Felix's toyland features a clown hanging from a noose in a tree! I love to observe the evolution of film vocabulary in early film; here, you could see the same processes taking place for cartoons.

I was very much looking forward to the newly restored The Spanish Dancer, and it was everything I'd hoped - a terrific, lavish period romp, styled with reference to Velasquez (who makes a few appearances). Pola is a plucky gypsy heroine who wins the love of a dashing rogue, played by Antonio Moreno, and also becomes entangled in the affairs of the Spanish royal family.

The picture quality ranges from very good to fairly poor in a few 16mm-sourced sequences, but everything appeared intact and coherent without the need for reconstructions. The Spanish guitar-inflected accompaniment was a nice touch. I hope this one makes it to DVD.

The Canadian was a festival highlight for me. What a beautifully crafted, subtle piece of work. On paper, the story is simple; like a non-comedic riff on the same theme as Mantrap: a snooty but penniless city girl (played by Mona Palmer) comes to live with her farmer brother, and thereby encounters his silently brooding workman (Thomas Meighan). Lovely performances all around and direction make it so much more than the bare synopsis indicates. This is a little gem that everyone needs to rediscover.

I was very proud to watch South and to see my countryman, the great Australian cinematographer Frank Hurley, receive his due. Hurley travelled with Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic expedition of 1914-16 to capture the footage displayed in South, and quite rightly returned home a national hero. There were audible gasps around the cinema both at the images and the extraordinary story of the Shackleton expedition.

The documentary was originally presented by Shackleton himself, reading from his diaries and letters from the expedition. Actor (and, we discovered, genuine silent film afficionado) Paul McGann took Shackleton's place, and combined with Stephen Horne's sensitive piano accompaniment, this method of presentation brought the images to life in a way that most viewings of early documentaries, stiff as they sometimes can be, could simply not do. Another highlight.

There was a huge sense of anticipation for the new restoration of Pandora's Box, and by the time the doors finally opened forty minutes late due to a technical problem, it had reached fever pitch. Despite the rumours, there was no new footage - the extra ten minutes was due to speed adjustments. Lulu's dance with Countess Geschwitz was the only section that seemed noticeably slower to me, and even that could be my extrapolation.

The image quality was pristine; given the lack of original elements, this is likely to be the best looking Pandora's Box we will ever get. The early scenes in particular were like watching the film anew, full of elements you never noticed before. According to the introduction, some repairs involved digitally compositing two separate sources to get the best qualities of each.

The Matti Bye Ensemble's accompaniment was also debuted, and while there were effective sequences, especially in the closing act of the film, it felt a little unformed and repetitive in others and might benefit from more work. This variety of score, which provides atmosphere without actively punctuating the action, can sometimes have the effect of ironing out some of the subtleties, which was occasionally the case here.

The Overcoat was the sole film I had to give a miss, and I'd be interested if anyone else has accounts of it.

The final day opened with a splendid showing of The Mark of Zorro. It really felt like a proper old-style Sunday matinee, with another rousing Denis James Wurlitzer accompaniment - a perfect presentation for a rollicking Fairbanks film.

Josef von Sternberg's The Docks of New York followed, and showed me once again why I prefer his silent work to his talkies, with their stunning visuals but baffling stories. Betty Compson is terrific as a hard-boiled girl from nowhere who charms the hard-bitten stoker who rescues her from a watery (but gorgeously shot) suicide.

I think I will need to watch Erotikon again. I could feel a frothy little sex comedy struggling to get out, but I just couldn't connect with it. The rather dour accompaniment contributed to this feeling - it was musically interesting, but not in keeping with the playful atmosphere I think the film was trying to project. This is another that I'd like to give a second viewing.

I knew little of Stella Dallas but its reputation as a tearjerker; even a potboiler. Every expectation was swept away, and I found a film exemplary in almost every detail. Again, we begin with a simple story - poorly brought up Stella marries above herself. Estranged from her husband, she brings up their daughter Laurel alone. Soon, she soon finds her lack of refinement is holding Laurel back, and she must act to preserve her daughter's dignity.

It is in the exquisite attention to detail that the film comes alive. Each performance is pitch perfect, but Belle Bennett's, as the redoubtable Stella, stood out from them all. It would have been all too easy to drift into the realms of caricature or grotesquerie, but Bennett does not condescend to her character. She makes her lovable, vulnerable, achingly real. It's a courageous, unforgettable performance.

Almost as good is Lois Moran as Stella's daughter, Laurel. I was all ready to praise the second actress who played Laurel at the age of 10, only to discover that the two were one and the same. What a marvel of performance and costuming! I really can't say much else except to add that Ronald Colman, Alice Joyce and Douglas Fairbanks Jr are all excellent in their smaller roles, and to note that the film left everyone emotional wrecks. To coin a cliche, there truly was not a dry eye in the house.

