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Performance Notes for this free eventFeb.  25 & 26, 2005

twinkling star animation

| Program | Notes
| Recap


Introductions by Denise Morrisonblank
Music provided by Dr. Marvin Faulwell
and by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra

Friday, Feb. 25, 2005

Begins: 7:00 p.m.

THOSE AWFUL HATS (1909 / directed by D.W. Griffith) - This very short Griffith film was designed to emphasize the importance of ladies removing their hats in modern cinemas and nickelodeons. Those few women who failed to do so.....would be removed!
-- Music by Dr. Marvin Faulwell

NEVER WEAKEN (1921 / with Harold Lloyd) - One of Harold Lloyd’s early thrill comedies, this one follows love sick Harold trying to impress his receptionist girlfriend (Mildred Davis). When it looks as though she has rejected him, Harold attempts suicide and winds up in a series of dangerous locations on a building under construction.
-- Music by Music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra

PASS THE GRAVY (1928 / with Max Davidson) - Most movie fans (even silent film fans) have never heard of Jewish comedian Max Davidson, but (believe us) you’ve missed a true master of silent screen comedy if you’ve not seen a Davidson short. Here’s one of his very best!
-- Music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra

WHEN THE CLOUDS ROLL BY (1919 / with Douglas Fairbanks) - Most people remember the great, athletic star, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. for his remarkable series of costume adventures (three of which—THE MARK OF ZORRO, THE BLACK PIRATE and THE THIEF OF BAGDAD—were shown at previous KSFF events). Before Fairbanks donned the costumes of Zorro, Robin Hood and D'Artagnon, he starred in an entire series of wacky, thrill-a-minute, laugh-a-minute comedies that wowed audiences and made him a star. WHEN THE CLOUDS ROLL BY is a neat satire on psychiatry with incredibly elaborate dream sequences featuring trick effects that are still impressive today. Doug’s philosophy shines through “To blazes with worrying about why things happen. Just make the best of everything, face life with a smile and above all, don’t take anything too seriously.” This film was co-directed by Victor Fleming, who later helmed GONE WITH THE WIND and THE WIZARD OF OZ (both 1939).
-- Music by Dr. Marvin Faulwell, organ, Bob Keckeisen, drums
-- This film will be presented in 35mm format

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Saturday - Feb. 26, 2005

Morning - starts at 10 a.m.

THE SUN DOWN LIMITED (1923 / with Our Gang) - Our Gang (also known as Hal Roach’s Rascals and The Little Rascals) appeared in 221 shorts between 1922 and 1944. Most of these were two-reelers (20 minutes) with later installments being one-reelers (10 minutes). Although the most popular Rascals (Spanky, Alfalfa and Darla) wouldn’t come along until the mid-1930's, the early Gang members were still lovable, natural child actors and the series was always a hit in theaters. This episode involves the Gang creating their own railroad train and having a grand time with it until a rival switches tracks and forces their train into downtown Los Angeles traffic!
-- Music by Dr. Marvin Faulwell

MICKEY IN SCHOOL (1926 / with Mickey (himself) McGuire - Because Our Gang was an incredibly popular series, it had many imitators. One of the most successful of these was a series based on the Toonerville Folks newspaper cartoon strip. It featured a little wise guy character named Mickey McGuire. On screen, he was played for six years by a very talented child actor named Mickey Rooney, who managed to stay a star for many years afterwards. This is a rare comedy that gives us a glimpse of this young star long before his more successful feature film career.
-- Music by Dr. Marvin Faulwell

HIS MAJESTY, THE SCARECROW OF OZ (1914 / produced by L. Frank Baum) - L. Frank Baum created the charming American fairy tale, THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ in 1900. It was transformed into several plays and many movie versions before the definitive 1939 MGM musical with Judy Garland. In 1914, Baum made his own series of Oz films, based loosely on his series of books (he wrote 19 Oz books before his death in 1919). This film is part of that series and features many unusual characters and a different vision of Kansas.
-- Music by Dr. Marvin Faulwell

--Lunch Break

Afternoon - starts at 1:30 p.m.

THE HAZARDS OF HELEN (1915 / Chapter 9 of the serial, “The Leap from the Water Tower”) - Most historians recall that the American movie serial began with THE PERILS OF PAULINE (1914) with Pearl White, but several movie serials began that same year including THE EXPLOITS OF ELAINE and this serial, THE HAZARDS OF HELEN featuring Helen Holmes. However, neither of those earlier serials could compare to HELEN’s length. It ran in one reel installments from week to week for an astonishing 119 episodes, showing in theatres from 1914 to 1917. This film is just one episode and, unlike the usual cliffhanger serials, the HELEN episodes featured a self-contained story so it’s more like a series than a serial. Helen Holmes played a railroad telegraph operator, but the real star of this chapter is No. 3001 of the Santa Fe, the largest train engine built up to that time...and it was built in Topeka, Kansas.
-- Music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchesta

NELL GWYN (1926 / with Dorothy Gish) - When movie historians and critics recall the great silent actresses, the sister team of Lillian and Dorothy Gish usually makes the list. Lillian was the great dramatic actress featured in many classic D. W. Griffith films. Dorothy was the comedienne. She was capable of fine dramatic performances (watch both sisters in Griffith’s ORPHANS OF THE STORM, for instance), but also able
to get laughs and smiles. Unfortunately, many of Dorothy’s films are very hard to find and this one, NELL GWYN is one of her best. Dorothy plays a poor street waif, who is met by a king and plans to change her life with this occurance.
-- Music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchesta

--Short Break

THE ROARING ROAD (1919 / with Wallace Reid) - Wally Reid was one of the most popular young stars in early films. He was a dashing presence, always willing to take a dare and romance a pretty girl. In this film, he’s one of the original dragsters, racing a number of vintage cars. If you think a film about wild and speed-crazy youth couldn’t have been made this early, you’d better check out this film.
-- Music by Dr. Marvin Faulwell

EXCUSE MY DUST (1920 / with Wallce Reid) - Wally is back behind the wheel in this sequel to THE ROARING ROAD made only a year later. Wally attempts to settle down and raise a family, but racing is in his blood and he can’t even seem to keep Wally Jr. off the track. Another fast paced and amusing racing film!
-- Music by Dr. Marvin Faulwell

--Dinner Break

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Evening - starts at 7:00 p.m.

WRONG AGAIN (1928 / by Laurel and Hardy) - The most popular comedy team of the silent film era returns to our festival with another crowd pleaser. Stan and Ollie discover that “Blue Boy”, a prize race horse has been stolen. They know exactly where he is and want to return him for the reward. The only problem is that the stolen “Blue Boy” is a painting. This misunderstanding could only be handled by Laurel and Hardy and, as usual, the laughs never stop!
-- Music by Dr. Marvin Faulwell

A WOMAN (1916 / with Charlie Chaplin) - The great Charlie Chaplin also returns to our festival with one of his most unusual shorts. Charlie disguises himself as a woman and spends most of his screen time sans moustache! And he makes a surprisingly fetching dame at that!
-- Music by Dr. Marvin Faulwell

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925 / with Lon Chaney) - This is probably the most famous silent film ever made. Lon Chaney Sr.’s performance as the masked Phantom is part of screen history. The Paris Opera House is haunted by a bizarre, shadowy figure, who falls in love with a rising young opera star (Mary Philbin). He kidnaps her and takes her to his lair far below the building. Her hero, Raoul (Norman Kerry) dashes to her rescue with the help of an undercover Paris policeman. It’s all a lot of splendid hokum that had audiences waiting in line to see it. PHANTOM was remade several times as a talkie and was (of course) the inspiration for the smash hit Broadway musical (and new film version), but this is the original! The 1925 version of this film was destroyed in a studio fire and mediocre prints of it are all that survive. The film was re-released in 1929, partially re-shot and re-edited and is still the better version of this classic tale. Our 1929 re-release is shown with the startling Bal-Masque sequence in two-strip Technicolor. A Masterpiece!
-- Music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra and by Dr. Marvin Faulwell
-- This film will be presented in 35mm format

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About Denise Morrison:

Denise MorrisonDenise Morrison is a film historian from Kansas City, Missouri, with a special focus on silent film. She works as an archivist with Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, and has been involved with the Kansas Silent Film Festival since the beginning. She was quite active with the Granada Theatre in Kansas City, Kansas, when they were showing a full schedule of silent movies. Denise will give an overview of the silent film era and also provide introductions to each film.

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About Marvin Faulwell:

Dr. Marvin FaulwellDr. Marvin Faulwell is a dentist from Kansas City who is a very accomplished theatre organist. He has played for all of the previous five Silent Film Festivals and our "sister project," Silents in the Cathedral, held every Halloween at Grace Cathedral in Topeka. He has a large theatre organ in his home and also restores the instruments. He has appeared in concert and accompanied silent film programs in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Minnesota and also accompanied many silent films shown at the Granada Theatre in Kansas City, Kansas.read 2004 newspaper feature, with link to audio discussion

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About the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra:

Mont Alto Motion Picture OrchestraThe Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra comes from Boulder, Colorado and have appeared at this festival since the third events, held in 1999. The orchestra consists of a piano, violin, cello, clarinet, and trumpet. They are quite active in their hometown have appeared several times in California, at the Buster Keaton Celebration in Iola, Kansas (since 1998) and at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado. They have made three CDs of salon music and silent film music. They have provided the music scores for numerous silent films on video and DVD including Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1920), Blood and Sand (1922), and The Thief of Bagdad (1924) for Kino Video.

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