In the now year-long packed schedule of Los Angeles’ film festivals, running the gamut from the large Internationals festivals (AFI and LAFF) to the frequent boutique film festivals showcasing national cinemas, one festival, CINECON, offers a truly unique film fan experience.
Film fans, archivists, researchers and stellar silent film accompanists from around the world will gather in Hollywood, California, to attend the 48th annual Cinecon Classic Film Festival this Labor Day Weekend, Aug. 30 through Sept. 3, 2112.
Cinecon’s club-like atmosphere welcomes like-minded film enthusiasts of all stripes. Film historians, preservationists, film distributors and interested industry professionals join collectors and film buffs to celebrate the movies, watching a five-day program of silent and sound shorts and features on the Egyptian’s glorious big screen.
The five-day festival will revive dozens of rare and recently restored films–some in limbo for decades–at the historic Grauman’s Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. The event will also honor the film careers of several actors and filmmakers from Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Among this year’s Cinecon honorees are Phyllis Coates, best-remembered as Lois Lane in the Adventures Of Superman TV series and as Alice McDoakes in the long-running Joe McDoakes theatrical shorts; and Carleton Carpenter, who sang “Aba Daba Honeymoon” with Debbie Reynolds in “Two Weeks With Love”, went on to star in such films as “Fearless Fagan” (which will be showing on Sunday, Sept 2) and “Sky Full of Moon”. Also being honored is director Richard L. Bare, who helmed the Joe McDoakes comedies and brought a zany touch to TV’s “Green Acres”.
Cinecon will also honor British actress Samantha Eggar, who co-starred with Cary Grant in his final film “Walk, Don’t Run”. Cinecon will show this timely comedy, dealing with the housing shortage surrounding the 1964 Olympics, on Saturday, Sept 1. Samantha Eggar’s break out film, William Wyler’s frightening psychosexual thriller ‘The Collector” won her and co-star Terence Stamp Best Actress and Best Actor awards at the Cannes Film Festival, 1965. Samantha Eggar, Phyllis Coates, actor Carleton Carpenter and writer-director Richard L. Bare — will receive the organization’s Career Achievement Award at the annual banquet on September 2.
Among the films being scheduled for Cinecon 48 is director John Ford’s previously ‘lost’ silent gem “Upstream “(1927), one of 75 American silent films repatriated from New Zealand by the National Film Preservation Foundation, and preserved through a collaboration of Twentieth Century Fox and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Other silent films slated for viewing include Clarence Brown’s “The Goose Woman” (1925); “Ladies Night in a Turkish Bath” (1928) starring pre-code favorite Dorothy Mackaill; the sly romantic comedy “Blonde or Brunette” (1927) with Hollywood’s best-dressed man, Adolphe Menjou; “Sensation Seekers” (1927) directed by Lois Weber, one Hollywood’s few women directors in the silent era; Harold Lloyd’s classic comedy “Hot Water”; “The Circus Man” (1914) one of the earliest surviving films from the Jesse L. (1924); Lasky Feature Play Company—the forerunner to Paramount Pictures; and famed cowboy star William S. Hart’s screen bio of Wild Bill Hickok (1923). Silent films will be shown with live musical accompaniment.
This year’s stellar line-up of early sound films encompasses such diverse titles as “She Wanted a Millionaire” (1932) starring a young Spencer Tracy; “Hello, Everybody!” (1933), which features the only starring role of radio’s ‘Songbird of the South,’ Kate Smith; “Love Under Fire” (1937) starring Don Ameche and Loretta Young in a story set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War; “Dangerous to Know” (1938) starring Chinese-American performer Anna May Wong; “Always a Bridesmaid” (1943), a swing-era musical outing starring the Andrews Sisters; and “Way Out West” (1937) with beloved screen comedy team Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy.
A highlight of the festival will be a screening of “Gentle Julia” (1936), based on a novel by Pulitzer Prize winner, Booth Tarkington. Two of the film’s stars, Marsha Hunt and Jane Withers, are scheduled to attend this screening, 76 years after its original release.
Special programs will include the world premiere screenings of “Palace of Silents”, chronicling the fabled history of the Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles, and “Looking for Mabel” focusing on the scandal–ridden life of silent screen legend Mabel Normand. A third documentary, “Peter Ford: A Little Prince”, a personal journey about growing up in Hollywood as the son of superstars Glenn Ford and Eleanor Powell, will also be screened.
Cinecon will also feature its annual movie memorabilia show and Book Fair at Loews Hollywood Hotel (formerly the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel) located at 1755 North Highland Avenue in Hollywood, near the Egyptian Theater. Attendees may purchase rare movie stills, posters, lobby cards and other film-related collectibles. Every year, amazing collectables change hands as private and museum collectors comb the memorabilia rooms.
The Cinecon 48 Book Fair will feature Bill Cassara, author of “Vernon Dent, Stooge Heavy: Second Banana to the Three Stooges and Other Film Comedy Greats”; Suzanne Sumner Ferry, author of “The Day The Stars Stood Still” a portrait of wax museum artist Logan Fleming; Chuck Harter and Michael J. Hayde, authors of “Little Elf: A Celebration Of Harry Langdon”: Hank Moonjean, author of “Bring In The Peacocks: Memoirs of a Hollywood Producer”; Steve Siporin, author of “Crazy, Crazy Hollywood: What Really Happens Behind The Scenes” and Steve Stoliar, author of “Raised Eyebrows – My Years Inside Groucho’s House.” Additional Authors will be announced.
Once again Cinecon’s friends from the Warner Archive Collection (featured on TCM) will be available at the movie memorabilia show and Book Fair. Attendees will be able to ask questions about their products, make suggests for new ones, and will receive a discount on any DVD orders placed at the show. The collection offers over 200 DVD-on-demand titles from the Warner’s archive.
