Thursday, March 29, 2012

2012 Toronto Silent Film Festival, Mar 29 – Apr 3

The 4th Annual Toronto Silent Film Festival begins tonight with a screening of Harry Beaumont's Our Dancing Daughters, starring Joan Crawford, Anita Page, Dorothy Sebastian, John Mack Brown and Nils Asther. Musical accompaniment will be provided by Andrei Streliaev.

This is the film that launched Joan Crawford's stardom. She plays flapper "Dangerous Diana" Medford who becomes caught in a love-triangle with her friend Ann.

With the renewed interest in silent film as a result of the Oscar-winning film The Artist, this is an excellent opportunity to catch some classics, both short and feature-length. Other features being screened are Tabu: A Tale of the South Seas by F. W. Murnau, Blood and Sand by Fred Niblo, Un chapeau de paille d'Italie (An Italian Straw Hat) by Réne Clair, and Varieté (Variety) by E. A. Dupont.

The featured musicians providing live accompaniment will be William O'Meara, Clark Wilson, Laura Silberberg, Bill Lasovich and the aforementioned Andrei Streliaev.

The 2012 Toronto Silent Film Festival continues to April 3. Events take place at Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue; The Carlton Cinema, 20 Carlton Street; The Revue, 400 Roncesvalles Avenue; The Fox Theatre 2236 Queen Street East; and Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace;


The 2012 Toronto Silent Film Festival

Thursday, March 29
Cinderella, Lotte Reiniger; & The Best Animated Films of TUFF 2011 (Toronto Urban Film Festival)

Friday, March 30

Saturday, March 31
Koko and the Cartoon Factory

Sunday April 1
Musical Interpretation: Bill O'Meara

Monday April 2
Casa Loma 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto

Tuesday April 3
The Cameraman's Revenge, Ladislaw Starewicz
The Force That Through the Green Fire Fuels The Flower, Otto Kylmälä

Toronto SILENT FILM Festival 2012 – Where Images And Music Do The Talking

"No matter the heights to which the sound film might grow, the silent film would remain its living and sustaining root," George Pearson, pioneering British film director.

Every year, the Toronto Silent Film Festival screens some of the world's finest silent films. And every year we pair them with music, improvised and played live by accomplished artists. Timeless images meet modern melodies, creating a bond between performers onscreen, performers in-person, and you. These are once-in-a-lifetime events, never to be duplicated.

This is Live Cinema.

Join us for more of it this spring, as we treat you to the sights and sounds of cinema's original classics, plus some modern works of silent genius too. You can help us celebrate the renaissance that silent film has enjoyed these last three years.

Not sure what we mean? Just watch the opening sequences of the hit films Wall-E and Up-both image-driven silent pieces. Witness the critical and commercial success of The Artist, along with Scorsese's Hugo, an homage to Méliès. And consider the mainstream media attention garnered by original landmark silent films like Metropolis and Napoleon-restored, re-scored and presented as the marquee-worthy masterpieces they still are.

Whenever people gather in darkened theatres to watch movies, something magical happens. But only silent film brings the past and the present-the cinematic and theatrical-together on one night. Be part of the Toronto Silent Film Festival and discover that sense of wonder again.

"…silent films can weave a certain enchantment that isn't available with the greater realism of sound." Roger Ebert, film critic

"The purest form of moviemaking…really, it's about the images. You don't need dialogue. People think it's intellectual, but it's exactly the opposite. I mean, it's very sensual…" Michel Hazanavicius, director of The Artist

"We have to keep reminding ourselves what cinema is - it is not a story with pictures. It is something in which the information is described and pushed forward by the image." John Hurt, actor


The 2012 Film Schedule

Director: Harry Beaumont
Joan Crawford, Anita Page, Dorothy Sebastian, John Mack Brown, Nils Asther
Musical Interpretation: Andrei Streliaev

Thursday March 29, 2012
8pm (doors open at 7:30pm)
Innis Town Hall 2 Sussex Ave Toronto
Tickets $15.00

Clara Bow may have been the “IT” girl, but Joan Crawford was the ultimate flapper. The film that cemented Joan’s star status, a rank she kept for more than forty years, Our Dancing Daughters is a love letter to the Jazz Age and all its short skirts, bathtub gin, petting parties and loosening morals.

