Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Phil attends the 13 YEARS OF SATURDAY SILENTS AT THE EDISON! Program at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum - Jan. 20, 2018

This past Saturday night I made my return to one of my favorite places on the Earth: The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum! It's been over two years since I was here and tonight's program was something I didn't want to miss! After having dinner at my favorite local business Bronco Billy's Pizza Palace, I headed over to the museum for the 13 YEARS OF SATURDAY SILENTS AT THE EDISION! Program. They were also having the DVD release party for their new silent film BRONCHO BILLY AND THE BANDIT'S SECRET, which they were also screening as well!

ALKALI IKE'S AUTO (1911): Starring Augustus Carney, Harry Todd, and Margaret Joslin, this fun short is about two guys named Alkali Ike and Mustang Pete (Carney and Todd respectively) who fight over the heart of Betty Brown (Joslin). After stopping them from shooting one another, they both try to one up each other, until Ike shows up in one of them fancy cars, which is actually a complete lemon! Hilarious!! The film was written and directed by Essanay co-founder Gilbert M. Anderson aka Broncho Billy. The short was released by the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company in May 1911.

BRONCHO BILLY AND THE BANDIT'S SECRET (2015): To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Anderson and the Essanay Company back on April 1, 1912, in that same month in 2012, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum begun making a silent western film, using the silent film cameras and techniques that these trailblazers used back then. The results were absolutely amazing! I had seen the rough cut of the film during the Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival back in 2013, so I was extremely ecstatic to finally see the finished film. The museum had a DVD release party for the film. Look for a more in-depth review of the film coming very soon!

After a short intermission, the show continued with the main feature of the night.

Original Theatrical Poster (1926)
Film number three for today was the comedy MANTRAP (1926). Based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis and directed by Victor Fleming, the film stars the enchanting Clara Bow as Alverna, a manicurist who meets and marries a small town Canadian woodsman named Joe Easter (Ernest Torrence). However, the girl loves to flirt with the men, and she falls for a rich and famous New York divorce attorney named Ralph Prescott (Percy Marmont), who is visiting their small rural town on vacation. Bow was sexy and funny, which caused many men to fall in love with her. After watching her in this film, how could you not? I totally fell in love with her! Bow had great on screen chemistry with both of her male leads, which elevated that film and made it more accessible to audiences. The film was originally released by Paramount Pictures on July 24, 1926. cost.

You can see that Clara Bow was about to become a huge Hollywood star. In fact, she did just that two films later, when she starred in IT. The movie was written by Adelaide Heilbron and Ethel Doherty and was directed by the legendary Victor Fleming. Fleming had an amazing career, directing some of the greatest films of all time, including THE VIRGINIAN, TREASURE ISLAND, JOAN OF ARC, and quite possiby, two of the most beloved films of all time: THE WIZARD OF OZ and GONE WITH THE WIND. Fun Fact: both of those films were both nominated for Best Film at the Oscars in 1940. In case you were wondering, the Oscar went to GONE WITH THE WIND

And folks, there you have it! My triumphant return to one of my favorite places in the world! I can't wait to come back here again! 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 www.nilesfilmmuseum.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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