From September 3-7 an eclectic roster of classic films will be screened at Grauman’s Egyptian Theater, thanks to the Cinecon Classic Film Festival, a Labor Day-weekend tradition that turns 51 years old this year. Cinecon’s mission is to showcase movies that have been rarely given public screenings, and we’re happy to report that seven of this year’s films were preserved through NFPF programs.
Three will grace the big screen for the first time in over nine decades. These shorts are recent highlights of our ongoing repatriation project with EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam and the American archival community. The titles are: The Darling of the CSA (1912), the tale of a daring crossdressing spy, played by Anna Q. Nilsson, who defies capture to secure explosives for the Confederate army; Red Saunders' Sacrifice (1912), a Western in which a bandit braves capture to fetch a doctor for his sweetheart’s mother; and Smash Up in China (1919), a Happy Hooligan cartoon directed by Gregory La Cava. The fresh new prints were lent by the Academy Film Archive, which also supplied Her First Kiss (1919). This short, featuring comedienne Ethel Teare performing wild stunts, was part of our New Zealand Project, which concluded in 2013 and successfully repatriated 176 titles from the New Zealand Film Archive.
Three exciting feature films playing at Cinecon were preserved through Saving the Silents, one of our earlier and biggest collaborative projects: Call of the Wild (1923), an early adaptation of Jack London's classic novel from the Hal Roach Studios; Blind Wives (1920), a moral lesson about the perils of consumerism, driven home to a spendthrift wife through three successive nightmares; and Wild and Woolly (1917), a satire scripted by Anita Loos and starring Douglas Fairbanks as an easterner who ventures into the wild west. The Museum of Modern Art in New York supervised the preservation work and supplied the prints.
Films like these are not likely to pop up at your local Cineplex or classic movie channel, so if you’re in the area, we hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity to sample these exciting silents.