Having just completed their annual , things quiet down a little in July at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont. This month, Niles will screen two seldom seen features , The Whip (1917) and The Sea Hawk (1924), a documentary on Sutro’s – San Francisco’s privately owned swimming, ice-skating and museum complex, as well as their regular monthly Comedy Short Subject Night and Laurel & Hardy Talkie Matinee. Here is the line-up for the month.
Saturday Night at the Movies, with Judy Rosenberg at the Kurzweil
Saturday July 7 at 7:30 pm
The Whip (1917, Paragon Films) is an early work by Maurice Tourneur, a director once considered the equal of Cecil B. DeMille and D. W. Griffith. The film, a melodrama based on a stage play, stars Irving Cummings, Alma Hanlon and June Elvidge, and tells the story of a racehorse named the Whip, an amnesiac nobleman who loves the horse, and the villains who attempt to keep it from racing. The feature will be preceded by two short comedies with “all-star” casts: Step Lively (1917, Rolin) with Harold Lloyd, ‘Snub’ Pollard and Bebe Daniels, and Teddy at the Throttle (1917, Keystone) with Bobby Vernon, Gloria Swanson, Wallace Beery, and Teddy the Dog.
Laurel & Hardy Talkie Matinee
Sunday July 8 at 4:00 pm
This month’s Laurel & Hardy Talkie Matinee includes a short feature, Saps at Sea (1940), in which Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy take an ocean voyage to cure Ollie’s severe case of “hornophobia,” and two short films, Hook & Ladder (1932) with Our Gang, and Towed in a Hole (1932) with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
Saturday July 14
No program is scheduled, as much of the Niles staff will be at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Nevertheless, the Niles museum is open for tours from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm.
Comedy Short Subject Night, with Greg Pane at the piano
Saturday July 21 at 7:30 pm
This laugh-packed comedy program features some of the most famous comedians of the silent era. On the bill are The Rink (1916, Lone Star) with Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance, Dog Shy (1926, Roach) with Charley Chase, The High Sign (1921, Comique) with Buster Keaton, and Double Whoopee (1929, Hal Roach) with Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, and Jean Harlow. Yes, the “platinum blonde” in an early role.
Sutro’s: The Palace at Lands End
Sunday July 22 at 4:00 pm
Local filmmaker Tom Wyrsch’s feature-length documentary, Sutro’s: The Palace at Lands End (2011), returns to Niles for an encore performance. This feature length documentary film tells the story of San Francisco’s privately owned swimming, ice-skating and museum complex built in the late 19th century. Once, it was the world’s largest swimming pool establishment. Wyrsch’s film is an 84-minute tour of Sutro Baths, continuing where his Remembering Playland left off.
Saturday Night at the Movies, with Jon Mirsalis at the Kurzweil
Saturday July 28 at 7:30 pm
In The Sea Hawk (1924, First National), Milton Sills, Wallace Beery and Enid Bennett head an impressive cast in this part color, swashbuckling adventure directed by Frank Lloyd. The Sea Hawk was filmed again in 1940. This version, filmed in part near Santa Catalina Island and the Channel Islands off the California coast, is a complete restoration. Preceding the feature are two shorts, Felix Turns the Tide (1922, Sullivan) with Felix the Cat, and The Best Man (1928, Mack Sennett) with Billy Bevan and Vernon Dent.
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. He will be signing copies of his “Louise Brooks edition” of Margarete Bohme’s novel, The Diary of a Lost Girl, following the screening of Pandora’s Box at this year’s San Francisco Silent Film Festival.