Cinecon 50


Cinecon , the venerable classic film festival, and the oldest movie fan based festival extant, celebrates its 50th anniversary Aug 28- Sept 1 at the historic Egyptian Theatre.

The festival has long been shepherded by noted author, film historian Bob Birchard, currently the editor, AFI Catalog & Academic Network | American Film Institute. In recent years noted motion picture and television archivist and collector Stan Taffel, another conducts some of the lively celebrity interviews. The Cinecom committee consists of Sharon Arndt, Stella Grace, Sue Guldin, Danny Schwartz, Maureen C. Solomon, Tegan Summer and Robert Uher.

This is the first year Marvin Paige will not contribute to Cinecon. Long time Cinecon associate Marvin Paige, a renowned casting director and celebrity wrangler, died in November 2013. Paige was the founder, curator and owner of the Motion Picture & Television Research Archive, home to a wealth of footage, photos and memorabilia.

World wide-film buffs, collectors, historians and memorabilia collectors look forward all year to this unique event.  Known for screening rare films of the silent and early sound era—films that seldom get seen on a big screen, Cinecon works with film archives around the world, and Hollywood studio vaults to select often forgotten gems that deserve a fresh look and reappraisal. Famed collectors and restorationist often premiere their newest finds, and many films presumed lost have premiered at Cinecon over the years.

Cinecon shows comedies, dramas, musicals, Westerns, serials, as well as the occasional newly minted comedy shorts. (See “Broncho Billy And the Bandit”s secret”  (Niles 2013). It is famous for its roster of Silent Film accompanists

Ruta Lee, known for her work in such classic films as “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”, “Witness for the Prosecution” and “Sergeants 3”, television shows like “The Twilight Zone”, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents “and “Murder, She Wrote” as well as her charitable work with The Thalians, will be this year’s special honoree.

Cinecon strives to bring film fans the oppor­tunity to see the latest film restorations from ar­chives and Hollywood studios, and we are especial­ly pleased this year to be able to present the Con­stance Talmadge film “East Is West” for the first time on any American screen since its 1922 release.
Recently restored by the EYE Institute of the Netherlands, “East Is West” is based on a play written by Samuel Shipman and John B. Hymer, which opened Christmas day 1918 in Manhattan’s Astor Theater. A tre­mendous hit, it ran for nearly two years, and rack­ed up 680 performances. The play starred future movie character actress Fay Bainter in the role of Ming Toy.

Brought to the screen by producer Joseph M. Schenck and director Sidney Franklin as a vehicle for the delightful Constance Talmadge with a scenario by screenwriter Frances Marion and photog­raphy by Tony Gaudio, East Is West has been one of the most sought-after Constance Talmadge films, and this new EYE Institue restoration brings it back to the screen. For a preview visit: qotNMs

Screenings will begin at 7:00 PM on Thursday, August 28th at and continue through Monday September 1st at the Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90028. You’ll want to come early and stay late so you don’t miss any of the great films on the schedule. Among the nearly forty films to be screened are “Always in Trouble” (1938) starring Jane Withers; “Paths to Paradise”(1925) with the extraordinary Raymond Griffith, one of the giants of silent film comedy; “Behind the Scenes” (1914 featuring America’s Sweetheart, Mary Pickford; and “Buck Benny Rides Again”(1940) starring Jack Benny, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, and the rest of the gang from the Jack Benny radio program.

All films will be shown at Grauman’s Egyptian Theater at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, most in 35mm. Silent films feature live musical accompaniment.

Cinecon’s Movie Collectibles Show in the third floor meeting area at Loews Hollywood Hotel, 1755 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028, offers the greatest selection of film memorabilia of any film-related show, with vendors from across the country and around the world putting their best and rarest material on display.  Dealers rooms will open Thursday, August 28, at 1:00 P.M. and offer extended hours to from 9:00 A.M. through 9:00 PM on Friday September 29 and Saturday September 30th.  9:00 AM to 7:00 PM Sunday, August 31st; and 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Labor Day Monday September 1st.  Those attending the film festival have access to the dealers rooms included in their registration fees.  For those wishing to come to the dealers rooms only, admission is $10 daily.

Admission to Cinecon screenings is by Full Festival Pass–five full days for only $110–which includes entry to dealer rooms–or by individual Day Passes–$25 to $30 each depending on the day. The full Cinecon film schedule and registration information are posted at Cinecon 50’s web site

Show times are approximate and this schedule is subject to change without notice. Some films are listed here pending final clearance. Film running times are approximate. Guest appearances are confirmed subject to unforeseen circumstances.

