The
                  Silent Clowns Film Series

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Winter/Spring 2014:
CELEBRATE CHAPLIN! --
the 125th birthday!
100th anniversary in motion pictures!


Charlie Chaplin - his "unmistakable figure still serves as a symbol of cinema itself" wrote his esteemed biographer, David Robinson. Chaplin was the first film star who quite literally became a sensation overnight and has endured a century as a household name around the globe. Re-experience the screen presence that originally fired that world sensation: three shows, spanning the master comedian-filmmaker's  phenomenal rise over four years (1914 - 1917) at three studios (Keystone, Essanay and Mutual.)


Live piano accompaniment by Ben Model at all shows.
Series programmed by Bruce Lawton.
Film notes by Steve Massa.

Saturday, March 1 at 2:30pm
Chaplin at Keystone
(1914)

tillie

In 1914 a moderately successful comic from the English music hall hit the movies and soon became an international phenomenon that would change the face of film comedy and world cinema. Spotted on stage by Mack Sennett, Charles Chaplin joined his company and quickly found his way in the comedy pressure-cooker that was the Keystone Studio. To illustrate Chaplin’s formative year with Sennett we’re proud to present two recent restorations, in 35mm prints: GENTLEMEN OF NERVE ('14) from the Library of Congress and the famous feature TILLIE'S PUNCTURED ROMANCE ('14) from the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
Saturday, March 8 at 2:30pm
Chaplin at Essanay
(1915)


repairs

After his first whirlwind year at Keystone Chaplin moved over to the Essanay Company for greater creative freedom and better re-numeration. Having become one of the best-known performers in the world, Chaplin was not content to have his screen character just be a figure of fun, and today’s bill of A NIGHT OUT ('15), A JITNEY ELOPEMENT ('15), WORK ('15), and POLICE! ('15) chart Charlie’s development into a comic underdog, hero, and lover. Chaplin’s inspiration and hard work produced films that remain fresh and funny for audiences of all ages.

Saturday, April 12 at 2:30pm
  Chaplin at Mutual
(1916-1917)

tailor

Finding his “movie legs” at Keystone and Essanay, Chaplin signed a contract with the Mutual Film Corp. for 12 shorts which made him the one of the highest paid performers in the world. The stint with Mutual was a major creative burst for the comedian and is represented today with THE COUNT ('16), THE PAWNSHOP ('16), THE IMMIGRANT ('17), and THE ADVENTURER ('17). The Mutual films show Chaplin at the peak of his two-reel form, and from these first years in the film industry Chaplin went on to independence at his own studio where he would create longer and more complex comedies.




Fall/Winter 2013:
"Certainly Known, yet…rarely shown"


We wind up 2013 with some superb entertainments that are undoubtedly on the silent cineaste’s radar...yet are rarely programmed or publicly screened — Have a look!


Live piano accompaniment by Ben Model at all shows.
Series programmed by Bruce Lawton.
Film notes by Steve Massa.

Please note that our November and December shows are scheduled for Thursday evenings.
This change from our usual schedule is temporary, and we will resume Saturday afternoons in 2014.  

Saturday, October 12 at 2:30pm
Lon Chaney in
"THE PHANTOM OF
THE OPERA
"
(the 1925 release...not the 1929 reissue cut!)



Our silent clowns take a break for this special Halloween program. PHANTOM is usually shown in a 1929 reissue, but we’re presenting the original 1925 version of this classic thriller. Star Lon Chaney is remembered for his elaborate make-ups in horror roles such as this and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME ('23). Known as “the Man of a Thousand Faces,” he played everything from legless gangsters to Chinese laundry men, with an intense dedication that made him the cinema’s first method actor.
(note the day/time)
Thursday, November 7
at 6:00pm

Richard Barthelmess in
"TOL'ABLE DAVID"





Richard Barthelmess was a popular and romantic leading man who had started his career under the tutelage of D.W. Griffith. Breaking out on his own to make TOL’ABLE DAVID (’21), the film’s huge success made Barthelmess not only one of the biggest stars of the 1920s but also a producer with the company Inspiration Films. Opening for Mr. Barthelmess is Charley Chase who has his own problems with courage in his 1924 one-reeler THE FRAIDY CAT ('24).
(note the day/time)
Thursday, December 12
at 6:00pm

