Thursday, December 30, 2010

Silent Film Festival makes SF Chronicle list

Today, the San Francisco Chronicle published a list of some of the memorable movie events covered in the newspaper's entertainment section during 2010. Along with the The Lady From Shanghai presentation at the Castro Theatre and the Kurosawa 100th birthday retrospective all around the Bay Area, one of the screenings at this past year's Silent Film Festival also made the list. Here is what the paper had to say:
"Metropolis" restoration, Castro, July 16:
"This is the most important find in cinema history," said Anita Monga, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival's artistic director, and she wasn't exaggerating. On a magical night before a sellout (1,400-strong) crowd, San Francisco got its first look at the restored Fritz Lang science fiction classic, with a half hour of footage not seen since its 1927 premiere. On hand: the Argentine archivists who found a battered 16mm print of the whole film, and spurred its restoration. It's now out on Blu-ray and DVD.
The San Francisco Bay Area is a great "film town." Like Fritz Rasp below (in a scene from Metropolis), why not check out the entire list by G. Allen Johnson. Read more at

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Silent films selected for National Film Registry

Today, four silent films – including one made in San Francisco – were among those selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry. James H. Billington, Head of the Library of Congress, made the announcement in what has become a significant annual event for film enthusiasts. The Library of Congress press release reads in part:
Spanning the period 1891-1996, the films named to the registry range from a rare glimpse of San Francisco before the 1906 earthquake and the political thriller "All the President’s Men" to George Lucas’ student film in 1967 and his sci-fi special-effects extravaganza "The Empire Strikes Back." Also included in the registry are lesser-known, but culturally vital films such as the black independent film "Cry of Jazz," Luis Valdez’s "I Am Joaquin" and John Huston’s war documentary "Let There Be Light," which was banned by the War Department for 35 years. This year’s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 550.

Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant, to be preserved for all time. These films are not selected as the "best" American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring significance to American culture.

"As the nation’s repository of American creativity, the Library of Congress—with the support of the U.S. Congress—must ensure the preservation of America’s film patrimony," said Billington. "The National Film Registry is a reminder to the nation that the preservation of our cinematic creativity must be a priority because about half of the films produced before 1950 and as much as 90 percent of those made before 1920 have been lost to future generations."
The complete Library of Congress press release can be found at

The films on this year’s list which date from the pre-talkie era are The Bargain (1914), Newark Athlete (1891), Preservation of the Sign Language (1913), and A Trip Down Market Street (1906). The last named film, of course, was made in San Francisco and was recently in the news. Local film historian David Kiehn made headlines when he discovered that it was shot just days before the 1906 earthquake, not in 1905 as has been previously thought.

The LOC press release notes that “The film was originally thought to have been made in 1905, but historian David Kiehn, who examined contemporary newspapers, weather reports and car license plates recorded in the film, later suggested that A Trip Down Market Street was likely filmed just a few days before the devastating earthquake on April 18, 1906.”

Along with the list of films newly added to the National Film Registry, the LOC urges the public to make nominations for next year’s registry at the Film Board’s website at

The LOC website also includes a "shortlist" of films worthy of consideration at  Among them are some which have shown at past San Francisco Silent Film Festival events including Beggars of Life (1928), Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928), The Unknown (1927), The Scarlet Letter (1926), The Merry Widow (1925) and others. As well as some which will be shown at the upcoming SFSFF Winter Event in February 2011, such as Charlie Chaplin's The Rink (1916)!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thomas Jefferson on silent film

Today's New York Times has a fascinating article on crowd sourcing scholarly projects. The article, "Scholars Recruit Public for Project," can be found at

The article ends with a quotation from a letter (shown below) by Thomas Jefferson, who was commenting on national documents destroyed during the Revolutioniary War. His thoughts might well apply to silent film and silent film history.
"The lost cannot be recovered; let us save what remains not by vaults and locks which fence them from the public eye and use in consigning them to the waste of time, but by such a multiplication of copies, as shall place them beyond the reach of accident.”

On a not unrelated subject, here is the Nitrateville thread relating to Kevin Brownlow's recent Academy Award acceptance speech.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from the staff of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival staff

Stacey Wisnia, Executive Director
Anita Monga, Artistic Director
Jeremy O’Neal, Director of Strategy & Development
Lucia Pier, Operations Director

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Louise Brooks films to screen in Paris

Two Louise Brooks films will be shown in Paris in the coming weeks. On Friday, December 24, the Forum des Images will screen Prix de beauté (1930). In this, her last European film and final starring role, Brooks plays a typist stuck in a dull job who wins a beauty contest. The film, with added sound, includes a lovely theme song (not sung by Brooks) as well as one of the great endings in film history.

