Remembering Steve Haynes: Cinevent 2015 report

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Remembering Steve Haynes: Cinevent 2015 report

PostTue May 26, 2015 8:45 am

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The screening room before the first show.

"Our family lived by the rhythms of Cinevent every Memorial Day," Michael Haynes said by way of explaining the place that the annual old movie convention Cinevent in Columbus, Ohio held in his family's life. Whether that will continue is an open question. First the convention lost its home when the Ramada Inn suddenly closed without warning; an alternative, the Renaissance Hotel downtown, was arranged quickly for the same Memorial Day weekend.

Then much grimmer news put its future into doubt: the death of Steve Haynes, one of Cinevent's three founders, who died in April, just weeks before the 47th annual convention. Steve not only co-founded it but was its public face and the unflappable, bemused figure who kept it all calm and running. He was the third major figure behind the festival to pass away in the last several years, after John Stingley and Dave Snyder, and it would be easy to imagine that this would be the last hurrah for an event honoring a medium which also seems to be passing from the stage rapidly— real film shared by collectors, beginning back in an era when no one had ever heard of VCRs or DVDs and 16mm film was the collectors' medium of choice.

But Michael Haynes promised they would try to keep it going for a 48th year, and the smoothness with which the festival ran in new digs (much nicer digs than the increasingly ratty Ramada, prompting lots of jokes along the lines of "how did they let us in here?") gave hope. Dealers packed the dealer rooms with everything from film prints to posters and stills (so, so many stills) to spare bulbs; screenings ran from 9 am to after midnight in the screening room, an improvement over the old one if for no other reason than the screen was up higher— I did less bobbing to see around heads than ever before.

I don't know if there really is a future for real film screenings— we've all grown so used to digital perfection that the imperfections and aliveness of the original movie medium now seem signs of its inferiority to many. Yet there is magic not only in a crowd thrilling to William S. Hart as a piano player pounds the story home, or laughing uproariously to Olsen and Johnson's madcap insanity, but in the scarcity of rare films and the discovery of obscure works you never knew existed; an event like this has serendipity you can't get from Amazon. If film is dead, then that's just one more way these conventions, their ranks rapidly thinning, still make a bridge to the 20th century of film's heyday. Here's what we saw at Cinevent 2015:

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Michael Haynes talking before The Whistle, starring his dad's favorite star, William S. Hart.

FRIDAY

JOHNNY DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANY MORE (***1/2) Cinevent tends to put something of, shall we say, modest appeal and prestige up first. But anybody who skipped this comedy thinking that a wartime Monogram comedy (directed by Joe "The Indian Tomb" May of all people) didn't promise much, wound up missing a real slice of the wild and crazy 40s, full of cleanly lecherous solider humor that's about a million times funnier than the more famous film on its subject, The More the Merrier. Simone Simon plays a gal who arrives in D.C. during the wartime shortage of rooms and winds up taking over the apartment of a departing Marine, but he gave lots of keys to buddies who needed a place to crash in town— and she's quickly running a full time version of the Marx Bros.' state room in Night at the Opera, with most of the guys chasing after her and many falling in love with her. Lots of zany gags (including in jokes referring to things like Cat People) and a cast that includes everyone from Grady Sutton to Rondo Hatton as well as one of Robert Mitchum's earliest roles, this was a hoot and a movie that could only have been made in its precise moment in history (1943).

I skipped a Universal musical with Gene Austin called Moon Over Las Vegas, but returned for:

WIDE OPEN (***) Edward Everett Horton as a mousy employee at a recording company who doesn't have much interest in women and quickly finds himself with too many of them— coworker Louise Fazenda is besotted with him, and when apparent criminal Patsy Ruth Miller shows up at his place and won't leave or explain what she's doing, farce results. Very smooth for 1930 comedy that plays kind of like an Animal Crackers-type farce sans Marxes, with lots of seemingly innocent double entrendres (including some that really make you think they were playing on knowledge of Horton's private life). Also, Miller is just gorgeous.