THURSDAY AUGUST 30
7:00 ARTISTRY IN RHYTHM (Universal 1944) 16 min
Stan Kenton and his orchestra. Print courtesy of NBCUniversal\
NOTE: This swinging short featuring Kenton’s dark driving “wall of brass” plus singers Anita O-Day and Gene Howard was co-directed by Lewis D. Collins and Will Cowen. Lewis D. Collins, who began directing two-reelers was a prolific director of westerns, serials, and the occasional musical short. Producer/director Will Cowan made almost 200 music shorts in the 40’s -50’s featuring (to name a few) Lionel Hampton and Herb Jeffries, Tex Beneke, Connee Boswell and Ada Leonard,’Sugar Chile’ Robinson, Billie Holiday, The Nat “King” Cole’s Trio, Count Basie and His Sextet, The Four Aces, the Mills Brothers, The Modernaires with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra, Les Brown and His Band of Renown, Hermans’s Herd, Harry James and His Music Makers, Ethel Smith and Henry King, The Dorseys, Glenn Miller, Billy May, Henry James, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Ziggy Elman, Tex Williams, Perez Prado and Xavier Cugat all mitt orchestra!
7:30 ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID (Universal, 1943) 62 min
The Andrews Sisters give out with the jive, and everything’s reet, neat and petit in this toe-tapping B musical, which also features Grace McDonald, Charles Butterworth and Billy Gilbert. Print courtesy of NBCUniversal
NOTE: The 1943 wartime Erle Kenton romantic comedy about conman-Colonel Winchester (Charles Butterworth) who uses a Lonely Hearts club as a front to moves his a phony formula for synthetic rubber. He’s foiled by diligent young DA Tony Warren (Patric Knowles) and lady detective Linda Marlowe (Grace McDonald). Greek restaurant owner Nick (Billy Gilbert) is bent on promoting the radio careers of the Andrews girls. All this and the terpsichorean tapping toes of the Jivin’ Jacks and Jills in a mere 62 minutes.
Director Erle C. Kenton, who was a Keystone cop before Max Sennett promoted him to gag-writer then director, directed two of Abbott and Costello’s best films, “Pardon My Sarong” (1942) and “Who Done It?” (1942), as well as the horror classic “Island of Lost Souls.”
8:45 DRUMS OF JEOPARDY (Truart, 1923) 75 min
Many are likely to be familiar with the 1931 talkie remake, “The Drums of Jeopardy”, but here’s the silent original, based on a novel by Harold McGrath, and featuring Elaine Hammerstein, Jack Mulhall and Wallace Beery.Print courtesy of the Library of Congress
10:15 15 MAIDEN LANE (20th Century-Fox, 1936) 64 min
Director Allan Dwan brings his usual sense of pacing and good humor to this tale of–well, jewel robbery, domestic intrigue, amateur and professional detectives, and murder starring Lloyd Nolan and past Cinecon guest Claire Trevor and Cesar Romero. Print courtesy of 20th Century Fox
NOTE: Trying to prove to her uncle that she’s got the right stuff to be a detective, would-be insurance investigator Jane Martin (Claire Trevor) infiltrates a gang planning to steal jewels from the eponymous building on Maiden Lane in the Fulton Street District of Manhattan ( New York’s original Diamond District.) Suave, deadly and very appealing Frank Peyton (Cesar Romero) falls for her and before long Jane in charge of the gang! Once Peyton begins to suspect Jane, he does his best to blow her cover, even committing a murder in her presence, but she manages to keep up her facade until detective Walsh (Lloyd Nolan) rounds up the criminals.
FRIDAY AUGUST 31
9:00 TBA 10 min
9:15 DANGEROUS TO KNOW (Paramount, 1938) 70 min
Anna May Wong is best remembered for her roles in “The Thief of Bagdad” (1924) and “In Old San Francisco” (1927)–but it was in the late 1930s in a series of oddball “B” movies for Paramount like “Daughter of Shanghai”, “King of Chinatown”, “Island of Lost Men”, and this kinky underworld tale, that Anna May Wong became a star. Don’t know how this one flew under the radar of the Production Code Authority, but it plays more like a 1933 screen excursion than a post Legion of Decency effort. Print courtesy of NBCUniversal.
NOTE: Directed by Robert Florey, co-written by Horace McCoy, based on the Edgar Wallace play “On The Spot”, this one hour film features strong performances, Florey’s crisp realist style and expressionist compositions, cinematography by Theodor Sparkuh (“The Glass Key”), fascinating art direction (filled with symbolic clues) by master Hans Dreier and John B. Goodman, and costumes by Edith Head. Anna May Wong premiered in the original stage version and Florey’s close-ups showcases her work and that of co-star Akin Tamiroff. Gangster Steve Recka (Tamiroff) dominates Los Angeles politics but craves acceptance from the city’s blue bloods. Scorning his mistress Lan Ying (Wong), Recka courts Margaret Van Case (Gail Patrick) as a means of scaling the city’s social heights. Florey captures Lan Ying’s revenge in a cunning scene of suspense. The entire cast plays above the typical b-movie tropes, including Lloyd Nolan as Inspector Brandon and Anthony Quinn as Recka’s thug Nicholas ‘Nicki’ Kusnoff.