Charlie Chaplin in
"PAY DAY"
Buster Keaton in
"THREE AGES"


THREE AGES was Buster Keaton’s leap from shorts into feature films, and chronicles his misadventures in the Stone Age, Roman Era, and modern day (well…1923) in a parody of D.W. Griffith’s famous epoch-shifting INTOLERANCE ('16). Buster said as an insurance policy he could have released each era’s story as a separate short if the feature version hadn’t gone over. First on the bill is Charlie Chaplin’s troubles as a working-stiff and hen-pecked husband in the rarely shown PAY DAY ('22).


Summer 2013:
MORE RARITIES FROM
THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS


A large number of the surviving silent comedies are held by the worldʻs film archives. One of the foremost is the Library of Congress. Since the early 1940s, the LOC has done yeomanʼs work preserving films, plus an important part of its mission is to make its resources available. Last year we had the opportunity to present selections from their holdings, and weʼre happy to celebrate the summer season with a second helping.

35mm film prints provided by the Library of Congress.

loc

Live piano accompaniment by Ben Model at all shows.
Series programmed by Bruce Lawton; summer season programmed by Steve Massa
Film notes by Steve Massa.

Saturday, June 29 at 2:30pm
Syd Chaplin in "The Missing Link" (1927)
Perhaps the best training ground for silent screen comedians was the English music hall’s Fred Karno Co. The famous class valedictorian of the troupe was Charlie Chaplin, but many other Karno veterans found their way to Hollywood, including Charlie’s brother Sydney. Although overshadowed by his younger brother, Sydney still had a substantial career on his own, and THE MISSING LINK ('27) is a very good example of his starring work for Warner Brothers. Opening the bill is fellow Karno grad Billie Ritchie in the premier L-Ko Comedy LOVE AND SURGERY ('14).
mlink
Saturday, July 6 at 2:30pm
Douglas McLean in "One a Minute" (1921)
The demand for comedy was so great in the silent era that the amount of comedies actually produced has never been fully documented. This program’s three featured comics were very popular but have gotten lost in the shuffle today due the rarity of their surviving films. ONE A MINUTE ('21) stars Douglas MacLean, a light-comedy leading man who made numerous fast-paced and financially successful features in the 1920s. Also on hand are the neglected Marcel Perez and Alice Howell in their shorts SWEET DADDY ('21) and UNDER A SPELL ('24).
1aminute
Saturday, July 20 at 2:30pm
Edward Everett Horton in "Helen's Babies"
Persnickety Edward Everett Horton is still remembered and beloved for his sound films such as TOP HAT ('35) and THE GANG’S ALL HERE ('43), but he also had an overlooked and sizeable career in silent pictures. Beginning in 1922 he racked up eighteen features before he had the chance to speak on screen. In HELEN’S BABIES ('24) Eddie plays a child-rearing expert who’s never been near a real kid and inherits two rambunctious nieces, with a young Clara Bow and Baby Peggy adding to the fun. Our extra-added attraction is HORSE SHY ('28), one of eight two-reelers produced for Horton by Harold Lloyd.
Horton
Saturday, August 3 at 2:30pm
Louise Fazenda in "Footloose Widows"
Silent comedy has always been something of a "boy’s club" with the male practitioners getting most of the attention. Plenty of women also worked long and hard at getting laughs, and this program highlights Louise Fazenda, a longtime Mack Sennett star who moved into starring Warner Brothers features. FOOTLOOSE WIDOWS ('26) is a snappy comedy about two gold diggers on the prowl at a swanky resort hotel. Sharing today’s spotlight with Fazenda is Wanda Wiley, a vivacious and athletic leading lady, in her two-reel Century Comedy QUEEN OF ACES ('25).
Faz



Spring 2013:
HAPPY 120th BIRTHDAY HAROLD LLOYD!
THE GLASSES VARIATIONS


Harold Lloyd — bright, ever-ambitious and optimistic — the clean cut, quintessential ‘boy next door’ of the 1920s was unarguably one of the biggest and most successful screen stars of the silent era, rivaling Chaplin and often surpassing him at the box-office. Our tribute shines a light on “The Third Genius” of silent screen comedy with three of his finest feature productions — each showcasing a different shade of his sunny screen character.

