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Cinecon 42 in Pictures

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Saturday Day 3

Saturday morning started off with the Society for Cinephiles annual business meeting. Club president Bob Birchard led the meeting. Various issues were discussed and officers were elected with the slate staying the same as last year: President Bob Birchard, Vice Presidents Robert Nudleman and Marvin Paige and Secretary Stan Taffel.

ROMANCE OF THE UNDERWORLD a snappy silent melodrama from 1928 started off the day's films. Mary Astor is a dance hall girl who works her way to respectability, marries successful John Boles and starts a family. Everything is going well until her past resurfaces and threatens to ruin her happy home.

Next up was the British comedy ASK A POLICEMAN from 1938. The farce starred Will Hay, Graham Moffatt, and Moore Marriott as police in a small town that is so quiet that the boys have to make up crimes to keep themselves busy. The screenplay was by former Cinecon honoree, Val Guest. We ran another Will Hay comedy, OH, MR. PORTER back in 2003 when we honored Mr. Guest.

Med shot of Linda Wada addressing the audience image

Meanwhile over at the Renaissance Hotel our silent film fans were looking forward to a special presentation, the premiere screening of THE ANGEL FROM NEVADA, a documentary about Charlie Chaplan's favorite leading lady Edna Purviance. The documentary featured rare pictures of Chaplan and reminisces of Edna's grand niece, Lita Hill, who knew Edna personally.

Documentary maker Linda Wada introduced the documentary and gave some background on the piece. She also introduced Lita Hill who was present for the screening.

Since many of our members are avid silent film fans there was quite a turn out for the show. By time the program started it was standing room only.

Linda from behind with a view of the audience image

Lita Hill talking to group of fans image

After the documentary many enthusiastic fans gathered around Lita Hill to talk further with her.

Before leaving Lita and Linda posed for pictures with Cinecon officer Stan Taffel.

To find out more about the documentary or Edna Purviance's career visit Linda's comprehensive website, www.ednapurviance.org.

Lita Hill, Stan Taffel and Linda Wada smiling for the camera image

 

 

Early in his career before silent comedian Harold Lloyd found his trademark persona he did a series of silent shorts as a character called 'Lonesome Luke'. Most of those shorts have been lost but one of them from 1915, PECULIAR PATIENTS' PRANKS, was recently restored and we had the chance to see it as the afternoon screening session began.

Raymond Griffith is the "Crime Deflector" in the 1923 comedy/mystery RED LIGHTS. Marie Prevost is the damsel in distress with Jean Hersholt, Alice Lake and Johnnie Walker along for the ride. There are quite a few laughs in this film despite a somewhat disjoined plot that takes us from Los Angeles' famed Ambassador Hotel to train-board mystery involving murder. Then to top it off there's an exciting runaway train sequence with a stunning climax.

Next we went from classic film to classic television with a screening of THE ERNIE KOVACS SHOW, a half hour special from January 1957. The print was provided to us by the UCLA Film and Television Archive (shown with permission from Edie Adams) and is one of only two color Kinescopes known to exist (yes, color TV from 1957). Kovacs reportedly had a free hand to do what he wanted with the show and being a silent film fan he chose to do a mostly wordless show save for the brief introduction. The show included an early incarnation of his classic "Eugene" sketch as well as the Nairobi Trio.

The 1948 film noir MOONRISE took us to the dinner break. The gripping drama starring Dane Clark and Gail Russell. It traced the journey of a man who is on the run from an accidental murder. The film follows his struggle to decide whether to turn himself in or not as he is hounded by the police on his trail.

 
After dinner the evening session started with the silent short WET AND WARMER. This unusual comedy was directed by Harry Lehmen who became known for his wild fast paced films

PHIL FOR SHORT is a 1917 comedy starring Evelyn Greeley as free spirit Damophilia Illington (“Phil” for short), who tries to make her way in the world after her father dies rather suddenly. She takes a job as an assistant at a university where she falls in love with a misogynistic professor (played by Hugh Thompson). She ends up dressing like a man to spend time with him but eventually wins him over to her feminine side.