Recovering sufficiently, I thoroughly enjoyed the closing performance of Keaton's The Cameraman. I always say you have never seen a Buster film until you've watched it with a huge, appreciative audience, and they don't get much huger or more appreciative than this one. Mont Alto again provided a note perfect, highly entertaining score. I will never think of 'The Beautiful Blue Danube' in quite the same way again.

In between times I managed to spend a small fortune on books and have great conversations with Michael Sragow, Jeff Codori and John Bengtson, and impress my friends back home by rubbing shoulders with Leonard Maltin.

My personal thanks go to the many friends, new and old, who I spent time with at the festival, particularly Donna Hill and Thomas Gladysz - you really helped to make it an unforgettable experience. Roll on 2013 (and Cinecon)!
Last edited by Brooksie on Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostWed Jul 18, 2012 12:00 am

I was only able to make the Friday and Saturday screenings (skipping most of the evening shows).

The Spanish Dancer far exceeded my expectations (based on the Kodascope i've seen, which made no sense whatever.) The restored version was great fun, with Pola in great form and Antonio Moreno looking quite dashing (this is before he started putting on weight in the face). This was from the same source material as Rosita, but i definitely preferred this version.

For me a special highlight was The Loves of Pharaoh, a wonderfully overripe piece of cheese that i thoroughly enjoyed. Emil Jannings was relatively subdued for him, and all shaved and lightly made up, you could see that he was really a youngish man. But he did bear a distracting resemblance to Ford Sterling in fashion earrings. And then there was Paul Wegener, scowling in blackface and cowrie shells. Lots of crazy plot twists, impressive sets, and cool props. Dennis James provided a lively score which helped move it along. The only disappointment was that there were still so many pieces missing--when a still would come on and i'd realize that i was missing another potentially hilarious scene. So while i couldn't at all take this film seriously, it was most entertaining.

I pretty much agree with everyone else on the other things i saw. Despite good performances, Little Toys was heavy handed and repetitious. The Canadian is quietly impressive, Mantrap an utter delight. South wasn't a gripping as last year's Scott documentary, but it was quite interesting, if understandable disjointed.

Sorry i couldn't get to Sunday's great lineup, but at least i had seen them before. It was a great show this year, fun to connect up with friends old and new, and i'm looking forward to what treasures they'll unearth for next year.

greta
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostWed Jul 18, 2012 7:56 am

And now, of course, the inevitable demand that all of these great films be immediately released in excellent DVD versions at very reasonable prices ... (cue the Richard Roberts rant that we have no right to see the films) ... Okay, then, I won't say it for myself, although I do think every Canadian on this forum should be given a free copy of The Canadian just for being who we are. Aw, c'mon, be nice ... like us!

Every year it sounds as though the SFSFF is just about the best experience on the silent cinecon circuit. Envious congratulations to those who make it all happen.


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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostWed Jul 18, 2012 8:18 am

Jim Roots wrote:Okay, then, I won't say it for myself, although I do think every Canadian on this forum should be given a free copy of The Canadian just for being who we are. Aw, c'mon, be nice ... like us!

Jim


You should also insist on getting Gabriel Thibaudeau to score it for you.
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostWed Jul 18, 2012 1:32 pm

I realise that I neglected to mention the showing of the colour restoration of Melies' A Trip to the Moon, which preceded the closing night showing of The Cameraman.

Only a few weeks ago my husband and I saw the restoration and accompanying documentary The Extraordinary Voyage on the big screen at the Portland Art Museum, so it made for an interesting comparison. My husband's comment - quite a perceptive one, I thought - was that the modern soundtrack by Air was effective enough, but did a disservice to the film by pushing it towards a more aesthetic experience rather than a narrative one. The presentation at San Francisco, which included Melies' original commentary read by Paul McGann and a piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne, only served to solidify this feeling. This is the true way to experience A Trip to the Moon, as closely as possible to its original presentation.

I have posted some photos of the weekend at http://photobucket.com/SFSilentFilm. There are a few people I think I have misidentified, so pipe up if you can correct me on any of them.
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostWed Jul 18, 2012 3:41 pm

Brooksie wrote:I have posted some photos of the weekend at http://photobucket.com/SFSilentFilm. There are a few people I think I have misidentified, so pipe up if you can correct me on any of them.


Looks right to me, I think you got them all. Some great pics!
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostWed Jul 18, 2012 4:45 pm

Leonard Maltin has now posted his festival wrapup at http://blogs.indiewire.com/leonardmaltin/silents-soar-in-san-francisco#.UAc8QmUQG8_.