10:40 DOLLARS AND SENSE (Goldwyn, 1920) 60 min
Time and nitrate film have not treated Madge Kennedy well. She starred in nearly thirty silents before returning to the stage, and fewer than a handful are known to survive today. This screening offers an opportunity the work of a legendary American star. Print courtesy the Library of Congress
NOTE: Based on “Two Cents Worth of Humaneness”, a Saturday Evening Post story by Octavus Roy Cohen, the script features a moral chorus girl Hazel Farron (Madge Kennedy) who rebuffs wealthy banker Geoffrey Stanhope (Willard Louis), when the show she’s in folds. (Louis manages to show nuances in the character we expect to hate.) Embarrassed, Farron warns her that he will one day “need his help” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Hazel meets baker David Rogers (Kenneth Harlan) who gives her a job. They start a bread line to help the poor. When insolvent good-hearted David gets sick, Hazel goes to the banker and offers herself to Stanhope. This “Indecent Proposal: 1920’s style, straddles the earlier silent morality plays and the cynical gold-diggers to comes.
11:45 GROOVIE MOVIE (M-G-M, 1944) 10 min
A Pete Smith Specialty featuring the jitterbug dance antics of Arthur Walsh and our guest Jean Veloz.
Print courtesy of Warner Bros. and the Warner Archive Collection
NOTE: Pete Smith’s smooth short features prize-winning dancer/actor Arthur Walsh and Jean Veloz, and other couples in a “class” on the roots of the jitterbug. Different angles, including shooting through a glass dance floor) make the most of the intricate energetic footwork. FUN
12:00 Lunch Break
2:00 YOU’RE NEXT (Jester, 1919) 20 min
Behind the scenes with forgotten comic Marcel Perez.
Marcel Perez (a/k/a “Tweedy”) takes a romp around the old Kalem studios in Cliffside, NJ. Print courtesy of the Library of Congress
Marcel Perez, an acrobatic ex-Spanish circus clown, worked in France for Eclair and Pathé. Moving to Italy in 1910, he appearing for the Ambrosio Film company as Robinet (1910-1915), partnered with Nilde Baracchi as Robinette. His 1914 hit “Amor Pedestre” (Love Afoot) is a clever love triangle performed entirely by the actor’s feet.
Perez’s popular five-year series featured the madcap misadventures of scatter-brained, clumsy Robinet in wild vehicular chases sequences.
Robineta was known worldwide as Tweedy, Tweedledum, Twede-Dan, Bungles, and Nauke (in Germany.)
In 1915, on the brink of World War 1, Perez left Ambrosio to try the burgeoning U.S film industry, working for independent film companies Vim, Eagle Film Co., Jester Comedies, Reelcraft and Sanford Productions. His wife Babette Perez (A.K.A. Dorothy Earle) appeared in his Tweedledum series as his on-screen wife, Tweedledee.
Hits like the gag-rich Jules Vernesque “Extraordinary Adventures of Saturnino” (1913) made Perez (A.K.A. Marcel Fabre or Fernandez Perez)
the Speilberg of his day. A tragic on-set accident cost Marcel Perez the loss of his left leg and his acting career. He focused on writing and directing. The former athlete died a few years later. Many of his films survive to this day in private archives worldwide. Several have been exhibited in film festivals in recent years.
2:20 WILD BILL HICKCOK (Hart-Paramount, 1923) 60 min
One of William S. Hart’s final films, Wild Bill Hickok also marked the only time the Western star portrayed an historical person of the Old West– although, in truth, the cowboy star played fast and loose with historical fact when concocting this biopic. Print courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art
NOTE: Wyatt Earpe and Hart were friends and correspondents. Earpe had tried to interest Hart in a script he wrote, hoping Hart would play him in the film. When ‘Wild Bill Hickock” opened Mrs. Earpe wrote ” My dear Mr. Hart: Just a line to congratulate you upon your new picture “Wild Bill Hickok.” I saw it twice with several friends and each time the house was packed. When you appeared upon the screen the applause was wonderful. Am happy to say that you have staged a remarkable “come back.”
3:45 GENTLE JULIA (20th Century-Fox, 1936) 63 min
Marsha Hunt plays Julia in this adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s 1922 novel about a flirtatious Midwestern belle, although truth be told the scenario was tweaked to feature the shenanigans of Julia’s kid niece, Florence, played by Jane Withers. The talented though largely forgotten John G. Blystone directed this modest gem, his reputation hampered by his early death in 1938 at age 45 long before auteurists could notice him. Print courtesy of 20th Century Fox
NOTE: This remake of Rowland V. Lee’s 1923 version beefs up Florence’s character as a Withers vehicle. Bugs mice and snakes run wild as Withers, playing a distaff version of Penrod, spreads mischief in attempts to save her aunt from the mustachioed poseur Crum (George Meeker) and pairing her with boy next door Noble Dill (Tom Brown).
5:00 SENSATION SEEKERS (Universal, 1927) 80 min
Lois Weber was one of the few women to carve out a lengthy and prestigious career behind the megaphone in the silent era. In this, Weber’s penultimate outing and her last silent film as a director, Billie Dove plays a jazz-age mama who finds true love in unexpected places.
Print courtesy of NBCUniversal
NOTE: Lois Weber, a former street-corner evangelist before entering motion pictures, became the first American woman movie director. She shot her first film in 1908, for Herbert Blache’s Gaumont Film Studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and directed 27 movies in 1914, including “The Merchant of Venice”, the first feature film helmed by a woman. She wrote and directed numerous films dealing with important social themes such as abortion, alcoholism, birth control, drug addiction and prostitution.
Weber pioneered the use of the split screen technique to show simultaneous action in her film “Suspense” (1913) and with first husband, Phillips Smalley, was “one of the first directors to experiment with sound”, making the first sound films in the United States. “Hypocrites” featured the first full-frontal female nude scene in 1915.
By 1916 Weber had established herself as the top director at Universal Film Manufacturing (now Universal) the top studio in America at the time. She was the highest-paid director in the world. The following year she formed Lois Weber Productions.