“Harold's character, and the spirit of his comedies, represented everything upbeat and affirmative about America in the 1920s.”
 — Leonard Maltin

“I was in awe of Harold Lloydhe was one of the most charismatic innovators of film comedy, an excellent actor, and a consummate filmmaker. His films should be seen, not just for their historical value, but for their sheer pleasure.” — Jack Lemmon

“Lloyd was a filmmaker of brilliance, who never took screen credit for his contributions...he did not need to.” — Kevin Brownlow

“Lloyd's own charm, his innate optimism, and his aggressive pursuit of success, elements so typical of the 1920’s, all combine to give his films a perennial freshness and zest…” — William K. Everson



Special thanks to Amber Krehel of Harold Lloyd Entertainment, Inc.
Live piano accompaniment by Ben Model at all shows.
Series programmed by Bruce Lawton.
Film notes by Steve Massa.

Saturday, March 9 at 2:30pm
THE KID BROTHER



Harold began in films in a partnership with Hal Roach, and went from run of the mill knockabout to the more nuanced and sophisticated physical comedy of his "glasses character." Later becoming his own producer, one of the best of his own films is THE KID BROTHER ('27) which features Lloyd as a gentle mountain boy in the midst of a rough and rowdy family. Also on the bill is the fast and funny WHY PICK ON ME? ('18).
Saturday, April 13 at 2:30pm
SAFETY LAST!



Remembered today as the "third genius" of silent comedy, Harold Lloyd began his career in 1913 as an extra and worked his way up to being one of the top box office stars of the 1920s. SAFETY LAST! ('23) was Harold's most popular film which contains the iconic image of him hanging from the hands of a clock. Rounding out the show is Lloyd's first two-reeler with his glasses character, BUMPING INTO BROADWAY ('19).
Saturday, May 4 at 2:30pm
FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE


FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE ('26) was Harold’s first film for Paramount Pictures, and although not as well known as GRANDMA'S BOY ('22) or THE FRESHMAN ('25), is equally funny and presents Lloyd as a millionaire who falls in love with a preacher’s daughter and uses his ingenuity and money to save their mission. Our extra added attraction is the thrill-packed three-reeler NEVER WEAKEN ('21).


Fall/Winter 2012:
SILENT SEASONAL SEND-OFF


We’ve got cyclones and drought — horror and hilarity — and the circus is in town! As we wrap up the year, we tie our silents in with the end of the hurricane season, Halloween, and The Big Apple Circus — or just excuses to showcase some of our own favorite screen performers from the silent era.


Live piano accompaniment by Ben Model at all shows.
Series programmed by Bruce Lawton.
Film notes by Steve Massa.


Saturday, September 22 at 2:30pm
ROMANCE
(Under Climate Extremes
and Other Obstacles)




Buster Keaton
-is-
Steamboat Bill, Jr.
Arthur Houseman -is-
Just a Husband

While THE GENERAL ('27) is probably Buster Keaton’s most famous film, STEAMBOAT BILL JR. ('28) is also one of his best that features great gags and and breathtaking stunts. This was Buster’s last film for his own independent company, and he pulls out the stops with an  incredible cyclone sequence where Keaton actually risked his life and limbs. Our extra added attraction is JUST A  HUSBAND, a 1927 comedy short with a young and sober Arthur Housman braving many obstacles in order to rescue his new bride.

Saturday, October 6 at 2:30pm
MR. LAUREL &
MR. BARRYMORE...




John Barrymore
-is-
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Stan Laurel -is-
Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde

Our Halloween celebration presents the great John Barrymore in his version of the famous Robert Louis Stevenson tale. Although remembered today for his  carousing and being Drew Barrymore's grandfather, Barrymore’s films were "class A" productions, and this telling of the often-filmed story is one of the best with the actor insisting on doing his big transformation scene in one long take. Following Mr. B is Stan Laurel who puts his own comic spin on the property by playing terrible practical jokes on innocent bystanders in his solo comedy DR.  PYCKLE AND MR. PRYDE ('25).