SCHEDULE (subject to change)
Thursday August 28
7:00            TBA – SHORT 10 min
7:20           PATHS TO PARADISE (1925) Raymond Griffith & Betty Compson 70 min
A truly unique silent screen comic was Raymond Griffith, whose inability to become flustered when confronted with disaster made his screen persona both familiar and unpredictable. Paths to Paradise is part “Trouble in Paradise”, part “Cops”, and all fun. Betty Compson is the “Queen of Crooks”, and Griffith is the “Dude from Duluth”, in this hilarious tale of crook vs. crook. Directed by Clarence Badger, and based on the 1914 play “Heart of a Thief “by Paul Armstrong.

CRITICS NOTE: Little -known today, dapper “Silk Hat Comedian”, Raymond Griffith plays a master jewel thief after the largest jewel in the country. Like “Trouble in Paradise”, rival thief, con woman Betty Compson (a huge star at the time) eventually teams up with Griffith in work and love

The energetic film has a bravura opening twenty minutes, featuring Griffith, masquerading as a cop, “touring” an Opium den to shake down some miscreant for a bribe, a great gag with a safe, and a grand car chase over the border to Mexico

8:40           HOLD THAT BLONDE (1945) Eddie Bracken & Veronica Lake        76 min
Twenty years after “Paths to Paradise”, Paul Armstrong‘s play “Heart of a Thief” was remade starring past Cinecon guest Eddie Bracken and Veronica Lake as the wayward thieves, with director George Marshall, at the peak of his comic powers, calling the shots.

Eddie Bracken plays Ogden Spencer Trulow III, a timid kleptomaniac targeted by professional jewel thieves.  Ogden, who turned kelpto after his girlfriend dumped him, consults psychiatrist Dr. Pavel Storasky (George Zucco). Storasky urges him to find a new girlfriend. He pick- pockets beautiful Sally Dekker (Veronica Lake) and develops a crush, but she’s mixed up with a gang of jewel thieves. Trying to get rid of what they assume is a rival jewel thief, they chase him through a luxury hotel and out onto the ledge, calling to mind Harold Lloyd.  Everything climaxes at a mansion where a trove of jewels is stored.

Veronica Lake shows her comedy chops and Donald MacBride plays the droll detective on duty guarding the jewels.

Directed by George Marshall, script by Walter DeLeon, Earl Baldwin, Eddie Moran (as E. Edwin Moran). Cast: Eddie Bracken, Veronica Lake, Albert Dekker, Frank Fenton, George Zucco, Donald MacBride, Lewis L. Russell, Norma Varden, Ralph Peters, Bobby Watson, Lyle Latell.

10:10      THE NIGHT OF JANUARY 16TH (1941) Robert Preston & Ellen Drew 80 min
Based on Ayn Rand’s 1935 mystery play, this was directed by William Clemens, who helmed the four Bonita Granville Nancy Drew pictures. Robert Preston, Ellen Drew and Nils Asther take the leading roles.
Friday August 29
9:00           BRIDE AND GLOOM (1921) Monte Banks 20 min
CRITICS NOTE: Italian immigrant, dancer-turned-actor Mario Bianchi stared in this two-reeler before he changed his name to Monte Banks. Anecdotally, he supposedly changed his name after Fatty Arbuckle counseled him against with such a difficult name as Bianchi. playing mountebanks, although Howard Hawks also remembers naming (see “Hawks on Hawks”.)
Bob Birchard assures us that Gil Pratt directed “Bride and Gloom” and appears in the role of the insurance salesman.

9:30           $20 A WEEK (1924) George Arliss & Taylor Holmes 75 min
Directed by F. Harmon Weight (as Harmon Weight), Script by Forrest Halsey
Cast: George Arliss, Taylor Holmes, Ronald Colman, Edith Roberts, Wallie Howe. CRITICS NOTE: On his son’s wager that he cannot live on $20 a week, John Reeves takes a job in William Hart’s steel plant, where he is soon befriended by the boss. By uncovering a schemer, he saves the company from financial destruction and gains a partnership, while his son wins Hart’s sister as a wife.  Taylor Holmes went on to do character roles in hits throughout the 40’s and 50’s (“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, “Father Of the Bride”, ” Beware, My Lovely”, “Father of the Bride”, ” Nightmare Alley”, “Kiss of Death.”)

10:55      HOLLYWOOD’S SILENT ECHOES with John Bengtson 60 min
Click on the link above to get a copy of Mr. Bengtson’s self-guided tour of silent era Hollywood film locations. During lunch John will again (as he did last year) be leading a quick walking tour from the theater to the historic 1600 block of Cahuenga nearby. You can visit John’s blog by clicking this link
CRITICS NOTE: IF you’ve never had the pleasure of attending Bengston’s fascinating tours or reading his marvelous books, do not miss this.

12:00            Lunch Break

2:00           BRONCHO BILLY AND THE BANDIT’S SECRET (Niles 2013) 25 min
CRITICS NOTE:  Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum has produced a new two-reel western starring Bruce Cates, Christopher Goodwin and cameos of Niles residents and Diana Serra Cary.