Curvy Billie Dove, a Ziegfeld Girl, reputedly got her screen break when Billie Burke arranged Hollywood work for her to rid herself of a comely rival. Her second film “At The Stage Door” (1921) made her a star.
6:30 Dinner Break
8:00 BILLY AND HIS PAL (G. Méliès, 1910) 10 min
Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art with support from the National Film Preservation Fund.
NOTE: Another of the cache of 75 “lost” films discovered the New Zealand Film Archive in 2010, “Billy and His Pal” is one of five surviving films from the Star Film Ranch.
Gaston Méliès, George Méliès older brother came to America in 1902 to protect the popular Méliès films from piracy. (Eventually they filmed each film with duel cameras, simultaneously releasing prints in Europe and New York, before they could be pirated).
Eventually, Gaston began making his own moving pictures. In 1910, looking for a sunny place to film in the winter, he moved his company to a farmhouse in San Antonio, Texas, dubbed the Star Film Ranch. The company made over seventy one-reel films, westerns, comedies and romantic tales of old Mexico. Some were released as Méliès Star Films. Others, including this one, were released under the name American Wild West Film Company.
“Billy and His Pal”, released on February 16, 1911, tells the story of Jim (Francis Ford in one of his earliest surviving films), a cowboy who is idolized by young Billy (played in drag by actress Edith Storey). When Jim runs afoul of a gang of Mexican thieves, it’s up to Billy to rescue his hero. (Actor-director Francis introduced the movie business to younger brother, John, and the rest was history.) Cameraman William “Daddy” Paley glorifies the starkly beautiful Texas landscape.
8:10 DIAMOND JIM (Universal, 1935) 93 min
A rarely-seen biopic about the Gilded Age’s most famous citizen, Diamond Jim Brady, featuring Edward Arnold in the role he was born to play, is surrounded by a great supporting cast including Tully Marshall, William Demarest, Henry Kolker, Eric Blore, and Jean Arthur, who plays the two lost loves in Brady’s life. Print courtesy of NBCUniversal
NOTE: Arnold, who met Diamond Jim Brady backstage when he was a young actor, played Brady in two films, reprising Brady in “Lillian Russell” (1944), which starred Alice Faye, Henry Fonda, and Don Ameche.
Arnold commands the screen as the larger than life 19th century Wall Street financier who built fortune selling rolling stock to the expanding American railroads, and made Lillian Russell (Binnie Barnes) a star. Showing his rise to power, Arnold convinces as a go-getter baggage handler, the glad-handing salesman, and the generous Bon Vivant. Jean Arthur plays the vapid Southern girl, Brady’s first flame, and a look-alike New Yorker he later proposes to. Preston Sturges wrote the script. Dashing Cesar Romero plays Brady’s friend and romantic rival Jerry Richardson.
9:50 BLONDE OR BRUNETTE (Paramount, 1927) 65 min
Disgusted with Paris flappers, Adolphe Menjou heads to the country to find the girl of his dreams (Greta Nissen) only to have her all under the influence of a fast young lady (Arlette Marchal), who influences the girl to take up smoking, short skirts and the Black Bottom. The change sets Adolphe on edge, but he’s already married the girl, so what’s he to do?
Print courtesy of the Library of Congress
NOTE: Debonair Menjou can’t chose between Norwegian blonde Greta Nissen or French brunette Arlette Marchal in this frothy comedy. Flapper-hating diplomat Henri finds his Charleston-free bride “forty miles from the nearest saxophone.” Leaving on an important business trip, Henri foolishly leaves new wife Fanny (Nilson) with the worldly Blanche (Marchal), who teaches the girl to drink, smoke and do the Charleston. Once home, Martel, disgusted with his new, improved Fanny divorces her and marries Blanche. Once married, Blanche becomes a fastidious party pooper. When Henri’s beloved French grandmother (Mary Carr), comes to visit, the former couple pretend to be married to save shocking her, and discover they are still in love. Adapted from the story “The Angel Passes.””
Produced by Paramount’s Head of Production B.P. Schulberg (Budd Shuberg and producer Start Shulberg’s father). Menjou’s younger brother Henri played the minor role of the detective. French starlet Arlette Marchal, discovered by Gllora Swanson, didn’t make the transition to sound.
11:05 GIRL OVERBOARD (Universal, 1937) 58 min
Murder, false accusations, assumed identities not to mention a girl overboard as the title promises, and you have an hour of B-movie excitement with past Cinecon honoree, Gloria Stuart, Walter Pidgeon, and future TV travelogue host Billy Burrud. Print courtesy of NBCUniversal
NOTE: Scripter Tristram Tupper based his melodramatic script on the story “Person-To-Person Call” by Sarah Elizabeth Rodger.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 1
9:00 TBA 10 min
9:10 HOT WATER (Harold Lloyd Corp.-Pathé, 1924) 55 min
Harold Lloyd’s shortest feature among the films he produced himself, Hot Water plays like a series of two-reelers, and has several times been truncated (by Lloyd himself and by Time-Life Films) with the final segment jettisoned because it is not easily excerpted–but, in fact, the first two-thirds of the picture are really a prologue and set-up for one of Lloyd’s most sustained and hilarious screen sequences. Print courtesy of Harold Lloyd Entertainment
NOTE: Lloyd who’s married the girl of his dreams (Jobyna Ralston) has to put up with the in-laws of his worst nightmares. Josephine Crowell plays his battle-ax temperance leader mother-in-law, Charles Stevenson the lazy brother-in-law and Mickey McBan plays the Chloroform happy bratty little brother. Three set pieces, the Turkey on the Trolly, a back-seat driving infested ride in Harold’s new car, and a complex imagined Mother-in-law-ocide keep the gags flowing. Lloyd establishes some visual details in the first reel that pay off in the frenzied tour de force haunted house finale.