Prix de beauté  is being presented as part of the series of great films made in the French capital. Shot in late 1929 and released in early 1930, the film had its premier on May 9, 1930 at the Max Linder-Pathe in Paris. It proved popular, and ran for more than a month. In June 1930, while Prix de beauté was showing at the Max-Linder, another Brooks' film, Trois pages d’un journal (1929), was also showing in Paris at the Colisée theater.

Trois pages d’un journal is known in English as Diary of a Lost Girl. This G.W. Pabst directed film will also be shown in Paris in the near future. On January 13, Diary of a Lost Girl will be shown at the Action Christine cinema (4 Rue Christine). The screening, set for 8:30 pm, will be preceded by an author event related to the book at the nearby Village Voice Bookshop (6 Rue Princesse). The Village Voice event is set for 7:30 pm.

The author event celebrates the publication of a new edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl, the 1905 book which served as the basis for the 1929 film of the same name featuring Brooks.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New BBC radio series explores history of cinema

In 2011, to mark the 100th anniversary of the opening of the first studio in Hollywood, BBC Radio 4 will launch a series of programs exploring the history of the cinema and its impact on contemporary life. This online article announces the radio series, which airs in January. 

Among the participants in the series is the British-born and now San Francisco resident David Thomson. Thomson is a film critic and the author of numerous books, including the recently reissued New Biographical Dictionary of Film: Fifth Edition, Completely Updated and Expanded. Thomson is also a past guest at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

To coincide with the series, the Radio 4 website has released over two hundred interviews with contemporary film stars, directors and producers broadcast on the network. And as well, the BBC Archive has released a collection of radio interviews with the stars of the "Golden Age" of American cinema. "Hollywood Voices" features a mix of broadcasts and unedited interviews with film stars of the Twenties, Thirties, Forties and Fifties – many available in full for the first time.

The collection of historic interviews includes recordings (mostly from the 1950s and 1960's) with the likes of Harold Lloyd, Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, King Vidor, Frank Capra, Joan Crawford, Herman Mankiewicz and others. Highlights include a "round table" with Charlie Chaplin, conversations with Buster Keaton and Louise Brooks on the early days of cinema, and more. Some of the recordings last only a few minutes, other more than twenty minutes.

The archive of historic interviews can be found at Normally, these recordings are only available to residents of the British Isles. Reportedly, those utilizing a VPN (virtual private network) may also be able to access them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

First International Berkeley Conference on Silent Cinema

The Department of Film and Media at the University of California, Berkeley has announced that the First International Berkeley Conference on Silent Cinema will take place February 24-26, 2011. The theme of the conference is “Cinema Across the Media: The 1920s.”

The international, interdisciplinary conference will include keynote lectures, concurrent panels, workshops, and screenings at the Pacific Film Archive with live musical accompaniment. A call for papers was issued earlier this year.

The conference will last two-and-a-half days and include four keynote lectures, 24 other presentations chosen from responses to the call for papers, and a two-week series of silent film screenings with live musical accompaniment at the Pacific Film Archive.

Among those expected to attend the conference are four prominent scholars, each of which have agreed to give keynote lectures at the conference. The four scholars are Tom Gunning (Art History/Cinema & Media Studies, University of Chicago), Gertrud Koch (Theater Studies, Free University of Berlin), Paolo Cherchi Usai (Haghefilm Foundation of Amsterdam, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia), and Anthony Vidler (Architecture, Cooper Union).

All four are preeminent scholars of silent cinema and related fields, and will contribute to the conference’s commitment to fostering high-level intellectual exchange and innovative scholarship across a range of disciplines and national contexts.

The films which will be shown at the Pacific Film Archive as part of the First International Berkeley Conference on Silent Cinema include Alberto Cavalcanti Rien que les heures (1926), Marcel L’Herbier L’Inhumaine (1926), and a selection of “Silent Comedies of the 1920s.”

A complete schedule of events is not yet known. Further details at

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday discount on Winter Event passes

Stuck on what to get the film buff and movie lover on your holiday shopping list? Not sure if they already have that DVD or new book? Then why not give them a movie going experience?