Formerly titled “The Canyon”, the film was directed by Nile’s historian/projectionist David Kiehn using 100-year-old cameras and black-and-white 35 mm film, and edited by traditional cutting and splicing film.

The story starts–much as G. M. Anderson did before he was Broncho Billy–with a great train robbery. Broncho Billy (Niles’ Bruce Cates) is on the train but instead of running away he careful watches the robbers. Broncho Billy, assisted by his crew at the Essanay Studio, helps the sheriff catch the bad guys. Lots of adventure, and when it’s all over Anderson has a great idea for a movie and it all ends with a proud Anderson and an embarrassed sheriff watching the movie-within-a-movie (that is actually an actual Broncho Billy movie.)

2:30           ALMOST A LADY (1926) Marie Prevost & Harrison Ford 70 min
CRITICS NOTE: Pretty Marcia (Marie Prevost) goes to work as a model for a lecherous dress-shop owner Monsieur Henri (John Miljan). She resists his advances, despite his giving her expensive gifts. One day customer, and prominent socialite Mrs. Reilly (Trixie Friganza) invites Marcia to a party she’s throwing. Marcia impersonates a famous writer just to impress a “duke” (Harrison Ford) for Mrs. Reilly. Of course the “duke” Mrs. Reilly is trying to impress isn’t a duke. Directed by E. Mason Hopper. Script: Anthony Coldeway and F. McGrew Willis adapted Frank R. Adams’ story “Skin Deep”. Cast: Marie Prevost, Harrison Ford, George K. Arthur, Trixie Friganza, John Miljan, Barney Gilmore.

3:55           THE BARONESS AND THE BUTLER (1938) William Powell 80 min
CRITICS NOTE: Based on the 1936 Austrian play, Jean, by Ladislaus Bus-Fekete. The Baroness and the Butler has William Powell as Johan Porok, butler to Hungarian Count Sandor (Henry Stephenson). He gets elected to parliament on the social progressive ticket, even as he vows to maintain his position as a gentleman’s gentleman. Joseph Schildkraut co-stars, and Anabella plays the spoiled baroness.

Directed by Walter Lang. Script Sam Hellman, Lamar Trotti, Kathryn Scola from “Jean” by Ladislaus Bus-Fekete). Cast: William Powell, Annabella, Helen Westley, Henry Stephenson, Joseph Schildkraut, J. Edward Bromberg, Nigel Bruce, Lynn Bari.
5:20            KID AUTO RACES AT VENICE (1914) Charlie Chaplin 7 min
CRITICS NOTE:  The second film, in which Chaplin appears as ‘The Little Tramp’, is arguably Chaplin’s funniest Keystone. Improvised in under an hour, it feature’s the extroverted Tramp, as he tries to monopolize a film crew filming the races. Endlessly inventive, Charlie will do anything to grab the crew’s attention.

“Mabel’s Strange Predicament”, actually the first film in which Chaplin donned the Tramp persona, was shot a few days before and released two day later.

Directed by Henry Lehrman, Writing Credits Henry Lehrman. Cast: Charles Chaplin, Henry Lehrman (as the Film Director). Produced by Mack Sennett
5:30            Dinner Break

7:30           THEIR FIRST MISUNDERSTANDING (1911) Mary Pickford 15 min
CRITICS NOTE: Young newlyweds Mary Pickford and Owen Moore, have their first fight. Mary’s jealous husband believes his wife is about to run out on him, after watching her chat up a fellow at a party.

Discovered in 2006 by Peter Massie in a barn on the site of an old boys summer camp. Contractor Massies, hired to demolish the barn, donated the film and other film materials to the film program at Keene State at Keene N. H.

On the second floor of the barn, Massie discovered an old film projector and seven reels of highly volatile nitrate films, not even stored in cans. Four of the films had been considered lost including the 1911 Mary Pickford short “Their First Misunderstanding,” a comedy-drama about a newlywed couple’s first argument.

The Library of Congress funded restoration of the film, which was overseen by now retired college professor Larry Benaquist, who founded the film department.

Colorlab Corp. a lab that specializes in difficult restorations of nitrate films separated two of the films, stuck together, and identified a 1910 Mary Pickford Biograph film, “The Unchanging Sea,” (there are extant copies) and “Their First Misunderstanding” (long considered missing.

Restored by Colorlab, the film was first shown in 2013 at Keene State College.

“Their First Misunderstanding,” the first movie “America’s Sweetheart” made for Carl Laemmle’s IMP (Independent Moving Picture Co.) marked the first time Mary Pickford received screen billing under her name. While making films for the D.W. Griffith and the Biograph Co. from around April of 1909, she was simply known as “Little Mary”. Biograph did not release the names of their actors.

The 18-year-old Pickford wrote the film’s scenario and co-stars with first husband, Owen Moore, whom she had just married.  Legendary producer-director Thomas Ince, who is thought to have directed the film, also appears, along with Ben Turpin in a crowd scene at the train station.

