Showing posts with label Snow White. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Snow White. Show all posts

Friday, February 15, 2013

Don't miss the 2013 Winter Event

There is a folk tale / fairy tale feel to this month's San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The Festival's upcoming winter event, a now annual day-long series of screenings at the Castro Theater, takes place on Saturday, February 16th. It includes not-to-be-missed films, live musical accompaniment with each program, special guest introductions, author book signings, and the opportunity to see great films of silent era in the confines of a historic theater.
That's true in the case of both The Thief of Bagdad and Faust. Each of these landmark films feature sets, scenes and special effects remarkable for their time—and still quite impressive today. One must, for example, see Faust on the big screen of the Castro in order to appreciate its chilling grandeur, notably the scene where the demon Mephisto towers over a town, his dark wings spread wide, as a fog.
Snow White (1916)
Saturday, February 16 at 10:00 am


Walt Disney was a 16-year-old in Kansas City when he attended a screening of a new movie made from the familiar German fairy tale, "Snow White." It was one of the first feature films the future movie maker would see, and he was duly impressed. “I thought it was the perfect story… It had the sympathetic dwarfs…the heavy…the prince and the girl ...romance.” Some 21 years later, inspired by that earlier film, Disney made a popular animated version of the same story. Coinciding with the Walt Disney Family Museum's celebration of Snow White (1937), the Silent Film Festival is presenting the film that started it all. Directed by J. Searle Dawley with petite Marguerite Clark in the lead role, this once popular film was thought lost until a worn copy was discovered in recent years in the Netherlands. It has since been restored. Clark, one of the most popular actresses of her day, starred in the stage version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Broadway in 1912. Her portrayal of the dewy fresh heroine in the film made four years later is still right on target—despite the fact she was 33 years old at the time.
Approximately 63 minutes, with an introduction by Disney historian J.B. Kaufman and live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin on grand piano. Following the film, Kaufman will be signing copies of his books, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Art and Creation of Walt Disney's Classic Animated Film (Weldon Owen) and The Fairest One of All: The Making of Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Walt Disney Family Foundation Press). Released last year, both books mark the 75th anniversary of Disney's classic film.
Think Slow, Act Fast: Buster Keaton Shorts (1920-1921)
Saturday, February 16 at 12:00 noon

“Think slow, act fast” is a quote attributed to Buster Keaton. Even if apocryphal, it suggest the studied approach behind his many popular films. Keaton, whose consistently deadpan expression earned him the nickname "The Great Stone Face," was best known for his trademark physical comedy. At times, it was impossible to take your eyes off him. This program features three early Keaton shorts, each made shortly after Keaton left Fatty Arbuckle to work on his own. On the bill are One Week (1920, 24 minutes, with Buster Keaton, Sybil Seely, and Joe Roberts), The Scarecrow (1920, 18 minutes, with Buster Keaton, Joe Roberts, Sybil Seely, and Luke the Dog), and The Play House (1921, 23 minutes, with Buster Keaton and Virginia Fox).
Approximately 70 minutes, with an introduction by the legendary television writer and director Frank Buxton and live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin on grand piano. It's worth mentioning that long before he was involved with TV shows like The Odd Couple and Happy Days, Buxton worked with Keaton in Summer stock.
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
Saturday, February 16 at 2:30 pm

The Thief of Bagdad shows Douglas Fairbanks at the top of his form. Directed by Raoul Walsh and adapted from One Thousand and One Nights, the story revolves around a thief (Fairbanks) who falls in love with the daughter (Julanne Johnston) of the Caliph of Bagdad. To win her hand, the thief must bring back the world's rarest treasures. This rousing fantasy is replete with flying carpets, winged horses, and underwater sea monsters. Exquisite camerawork and lavish sets support the film's special effects, all of which make The Thief of Bagdad a wildly entertaining spectacle. Also in the cast are Snitz Edwards, Sôjin, and the lovely Anna May Wong. Inducted into the National Film Registry in 1996 and voted one of AFI’s top 10 classics in 2008, The Thief of Bagdad has recently received a crisp new restoration. That restoration will be shown at the Winter event.
Approximately 159 minutes, with introductions by film historians Jeffrey Vance and Tracey Goessel and live musical accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. Following the film, Vance will be signing copies of his books, including his widely acclaimed Douglas Fairbanks (University of California Press).
My Best Girl (1927)
Saturday, February 16 at 7:00 pm

My Best Girl (1927) was Mary Pickford’s last silent film. Although she would make four more sound films and win an Oscar, My Best Girl is the pinnacle of her career, an engaging comedy and an exemplary illustration of what made Pickford the most loved and most popular movie star in the world. Some even consider it their favorite Pickford film. Directed by Sam Taylor (famous for his work with Harold Lloyd), My Best Girl is the story of a Five & Dime stock girl (Pickford) who falls for the store owner’s son (Buddy Rogers), who's masquerading as a new employee. The boy's parents, of course, have other ideas about the kind of girl he should marry. Pickford and Rogers (in his first role after the hugely successful Wings) are wonderful together, and their onscreen chemistry is more than apparent. In fact, in ten years time Pickford would divorce Douglas Fairbanks and marry Rogers in a sort of storybook Hollywood romance. Also in the cast of My Best Girl are Lucien Littlefield and Carmelita Geraghty.
Notably, the print shown Saturday contains more footage than the DVD version. Approximately 90 minutes, with an introduction by silent film historian Jeffrey Vance and live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin on grand piano.
Faust (1926)
Saturday, February 16 at 9:00 pm