SHOOTING STARS (***) Anthony Asquith's directorial debut (though it's credited to the actor turned director A.V. Bramble) can be added to the list of movies which were obviously inspired by Dupont's Variety; this time it's a movie studio triangle, with Brian Aherne and Annette Benson as a married pair of stars and Donald Calthrop (Blackmail, etc.) as the slapstick comic (he actually looks startlingly close to Lucille Ball dressed as Chaplin) who has lured her away. The characters are a bit underdeveloped but the direction and photography are vivid and highly imaginative, as well as offering lots of sardonic observations on movie star life. This silent was accompanied by David Drazin, who had to be ready to shift on the fly from somber music befitting its Expressionist touches to the sudden on-screen appearance of a pop song of the day in some form.

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David Drazin, staff accompanist for the Siskel Film Center in Chicago.

I skipped Elvis Presley in Loving You— well, it was supposed to be a really nice IB Technicolor print— but returned after dinner for one of Laurel and Hardy's best, Busy Bodies (****), and then:

THE SENATOR WAS INDISCREET (***1/2) George S. Kaufman's only directorial effort is a Li'l Abner-broad but sharp and very funny political satire (yes, closes on Saturday night, I know) about an idiot senator (William Powell) who imagines he could be presidential material— but gives the party brass a panic when his diary detailing all their dirty dealings vanishes.

THE WHISTLE (****) I saw this William S. Hart non-western at Cinesation in 2007 but didn't mind seeing it again— it's one of his best films. As I said then: "He plays a millworker whose son is killed in an industrial accident (which as realistically depicted on screen, brought gasps from the audience). Not long after he rescues the mill owner's baby from drowning-- and decides to keep him as payback for his own lost son. It's a tribute to the intensity of Hart's persona that he can make a genuine moral dilemma (does the mill owner deserve his child back?) out of something obviously indefensible, and plausibly cast himself as a sort of instrument of God's wrath. Gripping throughout, a beautifully clear restoration, and accompanied to the hilt by Phil Carli, who's at his best taking this kind of full-blooded melodrama up to but not over the top, this deserves to be better known-- and to change how people think of Hart as an actor as well as an icon." I second all of that now— including the part about Phil Carli playing for it.

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Dr. Phil Carli after The Whistle.

UNDERCOVER DOCTOR (**1/2) Crime drama in a series of Paramount B's based on one of J. Edgar Hoover's memoirs-cum-PR-for-the-Bureau books, with J. Carrol Naish is a doctor who gets dragged into service as a gangland medic patching up bullet wounds. The story holds interest but Naish, who carried lots of B's when people like Robert Florey were directing, is strangely somnolent here under Louis King (Henry's mostly-stuck-in-the-Bs brother); there's livelier support from G-Man Lloyd Nolan and gangster Broderick Crawford, but it's all rather antiseptic as a gangster pic.

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SATURDAY

Saturday Animation Program
— Past years focused on just showing things you can't see on home video, but with so many things released on DVD by now, this one just focused on really strong examples from throughout the history of sound animation. It started with a gag-a-minute, un-PC Fleischer singalong called Any Little Girl That's a Nice Girl (**1/2) and a solid Popeye in the Bimbo's Initiation vein in which Popeye, Olive Oyl and Wimpy wind up on a ghost ship, Shiver Me Timbers (***).

Then it was Frank Tashlin at Warner Brothers with The Case of the Stuttering Pig (**1/2), a haunted house thing similar to Avery's Who Killed Who? (but even more overdone), and at Columbia with The Fox and the Grapes (***), which makes it pretty clear that his Fox and Crow inspired Chuck Jones' Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote (but Jones sharpened the characters to make Wile E. his doomed antihero; it's hard to tell whether Fox or Crow is the antagonist here).

Next two 1940s Disney Donald Duck shorts, not my favorite series by a long ways, but these (by Jack King) were well chosen. Window Cleaners (***) shows one of Disney's strengths, the well-rendered comedy of precarious heights, and Donald's Dilemma (***1/2) is bizarre beyond description— let's just say it's a Sinatra sendup that starts with a framing story of Daisy telling her nightmarish tale to a psychiatrist.

At MGM, Tee For Two (**1/2) is a brutal Tom and Jerry that wouldn't need any exaggeration to star Itchy and Scratchy; it was followed by Lonesome Lenny (***), the final and fatal appearance of Avery's Screwball Squirrel. Riff Raffy Daffy (***1/2) is from the relatively little known director Art Davis, but the story of homeless Daffy trying to elude cop Porky to catch some sleep in a department store has both great gags and some underlying heart. The show ended with a Freleng Speedy Gonzalez, Gonzalez' Tamales (**), as unfunny as any other, though it is amusing that this plot (peasant mice sick of Speedy stealing their girls hire Sylvester to catch him) has some mild resemblance to a movie made a few years later set in Mexico: The Magnificent Seven.

