If you didn't attend some wonderful repertory/revival film screenings in 2012, you missed out. As nobody could see them all, I've recruited Frisco Bay filmgoers to recall some of their own favorites of the year. An index of participants is found here.
Noir City X: Castro Theater, January 20 – 29th. As usual, Eddie Muller and company did not disappoint. Every year, this excellent festival manages to unearth little-known gems (and revive some better-known ones) and, as always, a swell time was had by all. This year I caught “Bad Girls” night featuring Naked Alibi (Jerry Hopper, 1954), because I’ll watch anything with Gloria Grahame in it, and Pickup (Hugo Haas, 1951), starring the stunningly bad (in a good way) Beverly Michaels, and the director himself as her hen-pecked husband. Both were highly entertaining. I also caught one of the oddest films I’ve seen at Noir City: Three Strangers (Jean Negulesco, 1946), with the incredible cast of Sidney Greenstreet, Geraldine Fitzgerald, and Peter Lorre. All three act up a storm in this genre-defying film that blends noir with elements of the supernatural and genuine pathos.
San Francisco Silent Film Festival 17: Castro Theater July 12 – 15th Once again the SFSFF was the high point of my movie-going year. The standouts for me were Joseph Von Sternberg’s Docks of New York (1928), which has been on my must-see list for years, and confirmed my belief that JVS was truly one of the most innovative and modern filmmakers of his time. Another wonderful moment was hearing Paul McGann, star of the classic Withnail and I, reading the letters of Ernest Shackleton as accompaniment to Frank Hurley’s South (1919), along with the brilliant Stephen Horne on piano. Sweden’s Matti Bye Ensemble returned, this time with a new score to one of my all-time favorite films, G.W. Pabst’s masterpiece Pandora’s Box (1929). This is a film I’ve seen many, many times since joining the army of Louise Brooks devotees in the early 1980’s, but once again, thanks to a beautifully restored print and Matti Bye’s fresh and innovative score, it truly was like seeing it for the first time.