Things heats up in August at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont. Known among early film devotees around the world, the venerable museum and theater is set to once again screen rarely shown early feature films (some not available on DVD), along with animated shorts and their regular "Comedy Short Subject Night" and Laurel & Hardy Talkie Matinee.
Here is the line-up for the month of August:
"Saturday Night at the Movies" with Judy Rosenberg at the piano
Saturday August 4 at 7:30 pm
In Dancing Mothers (1926, Paramount), energetic "It girl" Clara Bow steals the show in this jazz age melodrama about societal expectations with a surprise ending. Penned by Edmund Goulding, and directed by Herbert Brenon, Dancing Mothers also features Alice Joyce, Conway Tearle, Donald Keith and Leila Hyams. A tinted version will be shown. The feature will be preceded by two shorts films, the animated Automobile Ride (1921, Bray) with Koko the Clown, and Dad’s Choice (1928, Paramount) with Edward Everett Horton.
"Saturday Night at the Movies" with Bruce Loeb at the piano
Saturday August 11 at 7:30 pm
In Wild Beauty (1927, Universal), crooks attempt to effect the outcome of a horse race in order to take over a ranch - that's if Rex the Wonder Horse can be controlled. Rex, one of the most animal actors of his time, stars here as a wild horse smitten by a thoroughbred rescued from a World War I battlefield. Along with this bit of horse romance, there’s plenty of satisfying racehorse action in this major Universal Jewel production. June Marlowe, who played Miss Crabtree, the teacher in the "Our Gang" comedies, is featured. A tinted print of Wild Beauty will be shown. The feature will be preceded by two shorts films, Felix Wins Out (1923, Sullivan) with Felix the Cat, and Sword Points (1928, Lupino Lane Comedy) with Lupino Lane.
"Laurel & Hardy Talkie Matinee"
Sunday August 12 at 4:00 pm
This month's Laurel & Hardy Talkie Matinee features four comedic shorts, Them Thar Hills (1934) and Tit for Tat (1935), each with Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, and Mae Busch, and Forgotten Babies (1933) and For Pete’s Sake (1934), with Our Gang.
"Comedy Short Subject Night" with Bruce Loeb at the piano
Saturday August 18 at 7:30 pm
Love to laugh? Then don't miss this monthly program which features some of the most famous comedians of the silent era. On the bill are The Adventurer (1917, Lone Star) with Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance, Cops (1922, Buster Keaton) with Buster Keaton, Number Please (1920, Rolin) with Harold Lloyd, and Bacon Grabbers (1929, Hal Roach) with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
"Saturday Night at the Movies" with Frederick Hodges at the piano
Saturday August 25 at 7:30 pm
One of the surprise hits of the recently concluded San Francisco Silent Film Festival was Josef von Sternberg's The Docks of New York (1928). The director's atmospheric story of hapless souls straight out of a police line-up was downbeat, but moody and appealing. Add a dash of danger, and the same can be said for Underworld (1927, Paramount). Solid performances by George Bancroft, Clive Brook and sultry Evelyn Brent along with the sure directing hand of von Sternberg makes this gangster melodrama a classic. Preceding the feature are two shorts, the animated Cartoon Factory (1924, Out of the Inkwell) with Koko the Clown, and Limousine Love (1928, Roach) with Charley Chase.
For more info: The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum is located at 37417 Niles Blvd. in Fremont, California. For further information, call (510) 494-1411 or visit the Museum's website at www.nilesfilmmuseum.org/.
Thomas Gladysz is a Bay Area arts journalist and early film buff, and the Director of the Louise Brooks Society, an internet-based archive and international fan club devoted to the silent film star. Gladysz has contributed to books on the actress, organized exhibits, appeared on television and radio, and introduced Brooks' films around the world.