The off beat comedy ONE HYSTERICAL NIGHT (1929) featured silent film star Reginald Denny in one of his early sound films. Denny plays the recent heir to a fortune whose relatives scheme to get at his money by having him committed. They get him to dress as Napoleon and convince him that he's on his way to a costume party. He ends up in an asylum with where the inmates are allowed to dress as the historical characters that they think they are. There were quite a few laughs, especially from supporting players Slim Summerville, Joyzelle Joyner and Fritz Feld.

We were privileged to see the 1938 Republic film OVERLAND STAGE RAIDERS in a stunning new 35mm print, the first new print made of this film since its 1953 reissue. The film was part of the three Mesquiteers series starring John Wayne, Ray "Crash" Corrigan and Max Terhune with the added bonus of silent film star Louise Brooks in her last film appearance.




Cinecon 42 in Pictures

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Sunday Day 4

The Sunday screenings began with a program of Vitaphone shorts. 'Vitaphone' was the early sound system developed by Warner Bros. Studios in the late 1920s which ushered in the talking picture revolution. Most of the shorts were musicals, some featuring the top musical talent of the era with others showing unusual or specialty vaudeville acts. The program lasted about 2 hours and featured 11 shorts. This wonderful Vitaphone package was put together by the UCLA Film and Television Archive with crisp prints and the best sound quality available.

All of our silent aficionados were looking forward to the next film, HEAD OVER HEELS (1922), starring comedian Mabel Normand. In this cute little comedy Mabel plays an Italian acrobat who is brought to America by a theatrical agent. The problem? He doesn't know what to do with her when she arrives. He decides to give her a makeover and put her in the movies. One of the best parts of the film is a fantacy sequence where Mabel imagins herself as a 'vamp'.

 

During the lunch break Actor Tab Hunter
was at the hotel to sign copies of his recent book, TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL: The Making of a Movie Star.

Tab Hunter signing book for a fan image

Tab Hunter holding his book with inset close-up of the book image also links to his web site

The afternoon session began with a fragment of film PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE from 1917.

BETTY TAKES A HAND in helping her spendthrift aunt and cousins raise money by turning their family home into a boarding house while they are away. Former Ziegfeld Girl Olive Thomas plays the optimistic, sweet natured Betty in this 1918 silent comedy and Charles Gunn plays her first boarder, a handsome young man who helps her with her plan.

Then it was on to a World War II drama from 1943 about espionage called THEY CAME TO BLOW UP AMERICA starring George Sanders as a German-American recruited by Germany to train as a saboteur.

Close-up of Tab Hunter speaking image

The last screening of the afternoon was also our final celebrity screening of the weekend, a showing of the 1959 drama THAT KIND OF WOMAN in a beautiful new print made for our show, starring Sophia Loren and our guest for the afternoon, the dashing Tab Hunter.

In the film, set in 1944, Tab is a young paratrooper on leave with his buddy, Jack Warden. They meet two women, Sophia and Barbara Nichols, while traveling on a train from Miami to New York. Tab falls for Sophia (who wouldn’t?) not knowing she is the mistress of a rich industrialist.

After the film Cinecon president Bob Birchard introduced Tab and the two talked about his long career which started in 1950 with a bit part in THE LAWLESS .

Tab spoke about his early career including his work in such films as BATTLE CRY (1955), LAFAYETTE ESCADRILLE (1958) and the film he is perhaps best remembered for, DAMN YANKEES! (1958).

Tab Hunter being interviewed by Bob Birchard image

Another Tab Hunter close-up image

After the interview Bob asked for questions from the audience and Tab answered quite a few before it was time to wrap up.

After the Q and A Tab took time to pose for some pictures. He also had a visit from British band singer Beryl Davis. She joined Tab and Cinecon Vice President Marvin Paige in some of the pictures.

Tab Hunter with Marvin Paige and Beryl Davis smiling for the camera image

Tab Hunter talking to a fan image

After posing for many pictures Tab took a few minutes to talk to fans and even sign some autographs before heading over to the Renaissance hotel.

 

After the show and Q & A with Mr. Hunter, Cinephiles rushed back to the hotel to get ready for the cocktail reception and celebrity banquet.



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