Silent Sundays

TORONTO'S CELEBRATED ONGOING EXPLORATION OF SILENT CINEMA!

 

The Navigator June 8th at 4:15pm

Navigator

Dir. Donald Crisp (1924)

Starring Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, and Frederick Vroom
90 min., including short

 

Well, Buster’s really done it this time: after suffering a rejected marriage proposal, Keaton (here as spoiled playboy Rollo Treadway) embarks on a solo honeymoon trip to Honolulu, only to find himself adrift on a helmless ship without a steward in sight.

Up against swordfish, a ravenous octopus, and an island of cannibals, a newly self-reliant Keaton battles the seas, all while protecting the girl of his dreams and remaining as stoic as ever. Some of Keaton’s most memorable stunts can be seen here, including a hilarious deep-sea dive!

According to the New York Times in 1924, "The Navigator is an excellent panacea for melancholia or lethargy, as it is filled with ludicrous and intensely humorous situations…” – or, in other words, it’s the perfect Silent Sundays season closer and a great family outing! 

The Last Command April 8th at 7pm

The Last Command Image

Dir. Josef von Sternberg (1928)
Starring Emil Jannings, Evelyn Brent, and William Powell

120 min. including Chaplin short: Behind the Screen (1916) 

The first Sternberg masterpiece … the sheer sophistication of [its] visuals makes nearly all current releases look old-fashioned.” (Time Out, London) 

A co-presentation with the Toronto Silent Film Festival, Silent Sundays transports you back to Tsarist Russia, filled with despotic imperialists, amnesiac Czarinas, and impassioned revolutionaries! 

Emil Jannings (a Silent Sundays favourite) plays Grand Duke Sergius Alexander, who upon exile from Russia, retreats to Hollywood to work as a lowly film extra. With his authentic “Russian look”, he is thrown into the role of a Tsarist General for one of Hollywood’s top directors -- a former Bolshevik leader who once suffered under the thumb of Alexander. Evelyn Brent co-stars as the sultry Natalie Dabrova, the woman caught between the Bolshevik filmmaker and the Duke. 

Jannings won the first ever Best Actor Academy Award for his performance in this film. With its stunning visuals and brooding, exotic tones The Last Command is a must-see! 

Featuring live piano accompaniment by Jordan Klapman. 

Silent Sundays, now in its fifth season, is curated by media archivist Alicia Fletcher and was founded by journalist Eric Veillette.

Print generously provided by Media Commons at the University of Toronto.

Tickets $15

Past Silent Sundays Screenings:

Fritz Lang's "DESTINY" February 23 at 4:15 pm

Destiny

Destiny
Dir. Fritz Lang (1921)
Starring Lil Dagovar, Walter Janssen and Bernhard Goetzke

105 mins.

Before Metropolis and M there was Destiny, Fritz Lang’s rarely screened masterpiece that ushered in the director’s epic career. Equal parts fairytale and fantasy, Destiny tells the tale of a young woman granted three chances by a world-weary Death to save her lover from the afterlife. Hugely influential, it even inspired a young Alfred Hitchcock to pursue a career in film. While few have seen it today, there’s a good chance that few saw it in the 1920s, as Douglas Fairbanks purchased the American rights to the film in order to copy its impressive production design and special effects for his Thief of Bagdad – he then prevented the North American release of the film so that audiences and critics wouldn’t be the wiser. With all this clout, seeing Destiny at the Revue is clearly a must!

Featuring live piano accompaniment by William O’Meara. 

Silent Sundays, now in its fifth season, is curated by media archivist Alicia Fletcher and was founded by journalist Eric Veillette.

"PANDORA'S BOX" January 26, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Pandora 1

Pandora’s Box
Dir. G.W. Pabst (1929)
Starring Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer, and Alice Roberts
109 mins.

