By Gary Meyer
My parents took me to the 1956 roadshow engagement of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS at San Francisco’s Coronet Theater. This eight-year-old kid was introduced to the wonders of George Méliès’ A TRIP TO THE MOON (1902) during the prelude introduced by trusted TV newsman Edward R. Murrow talking about Jules Verne in the movies.
It was the same year they Irving and Irma Levin (owners of the Coronet and other local cinemas) staged the Italian Film Week that would become the first film festival in the Americas in 1957, The San Francisco International Film Festival.
Editor’s note: It is timely that veteran film distributor and film lover Gary Palmucci has written a review for us of Ben Davis’ new book Repertory Movies Theatres of New York City: Havens for Revivals, Indies and the Avant-Garde, 1960–1994 (McFarland 2017)
Dan Talbot with Alfred Hitchcock, January 13, 1965
The last week of December 2017 saw the passing of one of the giants in art film distribution and exhibition, Dan Talbot. In March, 1960 Dan and Toby Talbot took over the rundown –but with great decor– Yorktown Theater on New York’s Upper West Side and renamed it the New Yorker, reusing the “York” portion of the neon and starting a policy of repertory cinema mixing classics and more recent films in eclectic double features. The Talbots operated the New Yorker until 1973, often at a loss but with some surprise hits.
“The theater had a policy of no policy,” Toby Talbot wrote in The New Yorker Theater and Other Scenes From a Life at the Movies. “We thought of it as our living room, playing movies we wanted to see on the screen.”” I’ll play new films, old films, foreign films, American films—whatever I think merits being shown.” Dan said. “And if the audience agreed with me, great. If they didn’t, too bad.”
by Frako Loden
For those who have heard about the excellence of Polish animation but haven’t seen much of it, the “Polish Animation 70 Years” series at Pacific Film Archive is a superb crash course in a remarkable body of work starting Sunday, December 3. Since the political thaw of 1956, Polish animation has been winning awards at film festivals all through the world.
Red & Black
By Risa Nye
Labor Day weekend, 2017. Once again, into the San Juan mountains for several days of sitting in the dark watching movies. The 44th Telluride Film Festival began with the usual excitement and buzz, mixed with the uncertainty of what was to come. Some folks already had the inside scoop about screenings, but I went into my first movie with no prior knowledge—just the anticipation that this would be an experience unlike any other, including previous festivals at Telluride.
A musician, compiler and composer explains how he scored a silent film for today’s audience.
by Rodney Sauer
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra was commissioned to create two new scores for the 2017 San Francisco Silent Film Festival, one of which is the newly restored 1926 film Silence. It shows at the Castro Theatre on Sunday, June 4 at 12:00 Noon.
Glass Slide courtesy of Rob Byrne
One print of Silence
is known to survive at the Cinémathèque Française. The Cinémathèque, Rob Byrne, and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival collaborated to have the surviving print scanned, digitally repaired and cleaned, translated from French back into the original English, then printed to film for exhibition and preservation.
Move to Mission Neighborhood Energizes Attendees
by Meredith Brody
Whit Stillman, director of Love & Friendship, at the Castro Theatre (Photo by Pamela Gentile, courtesy of the San Francisco Film Society)
It’s notoriously hard for a festival to find an opening night film that will please its audience. The 59th edition of the venerable San Francisco International Film Festival — the oldest annual festival in the United States, founded in 1957 — did the seemingly impossible, debuting with Whit Stillman‘s Love and Friendship, at the beloved 1922-vintage Castro Theatre.
Kate Beckinsale meets her fans at Opening Night (Photo by Pamela Gentile, courtesy SFFS)
The saucy and exquisitely mounted adaptation of Jane Austen’s Lady Susan re-united Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny — the stars of Stillman’s 1998 The Last Days of Disco — 18 years later and two centuries earlier, but seemingly unaged in real (or reel) life. In 1998, they both had American accents; in 2016, Mrs. Alicia Johnson has been reconceived as an American, leaving Chloe Sevigny her flat vowels and enabling a too-little-seen Stephen Fry, as her husband, to constantly threaten her with exile in Connecticut. Before I get started, if anyone in the area of San Francisco needs any plumbing assistance, 24 hour plumbing san francisco will get the job done for you.