The Film Schedule - TSFF 2016

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The Film Schedule

April 7
Royal Cinema 608 College St.
photo courtesy Joe Yranski

Why Be Good? 1929 84min * Canadian Premiere of Restoration
Director: William A Seiter
Starring Colleen Moore, Neil Hamilton
Although a top star in the 1920s, the name Colleen Moore has all but disappeared from memory as most of her work is now considered lost. Moore, with her razor-sharp black bob, lithe dancer body and cupid bow lips, was the physical embodiment of the flapper spirit of the Roaring ‘20s. Her on screen persona not only defined what her contemporary audiences embraced as the archetype flapper, but most of our modern interpretations of the red-hot jazz era come from her portrayals on screen.
Long thought lost, a 35mm print of this film was sitting virtually forgotten in the Bologna Italy film archive. Through the tireless work of several individuals and groups plus the co-operation of Warner Brothers and the archive, this rare treasure has been restored to full glory for modern audiences to renew their love for one of the great silent stars.
The rapidly evolving roles of women in the 1920s and the controversies surrounding them are deftly portrayed throughout the sparkling comedy. Rebelling against her father's rebukes about dress code and lifestyle, Moore, as Pert Kelly, argues that if she contributes to the household with her paycheque, then she has a right to look like and do what she wants. Pert is one of those “new women” an emancipated working gal by day complete with bobbed hair and lipstick and a wild jazz baby by night who smokes, drinks illegal booze, and flirts with men.  Her flapper reputation catches up with her after a night of risqué dancing and partying and she finds herself mistakenly linked romantically to her boss. How she gets herself out of the jamb is pure Colleen Moore and is so deliciously Twenties. A re-discovery of one of her lost classics is such a pleasure for modern audiences that there will be no objection if would-be flappers start rolling their stockings, grab some giggle water and dance baby dance.

Print courtesy of Warner Bros.

Their First Misunderstanding 1911 10min * Canadian Premiere of Restoration
Director: Thomas Ince (?)
Starring: Mary Pickford, Owen Moore
Just over a decade ago, a contractor was hired to demolish an old decaying barn in the small town of Nelson in New Hampshire. Before tearing it down, he checked to see if it was empty. It wasn’t.
Inside he discovered several reels of 35mm nitrate film. Of those, four films were considered lost, including this Pickford title. Their First Misunderstanding is a light tale of a newlywed couples’ first argument and was typical of the type of films produced at that time.
Restored by the Library of Congress, which also holds Mary Pickford’s personal film collection, this is a rare opportunity to see the first film in which Pickford was actually named (practice at the time was not to name the players).
Print courtesy of Win Raynor Collection, Keene State College Film  Archive

Musical Artist: Jordan Klapman

Co-presented by...

April 8
Revue Cinema 400 Roncesvalles Ave.
The Ensemble Polaris & Toronto Silent Film Festival presents
Epic of Everest 1924 87min *World Premiere of New Score *Toronto Premiere of Restoration
Director & Cinematographer: Captain John Noel
This is the official filmed record of the doomed Mallory and Irvine 1924 attempt to reach the summit of the highest peak in the world. Filmed in the harshest of conditions imaginable, John Noel brilliantly succeeded in capturing the soul of what was a mysterious and little understood landscape and culture. The powerful images of the approach to and of Everest itself and of the people that inhabit the surrounding region reveal the profound visual style of the filmmaker. Lying unseen and untouched for decades, it has now been restored by the BFI from the only 2 surviving prints; all tinting and toning reinstated. This film brings back to life all the beauty, isolation and vulnerability of one of the most enduring chapters in the history of exploration. Besides the breathtaking cinematography and historical significance of the expedition itself, it’s also one of the earliest films of life in Tibet. Sequences of Phari Dzong (Pagri), Shekar Dzong (Zegar) and Rongbuk monastery are interposed with life in the villages and the trek of the climbers. “Revealed by the restoration, few images in cinema are as epic – or moving – as the final shots of a blood red sunset over the Himalayas.”-BFI
Print Courtesy of BFI National Archive & Kino-Lorber

World premiere of new score by Ensemble Polaris, performed live!
April 9
Revue Cinema 400 Roncesvalles Ave.
4 pm

1000 Laffs: Rare and Strange 107min (approx.)
The bad boys and gals of Roaring Twenties comedy are back and anarchy reigns supreme. They told jokes without uttering a word, performed unbelievable feats of daring-do, had a complete disregard for private property or personal dignity and drove way, way too fast. These were the talented but deranged men and women that made legions of fans and influenced every comedian since. Familiar faces will be joined by some lesser knowns in a rollicking laugh fest of monumental porportions.

