Friday, July 13, 2012

Phil attends opening night of the 17th Annual SF Silent Film Festival-July 12, 2012

Okay, I have been waiting patiently for this event all year! Now, that time has come! It's the 17th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival, held at the majestic Castro Theater! My day started with me having a late lunch at my favorite place to eat in the Castro: Orphan Andy's, where I chowed down on some yummy french toast. While I was there I ran into my friend Marya E. Gates (writer for Yam Mag and her blog Cinematic Fanatic) and her friend from Kansas Trevor Jost. After lunch we headed over to the Castro Theatre to pick up our press passes. It was there that Marya introduced me to her good friend, author  Lara Gabrielle (check out her very cool blog Backlots). Also there was my very good friend and fellow movie blogger Jason Wiener (Jason Watches Movies). Around 6:15pm, the theatre let us in, and by 7pm, the show began!

The festivities began with silent film president Robert Bryne welcoming us and giving thanks to all the wonderful sponsors who help make the festival happen. Giving us a nice little surprise, the night began with a two minute clip of a long, lost Clara Bow film. RED HAIR (1928) was a two-color strip film that had our favorite flapper engaging with an "old bird," in this case it was a pelican. It was amazing to see the lovely Clara Bow in color!

Theatrical Movie Poster (1927)
Tonight was a very special night indeed. Not only was it the opening night of the festival, but it was on this exact day 100 years ago that Paramount Pictures released their very first film! And tonight's opening film was the very first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, which was also released by Paramount. The film WINGS (1927) starred Charles "Buddy" Rogers, Clara Bow, and Richard Arlen. Directed by William Wellman, the film tells the tale Jack Powell (Rogers) and David Armstrong (Arlen), two men who are in love with the same woman, and both become fighter pilots in World War I. However, unbeknownst to Jack, his best friend and neighbor Mary Preston (Bow) is madly in love with him, and hopes that he will see this.

Introducing this beautifully restored print was the director's son William Wellman Jr. and providing the musical accompaniment was the amazing Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, along with Foley sound effects performed by Ben Burtt the man responsible for creating the sound effects for the STAR WARS films. Burtt, along with Folely effects crew, did an astounding job of creating the sounds of airplanes, marching soldiers, etc, by using simple items like bicycle tires, wood studs, books, and other cool items! Overall, just an incredible performance by both parties!

And speaking of parties, there was a gala after party over at the McRoskey Mattress Company building down on Market Street! There were food and fine wines plus some very good micro beers for the guests to enjoy while listening to great music performed by The Frisky Frolics. At the party, I ran into my good friend Anne Marie, who just happens to be the film director for the ultra cool Denver Silent Film Festival, which will be from September 21st-23rd. As Jason and I were about to walk back to the Castro to get my car and head home, we were offered a ride by none other than the SF Silent Film Festival president himself Robert Byrne! I just want to say again "Thank You!" to Robert for giving us a ride and for being an all-around swell fella!

What a night I had! And there's still three more days of silent films to watch! So come on out to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, here at the Castro Theatre! To view the festival's film schedule, purchase tickets and passes, location of hotels to stay at during the festival, please visit their official website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

No comments:

Post a Comment