Sun, Apr 29 / 05:30 / PFA / KEVI29P
When I first became interested in this period, I was told silent films were jerky, flickery, ludicrously acted curiosities. I was dismayed that even some of the old stars and directors believed the propaganda. It was dispelled by showing them the films. They were invariably astonished by the high quality. So I began a campaign to prevent the technicians of the past being regarded as idiots. The entire silent era lasted a little over 30 years, and advances in narrative techniques were extraordinarily fast. These are not necessarily classics, just the top-quality 35mm extracts which have come my way over the years—from the one-minute, one-shot films of the 1900s to the spectaculars of the late ’20s which exploited the entire language of cinema. En route we pay tribute to the fantasies of Maurice Tourneur, the genius of Keaton, the pictorialism of Rex Ingram and the stunning brilliance of so many regular but forgotten releases of the ’20s. Have we advanced as much since 1972?
Featuring clips from:
Biograph actuality of Ealing Broadway (1900)
Broncho Billy’s Adventure (dir. Gilbert M. "Broncho Billy" Anderson, 1911)
Suspense (dir. Lois Weber, Phillips Smalley, 1913)
The Blue Bird (dir. Maurice Tourneur, 1918)
Home Made (Ford Educational, 1919)
One Week (dir. Buster Keaton and Edward F. Cline, 1920)
Scaramouche (dir. Rex Ingram, 1924; with Ramon Novarro, Alice Terry and Lewis Stone)
The Chess Player (dir. Raymond Bernard, 1926)
The Mysterious Lady (dir. Fred Niblo, 1928; with Greta Garbo, Conrad Nagel and Gustav von Seyffertitz)
The Fire Brigade (dir. William Nigh, 1926; with Charles Ray)
Kevin Brownlow is the recipient of this year's Mel Novikoff Award.
Judith F. Rosenberg
Judith F. Rosenberg has provided piano accompaniment for silent films at the Pacific Film Archive since 2000. She has been an artist/lecturer and music director of the dance department at Mills College for the past 35 years. Rosenberg also has performed at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum and the Castro Theatre.
Pacific Film Archive pianist Judith F. Rosenberg will accompany the silent films.