Few of Pickford’s MP films survive. Pickford returned to Biograph Studios after her first independent adventure, and continued refining her unique career.

Directed by Thomas H. Ince, George Loane Tucker, produced by Carl Laemmle. Cast: Mary Pickford, Owen Moore, Thomas H. Ince, Ben Turpin.         

7:45            BEHIND THE SCENES (1914) Mary Pickford 70 min
CRITICS NOTE:  This is the only film in which Pickford portrays an actress, Pickford, who started as a child on the stage, fills the backstage scenes with life. Farm boy Steve Hunter (James Kirkwood) comes to the city to try his luck. He falls in love with chorus girl Dolly Lane (Mary Pickford), and marries her against his Uncle’s wishes. Dolly support the pair, until Steve inherits his Uncle’s farm and they retire to the country. Mary’s role strikes a feminist tone and both Pickford and Kirkwood’s naturalistic performances give the film a modern feel.

Directed by James Kirkwood, who made nine films with Pickford including “Cinderella” (1914).  Director/actor Kirkwood often played roles in the films he directed (as in ‘Behind the Scenes’).
His career as a director languished the twenties in the doldrums, but he continued to act into the fifties, when he was nearly eighty. Cast: Mary Pickford, James Kirkwood, Lowell Sherman, Ida Waterman, Russell Bassett

9:00            BUCK BENNY RIDES AGAIN (1940) Jack Benny 82 min
Three years before his long-running radio show really hit its stride, the full-blown character for which Jack Benny would be remembered was in evidence for the first time in this delightful comedy musical, also featuring the whole gang from the Benny radio-show Ellen Drew, Phil Harris, Dennis Day, Andy Devine and Eddie “Rochester” Anderson.  Buck Benny is a character from the show.

Bandleader Phil Harris tricks Jack into going to Nevada. Jack courts singer Joan Cameron (Ellen Drew) who turns him down; her dream man must be a real he-man from the West. Phil tells Joan that Jack owns a ranch in Nevada. Fred Allen’s press agent broadcasts the story, and soon all of New York starts talking about Jack’s ranch. To save face and prove he is a true son of the West, jack travels to Nevada where he poses as the owner of Andy Devine’s spread. In the farcical confusion Jack captures real bandits and wins Joan’s heart.

Ellen ‘the Body’ Drew plays the hard to get singer in a sisters vocal group also made up of Virginia Dale and Lillian Cornell. Eddie “Rochester” Anderson is in top form.

Director/ Producer Mark Sandrich. Producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz. “Buck Benny Rides Again” was the tenth highest grossing film of 1940.

10:30     WORLD AND THE FLESH (1932) George Bancroft 74 min
CRITICS NOTE: During the 1917 Russian revolution, a group of aristocrats, escaping the revolution, find themselves in the custody of Kylenko (George Bancroft) a brutal Boleshevick revolutionary. He lusts after one of them, a ballerina (Maria Yaskaya (Miss Hopkins) and gives her an ultimatum: give in to him or her friends will face the firing squad.   Directed by John Cromwell, and shot by the notable DP Karl Struss. Cast includes lan Mowbray (as the proud Duke), George E. Stone, Emmett Corrigan and Mitchell Lewis.
Saturday August 30

9:00            THE ADVENTURER (1917) Charlie Chaplin 20 min
CRITICS NOTE: Chaplin was on the brink of leaving Mutual. Chaplin would go on to direct his first features at First National. In “The Adventurer” he plays escaped convict “The Eel” and mingles with high society. While escaping he rescues a drowning heiress, her father, and her suitor. A guest at the grateful father’s swanky home, leads to his courtship of Edna Purviance. Shares many gags with “The Count.” Director Charles Chaplin. Uncredited Script: Vincent Bryan, Maverick Terrell. Cast: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Henry Bergman, Albert Austin, Phyllis Allen, Monta Bell.

9:20            THE NIGHT BEFORE THE DIVORCE (1942) Lynn Bari 67 min FIN ISH
A screwball follow-up to 1941’s Moon Over Her Shoulder, this film pits a hapless husband against his super-efficient wife. Resentment leads to infidelity, divorce proceedings and (believe it or not) murder! Lynn Bari, Joseph Allen, Jr., Mary Beth Hughes and Nils Asther star in this oddball comedy directed by Robert Siodmak. Script: Jerry Sackheim based on a play by Gina Kaus and Ladislas Fodor. Cast: Lynn Bari, Mary Beth Hughes, Joseph Allen as Joseph Allen Jr.), Nils Asther, Truman Bradley, Kay Linaker, Lyle Latell, Mary Treen, Thurston Hall, Spencer Charters, Leon Belasco, Tom Fadden, Alec Craig

10:40     COURT-MARTIAL (1928) Jack Holt & Betty Compson 75 min
Betty Compson plays Confederate raider Belle Starr in “Court-Martial”, a tale set in the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War co-starring Jack Holt.