Saturday, November 10 at 2:30pm
OF HOBOS
& CIRCUSES



Johnny Hines
-on-
The Live Wire
Harry Langdon -in-
Remember When?

Johnny Hines was a very popular clown who came from the stage and made many Harold Lloyd type of rousing comedy features in the 1920s, but is unjustly overlooked and neglected today. THE LIVE WIRE ('25) gives a good look at Hines' ability with sight-gags, not to mention his engaging smile and breezy personality. Harry Langdon warms up the house for our circus-themed program with the two-reeler REMEMBER WHEN? ('25), where forlorn orphan Harry discovers that his childhood sweetheart is now a circus bearded lady.



RG cardSummer 2012:
If you liked 'THE ARTIST'…
you'll love RAYMOND GRIFFITH!


While silent era stars Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. and John Gilbert were clearly inspirations for Jean Dujardin's Oscar-winning title performance in the much heralded, THE ARTIST – so equally was the charming and effervescent, yet nearly forgotten, Raymond Griffith, a star whom Walter Kerr described as "natty, lithe (and) un-mugging" and also gave "a handsome fifth place – after Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd and Langdon – in the silent comedy pantheon...."  This summer, we're excited and proud to cast a long deserved spotlight on this unjustly neglected artist of the silent screen - which we strongly suspect will easily win him a new legion of admirers!

"…Griffith leads all comedians in point of ingenuity, imaginativness and originality…" - Robert E. Sherwood

"…Griffith managed to combine the urbane sophistication of Menjou with the dry wit of Keaton and the comedy thrill-climaxes of Lloyd." - William K. Everson

"…one of the finest comic minds…Nonchalance is a key to Griffith's screen character…he is the personification of Cool…he never loses his poise." - Leonard Maltin

"Griffith was a brilliant actor…he moved with astonishing grace…he effortlessly stole every picture…" - Kevin Brownlow

(Each of the four programs will include an apropos short subject that also links to THE ARTIST.)

Special thanks this season to: Bruce Calvert (silentfilmstillsarchive.com), Rick DeCroix (Streamline Films), Eric Grayson and John Stone. All Raymond Griffith stills on this page are courtesy Bruce Calvert; do not download/re-use without permission.


Live piano accompaniment by Ben Model at all shows.
Series programmed by Bruce Lawton.
Film notes by Steve Massa.


Saturday, June 2 at 2:30pm
"The Night Club"
Following years of working in slapstick shorts, writing scripts, and appearing in supporting roles, THE NIGHT CLUB ('25) marked Raymond Griffith’s first starring feature for Paramount Pictures. Here he becomes an avowed bachelor after being jilted at the altar, but finds that he has to marry to inherit a million dollars. His debonair, man-about-town character is already well in place, and he has strong support from veterans such as Louise Fazenda, Wallace Beery, and Vera Reynolds. Rounding out the bill are the misadventures of Charley Chase and Martha Sleeper in the two-reel FLUTTERING HEARTS ('27).
nclub
Saturday, July 7 at 2:30pm
"Paths To Paradise"
Perhaps the most overlooked silent comedy classic of the 1920s, PATHS TO PARADISE ('25) is a clockwork-timed crook comedy that presents Griffith in all his smarmy elegance, not mention being expertly written, directed, and acted by a top-notch comedy ensemble. Co-star Betty Compson had gotten her start in Al Christie comedies, and here she and Griffith play rival jewels thieves who form an alliance to steal a valuable necklace. SURE-MIKE! ('25) is our extra added attraction, a one-reeler with flapper Martha Sleeper causing much mayhem in a department store.
pathpar
Saturday, July 21 at 2:30pm
"Hands Up!"
Griffith’s best known film is a civil war farce that features wartime intrigue, assumed identities, dual leading ladies, and a humorous Abraham Lincoln. With crackerjack direction by Mack Sennett veteran Clarence Badger and a supporting cast that includes Mack Swain and Montagu Love, HANDS UP! ('26) was added to the National Film Registry in 2005, so far the only of Griffith’s films to receive the honor. Opening the show for Mr. Griffith is Charley Chase, who has his hands full with Buddy the dog in the short DOG SHY ('26).
BillyRitchie
Saturday, August 4 at 2:30pm
"You'd Be Surprised"
Our final Griffith selection, YOU’D BE SURPRISED ('26), stars the top-hatted bon vivant as a police coroner who’s called in to solve the murder of an important district attorney. Dorothy Sebastian is on hand as leading lady to help Mr. Griffith sort through numerous red herrings to find the killer. Griffith stopped performing after sound came in because he could only speak in a hoarse whisper. Setting the stage for our feature is THE SLEEPING PORCH ('29), an early talkie two-reeler he made for producer Al Christie that gives a rare illustration of his speaking voice.
ybs


