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) As our neighbors at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont conclude this weekend's "Chaplin Days" celebration, word has gotten out that a previously unknown Chaplin film has been uncovered. The film, A Thief Catcher (1914), will be shown at this year's Slapsticon in Washington D.C. Directed by Henry Lehrman and featuring Keystone regulars Ford Sterling, Mack Swain, and Edgar Kennedy, A Thief Catcher includes a young Charlie Chaplin making what Slapsticon describes as “an extended and very funny cameo as a policeman.” It's only a small role, but its discovery by film historian Paul E. Gierucki gives hope that other lost or unknown Chaplin work might one day come to light.
2) Recently, this blog was the recipient of a couple of nice comments on other blogs, including The Bioscope, which described us as "very active," and The Silent Movie Blog, which noted that we have a "good blog." Thank you. This blog got its start late last year. And Friday's post, about new educational and programming initiatives, was its 100th post in 2010. We're just getting started. . . .
3) Yesterday, we wrote a bit about Häxan, Benjamin Christensen’s fantastic 1922 silent film about witchcraft. The more one reads about it, the more bizarre it seems. Did you know, for example, that in 1968 an abbreviated version of the film (77 minutes long as opposed to the original 104 minutes) was released. That version, entitled Witchcraft Through The Ages, featured an eclectic jazz score by Daniel Humair (performed by a quintet which included Jean-Luc Ponty on violin) and dramatic narration by none other than William S. Burroughs! The restored version screened on July 17th at this summer's San Francisco Silent Film Festival will feature a score commissioned by the Swedish Film Institute from the acclaimed silent film composer by Matti Bye.