Imagine seeing a classic silent film in a grand old movie theater with live musical accompaniment! 

Why not consider giving your friend an all day Festival Pass to the upcoming San Francisco Silent Film Festival Winter Event on February 12th? The line-up of films is stellar.

Until January 1, San Francisco Silent Film Festival  members can take advantage of a special holiday discount - our gift to you! This specially priced All-Day Pass to the Winter Event will be mailed to you - so you can give it to the lucky silent film fan on your holiday list. For more info, please visit this page.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More recomended DVD's

Leonard Maltin's recent column about Charlie Chaplin reminds us not only of the comedian's greatness, but also of the fact that there are two new DVDs featuring his work. These two new releases are among the best new silent film DVDs in 2010. Along with the four-disc set, Chaplin at Keystone (Flicker Alley), and a new edition of Modern Times (Criterion), we would also recommend:

The Complete Metropolis
Though it’s a science fiction masterpiece – a 1927 dystopia of the future told in expressionist terms – the greatness of Metropolis stems from its “pagan power” – as anyone who saw it this past July at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival will attest. Plus, Brigitte Helm is one sexy robot. The just released, newly restored version of the film (at 148 minutes) contains nearly 25 minutes of previously lost footage found in Argentina. Now, the film’s interlocking story lines, multiple characters, and grandiose vision of the future are fully revealed. Metropolis influenced not only films like Blade Runner and Star Wars, but how we see our future selves. (KINO)

Three Silent Classics By Josef Von Sternberg
If there is any one early director experiencing renewed interest, it may be Joseph von Sternberg. The Austrian born Svengali behind Marlene Dietrich and The Blue Angel (as well as many other stylish films from the 1930s) is also the subject of a notable new biography by John Baxter. This three disc set collects three silent films made on the cusp of the sound age – gritty evocations of gangster life (Underworld, 1927), the Russian Revolution (The Last Command, 1928), and working-class desperation (The Docks of New York, 1928). Each is a minor masterpiece, and each is suggestive of the von Sternberg films to come. Oh, and might we add, Underworld helped launch the gangster genre and won an Oscar. (Criterion)

This is not that Chicago. This is the first Chicago, and the Chicago screened to roars of delight at the 2006 Winter Event. This is the story of sexy, jazz-loving and dressed to kill Roxie Hart. Gold-digger, murderer, headline grabber – she’s got more guys wrapped around her little finger than are good for her. Unless, of course, they can do something for her. Like the musical that won Best Picture and five other Oscars in 2002, this 1927 version descends from the 1926 Broadway play. It’s an entertaining mix of humor and melodrama as well as a critique of tabloid journalism. It’s also largely the unaccredited work of Cecil B. DeMille, who is also the subject of a new biography. But that’s another story, all of which is revealed in the excellent and abundant bonus material. (Flicker Alley)

Miss Mend
Chances are even the most dedicated film buff hasn’t heard of Miss Mend, a serial produced in the Soviet Union. Its heroine is a plucky working girl who earns her own living and raises a child without the help of a man. She also gets mixed up in various melodramatic adventures - all of which culminates in an attempted germ warfare attack on the Soviet Union led by secret organization of international capitalists. No, this film wasn't made yesterday - it was made in 1926. Unlike the more familiar Potemkin or Aelita: Queen of Mars, Miss Mend set out not to glorify the revolution but to rival American movies of the 1920s. And this they did with exuberance and aplomb. This amusing melodrama, in three feature-length episodes, was criticized in the Soviet press as an example of shameless “Western-style” entertainment. And probably for that very reason it was hugely popular in its day. You’ll enjoy it too. (Flicker Alley)

Sherlock Jr. and Three Ages (Ultimate 2-Disc Edition)
Only Keaton’s genius could complete with Chaplin’s prodigious talent. In Sherlock Jr., Keaton stars in and directed this story of a movie projectionist studying to become a detective. While on the job, he falls asleep and within a dream, enters the picture being projected on the movie screen and solves a crime Sherlock-Holmes style. He also gets the girl. This new 2 disc edition includes a cleaned-up print, new musical scores, and bonus materials. Also issued earlier this year is a new “Ultimate 2-Disc Edition” of Keaton’s great 1928 film, Steamboat Bill Jr. (KINO)

