Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Phil attends the 14th Annual Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival: Day Three, Part One: The Two Helens-June 26, 2011

Hello again and welcome back to the third and final day of the 14th Annual Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival at the Edison Theater in the Niles District of Fremont. Hosted by the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, I'm once again giving you the up-to-the-minute blogging of the festival. Now the time has come to wrap up this fun-filled film festival, and boy what a way to end the it. Let's take a look at the first program for the day!

Helen Holmes (1893-1950)
The title for this afternoon's program was called Women In Action: The Two Helens. Helen Holmes and Helen Gibson were stars in a serial series known as THE HAZARDS OF HELEN. Holmes was the series original star, but when she left she was replaced by Gibson. Both women were know for their amazing stunts: jumping on, off, and stopping runaway trains. Both were beautiful and intelligent, which also radiated in their films. Both women were pioneers and gave the men in Hollywood a run for their money. During the film festival, the museum showed two films; the first starred Holmes, while the preceding short starred Gibson. The films were introduced by author and film historian Larry Telles and Shirley Freitas, the great-granddaughter of Helen Holmes. On the piano for the films was David Drazin.

WEBS OF STEEL: Starring Holmes, Bruce Gordon, Arthur Morrison, and Andrew Waldron, the film's about Helen Webb (Holmes) falling in love with the mysterious John Andrews (Gordon), despite the disapproval of her father Tim Webb (Waldron). Her father wants her to marry his friend and business partner Jim Haggerty (Morrison). Soon there's trouble as Helen and John try to stop a gang of robbers from holding up their train. Filled with some amazing stunts by Holmes herself, the film was directed by her husband J.P. McGowan and released in 1925.

Helen Gibson (1892-1970)
GHOSTS OF THE CANYON: Starring Helen Gibson, the film featured her doing some daredevil stunts, from leaping from trains to some sweet kisses, along with solving the mysterious ghost that haunts a railroad trestle, the film was released by Capital Pictures in 1920.

The afternoon program was a really cool discovery for me. I had heard of these famous stuntwomen, but I had never seen any of their films. This is what is so great about the museum; showing films that haven't been seen in years. This is the purpose and the mission of the museum. To educate while entertaining the audiences. I'm was very excited and happy to see these daredevil women in action!

One program left for the day! To view the film schedule, and to learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, visit their website at http://www.nilesfilmmuseum.org./

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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