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Steve Stanchfield, showing off Thunderbean Animation product.

OLIVER TWIST (**1/2) This 1922 version of the Dickens story is usually advertised as a Jackie Coogan and Lon Chaney vehicle, though Chaney's Fagin is very much a supporting character and just part of the ensemble. It's a Frank Lloyd production, so it's handsomely mounted and moves through the story efficiently, but doesn't really show a lot of sensitivity to the actors; the few times that Coogan is given the spotlight to shine, he's completely winning.

LUXURY LINER (***) Grand Hotel on an ocean liner, with doctor George Brent following wife Vivienne Osborne on board as she runs off with owner of the line Frank Morgan, Alice White as a steerage passenger with eyes on first class, C. Aubrey Smith as a onetime tycoon now reduced to steerage, Zita Johann as a nurse with a mysterious past, etc. Nice to see Brent in a lead, not hanging on Bette Davis' arm, but neither stories nor cast would have made the cut in Grand Hotel; still, enjoyable enough (Smith comes closest to stealing it) and the stylish Paramount art direction makes it good eye candy.

M'LISS (***) A few years ago Cinesation showed the 1936 version of this Bret Harte story, with Anne Shirley as the tomboyish frontier girl with a drunken pa who gets some civilizin' when a handsome teacher comes to town. It's a nice, gentle piece of Americana, so it was a bit surprising to see that 20 years earlier, Mary Pickford and Marshall Neilan had played it for much broader Wild West burlesque, more like a 60s spoof like Support Your Local Sheriff in tone. It took me a while to adjust, but it's enjoyable enough on its own terms as one of Pickford's spunky gal vehicles.

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Michael Schlesinger talking with Cynthia Cozart (wife of Library of Congress archivist James Cozart)

I ducked out to have dinner with friends before our second Louis King film of the weekend, Thunder in the Valley, and returned to settle in for a long night, beginning with…

The annual Charley Chase Program was all silents this year and showed his quick evolution as one of the progenitors of the more situation and character driven comedies made at the Roach studio. 1924's One of the Family (**1/2) has the random, borderline-incomprehensible plotting of so many early comedies, starting as a comedy about a rich lady who hires Chase as a chauffeur to make her husband jealous, then shifting to the rest of his family trying to learn his refined servant's airs. It's a short year but a big leap to the admirably clear and well-developed situation comedy of Hello Baby (***), in which Chase and wife acquire a baby suddenly and go to extreme lengths to entertain him. 1927's Many Scrappy Returns (***1/2) and A One-Mama Man (***) both sow even more complex farces out of simple setups; in the latter he's a real prince pretending to be a fake one (a premise we'd see again the next night in Hellzapoppin'). And in the near-classic Many Scrappy Returns, shown in a really nice tinted and toned print, Chase and wife are fed up with in-laws Eugene Pallette and Anita Garvin's bickering, so they set out to show them what they're like, but their fake fighting turns into a massively confused, door-slamming, mistaken-adultery farce that leaves the wives thinking there's an orgy going on at Chase's house (with what looks like two men making out in one of the windows!)

TAKE THE STAND (*1/2) The locked-door puzzle was a staple of English mysteries, and Earl Derr Biggers concocted one with a novel American setting— a radio studio where a Walter Winchell type is murdered on the air with only aural witnesses. This is fun as long as Jack LaRue's version of Winchell is alive and snarling, but once he's killed, it's a deadly slow and talky low budget programmer from busy B director Phil Rosen (The Sin of Nora Moran) and the short-lived Liberty studio (soon folded into Republic). It's not just that the dialogue keeps describing what we've already seen, in scenes for which static would be a compliment, but it's not hard to guess either the killer— oh, hell, you're never going to see this, so I'll just say it. As soon as rival columnist Leslie Fenton is told by his boss to do whatever it takes to squeeze LaRue out and he can have LaRue's column, you know he, not one of the celebrities who feels slandered, will be the real killer. And when the locked room has a puddle of water on the carpet, you know that the vanished murder weapon will turn out to be an icicle. Phooey.