CRITICS NOTE:  During the American Civil War, A Union-Army officer is ordered by U. S. President Abraham Lincoln to bring in Belle Starr, the leader of a Missouri guerrilla band, dead or alive. However, he falls in love with her, does not bring her in, and faces a court-martial.

The cast includes Frank Austin and Doris Hill. Director George B. Seitz, Producer Harry Cohn. Written by Elmer Blaney Harris (story), Anthony Coldeway (adaptation), Mort Blumenstock Seitz (intertitles).

12:00     Lunch Break

1:30            THE ADVENTURES OF TARZAN Chapter 3 “Flames of Hate” 20 min
The third of 15 episodes
CRITICS NOTE: Great Western Producing Company produced and the Weiss brothers’ Numa Pictures handled distribution. The story was based partially on two of the Tarzan novels, “The Return of Tarzan” and “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar”. The desert scenes were filmed in Arizona.

This serial marked Elmo Lincoln’s return to the part of Tarzan, whom he was the first to play, but it was also Lincoln’s last time as the character. Nevertheless, censorship forced the previously bare-chested Lincoln to cover up and wear an over-the-shoulder-styled costume for this production. For marketing purposes The Adventures of Tarzan Serial Sales Corporation was formed in New York. The serial sold in half of all available markets without the use of a roadman. Within three months of completion it had sold out in most countries worldwide. “The Adventures of Tarzan” was one of the top four attractions of the year. The film was reedited and released with sound effects twice—first in 1928, and a second time in 1935.

2:00            IF I WERE KING (1920) William Farnum 100 min FINISH
This is the earliest screen version of Justin Huntly McCarthy’s play about the poet and vagabond François Villon who was given the opportunity to become king of France for a week. William Farnum plays Villon. The film also stars Betty Ross Clarke with Fritz Leiber as King Louis XI.

CRITICS NOTE: Directed by J. Gordon Edwards.     Writing Credits Justin Huntly McCarthy (play “If I Were King”), E. Lloyd Sheldon Cast: William Farnum, Betty Ross Clarke, Fritz Leiber, Walter Law, Henry Carvill, Claude Payton, V.V. Clogg, Harold Clairmont, Renita Johnson .

3:50            WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (1957) 115 min in person: Ruta Lee (Q&A after)
Leonard Vole is arrested on suspicion of murdering an elderly acquaintance. He employs an experienced but aging barrister as his defense attorney.

CRITICS NOTE: One of the best trial movies ever made. Billy Wilder direction, Wilder and Harry Kurnitz’s clever script adaptation of Agatha Christie, Charles Laughton’s superb, witty performance plus Marlene Dietrich make this a MUST SEE  

Cast: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, John Williams, Henry Daniell, Ian Wolfe, Torin Thatcher, Norma Varden, Una O’Connor, Francis Compton, Philip Tonge, Ruta Lee.

6:15            Dinner Break

8:15            EAST IS WEST (1922) Constance Talmadge 95 min
Directed by Sidney Franklin. With Constance Talmadge, Edmund Burns, E. Alynb Warren, Warner Oland.

CRITICS NOTE: Based on a 1918 Broadway stage play starring Fay Bainter as Ming Toy, “East Is West”was remade as a talkie at Universal in 1930 with Lupe Velez. Long considered lost, the film was found in 2005 at the Nederlands Filmmuseum in the collection of Jan Zaalberg, who collaborated regularly with restoration projects (“The Chess Player” [1927]. In 2011, “East is West” (1922) was restored by The Netherlands EYE Institute of Film in Amsterdam.

9:55            SNAPPY SNEEZER (1929) Charley Chase 20 min
CRITICS NOTE: “Snappy Sneezer”, one of the first talkie shorts made by Charley Chase, is one of Charley’s best comedies. The direction is so skillful it’s hard to believe he’s learning how to work with sound. Released in both sound and silent editions (for theaters still unwired for sound), the film works in silent because of the strong gags, but charms with sound, allowing us to appreciate Anders Randolphs grumpy mutterings as well as cute banter between Chase and leading lady Thelma Todd.  Charlie and Mary White (Thelma Todd) meet on a train and begin to court. Happily they live in the same city.

On the crowded streetcar, Charley’s hay fever act up, causing him to repeatedly sneezes on an irate middle-aged passenger (Anders Randolphs). Charlie tries to do the right thing, but no matter where he moves, he keeps sneezing on the same guy. The man retaliates by mangling Charley’s straw boater: both get off at the same stop. Charlie saves the man from a speeding car and other accidents but it just makes matters worse.