10:20 WAY OUT WEST (Hal Roach-MGM, 1937) 64 min
Although a “warhorse” if there ever was one, this Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy comic masterwork is rarely revived in 35mm in a theatrical setting. Be prepared to laugh and to learn about UCLA’s Laurel & Hardy restoration project. 35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive and Sonar Entertainment
NOTE: Stan and Ollie are entrusted to deliver the deed of a goldmine to heir Mary Roberts (Rosina Lawrence) but are foiled by her larcenous boss, innkeeper James Finlayson and his wife (Sharon Lynne) in this joyously funny film.
“Way Out West” features the rapturous soft-shoe by Oliver and Hardy. performed with the delicate after the beat elegance a true soft show requires. (Vaudevillian’s Burns and Allen also cut quite a few in oleos on their television show.) Chill Wills of The Avalon Boys reputedly supplied the bass voice-over for Laurel during the charming tune “Trail of the Lonesome Pine” number, and actress Rosina Lawrence provided the soprano voice, when a conk on the head changes his voice.
One of the funniest Oliver and Hardy features, “Way Out West” wastes no time on sub plots. The film really skewers the Westerns’ stereotypes. Stan and Ollie pay wandering adventurers opposite James Finlayson’s hilarious villain. Jumping for joy, chortling at his own evilness, Finlayson pins the audience with cocky visual asides. He rubs his hands in relish and shocks himself with his own skullduggery, almost daring the audience to stop him. He’s virtually a template for Friz Freleng’s Yosemite Sam.
11:30 Lunch Break
1:30 TBA 20 min
1:50 THE GOOSE WOMAN (Universal, 1925) 85 min
Louise Dresser portrays a once-famous opera star that has lost her voice from complications related to the birth of her illegitimate son, played by Jack Pickford. The plot involves murder and false accusations–the standard stuff of melodrama- -but it is so brilliantly handled by director Clarence Brown that The Goose Woman is regarded as one of the true classics of the silent screen. 35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive and NBCUniversal
NOTE: Dresser is outstanding as the drunkard once-famous opera singer Marie de Nardi, living on a slovenly Goose farm, who helps the police “solve” a murder in order to clear her name in the headlines. Alas, her fabrications implicate her estranged son (Jack Pickford) in a crime he didn’t commit. The story was based on a Rex Beach story (inspired by a real-life murder trial).
3:30 WALK, DON’T RUN (Columbia, 1966) 114 min
Cinecon guest Samantha Eggar co-stars with Cary Grant in his final screen appearance. Set during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Walk, Don’t Run is a remake and updating of the classic World War II-era screwball comedy “The More the Merrier”. Print courtesy of Sony Pictures.
NOTE: Rumor has it that Grant retired from the scene after playing the film’s matchmaker and not the romantic lead. This disappointed Alfred Hitchcock, who had planned to cast Grant as the lead in “Torn Curtain” (1966). The role ended up going to Paul Newman. The score was written by Quincy Jones and Peggy Lee at Cary Grant’s recommendation.
Shot in Panavision in Tokyo during the Olympics, location scenes have great immediacy and the vibrant reds (in fabrics and the mail boxes, pop.) Grant gets some great physical gags, including the race-walk which Grant, stripped down to his B.V.D.s blithely joins, and a sequence where Grant, locked out of his traditional Japanese house, scales the walls in his bathrobe.
5:24 Q & A with Samantha Eggar
6:00 Dinner Break
7:30 BERT WHEELER HOME MOVIES 10 min
7:45 HIPS, HIPS, HOORAY! (Radio Pictures, 1934) 68 min
Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey, with able support from Dorothy Lee, Thelma Todd and Ruth Etting keep on doin’ what they’re doin’ as lipstick salesmen who help to keep romance alive. Print courtesy of Warner Bros.
NOTE: Wheeler and Woolsey play two penniless street vendors living in their car and trying to stay one step ahead of the law. Dr. Dudley (Robert Woolsey) pitches their flavored lipsticks and their services to Beauty Store magnate Miss Frisby (Thelma Todd). Andy (Bert Wheeler) develops a crush on Miss Frisby’s employee Daisy (Dorothy Lee). Crooked Beauchamp (George Meeker) has brought Frisby’s Maiden America Beauty Products to the brink of ruin.
As in “Cockeyed Cavaliers”, director Mark Sandrich does right by the zany team. RKOS design team Carroll Clark and Van Nest Polglase glamorize the goings on. A risqué pre-code bathing scene with naked chorines posed in transparent tubs, their relevant parts artfully hidden behind hair do’s and shampoo bottles, starts the film out with a bang. Ruth Etting contributes “Keep Romance Alive”. Etting appeared in over thirty films, but ‘Roman Scandal’s was her only other feature.
Writers, songwriters Bert Kalmer and Harry Ruby who penned Marx Brother’s hits “Animal Crackers”, “Horse Feathers” and “Duck Soup” gave the team great gags and their most popular song “Just Keep on Doin’ what You’re Doin'” (originally intended for Zeppo Marx in “Duck Soup”).
Inspired moments include a Guess The Lipstick Flavor contest, the office trashing dance at the end of the film, a pool hustling scene, a reprise of “Just Keep on Doin’ what You’re Doin'” (which lampoons Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe) and their ingenious car, tricked out to function as a coffee machine, a hotel room and a chicken coop.
Zeigfield paired the team in his 1927 show “Rio Rita”. The partnership lasted till Woolsey died in 1938. When Ziegfeld sold the screen rights of Rio Rita to the newly formed RKO studio, they were the only actors who repeated their stage roles. They were joined by Dorothy Lee, worked with them in 13 of their 31 films.