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Antonia Carey with Eric Grayson.

THE SHIELD OF HONOR (***) A flying police plane! Sounds like something new… but fans of the silent railroad-programmer genre, often played at these festivals, will quickly recognize that this one follows that genre to a T. Neil Hamilton is the (police pilot/engineer) son of an old (policeman/engineer) played by (Ralph Lewis/Ralph Lewis) who's forced to retire from the (police department/railroad). Then there's the (police commissioner/president of the railroad) who has a pretty daughter and a (assistant/vice president) with a mustache who's secretly a crook and has eyes on the daughter, all culminating in a (jewel/train) robbery in which Hamilton (races/flies) to save the day and Dad proves that he's still good enough to be a (cop/engineer). These things are always fast-paced, unpretentious fun with a thundering climax (especially with Phil Carli thundering at the keyboard), and this was no exception.

THE NINTH GUEST (**1/2) A motley group is invited to a chic townhouse and informed by a mysterious voice coming from the radio that they're going to be killed off one by one for their crimes. Sounds like Ten Little Indians/And Then There Were None, though the source material predates Agatha Christie. Good cast (Hardie Albright, Samuel Hinds, Edwin Maxwell, etc.) under Roy William Neill, chic art direction of the modernist townhouse, but this has two problems: one, it's hard to see why they couldn't just sit and read magazines and wait this thing out, and two, there's a long patch in the middle where nothing happens that sucks the life out of a promising opening and a pretty good wrap-up. Christie would solve both those issues, pacing the suspense (and murders) better and making the menace more inescapable when she did it.

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Steve Haynes in an interview shot for Antonia Carey's and Nick Palazzo's Reel Heroes.

more to follow in part 2...
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
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Mike Gebert

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Re: Remembering Steve Haynes: Cinevent 2015 report

PostWed May 27, 2015 11:19 am

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These could be yours in 16mm!

Part 2

SUNDAY

MAN OF THE FOREST (***)
Sunday began with a pair of early 30s Randolph Scott westerns based on Zane Grey and directed by a young Henry Hathaway; I missed the first, Heritage of the Desert, but caught this one, in which the usual bad-guy-trying-to-steal-somebody's-claim plot is handled by such supporting players as Noah Beery, Barton Maclane, Buster Crabbe and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, plus a whole family of mountain lions that Scott gets to roll around with. The plot is clearly aimed at the juvenile crowd, what with the pet cats and all, but the pro cast and Hathaway's brisk direction lift it into the "entirely watchable by adults" category— plus like Edward Everett Horton, Scott has a few "I don't care for women" lines that can be taken as truer than audiences knew back then….

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The main dealer room next to the theater.

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TILLIE WAKES UP (**1/2) I found even the restored Tillie's Punctured Romance a tough watch, not even a one-reeler's worth of story stretched to feature length through endless mugging and falling down, so I didn't feel a burning need for sequels (of which this was the second)— but film advanced quickly back then, and only three years later Tillie Wakes Up is a slight but congenial sitcom made smoothly and with something of an actual plot. Tillie is unhappy with a neglectful hubby, Johnny Hines the same with his wife, and they take off for Coney Island together to make their spouses jealous. Most of it seems to have been improvised, quickly and sometimes to little effect, and there's no Chaplin genius at play here, but it's kind of sweet and likable all the same.

I had seen The Squeaker, a pretty good British-made Edgar Wallace yarn, at Cinesation some years ago, so I took off early for lunch and returned for:

THE PRAIRIE KING (***) If I had to pick a favorite post-Hart western star, it might well be Hoot Gibson, whose films seem to demand the term "breezy" (especially when they are, like this one, actually directed by B. Reeves "Breezy" Eason). This one's nothing you haven't seen before— in fact, it's pretty much nothing you didn't see a couple of hours earlier in Man of the Forest, as baddie Albert Prisco tries to drive Hoot and gal pal Barbara Worth off a mine they jointly inherited. But it moves along with humor and a nice twist about the inheritance just fine.

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MAN AT LARGE (***) While we're talking breezy, that's a good term for this comic spy thriller in the 39 Steps vein, with undercover G-man George Reeves and reporter Marjorie Weaver on the trail of a Nazi spy ring. This B bears comparison to one of William K. Everson's favorite Bs of the period— Robert Siodmak's Fly By Night— and it's also amusing that Weaver looks a lot like Noel Neill's Lois Lane, making you wonder if Reeves' G-man has more than one secret identity to spring on us.