Director F.W. Murnau’s Faust is an expressive, cinematic telling of the old European legend, famously immortalized by Goethe, of the learned man who sells his soul to the devil. Magnificent in its depictions of heaven and hell and of a nightmarish old world, Faust is a masterpiece of German Expressionism, as boldly distinctive as Murnau's other masterpiece, Nosferatu. When Emil Jannings's wily Mephisto shows up to tempt Faust, played by Gösta Ekmann, it seems God may lose his wager with the devil over the learned man's soul. Murnau's use of chiaroscuro beautifully contrasts not only light and dark, but also life and death. And here, evil is brilliantly depicted in Jannings's nuanced, subtly comic performance. Pretty newcomer Camilla Horn plays Gretchen / Marguerite, and future director William Dieterle is her brother.
Approximately 116 minutes, with live musical accompaniment by Christian Elliott on the Mighty Wurlitzer. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Only one week left till our Winter Event


Marguerite Clark (pictured above) once said of her work in fairy tale films like Snow White (1916): “They were so beautiful, it was like living in Fairyland to make them.” It's a bit like entering Fairyland to watch, too, filled with magic and witches and disguises and giant mushrooms and a proper fairytale romance.

And it's showing along with other classics of the silent era this February 16 at the Castro Theatre! Tickets are available at www.silentfilm.org. Co-presented by National Film Preservation Foundation and The Walt Disney Family Museum.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Marguerite Clark: America's Darling of Broadway and the Silent Screen

The star of the upcoming San Francisco Silent Film Festival presentation of Snow White (1916) is Marguerite Clark (1883-1940), a once popular American stage and silent film actress. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about her rather remarkable career.

At thge age of 17, Clark made her Broadway debut in 1900. In 1903 she was seen on Broadway in Mr. Pickwick opposite the hulking comedian DeWolf Hopper, with the 6-foot-6-inch Hopper dwarfing the not quite 5-foot-tall Clark. Several adventure-fantasy roles followed. In 190,9 Clark starred in the whimsical costume play The Beauty Spot, keeping in line with the kind of fantasy stories she would soon do in films and which became her hallmark.

In 1910 Clark appeared in The Wishing Ring, a play directed by Cecil DeMille and later made into a motion picture by Maurice Tourneur. In that same season, Clark appearing in Baby Mine, a popular play produced by William A. Brady. In 1912 Clark performed in a starring role with John Barrymore, Doris Keane and Gail Kane in the play The Affairs of Anatol, which was later made into a motion picture by Clark's future movie studio, Famous Players-Lasky (Paramount). Also in 1912, Clark starred in a memorable production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This role fit Clark's persona, and she would make an influential film version of the story in 1916. Clark's popularity on the stage led to her signing a contract in 1914 to make motion pictures with Famous Players-Lasky Corporation.

Newspaper ad for Snow White's San
Francisco 's debut showing in 1917.
At age 31, Clark, made her first appearance on screen in the short film Wildflower, directed by Allan Dwan. In 1915, Clark starred as "Gretchen," in a feature-length production of The Goose Girl based on a best-selling novel by Harold MacGrath. She performed in the feature-length production The Seven Sisters (1915), directed by Sidney Olcott, and she reprised a Broadway role, starring in the first feature-length film version of Snow White (1916). It is one of only three surviving films featuring Clark. The San Francisco Silent Film Festival screens Snow White on Saturday, February 16th at the Castro Theater.

Clark was directed in Snow White  by J. Searle Dawley, as well as in a handful of other films, notably when she played the characters of both "Little Eva St. Clair" and "Topsy" in the feature film, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1918). Clark also appeared in Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1919), another of her surviving films.

Clark made all but one of her 40 films with Famous Players-Lasky. Her last with them, from 1920, was titled Easy to Get, in which she starred opposite the matinee idol Harrison Ford. In 1921, she had just completed Scrambled Wives, which was produced by her own newly formed production company for First National. Clark, one of  the top actresses of her time alongside the likes of Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish and Mary Miles Minter, soon retired from the screen at the age of 38. .

Clark, who possessed the charm of those actresses, is the subject of a recommended illustrated book, Marguerite Clark: America's Darling of Broadway and the Silent Screen, by Curtis Nunn. It was published  by Texas Christian University Press in 1981. Copies will likely be available at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival's upcoming Winter Event.


For her pioneering contribution to the motion picture industry, Marguerite Clark has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

When the first Snow White first screened in San Francisco

Walt Disney was a 16-year-old newsboy when he attended a free event at the Kansas City Convention Center in 1917 to see Miss Marguerite Clark on screen in a live-action rendition of the well known German fairy tale, Snow White. It was one of the first features he’d ever seen and he was hooked. “I thought it was the perfect story… It had the sympathetic dwarfs…the heavy…the prince and the girl. The romance…the perfect story.”
 
As part of the Walt Disney Family Museum’s celebration of Disney’s Snow White,  the San Francisco Silent Film Festival is thrilled to present Walt’s original inspiration. Directed by J. Searle Dawley and starring Marguerite Clark in the lead role, the film was thought lost until materials were discovered in the Netherlands, and a print was preserved at George Eastman House. Clark’s portrayal of the dewy fresh Snow White is pitch perfect—even though she was 33 at the time!
 
The original Snow White was released by the Famous Players Film Company on December 25, 1916. It first screened in San Francisco at the still extant, 1400+ seat Imperial Theater (1077 Market Street) in the middle of the following month. The film proved popular, enough so that it was brought back to the Imperial on February 1, 1917 for a special one time only 10:00 am Saturday morning kiddie matinee. The film returned again later in February to the New Fillmore theater.


 The San Francisco Silent Film Festival will screen the first Snow White on Saturday, February 16th at 10:00 am at the Castro Theater. The Castro Theater itself is presenting Walt Disney's 1937 version of Snow White January 1st through January 6th.