Talmadge Sisters Double Features
KINO has released two discs featuring the films of the Talmadge Sisters, Norma and Constance. Norma was the bigger star and was well regarded for her dramatic roles, as in the recently screened The Woman Disputed; Constance was popular and much loved as a comedian. The Norma Talmadge Collection features Kiki (1926) and Within the Law (1923). The Constance Talmadge Collection features Her Night of Romance (1924) and Her Sister From Paris (1925). Each of these four films is entertaining – and as a bonus, debonair Ronald Colman co-stars in three of them. Be still your beating hearts. (KINO)

Warner Archive Collection
The Warner Archive Collection is a god-send. Over the last couple of years, Warner has released dozens and dozens of previously unreleased contemporary and classic movies from its considerable catalog of films. And among them are many silent films. Looking for La Boheme (1923) with Lillian Gish, or Our Dancing Daughters (1928) with Joan Crawford? Or how about something starring John Gilbert, Greta Garbo, Ramon Novarro, William Haines, Norma Shearer or Marion Davies? The Warner Archive Collection has them. This innovative on-demand service allows individuals to order DVDs of titles otherwise not commercially available; generally speaking, they are not restored or remastered – and the print quality can be fair to good or better. But at least they are available. More info regarding the selection of silent filmsc an be found  here. (Warner Archive Collection)
Films Starring Lon Chaney
The one silent film star who consistently played sad misshapen characters and tortured souls was Lon Chaney. Known as “The Man of a Thousand Faces,” his films include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera, and the arm-twisting shocker, The Unknown. The Warner Archive Collection has released 6 of his MGM films and made them available at a special price. The six are He Who Gets Slapped (1924), The Monster (1925), The Unholy Three (1925), Mr.Wu (1927), Mockery (1927), and The Unholy 3 (1930). One favorite is He Who Gets Slapped, the story of a pathetic clown whose act involves getting slapped and abused at the hands of his fellow performers. The crowds love it, and cheers for more! (Warner Archive Collection)

Those interested in silent film should also keep an eye out for new releases from Milestone, Grapevine, and Unknown Video. Each also has an extensive catalog of previous releases.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chaplin — First, Last, And Always

Leonard Maltin, a familiar face 'round these parts as a regular at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, has obvious affection for Charlie Chaplin. The latest installment of Maltin's online column, a piece titled "Chaplin — First, Last, And Always," is a salute to the great comedian. It surveys two recent DVD releases, the four-disc set, Chaplin at Keystone, released by Flicker Alley, and a new edition of Modern Times, released by Criterion.

Maltin's piece helps sets the mood for the upcoming San Francisco Silent Film Festival presentation of three of Chaplin's Mutual shorts at the annual Winter event on February 12.

If you don't do so already, be sure and check out Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy on a regular basis. It always make for good reading.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Weekend update #26 - screenings everywhere edition

Here are some bits of news - offered on a regular basis - from and about the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and the world of silent film:

1) Earlier this month, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival announced the line-up for its February 12th annual Winter Event. Along with the  not-to-be-missed Winter Event Celebration Party, there will be a program of three Charlie Chaplin shorts (The Adventurer 1917 / The Pawn Shop 1916 / The Rink 1916) made during his tenure with Mutual, the French film L’Argent (1928), and King Vidor's La Bohème (1926). Further information can be found at 

[Coincidentally, the Rafael Film Center in San Rafael is showing a contemporary film version of the opera La Bohème on December 16 and December 18. More info here.]

2) There are a handful of other silent film screenings coming up in the next month. On Tuesday, December 14, the Mauritz Stiller film, Sir Arne's Treasure (1919), will be shown at the Castro Theatre with a newly commissioned score by John Darnielle (of the Mountain Goats). This annual event - the pairing of a classic silent film with musical accompaniment by a contemporary indie rock musician - is sponsored by the San Francisco Film SocietyElla Cinders (1926), in which Colleen Moore stars in a comic take on the Cinderella story, will be shown on Saturday, December 25 at 7:30 pm at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont. And in another annual tradition, the New Year's Eve screening of a silent film at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco is now set for Friday, December 31st at 7:00 and 10:00 pm. The Lon Chaney classic, The Phantom of the Opera (1925), will be shown. Internationally acclaimed organist, Dorothy Papadakos, will accompany the film on the cathedral’s renowned Aeolian-Skinner organ.

