SILENCE GETS SOUND

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.

SILENCE - Glass slide (2400 dpi) [credit Robert Byrne].jpg

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.

Continue reading

Bringing Back Films Alive

A Celluloid Detective’s Adventures in the World’s Deepest, Darkest Vaults and Beyond

By Russell Merritt

When I remember David Shepard, I think of high adventure, the kind that turns film reclamation into a series of quests, conspiracies, improbable partnerships, witty banter, and second story work.

7. Magic and Mirth.AGILE.jpg

 TIT FOR TAT (La Piene du talion)
(d. Gaston Velle, France, 1906)

Continue reading

Phantom Flan-Flingers of the Photoplays

by David Cairns

Battle posterSplat!

Custard pies made the news last summer, as a long-lost Laurel & Hardy film, the aptly-named The Battle of the Century (1927), was rediscovered. Containing the legendary double-act’s most extensive pie fight, the movie has been seen only in severely truncated form in recent decades, and the rescued footage is a welcome addition to a filmography whose tantalizing gaps have slowly been disappearing.

The fight itself is a classic, a reminder of how funny and detailed and varied such an activity can be, in the right hands. The first pie is slung by diminutive Charlie Hall, hitting Ollie’s big baby-with-a-tiny-mustache face. The second, Ollie’s retaliatory attempt, goes wide of the mark, according to a long-standing tradition, and explodes over Dorothy Coburn’s shapely ass. She turns to remonstrate and, in accordance with an equally venerable tradition, is hit full in the face by a second crust-load. From here, escalation to total whiteout is as gradual but inevitable as a marital argument or a world war. Soon, an entire street is bustling with gooey combatants, frantically pasting each other with pastries.

Continue reading