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Performance Notes for this free eventFeb. 27 & 28, 2009twinkling star animation

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Introductions by Denise Morrison
Music provided by Marvin Faulwell, Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
Greg Foreman
, Kathy Combs and Jeff Rapsis
Special guests: Film preservationist David Shepard

                          Documentary filmmaker Nicholas Eliopoulos
The event is free and open to the public. The KSFF is underwritten by donations

Friday, Feb. 27, 2009

Begins: 7:00 p.m.

Short: Rowdy Ann (1919) Fay Tincher (20 min.)
— This brash short film is one of the few silent movies to depict a heroic, rough-hewn leading character who is also a woman. She lassoes steers and men with equal ease and is just as handy with a six-gun as the guys. Her name is Rowdy Ann and she’s sent off to a boarding school where she rescues just about everyone she meets.
Organ music by Greg Foreman


Short: Go West (1925) Buster Keaton (70 min.)
— Kansas-born Buster Keaton is the unlikely hero of this impressive feature film in which he takes Horatio Alger’s famous saying ("Go West, Young Man") to heart. He heads out west to work at a dude ranch and (as often happens) everything there is given the Keaton-esque twist. There are procedures for milking cows, riding mules and playing cards. Keaton must even save the day when a shipment of cattle heads into downtown Los Angeles.
Organ music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra

--Brief Break
Intermission Slides
from the Dave Stevenson Collection featuring Jeff Rapsis (of New Hampshire’s Wilton Town Hall Silent Film series) on piano

Feature: The Great K & A Train Robbery (1926) Tom Mix (54 min.)
— A surprisingly short, but astounding silent western feature—one of the best (if not THE best) silent film Tom Mix ever made. Tom and his wonder horse Tony do some awesome stunts and many scenes in the film were actually filmed on location in Glenwood Springs, Colorado back in the 1920’s. If you have never seen a Tom Mix western, this is the one you should see! The plot is rather old hat. The hero wears a mask to hide his identity, but this was before the Lone Ranger and several other masked heroes. It was all new in 1926.
Organ music by Marvin Faulwell & percussion by Kathy Combs

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Saturday - Feb. 28, 2009

Morning - starts at 9 a.m.

Feature: The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917) Mary Pickford (65 min.)
— This is the feature film that put little Mary Pickford on the map as a star. She was known before, but this one put her name above the title. Fans came to see her pictures after this, no matter what the title. It was also a role that typecast her forever as a child afterwards. Even when she was in her thirties she was still playing little girls and was known as "America’s Sweetheart." This delightful yet important story is about the importance of family. The little girl here (Mary Pickford) has everything that money can buy except time with her parents. It was just what a war weary nation needed at the time.
Organ music by Marvin Faulwell

Special Kansas Premiere: Mary Pickford: The Muse of the Movies (2008 documentary by Nicholas Eliopoulos 101 min.) Film-maker will be here in person for introduction and Q & A
— This new documentary traces the life and work of the legendary silent film star, movie pioneer, and keen business woman who co-created United Artists Studios. Pickford’s life (1892-1979) also parallels an even larger story, the telling of the “birth of the cinema” itself. Mary, known as “America’s Sweetheart” was the first actress to earn one million dollars during a single year, and the only star to ever receive a 50% profit share of her movies. Through restored vintage audio recordings, Pickford narrates her own story along with actor Michael York. Cameo interviews with Adolph Zukor, famed aviator Amelia Earhart, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Buddy Rogers, Lillian Gish, and rare home movies give the viewer an in depth look into the early world of American cinema.

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--Lunch Break

Afternoon - starts at 1:00 p.m.

Short: Movie Night (1929) Charlie Chase (20 min.)
— A family goes on its weekly outing to the movies, but the evening is hampered by an attempt to pass the wife's brother off as a child, a crowded theater, and the daughter's apparently contagious case of the hiccups.
Music by Jeff Rapsis

Feature: Cobra (1925) Rudolph Valentino & Nita Naldi (75 min.)
— Who was the icon of seductive charm, Hollywood glamour and irresistible sexuality? Rudolph Valentino, of course and here’s proof. Cobra is Valentino’s first independent production, released less than a year before his untimely death. Here, he plays the suave Rodrigo Torriani whose affairs with various women have caused his retreat from his native Italy to New York where he becomes an antique dealer. Things start to heat up again when the boss’s new wife takes an interest in him. She’s played by one of the great femme fatales of the silent era – Nita Naldi, and her snake-like gaze, may lead to Rodrigo's downfall. Handsomely produced with sets by William Cameron Menzies, gowns by Adrian and shimmering cinematography by J.D. Jennings and Harry Fischbeck, this is a grand silent movie with lots to say about the "Battle of the Sexes."
Music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra

--Brief Break
Intermission Slides
from the Dave Stevenson Collection featuring Jeff Rapsis (of New Hampshire’s Wilton Town Hall Silent Film series) on piano

Short: Kidding Katie (1923) Babe London & Dorothy Devore (20 min.)
— A delightful and unusual comedy short featuring women in the leads; Babe has been corresponding with a mail-order groom but when he arrives to collect his "prize" he finds she has substituted her sister Dorothy's photo...and he's got double what he bargained for.
Organ music by Marvin Faulwell

Feature: Her Sister from Paris (1925) Constance Talmadge & Ronald Colman (74 min.)
— Another KSFF coup is this impressive rarely-shown comedy featuring Constance Talmadge. Part of a family of movie stars (that included Constance, Norma and Natalie), the Talmadges were a prominent force in Hollywood movies for many years. Few of their movies survive, but this is one of Constance’s very best. She plays a troubled housewife whose husband seems to take her very much for granted until she gets a visit from the title character (to whom she bears a striking resemblance). The Parisian sister teaches her American sister how to win back her husband using her ‘vampy’ techniques. This could almost be described as a Ernst Lubitsch movie without Lubitsch—a top-notch sophisticated romantic comedy.
Organ music by Greg Foreman
(DVD Presentation of a Restored Film)

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--Dinner Break

Bardelys poster5:15 to 6:45pm:The first ever KANSAS SILENT FILM FESTIVAL CINEMA-DINNER
Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center (17th & Jewell) – Washburn University campus

David ShephardThis special Dinner Event is by reservation only. Deadline
for making reservations has past.

Special guest David Shepard – film restoration expert will be speaking about his recent film projects including our main feature for the evening – the previously lost Bardelys the Magnificent. Attendees will receive a special gift before departing for White Concert Hall and the Cinema Event of the Season—the first U.S.A. screening of the newly restored Bardelys the Magnificent and the conclusion of KSFF 13.

Evening - starts at 7:00 p.m.

Short: A Flash of Light (1910) Directed by D.W. Griffith (15 min.)
— We continue a multi-year tradition of always running a short film or feature by the Father of Film, D.W. Griffith. Uniquely talented in many ways, Griffith discovered and created the ‘language of cinema’ in many of his short films (often less than 10 minutes long) which usually had a moral and a lesson built in. This wild melodrama deals with the issue of the ideal wife in an era of successive divorces. Mary Pickford has a small part in the supporting cast.
Organ music by Marvin Faulwell

Short: That's My Wife (1929) Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy (20 min.)
— It is amazing to note that the primary output of what was arguably the greatest comedy team ever assembled in the history of the movies or popular media – Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy – lasted only a decade (from 1927 to 1937). They did make several feature films after 1937, but their core development as comedians came out of this prime ten-year period. Here is one of their best short films in which Ollie’s wife leaves him at the beginning (because he spends too much time with Stan). In comes rich Uncle Burnel, who wants to make sure that Ollie is happily married before he writes him into his will. Who can play Mrs. Hardy for a night? Well, Stan of course. The whole incredible story is a wild mixture of gags and routines that Stan and Ollie may have polished in the future, but rarely outdid.
Organ music by Greg Foreman

Feature: Bardelys the Magnificent (1926) John Gilbert (90 min.)
— This classic was recently discovered in the cellar of a building in France. It was restored by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange of Lobster Films in Paris. David Shepard and Jeffrey Masino of Flicker Alley Films assisted and are handling both the movie's U. S. theatrical and DVD release. Shepard and Masino used various sources including the English title list and continuity log to reconstruct an English version of the movie (when it was recovered, all of the inter-titles were in French). This reconstruction also utilizes a U.S. promotional trailer which luckily contained the original English main title artwork. The print is missing approximately ten minutes (equating one reel) which has been recreated using continuity and production stills. A new score is being assembled by KSFF's own Rodney Sauer and the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra; Mont Alto has been a long time favorite at the Kansas festival, playing every year since 1997. It was with the support of Sauer and the blessing of Shepard, both friends of the Kansas festival, that got the U.S. premiere event slated for Topeka. And both will be on hand at the festival—Shepard to introduce the film and Mont Alto to perform their score live.
    A New York Times review from November 1, 1926, described the main character as “a composite of d’Artagnan, Don Juan and that millionaire cowboy, Tom Mix. Nothing is too daring for the Marquis Bardelys, a French noble of the seventeenth century and one is almost impelled to pity the churls foolish enough to level their steel against him.” The film is based on the novel of Rafael Sabatini. MGM, formed only two years prior to the film's release, was already known for its elaborate (and expensively produced) period films and placed its top star and director on the project to insure its success. King Vidor was one of the most famous movie directors of the silent and sound film eras. His silent films include innovative masterpieces like The Crowd, The Big Parade and Show People. Leading man John Gilbert was a versatile dramatic actor who had been around Hollywood for many years, but had just gotten his big break in 1925's hugely popular Big Parade. Gilbert's leading lady is Eleanor Boardman, an actress who benefited greatly from her relationship with her new husband, director Vidor. Her greatest silent screen credits came in Vidor's films. Bardelys also holds the distinction of marking the first credited screen appearance of a lanky kid from Iowa who would change his name from Marion Morrison to John Wayne.
Music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
(DVD Presentation of a "Lost" Film)