It doesn’t really get better than Louise Brooks in Pandora’s Box, does it? Brooks fled Hollywood and escaped to the German film industry to seal her fate as an indelible force in silent film, forever to be remembered as the sensual, yet naïve; unintentionally vampish and victimized Lulu. Under the direction of master G.W. Pabst, the film’s cinematography, costumes, and narration are almost unparalleled in the medium. In short: Pandora’s Box is a masterpiece and Louise Brooks is a legend here - visually, as well as in her acting style. Her realism was so ahead of her time that audiences and critics rejected her; a dismissal that history has, luckily for us, rectified. Flappers at heart unite; this is a Silent Sundays not to be missed!

Featuring live piano accompaniment by William O’Meara.

Silent Sundays, now in its fifth season, is curated by media archivist Alicia Fletcher and was founded by journalist Eric Veillette.

December 8:  Silent Sundays Comedy Revue featuring The Adventurer (1917), Back Stage (1919), and One Week (1920)

2013-SS-Comedy_Revue_Dec.8

Silent Sundays Comedy Revue featuring Chaplin, Keaton and Arbuckle
90mins.

Join us for the Silent Sundays Comedy Revue, featuring one of the heaviest (and two of the skinniest) hitters in comedy: Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle! Festivities will kick off with a prison-striped Tramp on the lam in The Adventurer (1917), one of Chaplin’s most memorable shorts. We then turn our attention to one of the greatest of comedy duos, Keaton and Arbuckle as they clamor to keep a theatre in business in Back Stage (1919). Finally, One Week (1920), Keaton’s first solo vehicle, rounds out our Revue. In it, Keaton is at his best – the film’s impressive special effects complement his remarkable agility and ability to remain unperturbed by imminent catastrophe. In dialog, each of these three films speak to an unmatched era of silent film comedy!

Featuring live piano accompaniment by Jordan Klapman.

Silent Sundays, now in its fifth season, is curated by media archivist Alicia Fletcher and was founded by journalist Eric Veillette.

October 27:  The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Phantom

Dir. Rupert Julian (1925)

Based on the novel by Gaston Leroux
Starring Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, and Norman Kerry
92mins.

Celebrate Halloween with our Silent Sundays season opener, Phantom of the Opera, starring the original master of horror, Lon Chaney! Ballerinas will twirl in fear and chandeliers will come crashing down, as a masked fiend stalks the Paris Opera from the catacombs below.

A true testament to Chaney’s special effects genius, legend holds that 1925 audiences succumbed to complete dismay -- some vacating the theatre in terror -- when the hideous face beneath the Phantom’s mask was first revealed. Universal had suppressed all images of Chaney ’s makeup prior to the film’s premiere, maximizing shock value. Even today, Chaney’s embodiment of the grotesque, tormented ghoul still sends a shivers down the spine!

Featuring live piano accompaniment by William O'Meara. 

Silent Sundays, now in its fifth season, is curated by media archivist Alicia Fletcher and was founded by journalist Eric Veillette.

Coming June 23: Three Ages (1923)

Three Ages


(Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline) Buster Keaton, Margaret Leahy, Wallace Beery

In celebration of Silent Sunday’s anniversary, Buster Keaton brings us dinosaur mayhem, Roman chariot races and Jazz-Age hullabaloo, all in one uproarious film! In Three Ages (1923) Keaton faces his usual challenge: how to beat a formidable rival (this time played by Wallace Beery) and win the girl of his dreams. However, there’s a hilarious catch. Having won the girl in one historic time period, our hero must repeat the challenge in another.

Designed as a spoof of D.W. Griffith’s oh so serious Intolerance, Three Ages was the first feature that Keaton wrote, directed, produced and starred in, and offers unforgettable costumes, sets, and gags!  

Featuring live piano accompaniment by William O'Meara. 

Silent Sundays is curated by media archivist Alicia Fletcher and journalist Eric Veillette.

 

Peter Pan 

Silent Sundays gets a sprinkle of fairy dust with an adaptation of one of the most beloved children’s stories of all time! Join us on May 26th as Peter Pan whisks the Darling children off to Never-Never Land – where along with the Lost Boys they learn to fly, swim with mermaids, rescue Princess Tiger Lily, and torment the nefarious Captain Hook.