9:10 UPSTREAM (Fox, 1927) 65 min
One of a number of American silents repatriated from New Zealand by the National Film Preservation Foundation, this previously “lost” John Ford film explores life among vaudevillians who reside in a theatrical boardinghouse and what happens when one of their number gets plucked from obscurity to play Hamlet on the London stage because of his family’s respected name in theatrical history.
A collaboration of the New Zealand Film Archive/Ng a Kaitiaki O Ng a Taonga Whiti a hua, the American archival community, and the National Film Preservation Foundation. Preserved through a collaboration of Twentieth Century Fox and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.
NOTE: A complete colored nitrate print of the film, restored in New Zealand, supports the claim that it was the first Ford film to show the influence of mentor F. W. Murnau on his work. Ford learned tricks of chiaroscuro and forced perspective from the German master director when he worked at Fox in 1926. “Upstream” repremiered at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in September 2010 (with a score by Michael Mortilla) and at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone Italy in October 2010 (with a score by Donald Sosin.) It opened the 16th San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2011.
Former vaudevillian Miss Hattie Breckenridge Peyton (Lydia Yeamans Titus), whose boarding house lets theatricals know that they must pay in advance, is cajoled into letting a famous actor stay on the cuff. Raymond Hitchcock, in one of his last film performances, plays the down on his luck no-name theatrical star (known as “star Boarder”, capturing his shabby gentility.
Ford is adept at directing his ensemble of itinerant actors, all hopeful denizens of a theatrical boarding house, including a dance team, a sister act and older brother Francis Ford as a juggler. Watch for innovative dinner table tracking shot. Talent less Eric Brasingham (Earle Foxe) the vain heir to a legendary theatrical family name, embarks for a London production of Hamlet, a role for which he is woefully unequipped. Coached by elder tragedian Emile Chautard (Campbell-Mandare) Eric triumphs. (“They didn’t come to see Hamlet, they came to see me”), but a return to New York gives him his comeuppance. Knife-thrower (Grant Withers) and his “target girl” Gertie (Nancy Nash) are the other members of the love triangle.
10:30 THE SPIDER (20th Century-Fox, 1945) 62 min
Charles Fulton Oursler and Lowell Brentano’s 1927 the play “The Spider” got the expressionist treatment from Fox and William Cameron Menzies in 1931 (screened at Cinecon 30 in 1994), and in this re-make the play gets a film noir makeover from director Richard Webb. Richard Conte and Faye Marlowe star in this dark tale of a man accused of a murder he did not commit.Print courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
NOTE: “The Spider” is a rare noir set in New Orleans, (Jules Dassin’s “Two Smart People”, shot by Karl Freund, and Kazin’s “Panic In The Streets” are the other ones. Ex-cop-turned-private eye Chris Conlon (Richard Conte) is drinking at the Creole Bar, when a stunning redheaded client, calling herself Judith Smith (Faye Marlowe) appears, and hires him on a $50 retainer to pick up an envelope from his crooked partner Florence Cain (Ann Savage). Suspecting a shakedown, Chris tells Florence to meet him at his apartment. A mysterious murderer strangles her on Chris’s terrace. Chris hides the body. One step ahead of the police, murder suspect Chris tracks down Judith, actually Lila Neilsen, who performs in the fake mentalist act, The Great Garonne, under the stage name of Delilah. Get the Idea?
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 2
9:00 TBA 10 min
9:10 THE BEDROOM WINDOW (Paramount, 1924) 75 min
May McAvoy, Malcolm MacGregor and Ricardo Cortez in a tale of murder, false accusation and amateur sleuthing made under the guidance of Cecil’s older brother, William C. DeMille. Print courtesy of the Library of Congress
10:35 SO YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT JOE McDOAKES? includes Q & A with Richard L. Bare and Phyllis Coates
Cinecon honorees Phyllis Coates and writer-director Richard L. Bare reunite to recall their long series of Joe McDoakes comedies and their associations with such classic TV series as The Adventures of Superman and Green Acres. Courtesy Warner Bros.
NOTE: Phyllis Coates was the second of three Alice McDoakes, McDoakes’s wife in his series of 63 black and white live action comedy one reel short subjects released between 1942 and 1956. Richard L. Bare produced and released the entire series, written by Bare and George O’Hanlon, who starred as Joe McDoakes (and later voiced George Jetson).
11:45 Lunch Break
1:45 THE CIRCUS MAN (Lasky, 1914) 50 min
This story of a falsely accused murderer hiding out as a circus clown is based on the novel The Rose in the Ring by George Barr McCutcheon, with a scenario by Cecil B. DeMille–anticipating the Jimmy Stewart sub-plot in” The Greatest Show on Earth”. With Theodore Roberts, Mabel Van Buren and Jody Mullally. Print courtesy of the Library of Congress
NOTE: Director Oscar Apfel taught fledgling filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille how to direct (they were both credited as ‘Picturizers” rather than directors on “The Squaw Man”, and co-directed “Brewsters Millions”, “The Call Of The North” and numerous other Paramount films) and you can see from Apfel’s larger than life approach to McCutcheon’s romantic tragedy, where De Mille got some of his style. Legend has it Apfel and DeMille brought the film industry to Hollywoodland, when they rejected Flagstaff as the location for “The Squaw Man.”
David Jenison (Jode Mullally) is falsely accused of a murder. He joins a traveling circus owned by Thomas Braddock (venerable character actor Theodore Roberts). David falls for Braddock’s Christine (Florence Dagmar). Jealous hunchback Ernie Cronk (Raymond Hatton) tries to turn him in to authorities, but Ernie’s brother Dick (Frank Hickman) helps David escape. Bradddock loses the circus to rival Colonel Grand (Frank Montague), and winds up in jail, Five years pass. Braddock gets out of jail and plans to kill Grand but Ernie Cronk kills him first. David and Christine are re-united.