When Charley goes to Mary White’s home he realizes his nemesis is her father. In the second reel, Charley desperately tries to patch thing up with Mary’s dad. He offers to teach Mary to drive her father’s new car, and a clever series of gags ensue. Director: Warren Doane. Writing Credits: H.M. Walker (titles-silent version), Leo McCarey (story). Cast: Charley Chase, Thelma Todd’ Anders Randolf, Harry Bowen, Sammy Brooks, Eddie Dunn, Clara Guiol, Sam Lufkin.

10:15     A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN (1940) Gloria Jean & Robert Stack 87 min
Gloria Jean, Robert Stack, and a host of policeman “uncles” played by some of the silent screen’s leading stars, including Charles Ray, Maurice Costello, Monte Blue and William Desmond. Directed by Andrew Marton. Writing Credits: Screenplay   Daniel Taradash and Gertrude Purcell, Harold Goldman (uncredited), Grover Jones (story)

CRITICS NOTE: Similar to “The Under Pup”, in this Universal vehicle Gloria Jean plays a gifted tenement child who wanders onto a live sidewalk radio broadcast of a quiz show, lands a singing contract and moves her family uptown to a swanky apartment where they struggle with their sudden wealth.  Songs include “The Under-Pup”, “A Little Bit of Heaven”  “After Ev’ry Rainstorm” (Frank Skinner and Sam Lerner), “What Did We Learn at School?”

Cast: Gloria Jean, Robert Stack, Hugh Herbert, C. Aubrey Smith, Stuart Erwin, Nan Grey, Eugene Pallette, Billy Gilbert, Kenneth Brown, Billy Lenhart, Nana Bryant, Tommy Bond, Charles Previn, Kitty O’Neil, Helen Brown, Sig Arno, Fred Kelsey, Monte Blue, Tom Dugan Noah Beery Jr.,  
Sunday August 31

9:00            SCRAM (1932) Laurel & Hardy 20 min
CRITICS NOTE: This well-constructed short, directed by Raymond McCarey and scripted by H.M. Walker has the pair running afoul of the same judge on two separate occasions, with hilarious consequences.

Ordered out of town by angry Judge Beaumont, vagrants Stanley and Oliver meet a congenial drunk who invites them to stay at his luxurious mansion. The drunk (Arthur Houseman) can’t find his key, but the boys find a way in, sending the surprised woman inside into a faint. They revive her with what they think is water, but is actually gin, and all get tipsy in the process. Outside, the drunk realizes he’s at the wrong house and stumbles off. Eventually, the real homeowner arrives, none other than Judge Beaumont. Director: Raymond McCarey, Writer: H.M. Walker. Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Richard Arthur Housman, Vivien Oakland

9:20            KENTUCKY PRIDE (1926) 78 min
Director John Ford and screenwriter Dorothy Yost put audiences through their emotional paces with this “kitchen sink” drama that includes just about everything that can happen to a horse in a horse racing movie and still end up with a happy ending. Henry B. Walthall and Gertrude Astor star. Director: John Ford. Writing Credits: Elizabeth Pickett (titles), Dorothy Yost. Cast: Gertrude Astor, Peaches Jackson, J. Farrell MacDonald, Man o’ War, Winston Miller, Danny Donovan, Belle Stoddard, Malcolm Waite, Henry B. Walthall, Sayre Dearing (uncredited).   

10:45     HUMAN CARGO (1936) Claire Trevor Brian Donlevy 66 min
CRITICS NOTE: High Society girl turned writer Bonnie Brewster (Claire Trevor) and Packy Campbell (Brian Donlevy) are rival reporters who board a ship in Vancouver to go after a smuggling ring, which brings in illegal aliens. The ruthless smugglers regularly dump their ‘cargo’ overboard if the cops get too close. The immigrants who make it face a lifetime of blackmail from the smugglers.

The screenplay by Jefferson Parker and Doris Malloy was based on by Kathleen Shepard’s novel “I Will Be Faithful”. Directed by Allan Dwan. Cast: Rita Cansino (soon to become Rita Hayworth), Claire Trevor, Ralph Morgan and Brian Donlevy.

11:50            Lunch Break

1:00            THE SIXTIES KIDS – Panel Discussion 60 min

2:20            SILENT SERIAL PROGRAM 50 min

3:35            MEET ME IN ST LOUIS (1944) 113 min In person Margaret O’Brien (Q&A after)
CRITICS NOTE: Vincente Minnelli’s exquisite “Meet me In Saint Louis”, from a script by Irv Brecher, is a charming homage to America’s vanished Middle Class.  A perfect blend of family drama and music, and a warm unpretentious musical peppered with classic songs like “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “The Trolly Song”, the film follows a turn of the century family through the year leading up to The St Louis World’s Fair. The Halloween vignette featuring Margaret O’Brien at her very best, is priceless. The most charming film of Hollywood’s Golden Age, features a perfect cast: Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Mary Astor
Lucille Bremer, Leon Ames, Tom Drake, Marjorie Main, Harry Davenport , June Lockhart

Monday September 1

9:00            THE MASQUERADER (1914) Charlie Chaplin 20 min
CRITICS NOTE: Before donning his Tramp garb in this short, well-dressed Charlie plays an inept actor, sharing his dressing room with rival actor Fatty Arbuckle, and their gags sharing different sides of a mirror is very amusing.