HELLZAPOPPIN' (****) I watched Hellzapoppin' at home about a year ago, I laughed a lot, but would I have given it four stars? No. But then I sat in a theater and watched an audience laugh uproariously at it for an hour and a half, and if that doesn't justify the continued existence of Cinevent, what would? Anyway, the alleged stage adaptation of the famous madcap variety revue (in reality, it only carries over a few of the famous running gags) is gag-a-minute, anything-for-a-laugh 40s humor, constantly commenting on itself; Olsen and Johnson are mere ringmasters, fairly nondescript as comedians (and hard to tell apart), but Martha Raye as a manhungry gal and Mischa Auer as a real prince pretending to be a fake one are good for laughs (and who knew he was such a skilled dancer?), though as with Airplane!, the real star is just its nonstop exuberance and utter shamelessness.

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If you liked the movie, you'll love the laserdisc!

THE NERVOUS WRECK (**1/2) I've only seen the silent-era Harrison Ford playing a fairly manly type in sort of domestic comedies, so this Christie comedy in which he's more of a clown comedian with exaggerated wimpy appearance was a bit surprising. He's a hypochrondriacal tenderfoot out west who proves to be the relief from manly men for the daughter of the ranch he's on, and as he gets better ("This western air is no good, I can't take nearly as many pills as I used to") they run off together. It's an appealing film that unfortunately gets bogged down with too much plot for its own good and doesn't develop to a comedic point as it could have.

99 RIVER STREET (***1/2) Lots of people seemed to have seen this Phil Karlson-directed 1950s noir already, but I'd never even heard of it; it turned out to be first rate and in a sparkling new print that highlighted its night photography superbly. John Payne plays a boxer who lost a championship and wound up a cab driver; his wife, it turns out, is running off with jewel thief Brad Dexter, and before long Payne's on the lam for a murder. Hardbitten, admirably direct and cleanly plotted, and with an especially striking performance by Evelyn Keyes as an aspiring actress who helps him try to track Dexter (also kudos for casting Frank Faylen as Payne's dispatcher older brother, one of the most convincing jobs of casting siblings in movie history).

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Masterpieces were everywhere.

MONDAY

THE GALLANT BLADE (***)
You know how when you find a page of old movie ads, there's like one movie you've heard of like The Asphalt Jungle or something, and 47 soapers with Jeff Chandler or Linda Darnell you never heard of? And you realize it wasn't all Casablancas back then, either. Well, "costume swashbuckler with Larry Parks" is exactly that sort of thing, and yet for all that this was never going to be a classic (and Parks was never going to be Tyrone Power), all it needed was Mom baking some chocolate chip cookies to be perfect rainy Saturday afternoon viewing. As a French swordsman, Parks is all right but comes off more like the Duke of Earl; baddie Victor Jory, as the Marquise de Rath-Beaune, steals it. Interestingly, this was made in Cinecolor, and for being two-strip (and turquoise blue occasionally leaping from the screen), it looks almost as good as Technicolor.

SAN FRANCISCO DOCKS (**1/2) So what would a noir story have looked like before noir? This 1940 Universal programmer is close enough to last night's 99 River Street in outline to answer that question, with Burgess Meredith as the longshoreman/night school student who's presumed to be a killer and has to find the real killer who just escaped from Alcatraz (but is thought dead). Meredith's predicament gets almost grim enought at points for noir, and there's some nice shadowy photography... but then there's Robert Armstrong as a two-fisted priest and Raymond Walburn as, basically, Charles Winninger doing comic relief with Barry Fitzgerald, and a general sense that all will work out and society is good that you don't get from Cornell Woolrich, say.

That was the end of the festival for me—having come in on a Monogram comedy, I couldn't stick around for the Monogram musical, Melody Parade— but not, I sincerely hope, the end of the festival.

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Rarities.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
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Re: Remembering Steve Haynes: Cinevent 2015 report

PostWed May 27, 2015 11:38 am

Wonderful reviews, as always from Mike.

Is that you standing outside the dealer room holding the "Monster Bash" poster, Mike?