I can attest to his comments on the Felix the Cat presentation - it was great to see some kids there, and they all looked to be having great fun, especially when Toychestra called upon them to contribute to the animal sound effects.
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostThu Jul 19, 2012 1:57 pm

dr.giraud wrote:East coast Pola Negri fans want to know: How was the restored SPANISH DANCER?


For the East Coast fans: the restored SPANISH DANCER will be screening at the National Gallery in Washington in august, and after the summer at the MoMA.
The first upcoming screening in Europe is in Pordenone (more countries will follow soon).
Glad to read that those who saw it at the SFSFF enjoyed our work ! :D
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostThu Jul 19, 2012 2:47 pm

Elif wrote:
dr.giraud wrote:East coast Pola Negri fans want to know: How was the restored SPANISH DANCER?


For the East Coast fans: the restored SPANISH DANCER will be screening at the National Gallery in Washington in august, and after the summer at the MoMA.
The first upcoming screening in Europe is in Pordenone (more countries will follow soon).
Glad to read that those who saw it at the SFSFF enjoyed our work ! :D


elif

We did enjoy your work! We also felt some sense of local pride with Rob Byrne's involvment! The movie was grand good fun and seeing the material and various sources you had to work with, it was a very good job!

Is this something, at a later stage EyeFilm would consider releasing commercially on DVD? I know now it's too soon, too many festivals to show it off, and rightly so. I'd love to see it again! Gratefully!

Donna
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostFri Jul 20, 2012 6:30 am

Frederica wrote:
Jim Roots wrote:Okay, then, I won't say it for myself, although I do think every Canadian on this forum should be given a free copy of The Canadian just for being who we are. Aw, c'mon, be nice ... like us!

Jim


You should also insist on getting Gabriel Thibaudeau to score it for you.


Er ... why? Have you forgotten who I am?

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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostFri Jul 20, 2012 6:39 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Frederica wrote:
Jim Roots wrote:Okay, then, I won't say it for myself, although I do think every Canadian on this forum should be given a free copy of The Canadian just for being who we are. Aw, c'mon, be nice ... like us!

Jim


You should also insist on getting Gabriel Thibaudeau to score it for you.


Er ... why? Have you forgotten who I am?

Jim


She meant to say that you should get Gabriel Thibaudeau to close-caption it for you.

(You did say that "every Canadian should be given a free copy," and many of the the others would appreciate a score by one of Canada's best silent film musicians. N'est-ce pas?)

And while you're thinking warm fuzzy thoughts about SFSFF, I should mention that all of the introductions are ASL interpreted.
Rodney Sauer
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostFri Jul 20, 2012 7:37 am

Rodney wrote:

And while you're thinking warm fuzzy thoughts about SFSFF, I should mention that all of the introductions are ASL interpreted.


Which are fun for the rest of us to watch, too. We got a bit of comic relief this year with the terms handschiegel and imbibition.

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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostFri Jul 20, 2012 9:39 am

Rodney wrote:She meant to say that you should get Gabriel Thibaudeau to close-caption it for you.

(You did say that "every Canadian should be given a free copy," and many of the the others would appreciate a score by one of Canada's best silent film musicians. N'est-ce pas?)


Er, uh...yeah! That's exactly what I meant! Yeah! "The All-Canadian Canadian!"

To be honest, though, when The Canadian played at Cinecon several years ago, Thibaudeau did the accompaniment and he...he...what is the Canadian equivalent of "knocked it out of the park?" At the end we all stood up and screamed like he was a rock star.

All due respect to the fine musicians who play at SFSFF (the music is one if the festival's best features), but I hope in the future the PTB will try to schedule the musicians we don't get to hear on the west coast very often, Thibaudeau being a good example. I'd also love the chance to hear Neil Brand and more of Maud Nelissen.
Fred
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostFri Jul 20, 2012 10:52 am

Frederica wrote: All due respect to the fine musicians who play at SFSFF (the music is one if the festival's best features), but I hope in the future the PTB will try to schedule the musicians we don't get to hear on the west coast very often, Thibaudeau being a good example. I'd also love the chance to hear Neil Brand and more of Maud Nelissen.


And more Carl Davis (hint, hint SFSFF)
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostFri Jul 20, 2012 10:57 am

This is a rather wild fantasy, but I've always dreamed of them bringing in Garth Hudson from the Band. I don't know if he's ever accompanied a silent film, but he's a wizard at the Wurlitzer, synth, and pretty much anything with a keyboard, and can improvise like a master.
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostFri Jul 20, 2012 11:09 am

rollot24 wrote:
Frederica wrote: All due respect to the fine musicians who play at SFSFF (the music is one if the festival's best features), but I hope in the future the PTB will try to schedule the musicians we don't get to hear on the west coast very often, Thibaudeau being a good example. I'd also love the chance to hear Neil Brand and more of Maud Nelissen.