[Speaking of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum. Be sure and check out the recent San Francisco Chronicle article, "David Kiehn, Bay Area historian, traces old films," which profiles the Niles film historian.]

3) Another forthcoming regional event worth checking out is the January 29th and January 30 showings of The Italian Straw Hat (1928), a slapstick comedy by the  acclaimed French director René Clair. The Sacramento French Film Festival is partnering with the Sacramento Philharmonic in the US Premiere of this classic silent film with a new musical score, which will be shown at the Crest Theater in Sacramento. For more info, please visit

[If you can't make it to Sacramento for this special event, or want to check out the film before you do go, please note that the good folks at Flicker Alley have recently released it on DVD in a deluxe edition. This new release is the first ever fully complete edition available to American viewers.]

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More recommended books

Along with the previously recommended reference works, here are a few more recommended books on silent film subjects. This short list includes biographies, histories  and pictorials - a little something for everyone. They are among the best films books of the year

Dangerous Curves atop Hollywood Heels, by Michael G. Ankerich

Ankerich has written a handful of books which shine a light on the careers of deserving but largely forgotten films stars. His interview with recently deceased child film star ‘Baby’ Marie Osborne was included in Broken Silence: Conversations with 23 Silent Film Stars (McFarland, 1993), while last year’s The Real Joyce Compton (BearManor, 2009) told the story of the original “dumb blonde” actress. Ankerich’s newest work is subtitled “The Lives, Careers, and Misfortunes of 14 Hard-Luck Girls of the Silent Screen.” Included are engaging portraits of Agnes Ayres, Olive Borden, Grace Darmond, Elinor Fair, Juanita Hansen, Wanda Hawley, Natalie Joyce, Barbara La Marr, Martha Mansfield, Mae Murray, Mary Nolan, Marie Prevost, Lucille Ricksen, Eve Southern, and Alberta Vaughn. (BearManor, $26.95)

Empire of Dreams: The Epic Life of Cecil B. DeMille, by Scott Eyman

Though not the first book on Cecil B. Demille, Eyman’s sweeping account of the larger than life director of such Biblical epics as The Ten Commandments (1923) is a notable achievement. Eyman reminds us of all that Demille accomplished in his more than 50 year career, from his beginnings in the silent era to his discovery of stars like Gloria Swanson and Claudette Colbert to his small but memorable role as himself in Sunset Boulevard. Eyman’s book is thoroughly researched, and draws on a massive cache of DeMille family papers not available to previous biographers. (Simon & Schuster, $35.00)

The Last Silent Picture Show: Silent Films on American Screens in the 1930s, by William M. Drew

The received wisdom is this: with the coming of sound, silent film was forgotten. But was it? The Last Silent Picture Show looks at the little known history of silent movies in the decade after their reported demise. Though talkies overtook the industry, the silent cinema survived the onslaught of sound through continued exhibition in diverse venues including tent shows, political meetings, universities, ethnic theaters, and art houses. As one-time San Francisco writer Mark Twain once quipped, reports of his death had been greatly exaggerated. And so were reports of the death of silent film. This work, by a Bay Area film historian, rewrites film history.  (Scarecrow Press, $50.00)

Olive Borden: The Life and Films of Hollywood's "Joy Girl," by Michelle Vogel

The all too brief career of actress Olive Borden (1906-1947) is chronicled in this new biography. Apprenticing in slapstick comedies, the vivacious Virginia-born actress rose to stardom after signing with Fox in 1925, enlivening such films as John Ford's 3 Bad Men (1926) and Howard Hawks’ Fig Leaves (1926). Borden's career declined after she severed her ties with Fox, and by the early 1930s she was finished in Hollywood. Alcoholism and a devastating series of personal setbacks hastened her death at age forty-one. Borden's contract debacle with Fox and her long-term relationship with actor George O'Brien (the subject of an excellent 2009 biography by David Menefee) are thoroughly detailed. Dozens of heretofore unattributed screen appearances by Borden are included in the filmography. (McFarland, $38.00)

Rudolph Valentino The Silent Idol: His Life in Photographs, by Donna L. Hill

It’s surprising there hasn’t been a book like this till now. Donna Hill – a San Francisco film historian and collector, has put together a handsomely illustrated pictorial which surveys the life of one of the great film stars and personalities of the Jazz Age. Despite his short life – he died suddenly at age 31 in 1926, and despite the volume of earlier literature about Valentino, there is still much new material to uncover about this iconic star. Many of the 400 images found in this new book are rare, while others have not been published or generally seen since the 1920s. (Blurb Books, $60.00)