Agree with you about Tillie's Punctured Romance. Even in its most recent restored version, it is, as I wrote in my world-famous bestseller The 100 Greatest Silent Film Comedians, one of the worst feature-length comedies ever made, even granting its status as an experimental groundbreaker.

99 River Street sounds terrific. I wish there were some way that all of the films at these events could be shown with captions -- it would make it worth my time and money to attend. (I know, it's impossible technically and financially.) Also I'd love to have seen those Chase silents on the slightly-bigger screen.

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Re: Remembering Steve Haynes: Cinevent 2015 report

PostWed May 27, 2015 11:47 am

Yeah, that's me. Old movies good, arrrrh!

99 River Street was released by MGM but as a DVD-R, which I'm betting is pretty synonymous with no captions. Sorry.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
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Re: Remembering Steve Haynes: Cinevent 2015 report

PostWed May 27, 2015 12:26 pm

Thank you, Mike. I hope there is a future for 'real film screenings', but even more so, I hope there is a future for any sort of screening of this kind. There is nothing like watching a film like this, and for me, no amount of TCM or Netflix will ever make up for that. I never truly 'saw' a Harold Lloyd picture until I saw one with an audience. The same is true of something like Hellzapoppin' . There's just no way of replicating the communion of a crowd with what they're seeing on screen.

As much as some people like to kvetch about this or that title not being available on DVD - and of course, it's great that we have easy access to more films than anyone in history - this is where the real fight is: making sure that these kind of events continue to happen. I'm sure that they're a true labour of love, so kudos to the good people who keep making them happen.
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Re: Remembering Steve Haynes: Cinevent 2015 report

PostThu May 28, 2015 7:38 am

Here's the video of Michael Haynes talking about Steve Haynes before the showing of The Whistle. It's very dark as video, but you can listen to it…

“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
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Re: Remembering Steve Haynes: Cinevent 2015 report

PostSat May 30, 2015 3:53 pm

Brooksie wrote:Thank you, Mike. I hope there is a future for 'real film screenings', but even more so, I hope there is a future for any sort of screening of this kind. There is nothing like watching a film like this, and for me, no amount of TCM or Netflix will ever make up for that. I never truly 'saw' a Harold Lloyd picture until I saw one with an audience. The same is true of something like Hellzapoppin' . There's just no way of replicating the communion of a crowd with what they're seeing on screen.

As much as some people like to kvetch about this or that title not being available on DVD - and of course, it's great that we have easy access to more films than anyone in history - this is where the real fight is: making sure that these kind of events continue to happen. I'm sure that they're a true labour of love, so kudos to the good people who keep making them happen.


Of course the reverse can happen with a thin / poor audience on the big screen, whether or not the presentation is good. Even with video showings, the presence of even one like-minded enthusiast can make all the difference. I recall my second / third viewing of HELLZAPOPPIN' as being pretty heavy going on my own. A few years later, I saw it with a pal and we were laughing fit to burst. The same happened with IT'S THAT MAN AGAIN, a sort of British equivalent which I had never seen before. I lent a friend a copy of the latter and he was distinctly underwhelmed. Just shows you it's not just the film, but how it's watched.
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Re: Remembering Steve Haynes: Cinevent 2015 report

PostMon Jun 01, 2015 2:39 pm

Brooksie wrote:Thank you, Mike. I hope there is a future for 'real film screenings', but even more so, I hope there is a future for any sort of screening of this kind. There is nothing like watching a film like this, and for me, no amount of TCM or Netflix will ever make up for that. I never truly 'saw' a Harold Lloyd picture until I saw one with an audience. The same is true of something like Hellzapoppin' . There's just no way of replicating the communion of a crowd with what they're seeing on screen.

As much as some people like to kvetch about this or that title not being available on DVD - and of course, it's great that we have easy access to more films than anyone in history - this is where the real fight is: making sure that these kind of events continue to happen. I'm sure that they're a true labour of love, so kudos to the good people who keep making them happen.


Lloyd's The Freshman is great on Blu-ray, but it was the funniest movie I've ever seen with an audience (Cinefest). And I've seen the precode winner Girls About Town with an audience twice (Capitolfest and at Film Forum in NYC) and on an old VHS once; alone at home on TV it's a Kay Francis melodrama with comedy bits, but with an audience it plays as a Lilyan Tashman comedy with some KF melodrama wedged in.

You can't beat seeing films with an audience.
dr. giraud

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