Winter/Spring 2012:
Your Tax Dollars on the Screen:
Film Preservations from The Library of Congress


Since the early 1940s, The Library of Congress recognized "the importance of motion pictures and the need to preserve them as a historical record." This has resulted in the literal saving of countless films that would otherwise be lost to us. The LoC's mission is "to make its resources available and useful to Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations, as well as serve as a contribution to education and lifelong learning." Utilizing this rich resource of film preservation, our own Steve Massa has plumbed the LoC's depths and put together a series of little seen treasures (our very first in 35mm!) for your gratification.
(quoted text sourced from www.loc.gov)

35mm film prints provided by the Library of Congress.

loc


Live piano accompaniment by Ben Model at all shows.
Series programmed by Bruce Lawton.
Film notes by Steve Massa.


Saturday, Feb 4 at 2:30pm
"Raucous Rarities"
When the cinema began, everything was a short subject, but as the industry grew so did the length of its films— and shorts became a pre-feature special attraction. Designed to entertain, numerous “fun factories” were created that specialized in producing and distributing silent comedy one and two-reelers. Today’s cross-section of producers include Sennett, Universal, Kalem, Bulls Eye, and Hal Roach, and the bill consists of INJUNS (’12) with the Powers Kids, the team of Ham & Bud in THE BOGUS BOOKING AGENT (’16), THE GRAB BAG BRIDE (’17) with Al St John, Chaplin imitator Billy West in A ROLLING STONE (’19) NEVER TOO OLD (’26) with Jimmy Finlayson, cross- eyed Ben Turpin in A BLONDE’S REVENGE (’26), all topped off by the rare WHEN KNIGHTS WERE COLD (’23) starring a solo Stan Laurel.
Stan Laurel
Saturday, March 10 at 2:30pm
Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle in "The Round-Up"
For many years Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was loved all over the world, and was second only to Charlie Chaplin as the comedy box office king. So popular that he made an early leap from shorts to starring features, we’re proud to present his first, THE ROUND-UP (’20), a serious western that has Roscoe supplying some light comic relief. Today it’s very hard to separate the Arbuckle legend from his work as a comedian, so this is a rare opportunity to take a look at the man who taught filmmaking to Buster Keaton. Opening for Mr. Arbuckle is bashful-eyed Hank Mann, who also explores the wide open spaces in the two-reeler WAY OUT WEST (’20).
Arbuckle
Saturday, April 7 at 2:30pm
Forgotten Funny People
During the silent era an amazing array of comedic talent assembled to work towards one goal – to make moviegoers laugh. In the spirit of April Fool’s Day we salute some of the overlooked silent funny persons who were well-loved in their day, but due to the scarcity of their films have gotten lost in the shuffle. Making up our program is skinny Flora Finch in SWEENEY’S CHRISTMAS BIRD (’14) and ex-music hall clown Billie Ritchie in SILK HOSE AND HIGH PRESSURE (’15). Next are two teams – Mr. & Mrs. Sidney Drew in HER ANNIVERSARIES (’17), and Pokes & Jabs making a deal with the devil in DEVILED CRABS (’17). We end with two unjustly neglected clowns – Marcel Perez in YOU’RE NEXT (’19) and the athletic Wanda Wiley in A THRILLING ROMANCE (’26).
Billy
                                      Ritchie


Fall/Winter 2011:
Selected Shorts


This fall, the Silent Clowns Film Series showcases the clown princes of two-reel comedies, presenting three laugh-packed programs of short films featuring the big name comedians you know and love as well as a few you'll be glad you discovered whom we've championed over the years.