Lost for decades, and consequently rarely seen, the 1924 version of Peter Pan is one of the most visually spectacular films of the era and a wonderful introduction to silent film for a younger audience. 

Featuring live piano accompaniment by William O'Meara. 

Silent Sundays is curated by media archivist Alicia Fletcher and journalist Eric Veillette.

SUNDAY,  JAN. 27, 2013, 4 P.M.

Gold Rush-boot-still

The Little Tramp heads to the Yukon in this great Charlie Chaplin favorite with some unforgettable scenes: the ingenious dancing rolls and the Thanksgiving dinner of an old boiled  boot (actually liquorice). Come and enjoy Chaplin's comedic genius, accompanied by live piano, in the Revue's Silent Sunday celebration of silent cinema. Tickets: $10/$13.

The Lost World (1925)

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011, 4 P.M. 

Lost World-still-2

Our Silent Sunday celebration of early cinema presents the pioneering silent The Lost World from 1925, which features some remarkable stop-motion special effects by animator Willis O'Brien. 

Composer and pianist Tania Gill of the Tania Gill Quartent will accompany the silent screening on the piano for the Sunday, December 9, 4 p.m. foray into a land of dinosaurs.

Simulating action by moving models and puppets and photographing the small changes frame by frame on film can be traced to 1897.  During the first decades of the 20th century, there were some remarkable stop-motion creations, including Wladyslaw Starewicz’s insect-puppet dramas.

The Lost World, starring Wallace Beery, takes place on a Venezuelan plateau where dinosaurs roam. O’Brien made the prehistoric creatures come alive, honing his skills for his later work on King Kong.

This Silent Sunday program will include a very special screening of the animated 1914 short Gertie the Dinosaur. Its creator, Winsor McKay, used to accompany the film on the vaudeville circuit and interact with the action. We'll have some special live action of our own to accompany the film.

The Silent Film series, now in its fourth season, is curated by media archivist Alicia Fletcher and journalist Eric Veillette.

THE LOST WORLD (1925)

Dir. by Harry O. Hoyt

Based on the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Starring Wallace Beery, Bessie Love, Lewis Stone
Special Effects by Willis O'Brien
16mm | 106 mins.

Members - $10
Non Members - $13

Dr. Jekyll-Barrymore

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1920)

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21, 4 P.M. 

  • Directed by John S. Robertson
  • Starring John Barrymore, Brandon Hurst, Nita Naldi
  • Based on the story by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • B&W | 16mm
  • Program length: 95 min.

 Silent Sundays, which is organized by journalist and film buff Eric Veillette, returns for the Halloween season with John Barrymore's bravura performance in Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella about man's internal struggle with good and evil.

 The celebrated actor, who had his own persoanl demons to contend with, played the character without the use of prosthetics or heavy makeup, instead relying on the ability to contort his face to chilling effect.

Barrymore's 1920 turn as the dual characters was not the first film adaptation of Stevenson's story -- five earlier versions had been released, among them a lost 1908 version by William Selig. The same year that Barrymore played the role, Conrad Veidt (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Casablanca) also played the characters in Der Januskopf, directed by F.W. Murnau.

The feature will be preceded by a short, silent adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher. 

Featuring live piano accompaniment by William O'Meara.


Last Laugh

Sunday, April 29, 4 p.m.

THE LAST LAUGH  (Der Letzte Mann – 1924)

  • Directed by F.W. Murnau
  • Written by Carl Mayer
  • Starring Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft
  • 75 mins | 16mm

Introduced by Charlie Keil, associate professor of Cinema Studies, University of Toronto.

Accompanied live on the piano by Laura Silberberg.

As well as this masterpiece of German silent cinema, you'll see Glimpses of Toronto, a late 1920s silent travelogue showing Toronto at the time of The Last Laugh's Ontario premiere in 1928.

The Silent Sundays program is curated by Eric Veillette, journalist, film historian and collector.

