FELIX WOOS WHOOPEE (1928). In this animation short,Felix is up all night at the Whoopee Club, having a hell of a time, overindulging himself with drink, and dancing about with another inebriated friend. Meanwhile, at home, his angry wife Kitty is pacing up and down in front of the clock, which reads 3 a.m. Finally leaving the nightclub, Felix drunkenly tries to make his way home without Kitty finding out. He encounters scary apparitions- weird monsters and other vivid figments of his imagination- on his way home. Finally, Felix sneaks home and into bed, but he continues to fight his monsters, only to find that he is fighting his pillow in the midst of a nightmare. This was a trippy cartoon, way ahead of the norm of seeing the usual pink elephants. After that, it was time for some classic Buster Keaton shorts!
|Buster Keaton & Sybil Seely in ONE WEEK (1920)|
|Conrad Veidt & Lil Dagover in THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1920)|
With its distorted sets, bizarre lighting and shadows painted on canvases, and deformed spaces, the film achieves its nightmarish imagery right from the start and doesn't let you go till it twisted ending. Director Robert Wiene forever changed the face of German cinema as well as cinema itself. Many Universal horror filmmakers have cited the German Expressionism films as their inspiration for DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN, and many others. The film was originally released by Decla-Bioscop in Germany on February 26, 1920. It was imported here in the states by Goldwyn Distributing Company on March 19, 1921. The film is available on a special edition Blu-Ray and DVD from Kino Lorber.
|Brigitte Helm in METROPOLIS (1927)|
Again, seeing it back in 2010 was extraordinary! The stunning resurrection of Fritz Lang’s futuristic film to its epic original cut, a version believed forever lost, began in a modest Buenos Aires cinema museum in the spring of 2008, when a rusted film can turned out to contain a 16mm negative of the entire 150-minute silent film. Spliced together with the 35mm nitrate film, it's now the most complete version of the film ever! It was released on a special edition Blu-Ray and DVD from Kino Lorber.
|Ma Shreck in NOSFERATU (1922)|
With his rodent-like face, long spider fingers, and soul piercing eyes that will make your skin crawl, Max Shreck's performance as Court Orlock has become an icon in not just silent horror films, but for the horror genre in general. Few can come close to achieve his personification of dread and evil, a creature devoid of humanity and pathos. While the vampire itself has evolved, thanks to actors such as Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Gary Oldman, Klaus Kinski (who stared in the 1979 remake), and Willem Dafoe (who portrays Max Schreck in the 2001 film SHADOWS OF THE VAMPIRE), none have come close to capture the feel of death and darkness as Schreck achieved back in 1922. The film was released on a special edition Blu-Ray and DVD from Kino Lorber.
And that my friends is a wrap! What a great time I had!! And major props to the Club Foot Orchestra for doing an amazing job providing music for all the films!! I can't wait to come back here to the Castor Theatre for the SFSFF's A DAY OF SILENTS, which will take place on Saturday, December 1st! Also, mark your calendar for the SFSFF 2019 on May 1st through the 5th!! Now if you'd like to learn more about the SF Silent Film Festival, and how to become a member, visit their website at www.silentfilm.org.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!