SF Silent Film Festival – Saturday

The first feature on Saturday was John Ford‘s 1917 “Bucking Broadway” starring Harry Carey. It was remarkable to see how advanced the Ford’s techniques were in his fourth film at his age of 24. Close-up was often used to so behavior and items of interest such as the small wooden heart Cheyenne Harry (Harry Carey) is carving for his sweetheart, Helen (Molly Malone). Afterwards Harry Carey, Jr. was interviewed by scholar Joseph McBride. He answered questions on his father, John Ford and being in John Ford’s films. Then scholar Harry Carey, Jr. and Joseph McBride signed their books.

The next film, “Au Bonheur des Dames“, was presented by the Alliance Française.

The music was beautifully performed by the Hot Club of San Francisco. “Au Bonheur des Dames” was directed by Julien Duvivier in 1930. Although late in the silent era, it is one of the most advanced films in camera technique, performance, crowd action, editing I have seen. It is based on the Emile Zola novel by the same name. The theme is the relationship of technological progress to the span of human life. And it is masterfully told. There’s a DVD version at Amazon.com France. I’m hoping to find a English subtitled version.

Next was G. W. Pabst‘s amazing “Pandora’s Box” starring Louise Brooks as Lulu. It was a sold out show that was to start at 8:20 pm. But they wanted to get as many people who wanted to come seats. So the opening presentation didn’t began around 8:40 pm. Bruce Conner was the last to present “Padora’s Box”. Excerpt(s) from his talk will be in a future post.

The Wurlitzer music was understandable dark to match the ideas in Pandora’s Box“. But that theme is deeply dark and powerful in the film and Louise Brooks as Lulu brings an interesting counterpoint of beauty, joy and sensual love of life. I think it would have been good to focus some of the music on the joyous sensuality of Lulu.

We got out around midnight. But there was so much people had seen, they milled around outside talking. But it was late and eventually we all headed home.