 


Wings-b&wWINGS

Sunday, February 26, 4 p.m.

  • Directed by William A. Wellman
  • Starring Clara Bow, Charles Rogers, Richard Arlen, Gary Cooper
  • Written by John Monk Sanders & Hope Loring
  • 1927
  • 139 min (plus intermission)
  • 16mm

Featuring live piano accompaniment by William O’Meara.

This film won the first Best Picture Academy Award ever given out. It was the only silent film ever to have taken that coveted top spot. 

The film helped launch Gary Cooper on his way to super stardom. 

Director Wellman, Arlen and John Monk Saunders, all had experience as aviators. Arlen did his own flying and Rogers was trained to fly so that he, too, could do his airborn closeup. There was one fatal crash during the filming.

Toronto Star critic Peter Howell recently wrote about Wings in his column.

After you watch this first Best Film Oscar winner, why not stay at The Revue for the full Academy Awards on the big screen! With popcorn!

 

Cat and the Canary Still

The Cat and the Canary

Sunday, October 30 at 4:00 p.m.

  • Directed by Paul Leni
  • Starring Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, Gertrude Astor
  • Live piano accompaniment by Laura Silberberg
  • 82 mins
  • Unrated

Silent Sundays returns just in time for Halloween with this classic, spooky gem which features just enough laughs to entertain the kids! The Cat and the Canary was dubbed "The Mystery Thriller of the stage filmed with new effects!"

Pianist Laura Silberberg accompanies this moody yet funny silent film which introduces Annabelle West (La Plante) as the sole inheritor of a family will, provided she is deemed sane. Events take a mysterious turn when the lawyer disappears and Annabelle's sanity comes into question.

Admission: $7 for kids 12 and under
$10 for seniors and Revue members
$12 for non-members

 

Earlier Silent Sundays: 

Don Q Son of Zorro
Sunday, May 26 at 4:00 p.m.

  • Directed by Donald Crisp
  • Starring Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Astor
  • Live piano accompaniment by William O’Meara
  • 111 mins
  • Rated G

Don Cesar (Fairbanks), son of Zorro, is framed for murder while visiting Spain, and becomes the whip-wielding outlaw Don Q.

Pianist Bill O'Meara accompanies this 1925 swashbuckler, the sequel to the Mark of Zorro (1920), which cemented Fairbanks' status as a star.

Sergei Eisenstein's STRIKE and Charlie Chaplin's WORK
May 1, 4:00 p.m.

Strike (1925)

  • Directed by Sergei Eisenstein
  • Starring Mikhail Gomorov, Maksim Shtraukh, Grigori Aleksandrov
  • Live piano accompaniment by William O’Meara
  • 82 mins
  • Rated G

Work (1915)

  • Directed by Charlie Chaplin
  • Starring Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Charles Inslee
  • Live piano accompaniment by William O’Meara
  • Rated G

Silent Sundays returns just in time for May Day! Strike, the ambitious first feature by the renown director of The Battleship Potemkin (1925) tells the story of a factory workers revolt in pre-revolutionary Russia.

In this look at oppression and individualism, Eisenstein's sweeping camera motifs and juxtaposed montages innovated upon the cinematic language created by his fore-runners.

The feature will be preceded by a short, Work (1915), where Charlie Chaplin—who would later be no stranger to the plight of the labour movement—plays a paperhanger who causes nothing but grief for his rich bos.

Featuring live piano accompaniment by the acclaimed William O'Meara.

Programme length: 104 min.

Here's what people are saying about Silent Sundays:

"Silent Sundays transport moviegoers back to a time when films had no sound and stop-motion was as cutting-edge as 3-D is today!"

"... the atmosphere is so convincing it makes you want to check that your bonnet isn't blocking anyone's view."

"The audience roars with laughter."

"For all that this Silent Sunday lacks in technical wizardry, it makes up for with a simple charm rarely duplicated in cinema today."

For more on silent film, visit curator and programmer Eric Veillette's Silent Toronto website.