Sunday, September 25, 2011

Phil sees A ROMANCE OF THE REDWOODS at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum-Sept. 24, 2011

Once again I made my way back up to the Niles District of Fremont, where at the Edison Theater silent films are still being shown at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum. Tonight the museum was a showing rare Mary Pickford film, plus two shorts. Let's get this show started, shall we?

First short of the night was MAX JUGGLES FOR LOVE (1912) starring Max Linder. In the film, Max falls in love with a beautiful woman, but she will only marry him if he learns how to juggle! Really! I'm not making this up. So to all you ladies out there; is this how it works? I mean, I'm 38, single, and can't get a date. So if I need to learn how to juggle to meet a woman, then I'm gonna start practicing now! The film was released by Pathe in February in 1912.

The second film up was one of my favorite comedy shorts. FATTY AND MABEL ADRIFT (1916) stars Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle and Mabel Normand, a cute couple who get married and live in a beach house. However a jealous ex teams up with some shady people and casts their beach house out to sea. Fatty and Mabel have great comedic chemistry together and it shows on the screen. Both are hilarious and lovable. The film was released by Mack Sennett's Keystone Film Company on January 9, 1916.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1917)
After the intermission, the show continued with the main feature of the night. A ROMANCE OF THE REDWOODS (1917) was made by acclaimed director Cecil B. de Mille and starred America's Sweetheart Mary Pickford. In the film Pickford portrays Jenny Lawrence, who travels out west to live with her uncle. However, her uncle is killed by Indians and his identity is stolen by a stage robber named "Black" Brown (Elliot Dexter). As with all his films, de Mille lays in on the moral lesson. Pickford is amazing and beautiful in the film. Her acting was marvelous!

Some interesting facts about the film. It was shot at Boulder Creek in  in Santa Cruz County, and filmed on the sets built by the California Motion Picture Company for their film SALOMY JANE in 1914. Also, most of the film's $135,000 budget went to pay Pickford's salary: $96,666.67! Fortunately, the film went on to gross $424,719. Two years later, she along with Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chapli, and D.W. Griffith would form United Artists. The film was released by Artcraft Pictures (which was owned by Paramount Pictures) on May 14, 1917.

A great night at the museum! If you want to learn how to become a member or to view their film schedule, visit the museum's website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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