Monday, January 31, 2011

Peter Bogdanovich weighs in on silent film

It's a familiar argument - that 1939 was the single greatest year in the history of the movies. When you consider some of the films released that year, including Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz and Stagecoach and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, its hard not to agree. But what about the silent era? What was its single greatest year?

Acclaimed director, producer, author, and film critic Peter Bogdanovich thinks 1928 was the single greatest year for film, prior to the arrival of sound. In a new blog, "1928: The Last and Greatest Year of the Original Motion Picture Art, B.S. (Before Sound)," Bogdanovich makes his case - and convincingly so. He mentions the work of Chaplin and Keaton and Erich von Stroheim and King Vidor, as well as a couple of films starring Louise Brooks. There are also past San Francisco Silent Film Festival favorites like The Crowd and The Circus and Show People.

It's a long blog well worth reading. And whether you agree or not (perhaps you think 1919 or 1925 the best year for film during the silent era), Bogdanovich's article is full of excellent recommendations. Be sure and check it out.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Left in the Dark: Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theatres

Along with Karie Bible (co-author of Location Filming in Los Angeles), also signing books at our upcoming February 12 Winter Event at the Castro Theater will be Julie Lindow, editor and co-author of Left in the Dark: Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theatres (Charta). We've written about this exceptional book in the past, and we are excited to finally have the opportunity to host one of its authors at the Silent Film Festival.

About the book: Left in the Dark celebrates San Francisco's many historic movie theatres - and by extension its communal movie-going experience - through a series of beautifully printed full-color photographs by R.A. McBride. These images are complimented by a handful of personal essays by local luminaries such as Rebecca Solnit, Eddie Muller, and Gary Meyer - each of which writes about what it means for them to "go to the movies."

A website devoted to the book, which we encourage you tom visit and which includes chapter excerpts, an image gallery, and links to the many theaters discussed in the book, can be found at Left in the Dark: Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theatres is available direct from the publisher, through online retailers, and at select independent bookstores. And of course, copies will also be available at the Winter Event. Julie Lindow, who served as editor, will be signing copies of Left in the Dark after the Chaplin shorts program (at approximately 2:15 pm). 

Here's one image from the book which attendees of the Silent Film Festival are sure to recognize.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Location Filming in Los Angeles

Three authors will be signing books at our February 12 Winter Event at the Castro Theater. Among them is Karie Bible, one of the three co-authors (along with Marc Wanamaker and Harry Medved) of an entertaining new book, Location Filming in Los Angeles (Arcadia).

Besides co-authoring a new book, Bible is also the official tour guide for Hollywood Forever Cemetery and the creator of, a website dedicated to Los Angeles repertory and revival films. She has also lectured on film at various venues including the RMS Queen Mary, and has appeared on Turner Classic Movies. Location Filming in Los Angeles is an outgrowth of her interest in film.

About the book: the city of Los Angeles has reigned for more than a century as the world capital of the film industry, a unique and ever-changing place that has been molded and recast thousands of times through the artistic visions and cinematic dreams of Hollywood's elite.

As early as 1907, filmmakers migrated west to avoid lengthy eastern winters. In Los Angeles, they discovered a  world of abundant and diverse locales blessed with a mild and sunny climate ideal for filming. Location Filming in Los Angeles provides a historic view of the diversity of locations that provided the backdrop for Hollywood's greatest films, from the silent era to the modern age. To learn more, and to peak inside the book, follow this link.

Fans of early film will be pleased at the abundant amount of material depicting the silent  era which can be found in this new book. Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, Clara Bow, Buster Keaton, Laurel & Hardy, the Keystone Cops and others all put in an appearance. Even Greta Garbo! In our opinion, Location Filming in Los Angeles is a pictorial page-turner. As its filled with many fascinating and seldom seen images. Please join us on February 12 - and you'll have the chance to meet author (and SFSFF regular attendee) Karie Bible.

Copies of  Location Filming in Los Angeles will be available at the Winter Event, courtesy of our bookselling partner, Books Inc. Bible and others will be signing books after the Chaplin short program (at approximately 2:15). 

 [ Location Filming in Los Angeles is also available online and through Indiebound. ]

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

MovieMaker Magazine names SFSFF one of “20 Coolest Film Festivals”

MovieMaker Magazine has named the San Francisco Silent Film Festival as one of the “20 Coolest Film Festivals” of 2010! In selecting the SFSFF, MovieMaker stated, "Almost 70 years after the invention of talking pictures, Melissa Chittick and Stephen Salmons founded the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. What might seem like a cinematic regression has become an annual event that attracts more than 10,000 spectators a year to the world-famous Castro Theatre in July."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Come to the winter event

Now that we have your attention, we would like to suggest you attend the annual
San Francisco Silent Film Festival winter event on February 12th.
Further details at

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Festival passes available in local shops

Do as Charlie does! Visit either Books Inc (2275 Market Street) or the McRoskey Mattress Company (1687 Market Street) in San Francisco to pick up your festival passes to the San Francisco Silent Film Winter Event. Passes include entrance to all three film programs (but not the party). 

Passes are $35.00 for members and $42.00 for the general public. That's a savings of 15% off the total price for all three shows, if bought separately. Please note, members will need to show their Silent Film Festival member card to purchase the discounted passes. And that's not all. Save even more if you buy in person at either store, and avoid the handling charges you would pay online.

Further details on the Winter Event can be found at

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cinémathèque Française

The French certainly love film, so much so they created a museum dedicated to the art form. That museum and archive is the world famous Cinémathèque Français. It's information rich website can be found at

 source: Wikipedia

Just recently, the English-language magazine France Today ran a long article on the Cinémathèque Française. The French film museum, co-founded by Henri Langlois, has many items on display related to early film - including the silent film era. The article can be found at

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy new year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR from the San Francisco Silent Film Festival!

We hope to see you at our February 12th Winter event!