Diana Medford, aka Dangerous Diana, is sassy, beautiful and smart: the quintessential late-20s rebel. But behind the flirting and the late night persona is a heart of gold. Diana secretly falls in love with the handsome Ben—and her gold-digging best friend, Ann, sets her sights on him too. May the best girl win!

Further Reading:

Plus: "Animation from the Lawless Days" Cinderella 1922 Lotte Reiniger
& The Best Animated Films of TUFF 2011 (Toronto Urban Film Festival)

84min w/ original 1931 release musical track
Director: F. W. Murnau
Matahi, Anne Chevalier /Reri, Hitu, Bill Bambridge

Friday March 30, 2012
The Carlton Cinema
20 Carlton Street Toronto
Tickets $10.00

“Tabu is one of cinema’s simplest, most lyrical and masterful expressions of a despairing romanticism succumbing to the realities of a world from which none of us can escape. Its haunting imagery is intrinsically lovely, its rhythms unique, its denouement overwhelming.”
—Charles Silver, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Paradise, or Paradise Lost? Young love blossoms between a pearl diver (Matahi) and a pretty girl (Reri) against the backdrop of a pristine South Seas world. But just as they’ve found happiness with each other, fate intervenes: Reri is chosen as the sacred maiden and declared ‘tabu’ to all men. The young lovers flee the island and travel far away, to a place where no one knows them. They’re forced into the confusing and corrupt white man’s world and hunted down by their own people, determined to retrieve Reri.

Plus: "Animation from the Lawless Days" tba with Musical Interpretation by Bill Lasovich

Director: Fred Niblo
Rudolph Valentino, Nita Naldi, Lila Lee
Musical Interpretation: Andrei Streliaev

Saturday March 31, 2012
4pm (doors open at 3:30)
The Revue 400 Roncesvalles Ave. Toronto
Tickets $12.00/$10.00 seniors and members

There were movie stars, and then, there was Valentino. No legend of the Silent Era epitomized the idolatry of fans more than Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d'Antonguolla. Worshiped as “The Latin Lover”, his every move breathlessly reported, there was nothing less than mass hysteria when he died suddenly at age 31.

In Blood and Sand, the icon plays Juan Gallardo, a poor village boy whose talent leads him into the bullring. He becomes the most famous matador in Spain and marries his childhood sweetheart, the beautiful Carmen (Lila Lee)—his life is complete. But his fame and fortune also lead him into the clutches of the seductive Dona Sol (Nita Naldi). They embark on a torrid, almost sadomasochistic affair that rips Juan’s world apart.

Plus: "Animation from the Lawless Days" Koko and the Cartoon Factory 1925 Fleischer Studios

Musical Interpretation: Bill O'Meara
Sunday April 1, 2012
The Fox Theatre 2236 Queen Street East. Toronto
(Queen East between Beech and Willow)
Tickets $12.00/$10.00 Seniors and members

Comedy, chemistry and camaraderie.
When you think about silent comedy (IF you think about silent comedy) the people who come to mind are iconoclastic individuals: Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. Rebels and loners on a solitary quest against a harsh world.
But this year’s silent comedy screening puts the emphasis on playful pairings that prove that two (or three) heads are funnier than one.

Buster Keaton & Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle
Buster Keaton served his cinematic apprenticeship with Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle who, at the time Buster met him, was second only to Charlie Chaplin in box office popularity. The two men were instantly simpatico; the slight, stone-faced Keaton being the perfect partner for the boisterous Arbuckle to bounce off of. Even though Roscoe took above-the-title billing in every film, by the time of one of their last collaborations, Backstage, Buster had graduated from supporting player to co-star to co-director. When ‘Fatty’ graduated to feature-length films in 1920, he simply handed the keys to the studio over to Buster. The rest, as they say, is history.

Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance & Eric Campbell
Charlie Chaplin once said that all he needed to make a comedy was “a park, a policeman and a pretty girl”. But in eleven of his twelve two-reelers for the Mutual Film Company, he changed the formula to a villain and a pretty girl, no matter what the setting was. The villain was inevitably the giant, bearded Eric Campbell, with Edna Purviance as the girl. Together, they formed the perfect comedy troika – Beauty, Beast, and the Little Guy stuck in the middle. And no sad and lonely Little Tramp trudging off into the horizon in The Cure – Chaplin made this one strictly for laughs.

Harry Langdon & Vernon Dent
One of the most peculiar comics of the silent era, Harry Langdon portrayed a strange man-child ill equipped for most of what any human being might encounter here on the planet Earth. What he needed was a guiding hand – a grown-up – to lead the way. That grown-up was usually played by Vernon Dent, a burly authority figure who’s half-Daddy, half-bad influence. In Saturday Afternoon, the teamwork is based on a simple premise: Harry is eager to please, Vernon is hard to please. Especially when Harry introduces him to two women who “won’t do”.

Larry Semon & Stan Laurel
Larry Semon did things big. Big, big, big. And, supposedly, nothing was bigger than his ego – nobody onscreen could be funnier than him. But in Frauds & Frenzies he’s partnered up with a young Stan Laurel (at the very beginning of his film career, without future playmate Oliver Hardy) and very obviously having a great time. Legend has it that somebody at the studio saw the film-in-progress and said “this guy Laurel’s funnier than Semon”, prompting Larry to hack out the remainder of Laurel’s scenes. But trust me, Semon was no dummy – he didn’t need anyone to tell him Stan Laurel was pretty darn funny. That’s why he hired him.

Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy
Mr. Laurel & Mr. Hardy will be presented in another nice mess. No purer partnership ever existed.

Chris Seguin, Comedy programmer

Director: Réne Clair
Albert Préjean, Olga Tschechowa, Geymond Vital

A co presentation with the Toronto Theatre Organ Society
Featuring Clark Wilson on the "Might Wurlitzer" Canada's largest theatre organ
Monday April 2. 2012
Casa Loma 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto
8pm (doors open at 7:30pm)
Tickets $20.00
Available from the TTOS website

“A fleet, light-fingered gem with the befuddled energy and knockabout momentum of a Harold Lloyd movie, the crisscrossing characters of a screwball comedy, and the continental attitude and sparkling wit of a Lubitsch film…”
—Sean Axmaker

A groom’s wedding day is comically doomed when, en route to the church, his horse eats the hat of a married lady on a secret tryst with her beau, a rather fierce officer. The groom’s frantic attempts to solve the situation—by trying to find a duplicate hat—catapult this satire of bourgeois manners into intricate, spinning anarchy.

Transposing the action of the original 1851 stage farce to the summer of 1895 (the birth of cinema), Rene Clair directs one of the most sophisticated French films of the late Silent Era, with a touch of wistfulness for the Belle Époque, surrealism, fantasy and good old-fashioned nonsense.

VARIETÉ / VARIETY 1925 Germany 72min
Director: E. A. Dupont
Emil Jannings, Lya de Putti, Warwick Ward, Maly Delschaft
Musical Interpretation: Laura Silberberg

Tuesday April 3, 2012
8pm (doors open 7:30pm)
Innis Town Hall
2 Sussex Ave Toronto
Tickets $15.00

Boss Huller, a famous aerialist before suffering an accident that ended his career, has never revealed his motives for the murder that sent him to prison…until now.

The classic love triangle between Boss, his alluring wife and the handsome trapeze artist who comes between them, unfolds in Varieté, one of the most renowned German expressionist films. The innovative “swinging camera” of cinematographer Karl Freund (Last Laugh, Metropolis), is on display here, making the movie’s acrobatic scenes as thrilling today as they were in 1925. Listed as one of the top films of that year by critics, and a box office hit in both Europe and the USA, Varieté ensured the continuing influence of German artists on Hollywood, right through to the end of the silent era.

Plus: "Animation from the Lawless Days" The Cameraman's Revenge 1912 Ladislaw Starewicz

The Force That Through the Green Fire Fuels The Flower 2011 directed by Otto Kylmälä UK/Finland
"The work has its own mesmerizing tone; it really rewards the eye and ear. It's smart and moving. A thoroughly accomplished work."
-Guy Maddin

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