Topeka, Kansas - Washburn University
Special Guests: David Shepard and Nicholas Eliopoulos. Special feature this year is the US premiere of the 'lost film' Bardeleys the Magnificent starring John Gilbert.
"Special guest David Shepard – film restoration expert will be speaking about his recent film projects including our main feature for the evening – the previously ‘lost’ BARDELYS THE MAGNIFICENT. Attendees will receive a special gift before departing for White Concert Hall and the Cinema Event of the Season—the first U.S.A. screening of the newly restored Bardelys the Magnificent and the conclusion of KSFF 13." - Kansas Silent Film Festival
The festival is a free event. Donations are welcome. The event will hold their first fundraising dinner this year. See this link for more information on the 2009 festival.
More about the programs:
Friday, February 27, 2009 - starting 7PM
Rowdy Ann (1919)
Fay Tincher (20 min.)
This brash short film is one of the few silent movies to depict a heroic, rough-hewn leading character who is also a woman. She lassos steers and men with equal ease and is just as handy with a six-gun as the guys. Her name is Rowdy Ann and she’s sent off to a boarding school where she rescues just about everyone she meets. - Organ music by Greg Foreman
Go West (1925)
Buster Keaton (70 min.)
Kansas-born Buster Keaton is the unlikely hero of this impressive feature film in which he takes Horatio Alger’s famous saying (‘Go West, Young Man’) to heart. He heads out west to work at a dude ranch and (as often happens) everything there is given the Keaton-esque twist. There are procedures for milking cows, riding mules and playing cards. Keaton must even save the day when a shipment of cattle heads into downtown Los Angeles. He dons a red devil suit to attract them and succeeds… way more than he expected. - Organ music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
The Great K & A Train Robbery (1926)
Tom Mix (54 min.)
A surprisingly short, but astounding silent western feature—one of the best (if not THE best) silent film Tom Mix ever made. Tom and his wonder horse (Tony) do some awesome stunts and many scenes in the film were actually filmed on location in Glenwood Springs, Colorado back in the 1920’s.
If you have never seen a Tom Mix western, this is the one you should see! The plot is rather old hat. The hero wears a mask to hide his identity, but this was before the Lone Ranger and several other masked heroes. It was all new in 1926. - Organ music by Marvin Faulwell & percussion by Kathy Combs
Saturday, February 28, 2009 - staring time 9AM
The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)
Mary Pickford (65 min.)
This is the feature film that put little Mary Pickford on the map as a star. She was known before, but this one put her name above the title and fans came to see her pictures after this no matter what the title was. It was also a role that typecast her forever as a child afterwards. Even when she was 33-years old, she was still playing little girls and was known as ‘America’s Sweetheart’.
This delightful yet important story is about family and the importance of family. The little girl here (Mary Pickford) has everything that money can buy except time with her parents. It was just what a war weary nation needed at the time. - Organ music by Marvin Faulwell
Special Kansas Premiere:
Mary Pickford: The Muse of the Movies
(2008 documentary by Nicholas Eliopoulos 101 min.)
Film-maker will be here in person for introduction and Q & A
This new documentary traces the life and work of the legendary silent film star, movie pioneer, and keen business woman who co-created United Artists Studios. Pickford’s life (1892-1979) also parallels an even larger story, the telling of the “birth of the cinema” itself. Mary, known as “America’s Sweetheart” was the first actress to earn one million dollars during a single year, and the only star to ever receive a 50% profit share of her movies.
Through restored vintage audio recordings, Pickford narrates her own story along with actor Michael York. Cameo interviews with Adolph Zukor, famed aviator Amelia Earhart, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Buddy Rogers, Lillian Gish, and rare home movies give the viewer an in depth look into the early world of American cinema.
Fatty & Mabel Adrift (1916)
Roscoe Arbuckle & Mabel Normand (30 min.)
One of the best in a series of very funny three-reel comedies featuring Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle (who was born in Smith Center, Kansas), Mabel Normand and Al St. John. Fatty and Mabel are trying to enjoy their wedded bliss while Al (her former suitor) is trying to mess things up. Of course, their cabin slides out to sea in a thunderstorm and their world is set topsy-turvy for a night! - Music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
Feature: Cobra (1925)
Rudolph Valentino & Nita Naldi (75 min.)
Who was the icon of seductive charm, Hollywood glamour and irresistible sexuality? Rudolph Valentino, of course and here’s proof. COBRA is Valentino’s first independent production released less than a year before his untimely death. Here, he plays the suave Rodrigo Torriani whose affairs with various women have caused his retreat from his native Italy to New York where he becomes an antique dealer.