2:45 FEARLESS FAGAN (M-G-M, 1952) 80 min
Cinecon honoree Carleton Carpenter joins us for the story of a lion, and the young man who loved him. Stanley Donen (fresh from co-directing Singin’ in the Rain) wielded the megaphone on this supposedly true story about a circus clown who takes his pet lion to boot camp when he’s forced to enlist. Past Cinecon honoree Janet Leigh co-stars. Courtesy Warner Bros.
NOTE:Touring army camps, famous singer Abby Ames (Janet Leigh) discovers Pvt. Hilston’s endearing secret. Unwilling to sell his lion to an unscrupulous lion-tamer, the young enlistee hides him near the base with the help of his sympathetic sargeant (Keenan Wynn).
Pvt. Floyd Hilston (Carleton Carpenter) has such rapport with his lion Fearless again, that he sleeps with him. Fagan, who he raised since a cub, plays with string like a giant house cat, dances and harmlessly wrestles with Floyd. Stanley Donen took this job while waiting to direct the circus film “Jumbo”. MGM wasn’t happy with the script, which was finally shot a decade later by Charles Walter.
4:05 Q & A with Carleton Carpenter
5:00 THE BLUFF (American-Mutual, 1915) 60 min
While attempting to turn base metals into gold, crazy experimenters Clarence Kolb and Max Dill (the west coast equivalents of Weber and Fields) strike it rich when they accidentally invent a puncture-proof tire.
Print courtesy of the Library of Congress
NOTE: Janitor Louie (Clarence Kolb), cleaning a chemists’ lab accidentally blows up the lab, Escaping with the chemists notes, which he believes hold the recipe to change metal to gold, he meets small town confectioner Mike
(Max Dill) and enlists him in a scheme to get backing. The boys realize their formula is a wash-out, but before they can leave town, society bigwig Harold Wainwright (Tom Chatterton) decides to get involved, to prove to his sweetheart Claire (May Cloy) that he has a head for business. The three leave for New York seeking Wall Street investors. Their accidental discovery makes them rich.
7:00 COCKTAIL RECEPTION
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 3
9:00 TBA 10 min
9:10 HELLO, EVERYBODY! (Paramount, 1933) 75 min
A musical drama designed to exploit the appeal of radio sensation Kate Smith. Randolph Scott plays the guy Kate loves from afar, but he’s got a yen for Kate’s sister, played by Sally Blane. Shakespeare it ain’t, but the film does offer a very real sense of the sensation that the “songbird of the air waves” created in the early 1930s after first gaining modest attention on Broadway and records. Print courtesy of NBCUniversal
NOTE: Radio Star Kate Smith was lured to Hollywood by Paramount. (Signing radio crooner Bing Crosby had produced their most popular box-office draw.) Given complete script and casting control, she picked a Fannie Hurst story of a farm girl who tries to save everybody’s farms from the dam that the electric company wants to build. In the process, the representative of the power company (Randolph Scott) woos both Kate and her sister (Sally Blane).
The Capraesque script features a farm girl, turned radio sensation that uses her airtime to stop the proposed dam, which threatens to flood out her family and friends. Highlights are the ballad “Moon Song”, by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow and “Twenty Million People” Smith sings her signature song “When The Moon Comes Over The Mountain” , the now politically incorrect “Pickaninnies’ Heaven.” and high kicks a Charleston like a sylph. Big gal Smith’s title song “Hello Everybody” takes on the troubles a fat girl faces finding love. Smith’s well-known manager Ted Collins plays himself.
10:35 LADIES’ NIGHT IN A TURKISH BATH (First National, 1928) 71 min
To avoid being pinched in a police raid on a speakeasy, “Speed” Dawson (Jack Mulhall) and Pa Slocum (James Finlayson) duck into a Turkish bath only to discover that its ladies’ night and their wives (Dorothy Mackaill and Sylvia Ashton) are there, too! 35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive and Warner Bros.
NOTE: Ziegfeld Girl Dorothy Mackaill left the follies in 1920 for films. By 1924 she was a star, playing opposite matinee idol George O’Brien in ‘The Man Who Came Back”. In the same year, she starred opposite Pat O’Malley n the Sam Wood western “The Mine with the Iron Door” and was awarded the WAMPAS Baby Stars. Dorothy Mackaill made the transition to sound, turning in interesting performances in such films as the musical “Bright Lights” (1930), “Kept Husbands”(1931), “Party Husband” (1931), “The Reckless Hour” (1931), ‘Safe In Hell” (1931) and “Love Affair” with Humphrey Bogart (1932).
11:45 Lunch Break
1:30 MACK SENNETT CENTENNIAL TRIBUTE 75 min
Film historian and preservationist Paul Gierucki offers an advance peak at his soon-to-be-released Mack Sennett Centennial Collection.
3:00 SHE WANTED A MILLIONAIRE (Fox, 1932) 74 min
A Pre-Code drama in which beauty contest winner Joan Bennett forsakes newspaperman Spencer Tracy for millionaire James Kirkwood but the millionaire winds up dead after attempting to murder his wife by feeding her to a pack of dogs! 35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive and 20th Century Fox
NOTE: For once, Bennett was billed over Tracy in this melodrama, based “on a true story.” (They also co-starred in “Me and My Gal “(1932), “Father of the Bride” (1950), and “Father’s Little Dividend” (1951).
4:30 STRAWBERRY ROAN (Universal, 1933) 62 min
Wild Western action as rough-ridin’ Ken Maynard attempts to tame a wild horse while rounding up rustlers along the way.