--Intermission within feature

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Our Cast:

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 retired 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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About Greg Foreman:

Greg ForemanGreg Foreman holds a Certificate of Piano Performance, a Bachelor of Music Education, and a Master of Arts in Teaching. He is an author and clinician for Alfred Music Publishing, Inc. and serves as a music teacher for the Lee's Summit, Missouri School District. Mr. Foreman has performed as soloist with the Kansas City Symphony, the UMKC Conservatory Orchestra, and on National Public Radio. The Kansas City Star has said, "his playing...was strong, impulsive, stylish, and touched with poetry."

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About Jeff Rapsis:

Jeff RapsisJeff Rapsis is a New Hampshire-based composer and musician who regularly accompanies silent film programs. His recent work includes a score for the newly restored Constance Talmadge feature Lessons in Love (1921), which was premiered at the New York City public library in February 2008, and a new piano score for the comedy Campus Knights (1929), recently reissued on DVD by Looser Than Loose Vintage Entertainment. Jeff is associate publisher and co-owner of HippoPress, New Hampshire's largest weekly paper, for which he covers classical music.

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About Kathy Combs :

Kathy CombsKathy Combs, a resident of Tecumseh Kansas, has performed as percussionist with or been a member of various local musical groups for over ten years. She is a past member of the Topeka Symphony, Marshall's Civic Band, and the North Topeka Band. Additionally, she has performed with Helen Hocker and Topeka Civic Theater productions as well as accompanied the Topeka Festival Singers and the Shawnee County Choral Society. Kathy first appeared at the KSFF as the substitute drummer (for Bob Keckeisen) for the performance of The Eagle (1925) at our tenth annual event in 2006.

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Special Guest David Shepard:

David ShepardDavid Shepard is returning for his second appearance at our Festival. Formerly Vice-President of Blackhawk Films of Davenport, IA, he retired in 1996 as adjunct faculty at the University of Southern California, School of Cinema-Television, and devoted himself to the production and preservation of several classic films on video, Laserdisc and DVD. Mr. Shepard also distributes numerous silent films known for their excellent film quality. They often feature music scores by our favorite Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. He was honored for his film preservation work by the Buster Keaton Celebration in Iola, KS, with its Buster Award in Sept. 1995, and returned to Iola in 1997 to present the Buster to noted author & film historian David Robinson.

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Special Guest Nicholas Eliopoulos:

Nicholas EliopoulosNicholas Eliopoulos has diverse talents in the areas of writing, directing, producing, and film/sound editing for Hollywood movies and for television. His credits include work on as Out of Africa, Nine to Five and Best Litttle Whorehouse in Texas. He has also edited NBC series Law and Order, Criminal Intent and Deadline. Mr. Eliopoulos has just completed producing/directing/editing the documentary feature Mary Pickford, Muse of the Movies. This special is narrated by actor Michael York, and covers film history from Nickelodeon days to big screen Talkies. The documentary premiered in the U.S. at the 2008 Telluride Film Festival and was also shown at the Pordenone International Film Festival just outside Venice, Italy, in October 2008.

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Kansas Silent Film Festival, Inc. is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. This event is funded by generous donations, and welcomes your support. Your tax deductible gift will be gratefully acknowledged.
        Kansas Silent Film Festival, Inc.
        P.O. Box 2032
        Topeka, Kansas 66601-2032
E-mail contact - bill.shaffer@washburn.edu Or bshaffer2@cox.net

All donations are appreciated.