Live piano accompaniment by Ben Model at all shows.
Series programmed by Bruce Lawton.
Film notes by Steve Massa.


Saturday, Oct 8 at 2:30pm
"Scary Shenanigans on the 2nd Reel"
Thrills and chills have been a comedy staple since the beginning of cinema. George Melies and Segundo de Chomon mixed supernatural elements with an antic sense of humor, and spooky settings were popular in tongue-in-cheek stage to film transfers such as SEVEN KEYS TO BALDPATE and THE CAT AND THE CANARY. Every silent comedian spent screen time being scared, and today we have Harold Lloyd in HAUNTED SPOOKS ('20), THE HAUNTED HOUSE ('21) with Buster Keaton, Our Gang in SHOOTIN' INJUNS ('25), and the aptly titled WHO'S AFRAID? ('27) starring Lupino Lane.
Dorothy
                                            Gish
Saturday, November 12 at 2:30pm
The Loopy Legacy of Lupino Lane
(and his brother Wallace)

Forgotten clown Lupino Lane was a huge star of the British variety stage who transferred his talents to American movie studios. In addition to his comedy skills, along with Keaton and Douglas Fairbanks, he was one of the greatest acrobats ever captured on film. Working frequently with his brother Wallace Lupino, a talented comic in his own right, our Lupino Lane
sampler includes the shorts MAID IN MOROCCO ('25), HELLO SAILOR ('27), ROAMING ROMEO ('28), BE MY KING ('28), and GOOD NIGHT NURSE ('29). 

(Special thanks to Eric Grayson.)
Lupino Lane
Saturday, December 10 at 2:30pm
The Merry Gentlemen: Mr. Laurel & Mr. Hardy
Our last show of the season has Stan and Ollie bringing us the Hal Roach holiday greetings of “Peace on earth, every man for himself, and don’t forget to duck.” After years of solo work Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy came together at the Roach Studio in 1927. In their comedies, human foibles and the frustrations of everyday life were magnified a hundred times over. This salute is made up of LEAVE ‘EM LAUGHING ('28), TWO TARS ('28), WRONG AGAIN ('29), and their ultimate Xmas gift BIG BUSINESS ('29).
(Grateful thanks to Film Preservation Associates, Inc.;  Laurel & Hardy image courtesy of Richard Feiner & Co.)

barrymore don juan



Summer 2011:
Charismatic Costumers

Gish! - Valentino! - Barrymore! - Fairbanks!


Over four consecutive Saturdays, we celebrate a selection of cinema's biggest stars in scintillating scenarios and period settings,  the sort of productions which the silent era trailblazed – truly excelled – and reached a pinnacle of art and excitement.  While not out-and-out comedies, these films provide a delicious mix of humor and drama in which the stars truly shine.

We would like to dedicate our season to the late motion picture distributor Donald Krim, president of Kino International in Manhattan for over three decades.  The silent film era and so many of its artists have rarely had a greater friend than Don Krim.


Live piano accompaniment by Ben Model at all shows.
Series programmed by Bruce Lawton.
Film notes by Steve Massa.


Saturday, July 23 at 2:30pm
Dorothy Gish in "NELL GWYN" (1926)
* 85th anniversary screening! *
Although not as well remembered as her sister Lillian, Dorothy Gish was a popular star who appeared in dramas, but specialized in light comedy. Starting out in films with Lillian as a teenager under the guidance of D.W. Griffith, Dorothy moved on to starring vehicles such as PEPPY POLLY ('19) and THE COUNTRY FLAPPER ('22). Today, few of her films have survived, so we're proud to present NELL GWYN ('26), one of four features made in England at the end of the silent era which gave her the opportunity to use all of her considerable talents.

