Movies from the '20s and '30s are in the lineup at a Hollywood
festival that knows all about longevity.
By Susan King, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 26, 2007
CINECON, the annual celebration of film rarities, started
inauspiciously in 1965 in Indiana, Pa. -- the hometown of Jimmy
Stewart -- as a way for 8 millimeter film collectors to congregate and
show their films.
Now in its 43rd year, the gathering, which kicks off Thursday, has
morphed into a five-day festival, memorabilia show and book fair in
Hollywood, and virtually all the films screened are 35 mm.
"We get cooperation from all the archives and all the studios," says
film historian Robert Birchard, who heads up the event for the Society
of Cinephiles. Cinecon typically draws 500 to 600 people through the
course of the weekend, he says, all of them members of the cinephiles'
group, which is open to anyone who pays a $25 fee.
This year, Cinecon is honoring three veteran performers -- John Saxon,
Piper Laurie and Alan Young -- at its career achievement awards
banquet at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, and all three will
participate in a Q&A session after a screening of their films.
Saxon appears Thursday after the presentation of his 1962 drama "War
Hunt," which marked Robert Redford's film debut; Young will discuss
the 1958 fantasy "Tom Thumb" on Saturday evening; and Laurie will chat
about her 1955 comedy "Ain't Misbehavin'."
The film selection, says Birchard, can best be described as a mixed
bag of offerings. "We do survey the archives and see what they are
working on and what they want to highlight," says Birchard. "If
possible there will always be a western, a musical, some sort of
detective movie. . . . It's about half silent and half sound
Among the highlights of the festival is the 1935 romantic comedy "The
Gilded Lily," starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray in his
movie debut. "I had never seen the picture," says Birchard. "But I
heard the 'Lux Radio Theatre' version, so [the selection committee]
put that on the list."
Another rarity is the 1940 western comedy "Trail of the Vigilantes,"
starring Franchot Tone. "It's not often seen," says Birchard. "It has
just been restored by Universal. Supposedly [director] Allan Dwan
started it as a serious picture and then turned it into a comic thing.
It's sort of a follow-up to 'Destry Rides Again.' "
"Hollywood Speaks," from 1932, starring Pat O'Brien, has long been
considered a lost film. "I don't think any of us has seen it," says
Birchard. "We called up Columbia Pictures and they said, 'We got it.'
There's even a B-movie version of "A League of Their Own" from 1937
called "Girls Can Play," starring a young Rita Hayworth before her
hairline was refashioned through electrolysis.
Other films in the lineup include the complete version of 1927's "The
Patent Leather Kid," starring Richard Barthelmess in an Oscar-
nominated performance; a newly restored print of the 1922 Mary
Pickford classic "Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall"; the 1928 William
Wellman drama "Beggars of Life" with Richard Arlen and Louise Brooks;
and Paramount's first talkie, 1928's "Interference," starring William
Powell and Evelyn Brent.
All the screenings will be at the Egyptian Theatre. The memorabilia
show and film book fair take place at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.
There are four honorees this year; Evil Bob conveniently omitted Dick
Miller. And as noted on another thread, after this article went to
press, we learned that HOLLYWOOD SPEAKS was missing its last two reels
and will be postponed until next year.
Let me guess you are substuting a new print of SH! THE OCTOPUS ?
Alas, no, but a camera-neg print of AIR HAWKS--almost as great!
You turn up that Max Davidson stag reel, do keep it to yourself, please....r
"You got Schadenfreude on my Weltanschauung!"
"You got Weltanschauung in my Schadenfreude!"