Sunday, April 21, 2013

Phil sees THE WINNING OF BARBARA WORTH at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum-March 30, 2013

It's been way too long since I've seen a movie at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum but this past Saturday I was back! With all the crazy film festivals and other events going on in my life, it was great coming back to the historic Edison Theatre where silent films live again! I got to see all my old friends again, and saw my fellow film fanatic a blogger Jason Wiener (Jason Watches Movies). I also brought my good friend Laura to the museum as well. As always, there were two shorts screened before the film. So let's talk about tonight's program, shall we?

THE CURE (1924): Out of the inkwell comes Koko the Clown! That's right, the first short screened was a Koko the Clown short! In this bitty, Koko has a really bad tooth ache and coincidentally, so does his animator Max Fleisher. Koko's glasses wearing rabbit friend helps him out, then they turn their attention to Max. Sight gags galore run rampant towards the end of the cartoon. Interesting fact: the Fleisher brothers invented rotoscoping, which is an animation technique in which animators trace over footage, frame by frame, for use in live-action and animated films. The Fleisher Studios used this technique for a lot of their cartoons, including the widely popular SUPERMAN cartoons from the 1930's.

BE YOUR AGE (1926): In this short, the great comedian Charley Chase plays a bashful clerk whose boss (Frank Brownlee) lends him money to help out his family. In exchange his boss forces him to marry the recently widowed Mrs. Schwartzkopple (Lillian Leighton) so he can keep control of her $2 million dollar inheritance. But Charley falls for her secretary (Gladys Hulette) and so a series of hilarious comedic situations ensues. Also look for Oliver Hardy appearing in the film as  Mrs. Schwartzkopple's son Oswald. The film was released by Hal Roach Studios on November 14, 1926.

After a brief intermission, the show continued on with the main feature:

Theatrical Movie Poster (1926)
THE WINNING OF BARBARA WORTH (1926): Based on the novel of the same name by Harold Bell Wright, the film is about Willard Holmes (Ronald Colman), an engineer who buts heads with local cowboy Abe Lee (Gary Cooper) for the affections of a rancher's daughter named Barbara Worth (Vilma Bánky), while building an irrigation system for a Southwestern desert community. This was Cooper's big break out role and he was so young when he made this film. Reason being because he was young! He was only 25 years old when he made this film! Of course he later when on to star in MEET JOHN DOE, SERGEANT YORK, HIGH NOON and THE WESTERNER.

The film was directed by Henry King, who from 1930 to 1961 directed some of finest films at 20th Century Fox, including TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH, CAROUSALTHE SUN ALSO RISES, and THE GUNFIGHTER. It was produced by the legendary Samuel Goldwyn, known as Hollywood's leading "independent" producer. The movie was filmed on location in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Now this is the same area where the infamous Burning Man festival is held at. The film was released by United Artists on October 14, 1926.

Remember the museum is open for tours every weekend from 12pm-4pm and every Saturday night there's a silent film show starting at 7:30 (doors open at 7pm). So if you would like to learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, becoming a member, and to view their film schedule, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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