The Search for Charlie Chaplin, by Kevin Brownlow

In November, Kevin Brownlow was given a special Academy Award, the first film historian so honored. (He was also honored in July at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.) His latest book is an engaging, anecdotal account of the film find of the 20th century – three separate caches of previously unknown Chaplin footage which became the basis for one of the film historian’s most acclaimed documentaries. The Search for Charlie Chaplin is an insider’s account, a detailed, candid, and fascinating behind-the-scenes work of film history. (UKA Press, $15.99)

Starstruck: Vintage Movie Posters from Classic Hollywood, by Ira M. Resnick

For four decades, collector, film enthusiast and one-time Bay Area resident Ira Resnick has been amassing a collection of 2,000 movie posters and 1,500 stills, many of which have not been published in decades. Starstruck: Vintage Movie Posters from Classic Hollywood features the best of Resnick's world-class collection, with vivid reproductions of 250 posters and forty stills from a golden age of Hollywood art, 1912 to 1962. Silent stars Louise Brooks, Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, and Douglas Fairbanks shine throughout. (Abbeville Press, $65.00)

Von Sternberg, by John Baxter

Joseph von Sternberg was an aesthete who had the ability to transform both actors and films into masterpieces – just as he had done to himself. Born into poverty in Vienna, von Sternberg made his way to New York and then Hollywood, where he climbed the ladder to stardom. Besides sound era masterpieces like The Blue Angel (1930), von Sternberg’s silent films includes the Chaplin-produced A Woman of the Sea (1926 – filmed near Carmel, California), as well as gritty classics like Underworld (1927), The Last Command (1928), and The Docks of New York (1928). [These latter three films have just been released on DVD as part of the Criterion Collection.] Fans of larger than life personalities like Erich von Stroheim will find familiar terrain in this accomplished work. (University Press of Kentucky, $40.00)

Also keep in mind: Here are a few more titles, each of which stray into the sound era but whose subjects have significant ties to the silent era. Each are also well worth checking out. The Fall of Buster Keaton: His Films for M-G-M, Educational Pictures, and Columbia, by James L. Neibaur (Scarecrow Press, Inc., $45.00), Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A History of Star Makers, Fabricators, and Gossip Mongers, by Anthony Slide (University Press of Mississippi, $40.00), Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford, by Donald Spoto (William Morrow, $25.99), and Vernon Dent: Stooge Heavy by Bill Cassara (BearManor, $19.95).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter event announced

The line-up of films for the February 12th Winter Event have been announced. It's a full day of silent film at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. Here are the details:

It’s Mutual: Charlie Chaplin Shorts

These three shorts (The Adventurer 1917 / The Pawn Shop 1916 / The Rink 1916) from Chaplin’s brilliant stint at the Mutual Film Corporation are a glimpse into a master perfecting his craft. Some of the most hilarious moments on film by a genius whose physical wit and grace spoke louder than words. Accompanied by Donald Sosin.

Marcel L’Herbier, 1928, France, 195 min.

Greed and sex drive Marcel L’Herbier’s adaptation of Emile Zola’s celebrated novel about financial speculation. The excess of the story is mirrored in the filmmaking—opulent sets, breathtaking camerawork, and a rhythm that conveys glamour and modernity. Magnificently restored, this film is a true revelation! Accompanied by The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. With Pierre Alcover, Brigette Helm, Marie Glory, Yvette Guilbert, Alfred Abel, Henry Victor, Pierre Juvenet, and Antoin Artaud.

La Bohème
King Vidor, 1926, USA, 95 min.

This eternal romance set in bohemian Paris of the 1830s has been filmed many times, but King Vidor’s classic starring Lillian Gish as Mimi and John Gilbert as Rodolphe is the definitive version. We'll be screening a new 35mm print courtesy of Stanford Theatre Foundation and UCLA Film and Television Archive. With Renée Adorée, George Hassell, Roy D’Arcy, Edward Everett Horton, and Karl Dane.

In the coming weeks, we'll run additional blogs on each of the upcoming films. In the meantime, further information on the films, the Winter Event Celebration Party, and ticket availability can be found at