And more Carl Davis (hint, hint SFSFF)


For that, I think they'd either need to go back to the Paramount, or budget pulling the stage off of the orchestra pit at the Castro and replacing it afterwards (and I'm not sure the Castro's pit was ever really large enough for a Davisian orchestra).
Rodney Sauer
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostFri Jul 20, 2012 3:58 pm

Rodney wrote:
rollot24 wrote:
Frederica wrote: All due respect to the fine musicians who play at SFSFF (the music is one if the festival's best features), but I hope in the future the PTB will try to schedule the musicians we don't get to hear on the west coast very often, Thibaudeau being a good example. I'd also love the chance to hear Neil Brand and more of Maud Nelissen.


And more Carl Davis (hint, hint SFSFF)


For that, I think they'd either need to go back to the Paramount, or budget pulling the stage off of the orchestra pit at the Castro and replacing it afterwards (and I'm not sure the Castro's pit was ever really large enough for a Davisian orchestra).


I can dream, can't I?
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Gagman 66

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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostSat Jul 21, 2012 4:48 pm

[quote="Brooksie"]
By the way, it was mentioned during the Tales from the Archive talk (which I hope to cover in a separate report) that the $700,000 restoration of Wings has not performed to expectations, which jeopardises the restoration of future silents. Please, everybody - buy a copy now!

:o I thought sales were initially pretty good for the DVD and Blu-ray? I know I ordered a copy of each ahead of time. Are you talking about the DVD and Blu-ray's or the Theatrical Presentations? I know that there are definitely allot of procrastinators out their that wanted this to be released for so long and so badly, and haven't picked it up yet. I'm the same way so far with the Criterion THE GOLD RUSH, but I bought the new Pickford Blu-ray set instead. Say what you will, but I still think it hurts that there has been no promos for the WINGS release on TCM allot. Not to mention a premiere. Although, I didn't see all the interview segments, I think Ben Burtt mentioned the work he did on re-creating the sound effects for WINGS, the other night when he was a guest host.

To those of you who don't have this yet, as Brooksie said, please by a copy of the Blu-ray and the DVD too right away if you can afford it. I'm disappointed because I thought it was selling OK, Baring in mind that sadly they don't just stock WINGS at any corner video store.
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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostSat Jul 21, 2012 10:24 pm

What he said. The WINGS Blu-Ray is magnificent and should be in ALL of our libraries
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precode

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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostSun Jul 22, 2012 1:20 pm

Part of the problem may be that they handed out free copies of the Blu-Ray at both Academy screenings AND the one at the Paramount Studio. Not that I'm not grateful for the freebie, but that's about 2500 people who in all likelihood would have bought it otherwise.

Mike S.
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Gagman 66

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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostSun Jul 22, 2012 3:11 pm

Everyone,

:? Wanted to mantion that Kevin Brownlow said back in 2008 on SSO that STELLA DALLAS should be released in a nice print on DVD by a Court Order. Kevin was also interested in producing a Photoplay version of THE GOOSE WOMAN. I'm glad to hear that THE SPANISH DANCER turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Heard so much now about THE CANADIAN everyone seems to agree this is a forgotten classic. Thanks everyone for all the interesting reviews.

precode,

:( Yeah, I was questioning their giving away all those copies at the time if you recall.
Last edited by Gagman 66 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Brooksie

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Re: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

PostMon Jul 23, 2012 1:02 pm

Stephen Horne, who accompanied Stella Dallas, had an interesting anecdote about being asked by Kevin Brownlow to accompany a private screening of his own print of the film. I see that it is amongst the Goldwyn films that MGM now owns but recently licensed to Warner Bros. It would be a shoo-in for Warner Archive, I'd buy a copy in a shot.

The exact comment regarding Wings, from Paramount's Andrea Kalas, was that it has done extremely well on DVD for a silent feature, but underperformed for what Paramount was anticipating. It sounds like they had to be talked into embarking upon the restoration in the first place - $700,000 is not a small amount of money, after all - so perhaps somebody went overboard and built their expectations up too high.

One interesting thing she did confirm is that they are looking more closely at theatrical release as a way of offsetting the costs of restorations. Carefully marketed and targeted - i.e. to smaller or arthouse cinemas rather than cineplexes - I think this could be quite lucrative for them.

I've managed to misplace the notebook that had my notes for the archives talk in it. I'll keep looking for it today and hopefully give a full report.
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