Musical Artist: Laura Sgroi
April 10
Fox Theatre 2236 Queen St. E
4 pm

Mark of Zorro 1920 107min
Director: Fred Niblo
Starring: Douglas Fairbanks, Marguerite de La Motta, Noah Berry, Claire McDowell
As filmgoers await yet another remake of Zorro in 2016, it’s a good time to re-examine the original screen Zorro and become reacquainted with the incredible feats of the first king of Hollywood, Douglas Fairbanks. Its success not only filled the coffers of United Artists, the company he co-founded the year before, but changed the course of his career. Fairbanks was already established as a well-liked, gregarious light comedian on screen and he was greatly concerned that his fans might not accept him in a costume adventure film. Audiences readily embraced the transformation and Fairbanks became the action superstar he is best known for today. Zorro turned out to be the perfect showcase for his daring athletic style, exuberance, and mischievous comedy.  His adaptation of The Curse of Capistrano proved to be so successful that all later versions of Zorro on film, radio, television, video games, and comic books are based on the archetype that Fairbanks created, right down to the black mask. In addition, the influence with more modern superheroes likes Batman and Indiana Jones (soft spoken man turning into a dynamic athletic hero) can be traced back to this film.
Musical Artist: Fern Lindzon

April 11
Casa Loma 1 Austin Terrace
8pm *please note that there will be an intermission during this performance

Toronto Theatre Organ Society in association with the Toronto Silent Film Festival presents
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ 1925 143min
Director: Fred Niblo
Starring: Ramon Navarro, Francis X Bushman, Carmel Myers, May McAvoy, Betty Bronson
Amazing! Thrilling! Colossal! Mighty! Those were films’ original tag lines and they are as true today as they were back in late 1925. With the impending release of a new film version in 2016, it’s time to revisit the impressive silent classic. Regarded as one of the greatest historical epics ever made, the story behind the its making is almost as long as the film itself and taxed the newly formed MGM to the maximum: wholesale firing of cast and director, sunken ships, behind the scenes interference from the Fascist government of Mussolini, merging of companies, vast sets, skyrocketing costs, and ambitious technical achievements (including 6 Technicolor sequences). A smash success upon release, it still brings audiences to their feet.
Judah Ben-Hur, the young heir to a noble Jewish family is childhood friends with Messala, a Roman noble. When they meet again as adults, it’s as conquered and conqueror. A fatal accident is mistaken for something more sinister and Messala destroys the Hur family and sends Ben-Hur to the slave galley ships. After years of hardship and an iron determination to live, Judah returns home a revered and wealthy athlete harbouring a deep hatred for Messala and seeking revenge for his lost family.
Print Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Musical Artist: Clark Wilson on the Wurlitzer Theatre Organ with a score devised from the original release composition
April 12
Innis Town Hall 2 Sussex Ave.

Romance of Far Fur Country 1920 120min *Toronto Premiere
Cinematography: Harold Wyckoff, Bill Derr
In 1919, the Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC) commissioned a film to showcase their history and work for their 250th anniversary the next year. A 2 man camera crew was dispatched for a six month expedition that took them from coast to coast to coast. They shot unique, never before seen footage of the HBC fur trade in remote outposts, met with numerous First Nations, Inuit and Metis trappers and visited many remote communities. From the Montreal departure to the vast expanses of James Bay and down west through the country, cameraman Harold Wyckoff hauled his half ton of camera gear and precious nitrate film by canoe, portage, dog sled, train and ship. Rare footage includes a Potlatch ceremony (outlawed at that time) at Alert Bay on the BC coast, the frozen beauty of the Athabasca River at -30 degrees, remote communities and the work of trappers. It all adds up to an incomparable trip back in time and across this country.  It was released with great fanfare and to packed houses in 1920 and then simply disappeared.
Unlike so many films from the silent era, this one had a happy ending due to the efforts of Dr. Peter Geller and Kevin Nikkel. In 2011, the film reels were repatriated to the HBC Archives in Winnipeg from the BFI Archives and the lengthy process to put the film back together and to digitise it began.
“Romance of the Far Fur Country creates a richer and more complete picture of HBC’s long history in Canada’s North. At the same time, it provides a unique window into First Nations communities and the Company’s northern operations during the early part of the 20th Century” ...Maureen Dolyniuk, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Print Courtesy of the Winnipeg Film Group

Musical Artist: Bill O’Meara

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Co-presented by...



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