Friday, January 22 (7:30 p.m.)
SILENT MOVIE DOUBLE FEATURE:
A Fool There Was (Fox, 1915)
The phenomenal success of A Fool There Was set off a publicity campaign unparalleled at the time centering on its star, an unknown actress bearing the exotic name of Theda Bara. Based on a Rudyard Kipling poem and a subsequent play, the film established Bara as filmdom’s quintessential “vampire,” enticing male pillars of society to fall under her entrancing spell. With such ego-shattering commands as “Kiss me, my fool,” Bara’s destructive powers appealed to women as well as men. Bara retired from the screen four years later after starring in some 40 films, establishing a new genre, and helping Fox studios become an industry leader. this film is one of only two films from her heyday that is known to exist, in addition to two others she made during an attempted comeback in the mid-1920s. A Fool There Was was preserved by the Museum of Modern Art Department of Film. Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Ben Model. Added to the National Film Registry in 2015. 67 minutes.
The Italian (Paramount, 1915)
Produced and co-written by Thomas Ince and directed by Reginald Barker, The Italian stars George Beban, a celebrated theatrical actor known for his portrayals of Italian characters, as an immigrant whose experience falls far short of the American Dream. Beban’s stage experience and personal appeal translated well to the screen; he mastered the nuances of film acting better than many of his contemporaries. Characteristic of Ince’s style, the film is an epic production of opulent sets and costumes expertly photographed. Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment. Added to the National Film Registry in 1991. 72 minutes.
Saturday, January 23 (2 p.m.)
SILENT COMEDY SHORTS FROM THE NATIONAL FILM REGISTRY
Silent film comedy historian Steve Massa will present an evening of rollicking short comedy films that are on the National Film Registry. The line-up includes: A Cure For Pokeritis (1912) starring John Bunny, in one of his “domestic” comedies, in which he portrays a henpecked husband alongside co-star Flora Finch; Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, at the height of his fame, in Fatty’s Tintype Tangle (1915); Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy attempting to sell Christmas trees in sunny California in Big Business (1928); Cops (1922), considered to be one of Buster Keaton’s best short films; Mighty Like a Moose (1926), a comedy of mistaken identity starring Charley Chase and Vivien Oakland; and Pass the Gravy (1928) starring Max Davidson trying to make peace with his future son-in-law’s family, the plot involves a prize-winning chicken. Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Ben Model. Approximately 120 minutes.
Saturday, January 23 (7:30 p.m.)
Ruggles of Red Gap (Paramount, 1935)
Renowned actor Charles Laughton, known for serious roles, takes on comedy in this tale of an English manservant won in a poker game by American Charlie Ruggles, a member of Red Gap, Washington’s extremely small social elite. Laughton, in understated valet fashion, worriedly responds: “North America, my lord. Quite an untamed country I understand.” However, once in the US, Laughton finds not uncouth backwoodsmen, but rather a more egalitarian society that soon has him reciting the Gettysburg Address, catching the American spirit and becoming a successful businessman. Directed by Leo McCarey, the film features ZaSu Pitts, Roland Young and Mary Boland. Added to the National Film Registry in 2014. The 1934 Three Stooges short Punch Drunks will precede the feature. 107 minutes.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.