SILENT FILM FESTIVAL – Opens Thursday, July 15th, At the Castro Theatre

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

SAN FRANCISCO SILENT FILM FESTIVAL – at the Castro Theatre – is a spectacular event and one of the most beloved film festivals in the world. It’s all about presenting the best. It’s the 15th Anniversary. The season is stocked with a wide variety of rare films. The experience of live accompaniment in the historic Castro Theatre is spectacular. This year’s solo musicians and musical groups are recognized as the best in the world. The Festival will also celebrate the latest in film restoration in the always popular, Amazing Tales from the Archives: Lost & Found Films.
Click here for ticket information: SF Silent Film Festival

Master Showman and Incomparable Organist Dennis James accompanies the Opening Night feature, The Iron Horse. Set in mid-19th century America, The Iron Horse is the silent era’s version of How the West Was Won, weaving its themes of romance and history around the story of the building of the first transcontinental railway. This glorious print is the only surviving 35mm print of the American version.

iron-horse
THE IRON HORSE – USA, 1924, 150 mins, 35mm
Thursday, July 15th at 7:00 pm
Accompanied by organist Dennis James
Directed by John Ford
Cast: George O’Brien, Madge Bellamy

rotaie
ROTAIE – Italy, 1929, 74 mins, 35mm
Friday, July 16th at 6:00 pm
Accompanied by pianist Stephen Horne
Directed by Mario Camerini
Cast: Käthe von Nagy, Maurizio D’Ancora

One of the most important Italian movies of the late silent period, Rotaie is the story is of two young lovers, very poor and on the brink of suicide, who come into a bit of temporary good luck. Finding a lost wallet in a train station, the lovers hop a train to two thrilling weeks of high living. The film’s exquisite style is influenced by the expressionism of German master F.W. Murnau.
Presented with Italian intertitles accompanied by a live English translation.

Meet the Authors: Eddie Muller with Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir (St. Martin’s); Scott O’Brien with Ann Harding – Cinema’s Gallant Lady (BearManor Media); Sarah Baker with Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell (BearManor Media).

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METROPOLIS – Germany, 1927, 148 mins, Digital
Friday, July 16th at 8:15 pm
Accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra
Directed by Fritz Lang
Cast: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Brigitte Helm

When Fritz Lang’s masterpiece debuted in Berlin in January, 1927, the sci-fi epic ran an estimated 153 minutes, but in order to maximize box office potential the German and American distributors cut the film to 90 minutes for its commercial release. For decades crucial scenes from the film were considered lost. In 2001, the Munich Film Foundation assembled a more complete version with additional footage from four contributing archives, and Metropolis had a premiere revival at 124 minutes. It was believed the most complete version that audiences could hope to see. But, in 2008 archivists from the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires made a spectacular discovery—a 16mm dupe negative of Metropolis that was considerably longer than any existing print. That discovery led to this remarkable restoration and Metropolis can now be shown in Fritz Lang’s original—25 minute longer—complete version.

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THE FLYING ACE – USA, 1926, 65 minutes, 35mm
Saturday, July 17th at 2:00pm
Accompanied by pianist Donald Sosin
Directed by Richard E. Norman
Cast: Lawrence Criner, Kathryn Boyd

Richard E. Norman was among the first to produce films starring African-American actors in positive roles. Between 1920 and 1928, the Norman Film Manufacturing Co. produced six feature-length films as part of a movement to establish an independent black cinema at a time when blacks were demeaned in mainstream movies. The Flying Ace is the only Norman film that survives and its story of a crime-fighting ace pilot is still a crowd-pleaser. 35mm print from Library of Congress.

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DIARY OF A LOST GIRL – Germany, 1929, 116 mins, 35mm
Saturday, July 17th at 6:30pm
Accompanied by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
Directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Cast: Louise Brooks, Kurt Gerron

Diary of a Lost Girl represents the second and final work of one of the cinema’s most compelling collaborations: G. W. Pabst and Louise Brooks. Together with Pandora’s Box, Diary confirmed Pabst’s artistry as one of the great directors of the silent period and established Brooks as an “actress of brilliance, a luminescent personality and a beauty unparalleled in screen history.” (Kevin Brownlow) This version has been mastered from a restoration of the film made by the Cineteca di Bologna with approximately seven minutes of previously censored footage. 35mm print of Kino International

Meet the Authors:: Thomas Gladysz with Diary of a Lost Girl (PandorasBox Press); Samuel Bernstein with Lulu: A Novel (Walford Press); Ira Resnick with Starstruck: Vintage Movie Posters from Classic Hollywood (Abbeville Press).

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NORMA TALMADGE

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GILBERT ROLAND and NORMA TALMADGE
THE WOMAN DISPUTED – USA, 1928, 110 mins, 35mm
Sunday, July 18th at 4:30 pm
Accompanied by pianist Stephen Horne
Directed by Henry King, Sam Taylor
Cast: Norma Talmadge, Gilbert Roland

This splendid romance is a true discovery, starring the extraordinary Norma Talmadge as a goodhearted streetwalker who is coveted by Austrian and Russian rivals. An introduction will be presented by Kevin Bronlow. “I have just seen The Woman Disputed,” he says, “and it’s a remarkable piece of filmmaking. The plot takes Maupaussant’s Boule de Suif to extremes, but it succeeds so well as a brilliant piece of film craft that it must be brought back to life.”

Meet the Authors: Kevin Brownlow with The Parade’s Gone By (University of California Press); Jeffrey Vance with Harold Lloyd: Master Comedian (Abrams); John Bengtson with Silent Traces: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Charlie Chaplin (Santa Monica Press); David W. Menefee with Sarah Bernhardt in the Theatre of Films and Sound Recordings (McFarland).

lheureuse-mort
L’HEUREUSE MORT – France, 1924, 83 mins, 35mm
Sunday, July 18th at 7:30 pm
Accompanied by the Matti Bye Ensemble
Directed by Serge Nadejdine
Cast: Nicolas Rimsky, Lucie Larue

This remarkable comedy stars Nicolas Rimsky as Parisian dramatist Théodore Larue whose latest premiere is a disaster. His reputation gone, Larue takes a sea voyage, during which he is swept overboard in a storm and lost. The press and the literary world react with an abrupt revaluation of his work, elevating him to the stature of France’s greatest dramatist. His widow finds herself in possession of a hugely valuable literary property. Larue – inopportunely – returns home. But, dramatist above all, he decides to masquerade as his colonialist brother Anselme, while industriously turning out posthumous works by Théodore. But then the real Anselme turns up with his Senegalese wife. Beautiful 35mm print from the Cinémathèque Française. Presented with French intertitles accompanied by a live English translation.

Click here for ticket information: SF Silent Film Festival

THE COMPLETE SCHEDULE
THURSDAY, July 15th
7:00 pm – The Iron Horse
9:45 pm – Opening Night Party

FRIDAY, July 16th
11:30 am – Amazing Tales from the Archives I
2:00 pm – A Spray of Plum Blossoms
6:00 pm – Rotaie
8:15 pm – Metropolis

SATURDAY, July 17th
10:00 am – The Big Business of Short, Funny Films
12:00 noon – Variations on a Theme
2:00 pm – The Flying Ace
4:00 pm – The Strong Man
6:30 pm – Diary of a Lost Girl
9:30 pm – Häxan

SUNDAY, July 18th
10:00 am – Amazing Tales from the Archives II
12 noon – The Shakedown
2:30 pm – Man With A Movie Camera
4:30 pm – The Woman Disputed
7:30 pm – L’heureuse mort

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.


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