Salem, OR film series

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silentfilm

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Salem, OR film series

PostMon Sep 01, 2008 3:11 pm

http://www.willamettelive.com/story/Screen_Notes_on_the_local_scene140.html

Wednesday evening film series to start
Historic Elsinore Theatre partners with Chemeketa Community College's Humanities Department and Film Studies program to offer a series this fall of silent and classic films.
Beginning its fall program on September 10, an opening double feature will offer the two films "Holiday" and "American Madness."

Seven classic films and four silent movies will be shown through the fall schedule including "The Cat and the Canary" on September 17 and the musical "South Pacific" on September 24.
Each film is shown on the big screen. For the classic sound movies, commentary is provided in a program, and the silent film presentations will feature live accompaniment by Rick Parks on the "Mighty Wurlitzer Organ."

In the opening film "Holiday," Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn star as Johnny Case and Linda Sunny in a comedy based on a Broadway play about Case rebelling against his soon-to-be in-laws.
Accompanying that showing is Frank Capra's 1932 film "American Madness" set in the depression era with Walter Hudson leading the cast as President of New York Bank Tom Dickerson.

The other films scheduled for the film series are "The General," "They Were Expendable," "Gaslight," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "Battling Butler," "Mildred Pierce," and finishing with "Fanny and the Alexander" as the fall series commences on November 19.

All shows begin at 7 pm. Box office and doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $5 each and may be purchased at the Elsinore Theatre box office, on their Web site elsinoretheatre.com, or at any TicketsWest location.
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PostTue Sep 09, 2008 1:18 pm

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080909/LIFE/809090308

Classic films
Wednesday Evening Film Series at the Elsinore kicks off this week with 'Holiday'

By Ron Cowan • Statesman Journal

September 9, 2008
The theme of the fall version of the Wednesday Evening Film Series at the Historic Elsinore Theatre might just be called no theme. Rob Bibler, who coordinates the classic film version of the classic and silent movie series, said he just choose great films that he likes, trying to pair films by theme or directors.


"There just seemed to be a number of films I wanted to show," he said.

So the selection ranges from director Joshua Logan's musical "South Pacific" to director Michael Curtiz's film noir "Mildred Pierce" and Frank Capra's classic about idealism vs. Washington cynicism, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

The eight classic films are joined by four silent films in a series coordinated by Rick Parks and including such famous works as Lon Chaney in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and Buster Keaton's "The General," filmed near Cottage Grove.

The series opens Wednesday with a double feature of director George Cukor's "Holiday," a 1938 film based on a play which brings a working man (Cary Grant) into the world of the rich (Katharine Hepburn), and Capra's "American Madness," a film about a principled banker in the Depression.

Capra had a particular difficult task, making a sympathetic story about a banker, played by Walter Huston, in a period when 9,000 banks failed.

"Capraesque to me means it's complex, it's dark," Bibler said.

To make the story fun and exciting, the director sped up the dialogue and used fast cuts and dissolves.

"South Pacific," showing Sept. 24, faced a different challenge, adapting a popular stage musical to the screen, in an era when its message about racial prejudice was still controversial. Heroism, sacrifice and race remain strong themes, although Logan did temper the language and used expressionistic color effects to express emotions.

A thematically related film on Oct. 8 is director John Ford's war drama, "They Were Expendable," with John Wayne and Robert Montgomery as PT-boat skippers in the Philippines.

"It's sort of melancholy and a little downbeat, not what we expect from Hollywood movies," Bibler said. "It's a realistic, respectful war film, with minimal political eyewash."

The Oct. 15 film also is dark, but it's another Cukor adaptation of a play, "Gaslight," with Ingrid Bergman as a Victorian-era wife being driven insane by a manipulative husband, Charles Boyer.

"I think it's a good metaphor for the whole country," Bibler said of the theme of psychological terror.

Capra returns Oct. 29 with the classic "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," with James Stewart as a Wisconsin innocent thrust into the world of cynical politicians and forced to battle for survival.

The series returns to film noir Nov. 12 with "Mildred Pierce," starring Oscar winner Joan Crawford as a woman who battles her way to business success, only to be undercut by her spoiled daughter, Ann Blyth.

Set at a time of social paranoia following World War II, the film is seen as a pairing with "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," looking at how a working woman succeeds without the help of a man.

"The paranoia in this film is about what havoc a woman in the business world could work on the community and the family," Bibler said.

The series concludes Nov. 19 with director Ingmar Bergman's "Fanny and Alexander," a rare upbeat effort by the director and the winner of four Academy Awards.

The story chronicles the lives of two children in 1907, focusing on an extended family's Christmas Eve celebration.

"I think of it as a fairly Dickensian," Bibler said. "Most people think of it as tremendously entertaining."

The silent films of the fall also shift between dramatic and comic.

The first film on Sept. 17 is "The Cat and the Canary," in which Laura LaPlante plays the heir to a fortune who must spend a night in a creepy old mansion without losing her sanity; someone in the mansion is out to drive her crazy. John Willard's stage play was adapted for the film by German expressionist director Paul Leni, who maintained a comic tone.

The Oct. 1 film is a familiar silent, the famed "The General," with Buster Keaton as a locomotive engineer out to protect his beloved locomotive of the title. The film is famed for its real-life effects, including a burning bridge and the wrecking of an actual train.

"Keaton's sensibility is that he has to make it so authentic that it hurts," Bibler said. "I think of it as one of the great Civil War films, as one of the great comedies."

The Oct. 22 film is a lavish production of the Victor Hugo classic, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," best known for Chaney's bizarre makeup as the hunchback, who falls in love with the gypsy girl Esmeralda.

Parks said it is back by popular request.

Keaton returns in the mistaken identity comedy "Battling Butler" Nov. 5, playing a foppish millionaire mistaken for a lightweight boxing contender and eventually forced to face the real Butler in the ring.

"It brings out a different side of Keaton they didn't know he had," Parks said of the boxing.

As with all the silents, Parks will accompany the film on the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ.

The film series is jointly sponsored by the Elsinore and Chemeketa Community College Humanities Department and Film Studies Program, with sponsorship by Holiday Retirement and Allied Video Productions.

rcowan(at)StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6728

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