Here are some brief bits of news - offered on a regular basis - from and about the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and the world of silent film:
1) The staff of the SFSFF have been hard at work on the schedule of films, programs, special guests and signings at this summer's silent film festival. This not-to-be-missed event is set to take place July 15-18th at the Castro Theater. And, as the final pieces to programming puzzle fall into the place, interesting patterns emerge.
Take, for example, the author signings. Two local authors with self-published books will be debuting their new work at this year's event. They are Donna Hill, who will be signing her gorgeous new pictorial Rudolph Valentino, The Silent Idol: His Life in Photographs. We've see this forthcoming book and it is something special! (Also signing along with Donna Hill is renown biographer and past Festival guest Emily Leider - author of Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino. Leider wrote the introduction to Donna Hill's book.) Also debuting at the Festival is a new edition The Diary of a Lost Girl, by Margarete Bohme. Thomas Gladysz has written an introduction, edited and published a special "Louise Brooks edition" of this 1905 book which was the basis for the G.W. Pabst directed film of the same name. The Diary of a Lost Girl has been out of print in the United States for more than 100 years.
2) A couple of DVDs will also be making their debut at this year's Festival. For the first time anywhere, the public will have a chance to purchase the restored Chicago (1927), which is forthcoming from Flicker Alley. Chicago played at the 2006 Winter event - and thrilled the audience. Also on sale at the Festival will be a limited edition DVD release of Elaine Mae Woo's documentary, Anna May Wong: Frosted Yellow Willows. It has played around the world - including Pordenone, to great acclaim.
3) The unlikely star of this year's San Francisco Silent Film Festival may well be Fritz Rasp. "Who" you may ask? Fritz Rasp (1891 – 1976) was a German film actor who appeared in more than 100 films between 1916 and 1976. His notable films include roles in Warning Shadows (1923), The Love of Jeanne Ney (1927), Spies (1928), Woman in the Moon (1929), and Threepenny Opera (1931). Most of those just mentioned films were directed by either Fritz Lang or G.W. Pabst.
Rasp also appears in TWO films being shown at this summer's Festival. Rasp plays Meinart, the creepy pharmacist who seduces Thymian (played by Louise Brooks), in the Pabst directed Diary of a Lost Girl (1929). Rasp also has a role as the "Thin Man" in the Lang directed Metropolis (1927). Many of the scenes in Metropolis in which Rasp appears are part of the footage long thought lost until their recovery in 2008.