Friday, July 19, 2013

Phil attends the opening night of the 18th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival-July 18, 2013

Greetings and salutations everybody! I'm back up in San Francisco to attend the 18th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival!! After last month's HITCHCOCK 9 event, I couldn't wait for the silent film fun to continue! And now it's finally here! Tonight begins my four day adventure here at the historic Castro Theatre, where I'll be transported back in time where movies had the right to remain silent!

Upon arriving at the festival I was greeted by the festival's president Robert Byrne. Of course my fellow film bloggers came out for the festival as well. My partner in crime Jason Wiener from Jason Watches Movies was there, and so was my good friend Lara Gabrielle from Backlots! Around 6:30pm, the doors opened and we all made our way to the front row.

The festival began with an introduction from the SFSFF's president Robert Byrne. He greeted the sold out audience and thanked all the sponsors who helped make the festival a reality! Then it was time for the opening night film!

Louise Brooks in her last film PRIX DE BEAUTE.
PRIX DE BEAUTE (1930) stars the iconic American actress Louise Brooks in her last feature film ever! In the film, Brooks portrays Lucienne, you're average looking girl (really?) who works at as a typist in a French newspaper room. On a lark, she enters a beauty contest and wins. Then she goes on to win Miss France, and then Miss Europe! She lives the life she has only dreamed of, however, her boyfriend isn't to keen on her fame. He want her to come back home so he can marry her and live the simple life that they had always planned before she became famous. Glamour, notoriety, and fighting off male suitors are just a small part of Lucienne's life, which makes her boyfriend even more determined to take her away and keep her to himself. Now needless to say, this is a Louise Brooks film, and her movies never have a happy ending. I won't go into detail, but the film reminds us all of that the price of fame is very, very steep!

Now while her films with G.W. Pabst are more well known (PANDORA'S BOX and DIARY OF A LOST GIRL), this film may be more known for it's talkie version, which came out a year after the silent version. However, in the talkie, Louis Brooks' voice is dubbed (and poorly at that), so if you've only seen that version of the film, you are missing out on a silent classic! At this point in film history, sound films are now starting to become a thing of the past. With the release of THE JAZZ SINGER in 1927, audiences were now wanting to hear the movies talk. By now, most movie theaters have been installed with the proper sound equipment for talkies. Hence the dubbed sound version of this film, which runs about twenty minutes shorter than the silent version!

Providing the musical accompaniment was the versatile Stephen Horne. Folks, to see this man play the grand piano is like listening to angels sing! His score for the film was brilliant!!

After the film, we all made our way to the after party, which was held yet again at the McRoskey Mattress Company building down on Market Street! There were food, fine wines and some very good micro beers for the guests to enjoy while listening to great music performed by The Frisky Frolics. I had a nice buzz going the entire night. Hey, I'm on vacation this week! I'm gonna party it up people!!

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!

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