Called to the set by the director (Charles Murray), Charlie screws up, missing his cues and flirting with some actresses. Murray bans Charlie from the set, replacing him with Chester Conklin, but Charlie prevents Conklin from making his cue.  Charlie returns in drag.

In his long dress, Charlie is convincing as Senorita Chapelino (“…a fairy floated into the studio…”) drawing the amorous interest of the crew, and earning a casting couch chase in Murray’s office before he signs a contract. besides the usual slapstick, we get a close look at filmmaking practices of the day. Director/ Writer: Charlie Chaplin. Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, Chester Conklin, Uncredited: Charley Chase (Actor), Billy Gilbert (Cameraman), Mabel Normand (Actress Outside Studio), Charles Murray, Jess Dandy, Minta Durfee, Dan Albert, Cecile Arnold, Billie Bennett , Helen Carruthers, Glen Cavender
Dixie Chene, Frank Dolan, Vivian Edwards, Grover Ligon, Gene Marsh, Harry McCoy,

Frank Opperman

9:20            TRAVELIN’ ON (1922) William S Hart 70 min
A rarely-screened William S. Hart Western, and, from all reports, one of his very best. Hart plays a mysterious stranger, in love with a preacher’s wife, who takes the blame for her husband’s crimes. WIlliam S. Hart Westerns are a wonderful staple of) Cinecon.

CRITICS NOTE: “Travelin’ On” features drifter Hart (“The Stranger” running afoul of a preacher (James Farley) when both men vie for the same woman, Susan Morton (Ethel Grey Terry) wife of the local saloon owner Hi Morton (Brinsley Shaw). Nursing his unrequited love, Hart saves Susan from the attentions of Dandy Dan McGee (Jim “James” Farley). When the bartender is arrested for robbing the stage (to help pay for the new church!) Hart takes the rap rather than see the woman he loves lose her husband. Resourceful Hart escapes hanging, riding off into the sunset, hence the title: “Travelin’ On.”

Directed by longtime Hart associate Lambert Hillyer. Cast: William S. Hart [J.B., the stranger], James Farley [‘Dandy’ Dan McGee], Ethel Grey Terry [Susan Morton], Brinsley Shaw [Hi Morton], Mary Jane Irving [Mary Jane Morton], Robert Kortman [Gila], Willis Marks [‘Know-It-All’ Haskins], Fritz the horse, Jacko the monkey

10:40      ALWAYS IN TROUBLE (1938) Jane Withers 70 min
We’ve been reacquainting Cinephiles with the films of Jane Withers for that past several years, and here’s yet another of Jane’s top-notch comedies in which a spoiled family learns the value of work when they’re castaway on a desert island.  Directed by Joseph Santley. Screenplay; Robert Chapin, Karen DeWolf. Story Jefferson Moffitt, Albert Treynor. Cast: Jane Withers, Jean Rogers, Arthur Treacher, Robert Kellard, Eddie Collins, Andrew Tombes, Nana Bryant, Joan Woodbury, Joe Sawyer, Charles Lane, Pat Flaherty

12:00            Lunch Break

1:00            THE ETERNAL GRIND (1916) Mary Pickford 41 min
CRITICS NOTE: the film is inspired by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which took place in 1911.  Louise (Pickford) is a sewing-machine girl in a sweatshop in New York City. She lives together with her sisters Amy (Loretta Blake) and Jane (Dorothy West) and beset by bad conditions at work and sickness. Louise fights for the survival of the family. One turns to prostitution, the other contacts TB. Plucky Mary stands up to the bosses.

When Amy is seduced by the son of the shop-owner, Louise butts in and stops the romance. He eventually abandons Amy and becomes seriously injured in a cave-in. Louise has a secret crush on the son herself and tries to rescue him, hoping he will admit he loves her. Once the pair marries, he convinces his father to create better working conditions at the factory.
Directed by John B. O’Brien, Produced by Daniel Frohman, Adolph Zukor, Written by William H. Clifford. Cast: Mary Pickford, Loretta Blake, Dorothy West,  John Bowers, Robert Cain.

1:45            WICKED DARLING (1919) Priscilla Dean & Lon Chaney 70 min
A slum girl is forced to steal for a living. After she swipes a rich society’s matron’s necklace, she hides out at the home of a man who turns out to be the socialite’s former fiancé.