Print courtesy of NBCUniversal
NOTE: Maynard’s films for Universal were his best. Director
Alan James (A.K.A. Alvin J. Neitz) became Maynard’s director at the K.B.S. production company and followed him to Universal, where he directed 7 of the 8 films released in 1933-1934. Many fans consider “The Strawberry Roan”, the film that popularized Singing Cowboys, Maynard’s best. Maynard’s horse Tarzan appears but doesn’t play the wild Strawberry Roan. Gene Autry remade the film in 1948, casting his horse Champion as the Mustang Strawberry Roan. Filmed in Lone Pine California.
5:45 LOVE UNDER FIRE (20th Century-Fox, 1937) 75 min
Jewel robbery, foreign intrigue, undercover operatives, and Borrah Minevitch and his Gang of harmonica rascals come together in this screwball-romance-thriller set against the Spanish Civil War. Loretta Young and Don Ameche star, directed by the often under-rated George Marshall.
Print courtesy of 20th Century Fox
SPECIAL PROGRAMS at Mt. Olympus Room 3rd floor Loews Hollywood Hotel
Thursday August 30, 5:00 PM
“The Jew and his Music II” – Presented by Murray Glass. (90 mins.)
Friday August 31 9:00 AM
“Looking for Mabel Normand” with Documentary Director Anthony Mercaldi. (50 mins.)
NOTE: Former Gibson Girl, Normand appeared in a series of Biograph films for D.W Griffith as early as 1911, but it was Biograph Studios actor director Mack Sennett who really discovered her. When Sennett founded Keystone Comedy in 1912 he took Mabel, who he was in love with, with him. He paired her with Fatty Arbuckle, her beloved comedy partner.
At Keystone, film star Mabel Normand directed 12 films (and wrote five). She directed Chaplin in some of his first films “Mabel’s Strange Predicament”, “Mabel at the Wheel ” and “Caught In a Cabaret” before he became the Little Tramp) and was Chaplin’s first leading lady. She made 12 films for Goldwyn before returning to Sennett at the Max Sennett studios.
Scandal destroyed both Normand and Arbuckle’s careers. At the height of his career, Arbuckle, who mentored Chaplin and discovered both Buster
Keaton and Bob Hope, was falsely accused of the rape and accidental death of bit player Virginia Rapp. Though exonerated, the scandal clouded his subsequent career. He died in his sleep of a heart attack, aged 46, in 1933.
Normand’s career suffered from a cocaine addiction, which her suitor
William Desmond Taylor, the Paramount Chief Director of the Famous Players-Lasky, was determined to help her kick. In 1922 Taylor was shot and killed. Normand was the last person to see him alive, dining with him on the night of his murder. Some speculate her dealers sent a hit man. In 1924 her chauffeur Joe Kelly shot and wounded millionaire oil broker Courtland S. Dines with Normand’s pistol.
Friends in the business, including Mary Pickford, rallied to her support.
Hal Roach signed her and she made five remaining films. She died from TB at the age of 37.
Saturday September 1, 3:30 PM
“Palace of Silents” with Documentary Director Iain Kennedy. (80 mins.)
Kennedy profiles The Silent Movie Theater (now Cinefamily), which has been screening the films of the silent era for over 65 years. The theatre was almost lost when its previous owner, Lawrence Austin, was murdered in the theater’s lobby. Kennedy documents the eccentric individuals who strove to keep the old movies running for audiences in this unique venue. Cinefamily, The Silent Movie Theater’s lastest occupants are dedicated to screening films (now of all eras) despite the odds of the place surviving.
Sunday, September 2, 1:30 PM
“Peter Ford: A Little Prince” with Documentary Director Alex Roman. Plus: Special Guest Peter Ford (45 Mins.) Roman’s documentary blends archival pictures and home movies to detail the troubling life story of the son of dancer Eleanor Powell and neglectful father Glenn Ford.
In 2012, The American Film Institute (AFI) announced the appointment of Robert S. Birchard (long-time president of the Cinecon Classic Film Festival) to lead the Institute’s film history efforts as Editor of the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, the nation’s definitive resource on American film.
The goal of the Catalog is to record a scholarly document for every American feature film ever produced, starting with the introduction of silent films in 1893, including meticulous details on cast and crew, plot summaries, song and composer data, and historical notes not found in other film resources. To date, over 50,000 films from 1893-1974 have been fully researched and recorded, and approximately 10,000 additional films from 1975-2010 have been entered with fundamental details.
“The AFI Catalog has been a constant companion and resource for me since the first printed volume appeared in 1971,” said Birchard. “Now it is a privilege to head the AFI Catalog as we move to make it an even more definitive and accessible record of American feature films in the digital age and build a prestigious AFI Academic Network to support this scholarly endeavor.”
Historian, collector and esteemed animation and live-action editor, Birchard is the author of such books as “Cecil B. DeMille’s Hollywood,” “Early Universal City,” “Silent-era Filmmaking in Santa Barbara” and “King Cowboy: Tom Mix and the Movies.” He has served as past president and board member of the preservation organization Hollywood Heritage that maintains the The Hollywood Heritage Museum in the beautifully restored Lasky-DeMille Barn
The Cinecon Classic Film Festival is open to the public, who can attend by buying a full festival pass or a single day pass. No admissions to individual films are sold. Passes also include free entrance to our memorabilia dealers’ rooms. A separate dealers-room-only admission is offered for those who only want to shop. Visit Cinecon’s registration page at http://www.cinecon.org/cinecon_regform.html for more information on admission prices.
• The Egyptian Theater is located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028,
• Loews Hollywood Hotel (formerly the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel) located at 1755 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028.