Things start to heat up again when the boss’s new wife takes an interest in Rudy. She’s played by one of the great femme fatales of the silent era – Nita Naldi and her snake-like gaze may lead to Rudy’s downfall. Handsomely produced with sets by William Cameron Menzies, gowns by Adrian and shimmering cinematography by J.D. Jennings and Harry Fischbeck, this is a grand silent movie with lots to say about the ‘Battle of the Sexes”. Ms. Naldi has inspired an internet group of media savvy business women, whom we will salute at the beginning of this film. - Music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
Dave Stevenson Collection featuring Jeff Rapsis (of New Hampshire’s Wilton Town Hall Silent Film series) on piano
Kidding Katie (1923)
Dorothy Devore (20 min.)
Another light weight, but delightful comedy short featuring a woman in the lead. Co-stars include Babe London and Billy Bletcher. Devore was one of the great silent screen comediennes of her day. - Organ music by Marvin Faulwell
5:15 to 6:45pm:
The first ever KANSAS SILENT FILM FESTIVAL CINEMA-DINNER
Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center (17th & Jewell) – Washburn University campus
This special Dinner Event will begin with a reception followed by a buffet. Guests will be seated and have dinner in the Thompson Center’s banquet room on the main floor.
Special guest David Shepard
Film restoration expert will be speaking about his recent film projects including our main feature for the evening – the previously ‘lost’ BARDELYS THE MAGNIFICENT. Attendees will receive a special gift before departing for White Concert Hall and the Cinema Event of the Season—the first U.S.A. screening of the newly restored Bardelys the Magnificent and the conclusion of KSFF 13. (See site for special dinner details and deadlines)
Short: A Flash of Light (1910)
Directed by D.W. Griffith (15 min.)
We continue a multi-year tradition of always running a short film or feature by the Father of Film, D.W. Griffith. Uniquely talented in many ways, Griffith discovered and created the ‘language of cinema’ in many of his short films (often less than 10 minutes long) which usually had a moral and a lesson built in. This wild melodrama deals with the issue of the ideal wife in an era of successive divorces. Mary Pickford has a small part in the supporting cast. - Organ music by Marvin Faulwell
Short: That's My Wife
(1929) Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy (20 min.)
It is amazing to note that the primary output of what was arguably the greatest comedy team ever assembled in the history of the movies or popular media – Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy – lasted only a decade (from 1927 to 1937). They did make several feature films after 1937, but their core development as comedians came out of this prime ten-year period.
Here is one of their best short films in which Ollie’s wife leaves him at the beginning (because he spends too much time with Stan). In comes rich Uncle Burnel, who wants to make sure that Ollie is happily married before he writes him into his will. Who can play Mrs. Hardy for a night? Well, Stan of course. The whole incredible story is a wild mixture of gags and routines that Stan and Ollie may have polished in the future, but rarely outdid. - Organ music by Greg Foreman
Feature: Bardelys the Magnificent (1926)
John Gilbert (90 min.)
This classic was recently discovered in the cellar of a building in France. It was restored by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange of Lobster Films in Paris. David Shepard and Jeffrey Masino of Flicker Alley Films assisted and are handling both the movie's U. S. theatrical and DVD release. Shepard and Masino used various sources including the English title list and continuity log to reconstruct an English version of the movie (when it was recovered, all of the inter-titles were in French).
This reconstruction also utilizes a U.S. promotional trailer which luckily contained the original English main title artwork. The print is missing approximately ten minutes (equating one reel) which has been recreated using continuity and production stills. A new score is being assembled by KSFF's own Rodney Sauer and the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra; Mont Alto has been a long time favorite at the Kansas festival, playing every year since 1997. It was with the support of Sauer and the blessing of Shepard, both friends of the Kansas festival, that got the U.S. premiere event slated for Topeka. And both will be on hand at the festival—Shepard to introduce the film and Mont Alto to perform their score live.
A New York Times review from November 1, 1926, described the main character as “a composite of d’Artagnan, Don Juan and that millionaire cowboy, Tom Mix. Nothing is too daring for the Marquis Bardelys, a French noble of the seventeenth century and one is almost impelled to pity the churls foolish enough to level their steel against him.”
The film is based on the novel of Rafael Sabatini. MGM, formed only two years prior to the film's release, was already known for its elaborate (and expensively produced) period films and placed its top star and director on the project to insure its success.
King Vidor was one of the most famous movie directors of the silent and sound film eras. His silent films include innovative masterpieces like The Crowd, The Big Parade and Show People. Leading man John Gilbert was a versatile dramatic actor who had been around Hollywood for many years, but had just gotten his big break in 1925's hugely popular Big Parade. Gilbert's leading lady is Eleanor Boardman, an actress who benefited greatly from her relationship with her new husband, director Vidor.
Her greatest silent screen credits came in Vidor's films. Bardelys also holds the distinction of marking the first credited screen appearance of a lanky kid from Iowa who would change his name from Marion Morrison to John Wayne. - Music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (DVD Presentation of a "Lost" Film)