CRITICS NOTE: Tod Browning directed “Wicked Darling” long before he became famous for his work with Lon Chaney and Bela Lugosi “Freaks”,  “Dracula”, “The Devil Doll”, “The Road To Mandelay”, ‘West Of Zanzibar”.  “The Unholy Three” (“The Unholy Three”) was his breakout hit.

Browning was known for films with supernatural, horror or exotic themes. The well-heeled young Browning fell in love with a dancer and ran off with her to join the circus.  Browning worked as a clown, a jockey and director of a variety theater until he met D.W. Griffith and became an actor, debuting in “Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages” (1916). His biggest hit was the classic Dracula (1931), in which he also appears as the voice of the harbormaster.

Directed by Tod Browning. Written by Evelyn Campbell (story “The Moth”, Harvey Gates, Waldemar Young. CAST: Priscilla Dean, Wellington A. Playter, Lon Chaney, Spottiswoode Aitken, Gertrude Astor, Kalla Pasha

3:05            ONE NIGHT OF LOVE (1934) Grace Moore 85 min
Aspiring opera singer Mary Barrett (Grace Moore) loses a radio contest, and the chance to study with renowned Milan-based vocal coach Guilio Monteverdi (Tullio Carminati).  She decides to go to Milan anyway. By chance he hears her sings and takes her into his home as his protégé. The stern taskmaster, despite his protestations of a strictly platonic interest, falls for Mary and she for him, leaving Mary’s boyfriend Bill Houston (Lyle Talbot) Mary and Monteverdi’s ex-lover, Lilly (Mona Barrie) on the sidelines. Possessive Lally plots to break up their relationship.  The film won three Oscars in 1935:Best Sound, Recording John P. Livadary (sound director), Best Music, Score Louis Silvers (head of department), Thematic music by Victor Schertzinger and Gus Kahn. Technical Achievement Award for use of vertical cut disc method in an actual studio production.   

Directed by Victor Schertzinger. Writing Credits: screenplay S.K. Lauren, James Gow, Edmund North). Story Dorothy Speare, Charles Beahan. Cast: Grace Moore, Tullio Carminati, Lyle Talbot, Mona Barrie, Jessie Ralph, Luis Alberni, Nydia Westman, Andrés de Segurola (as Andres De Segurola), Rosemary Glosz.

4:20            LOVE LETTERS OF A STAR (1936) 66 min
Directed by Milton Carruth and Lewis R. Foster.
Blackmail, suicide, murder, a cover-up not to mention yachts and sea planes all wrapped up in an efficient 66 minutes of screen time with Henry Hunter, Polly Rowles and C. Henry Gordon in the leads, and Lewis R. Foster sitting in the director’s chair.  Writing credits: Writing Credits
Lewis R. Foster, James Mulhauser, Rufus King, (story). Cast: Henry Hunter, Polly Rowl, C. Henry Gordon, Walter Coy, Hobart Cavanaugh, Mary Alice Rice, Ralph Forbes, Alma Kruger, Samuel S. Hinds, Rollo Lloyd, Warren Hymer, Virginia Brissac, Halliwell Hobbes, Reynolds Denniston, Pierre Watkin.    

5:30            ONE IN A MILLION (1936) Sonja Henie (A.K.A. Henjie) & Don Ameche 98 min
In her screen debut, ice skating star Sonja Henie is surrounded with a top-notch supporting cast, including Adolphe Menjou, Arline Judge, Jean Hersholt, Ned Sparks, and Don Ameche. What more could you ask for? The Ritz Brothers? They’re on hand as well!

CRITICS NOTE: Henje won the Olympic gold the year before. While touring his troupe around Europe, fly by night impresario Tad Spencer (Adolphe Menjou spots Greta Muller (Henji) aiming to win the same Olympic medal her father (Jean Hersholt) won years before, skating on a frozen lake. She wins. Spencer signs her to a contact, fall for newsman Bob Harris (Don Ameche) and plays Madison Square Garden. Tunes include: “One in a Million,” “We’re Back in Circulation Again,” “Who’s Afraid of Love?” “Lovely Lady in White,” “The Moonlight Waltz” (Sidney D. Mitchell, Lew Pollack). Jack Haskell earned an Oscar nomination for his choreography.

Directed by Sidney Lanfield, Writing Credits Leonard Praskins Mark Kelly (story), Leonard Praskins, Mark Kelly (screenplay), Eddie Cherkose, Samuel Pokrass (uncredited), Lester Lee, Harold Rome (uncredited contributing writers).
Cast: Sonja Henie, Adolphe Menjou, Jean Hersholt, Ned Sparks, Don Ameche, The Ritz Brothers, Arline Judge, Borrah Minevitch and His Harmonica Rascals, Dixie Dunbar, Montagu Love, Albert Conti, Julius Tannen, Leah Ray. Shirley Deane, June Gale, Lillian Porter, Helen Ericson, Diane Cook, June Wilkins, Clarice Sherry     


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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