Dorothy Gish
Saturday, July 30 at 2:30pm
Rudolph Valentino in "THE EAGLE" (1925)
Rudolph Valentino was the romantic icon of the early 1920s and set the standard for Latin lovers for the rest of the decade. After years of knocking around Hollywood, Valentino became a star in 1921's THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE. Although Valentino tragically died at age 31, he left behind a remarkable film legacy — THE EAGLE ('25) was not only one of his last films but also one of the best. Set in a background of Russian intrigue, the story gives Valentino ample opportunity for derring-do and subtle comedy, making it an ideal showcase for his screen chemistry. 
valentino the
                                          eagle
Saturday, August 6 at 2:30pm
John Barrymore in "DON JUAN" (1926)
* 85th anniversary screening! *
By the late 1920s stage star John Barrymore had conquered the silver screen in a number of crowd-pleasing costume epics. Although remembered today for his carousing and being Drew Barrymore's grandfather, Barrymore's films were class A productions. This one finds "The Great Profile" as "The Great Lover" of Renaissance Italy battling the Borgia family, and the supporting performances of Mary Astor, Warner Oland, and Myrna Loy, art direction of Ben Carre, and lush production values make it a real treat.
(film will be presented with live accompaniment, and not its 1926 recorded Vitaphone score)

barrymore don
                                          juan
Saturday, August 13 at 2:30pm
Douglas Fairbanks in
"THE THREE MUSKETEERS"
(1921)
* 90th anniversary screening! *

Before he embarked on 1920's, THE MARK OF ZORRO, Douglas Fairbanks had been a popular light comedian. This adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' famous story gave Doug his iconic role of D'Artagnan, and made him the ultimate swashbuckling star of the silent screen. The success of ZORRO led him to continue with on with the likes of ROBIN HOOD ('22), THE THIEF OF BAGDAD ('23), and THE BLACK PIRATE ('26), before coming full circle to end his silent exploits by portraying D'Artagnan again in THE IRON MASK ('29).

note: this program will utilize a recorded score, composed and performed on theatre organ by Ben Model especially for this show and not available anywhere commercially

three musketeers
                                          douglas fairbanks



Winter/Spring 2011:
The Big 3 of Silent Comedy


Every field of every era has its top artists – the ones who set the benchmark for everyone else. In the late teens and early 1920s, when the golden age of comedy was king –
Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd – emerged as those artists – and their work has stood the test of time.

As we turn back our focus to the beacons of our ongoing series, we dedicate these next shows to the late great writer/director,
Blake Edwards — who always acknowledged his debt to and expressed love of the pioneers of film comedy that informed much of his own marvelous, unique work in cinema.
 
Saturday, February 5 at 2:30pm
CHARLIE CHAPLIN
After learning his craft in the English music halls, Charlie Chaplin brought his comedy skills to films in 1914. It wasn't long before he found his “movie legs” and developed his character of the Little Tramp, which by 1915 made him one of the most famous people in the world. His series of 12 shorts for the Mutual Company was a major creative burst, and in this program we're proud to present THE VAGABOND ('16) and EASY STREET ('17). Chaplin's inspiration and hard work produced films that remain fresh and funny for audiences of all ages. From these early days Chaplin went on to independence at his own studio where he created longer and more complex comedies. Also on the bill is Harold Lloyd in FROM HAND TO MOUTH ('19) and Buster Keaton's THE GOAT ('21).
Charlie Chaplin
Saturday, March 5 at 2:30pm
HAROLD LLOYD
Remembered today as the "third genius" of silent comedy, Harold Lloyd began his film career in 1913 as an extra and worked his way up to being one of the top box office stars of the 1920s. Teamed in a partnership with the young Hal Roach, Harold went from a run of the mill knockabout as the Chaplin inspired character of Lonesome Luke, to the more nuanced and sophisticated physical comedy of his "glasses character". Credited with creating the preview system for trying out films, Lloyd was an innovative producer whose features were constructed on lavish budgets with the precision of a Swiss watch. Today's films, HIGH AND DIZZY ('20) and "NUMBER, PLEASE?” ('20) show him at the peak of his 2-reel form and ready to move into features. Rounding out the show is Chaplin's THE PAWNSHOP ('16) and THE HIGH SIGN ('21) with Buster Keaton.
Harold Lloyd
Saturday, April 2 at 2:30pm
BUSTER KEATON
Buster Keaton was perhaps the hardest working of the classic film comedians. From his start as a child in vaudeville as one of The Three Keatons, he never stopped making audiences laugh until the day he died in 1966. Entering films in 1917 under the tutelage of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Buster was lauched in his own series in 1920 and had an amazing run of comedies that lasted until 1929. Although known for his dead-pan and stoic countenance, the "Great Stoneface" was much more expressive than many of the over-emoting stars of the day. While Buster lost creative control of his later work, he remained busy in films, television, and on stage for the remainder of his life. We focus on Buster with two shorts from 1922 – COPS and THE PALEFACE – plus present Chaplin in THE ADVENTURER ('17) and Harold Lloyd's GET OUT AND GET UNDER ('20).
Buster Keaton



