Special screenings for Silent Movie Day at the Nevada Theatre
In honor of Silent Movie Day, The Onyx Downtown at the Nevada Theatre and Nevada City Film Festival will present two classic Buster Keaton films “The General” and “One Week”, beautifully restored in 4k and accompanied with a score by the famous composer Carl Davis, 7 p.m. at the Nevada Theatre. Famed movie critic Matías Bombal of Matías Bombal’s Hollywood will open the event with a special introduction.
Silent Movie Day is an annual celebration of silent movies, a vastly misunderstood and neglected cinematic art form. Early moving images are a form of time travel; they are a portal to the past that offers current audiences an opportunity to study and explore how generations before us experienced the wonder of moving images. What started as parlor entertainment evolved into a shared connection among groups of strangers gathered together in community oriented public spaces large and small. And while these films have help to inform much of modern-day filmmaking, approximately 80% of all silent pictures made in the silent era are lost forever.
“Nevada County has a rich tradition and legacy of film appreciation with festivals like Nevada City Film Festival and Wild & Scenic Film Festival, and our many local movie theaters,” explains Laurel Vieaux, who brought the event idea to organizers. “Through these early films the world first came to love movies…what better way is there to honor the origins of filmmaking than seeing the art form at its genesis? We can then appreciate the artistry, diversity and enduring value of classic films.”
Buster Keaton was a vaudeville star before the age of 10 and was preparing to make his Broadway debut in 1917 when a meeting with Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle changed both the course of his life and the history of cinema forever. Coming into prominence at the same time as Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd, Keaton — whose deadpan expressions to the onscreen comic disasters that befell him earned him the sobriquet “The Great Stone Face” — became one of the most popular and successful comic actors of the silent era.
Considered one of the greatest American films ever made, and one of the most revered comedies of the silent era, “The General” is the story of a hapless Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton) facing off against Union soldiers during the American Civil War. When Johnny’s fiancée, Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), is accidentally taken away while on a train stolen by Northern forces, Gray pursues the soldiers, using various modes of transportation in comic action scenes that highlight Keaton’s boundless wit and dexterity. Brilliantly filmed and fueled with classic physical comedy, “The General” captures Buster Keaton at his timeless best.
If “The General” captures Buster Keaton at his best “One Week” is the second independent film production he released on his own that’s as spectacular in its endearing sense of heart as it is for its seemingly death-defying stunt work. The story involves two newlyweds, Buster Keaton and Sybil Seely, who receive a build-it-yourself house as a wedding gift. The house can be built, supposedly, in “one week.” A rejected suitor secretly re-numbers packing crates. The movie recounts Keaton’s struggle to assemble the house according to this new “arrangement.”
“Silent films are important in documenting history, not only the development process/art of filmmaking itself, but as an actual snapshot in time of our history that was never available before,” explains Vieaux. “In addition, many people are not aware of the diversity in early filmmaking. Women in huge numbers made contributions as writers, directors, producers (in addition to acting) as the medium developed. People of color were also well represented (and respected). Many of these silent films feel refreshingly modern!”
Noted California showman, broadcaster and former movie palace manager Matías Bombal will introduce Sunday night’s program. He is known for his love of cinema from its beginning to the arrival of wide-screen films. This gives him a most interesting perspective on reviewing the current releases from either the major studios or independent producers. Matías Bombal writes about movies and presents movie classics at The Crocker Art Museum. He can also be heard on KAHI Radio reviewing movies on “Poppoff” twice on Fridays every week.
Source: Onyx Downtown at the Nevada Theatre and Nevada City Film Festival
WHO: Onyx Downtown at the Nevada Theatre and Nevada City Film Festival present a special screening of Buster Keaton’s “The General” and “One Week”
WHEN: Sunday, September 25
WHERE: Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad St., Nevada City, Doors 6:30 p.m., Film 7 p.m.
INFO: All-Ages, http://www.theonyxtheatre.com
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