I just returned from the Orphan Film Symposium at the Academy's Pickford Theatre, and I say Bravo! to Dan Streible and May Haduong for their work in organizing the LA Show. Once again, it was an eclectic, intriguing weekend of home movies, documentaries, industrial films, and the like, many of which had been abandoned or forgotten by their creators, capturing tiny slices of life over the past century, recording historic or eventful moments, and documenting communities and the people that live in them.
Friday night was PORTRAIT OF JASON, a documentary about gay man Jason Holliday. Today's films covered every type of format, and covering the years 1917-1980. A home movie program included rare color footage of Satchel Paige pitching in a Major League Baseball game, one attended by Louis B. Mayer, no less, a film documenting the second Hollywood/LA Gay Pride Parade in 1971, and a sneak peek of a compilation home movie film called NO MORE ROAD TRIPS?. There were re-premieres of recently rediscovered silents THE LOVE CHARM, a 1928 two color Technicolor short shot by Academy Award winning cinematographer Ray Rennahan, and THE BISHOP OF HOLLYWOOD, a two-reeler starring Victor Potel that shows Hollywood/LA, especially around the Fairfax Ave./Wilshire Blvd. area. Footage of films showing African-American life played, including the 1969 short, HEY MAMA, about working class African Americans in Venice, California, and snipes or interstitials that introduced early films on Black Entertainment Television in 1981. An industrial film program included a 1969 Saul Bass short about Bell Telephone, a 1964 Bass film about air travel, a Satyajit Ray films for Esso World Theatre, and a 1924 film about a candy factory.
The evening finale included such films as the only surviving Auroratone production, WHEN THE ORGAN PLAYED 'OH PROMISE ME," with Bing Crosby's singing accompanying abstract visual images, a lost Penelope Spheeris student film, a rare 16mm sound-on-disc short, FELIX FERDINANDO AND HIS ORCHESTRA IN MUSICAL MOMENTS, a beautiful US World War II film promoting Chicago victory gardens called CITY HARVEST, an excerpt from DON'T BANK ON AMERIKA, about the burning of the Bank of America branch in Isla Vista, California in 1970, Jim Hoberman's satiric look at the worship of Mao Tse Tung and communism set to the tune of SHANGHAI LIL and called MISSION TO MONGO, and other films. Thought provoking, entertaining, and informative.
Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
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