Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rob Byrne's Two Eyes

Since my own two eyes were not nearly enough to see and evaluate all the repertory/revival film screenings here on Frisco Bay, I'm honored to present local filmgoers' lists of the year's favorites. An index of participants is found here.

The following list comes from film preservationist and researcher Rob Byrne. He blogs at Starts Thursday!: The Art And History of Motion Picture Coming Attraction Slides


Rick Prelinger's Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 5
Herbst Theatre
Archival celebration of orphan film. Quickly becoming a holiday season tradition. Some of the more amusing segments included public service featurettes describing the wonderful and modern Bay Area Rapid Transit system, and 16mm home movies featuring street scenes in SF neighborhoods.

Kid Boots
Edison Theatre, Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum
A delightful comedy starring Clara Bow and Eddie Cantor. It's always nice to find a little gem that for some reason you've overlooked.

A Trip Down Market Street
Edison Theatre, Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum [screening during 60 Minutes taping]
So great to see film research and archiving making news in mainstream media. David Kiehn and the Niles Film Museum on 60 Minutes! Who could have predicted that?

Rotaie
Castro Theatre, presented by San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Beautifully atmospheric, wonderfully evocative. Loved it, just loved it.

The Passion of Joan of Arc
Oakland's Paramount, presented by SF Silent Film Festival, Pacific Film Archive, and Paramount Theatre
An amazing film anyway, but adding an orchestral ensemble and 200 voices elevated the experience to an entirely different plane.

A Century Ago: The Films of 1910
San Rafael Film Center, presented by California Film Institute
Randy Haberkamp's annual compilation. Marvelously researched and impeccably presented. The program was almost exclusively one-reelers. The two most memorable being The Sergeant, a Selig picture filmed in Yosemite Valley; and Aviation at Los Angeles California, an amazing document of a 1910 air show outside Los Angeles filmed by Essanay.

Diary of a Lost Girl
Castro Theatre, presented by San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Reveals something new every time you see it. Not a surprise that it was never released in the US, nothing would have survived the censor's shears.

Rain or Shine (the sound version)
Pacific Film Archive
Seems too good to be an early talkie, Joe Cook was a revelation, talks faster than Groucho Marx and a great physical comedian as well. One of those films you want to share with other people just so you can see their reaction.

The Shakedown
Castro Theatre, presented by San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Excellent gritty drama directed by William Wyler.

King Kong
Oakland Paramount
Say what you want, seeing King Kong in a packed house in the glorious Oakland Paramount was movie-going (as opposed to "cinema-attending") at it's best - especially when preceded by a cartoon, newsreel, trailers, and a raffle.

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