Fall/Winter 2010:
"First Ladies of Laughter"


The Silent Clowns Film Series 'reboot' – in an exciting new partnership with the Library for the Performing Arts – begins with a season spotlighting Hollywood superstars from the distaff side of silent comedy. Bebe Daniels, Constance Talmadge and Marion Davies will bring considerable vivaciousness, charm and glamour to the 'Clowns' as we see out 2010. Each of the programs will be preceded by complementary short subjects.
 
Saturday, October 2 at 2:30pm
Bebe Daniels in "Feel My Pulse"
Bebe Daniels had a long career that encompasses knockabout comedy with Harold Lloyd, being a dramatic clothes-horse for Cecil B. DeMille, and television in the 1950s. In the late 1920s she starred in a series of feature comedies for Paramount, such as MISS BREWSTER'S MILLIONS ('26) and SWIM GIRL SWIM ('27), where she played a young woman about town. Sadly, most of these are lost today, but we're happy to present FEEL MY PULSE ('28) in which Bebe plays a spoiled hypochondriac heiress who inadvertently gets involved with bootleggers. Setting the stage for the feature are two one-reelers with Bebe and Harold Lloyd – ALL ABOARD ('17) and ASK FATHER ('19).

Saturday, November 6 at 2:30pm
Constance Talmadge in "The Duchess of Buffalo"
During the 1920s, the Talmadge sisters were the movie equivalent of the twin masks of theatre– Norma being the dramatic diva, and Constance the comedienne. Having started her career as a teenager in Vitagraph's Brooklyn studio, Connie became one of the most popular players of the day in features such as DULCY ('23) and HER SISTER FROM PARIS ('25). Never taking herself seriously, THE DUCHESS FROM BUFFALO ('26) ia a deftly played farce where Connie plays an American dancer who gets mixed-up in political intrigue with the Grand Duke of Russia. Since many of her films are lost or unavailable, her talents have been neglected, so this series gives us the pleasure and opportunity to highlight her work. Our extra added attraction is SEEING STARS, a 1922 First National Pictures exhibitor short which features Connie, Charlie Chaplin, Jackie Coogan, Buster Keaton, and a host of other famous stars.

Saturday, December 4 at 2:30pm
Marion Davies in "Show People"
Marion Davies is best remembered today as the mistress of wealthy newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, and as the prototype for Susan Alexander in Orson Welles' CITIZEN KANE ('41). What's overlooked is that she was a wonderful comedienne and terific mimic who made a number of sly and sophisticated comedies like THE PATSY and THE CARDBOARD LOVER (both '28) at the end of the silent era. SHOW PEOPLE ('28) is perhaps her best, which puts her into a rags-to-riches story about a young girl who works her way up from slapstick comedy shorts to become a glamorous dramatic star (based on Gloria Swanson). Hollywood conventions and pretensions are roasted in this very funny feature. Opening for Ms. Davies is A VITAGRAPH ROMANCE ('12), an earlier peek behind the scenes of movie making that stars Clara Kimball Young with cameos from practically everyone at the Vitagraph Studio.