Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Two Eyes of Rob Byrne

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.  

The following list comes from Rob Byrne, board president of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and blogger at Starts Thursday. The photograph below is his own, taken during the set-up of the first five events on his list...

1. Napoleon (1927) @ Oakland Paramount, 3/24/12. Opening night!  The realization of a dream.

2. Napoleon (1927) @ Oakland Paramount, 4/1/12. Closing night.  Tears.

3. Napoleon (1927) @ Oakland Paramount, 3/31/12.

4. Napoleon (1927) @ Oakland Paramount, 3/25/12.

5. Napoleon (1927) @ Oakland Paramount, 3/23/12. Dress rehearsal. We're actually going to pull this off!

6. Die wunderbare Lüge der Nina Petrowna [The Wonderful Lies of Nina Petrovna] (1929) @ Castro (SFSFF), 7/13/12. A revelation. Brigitte Helm performance in the title role may be one of the best of the silent era.  

7. Grand Illusion (1937) @ Castro, 6/12/12.  There's nothing new that anyone can say about this film.  Crystalline new restoration, I just sat back and let soak it in.  So gorgeous I watched it twice.

8. Trailer Trash: A Mini-Movie Extravaganza (1950s-70s) @ PFA, 6/8/12.  A wild and varied potpourri of movie trailers from the PFA collection, many of which originated from Gary Meyer.  Too often ignored, trailers truly deserve recognition as genre apart.

9. Koruto wa ore no pasupooto [A Colt is My Passport] (1967) @ PFA, 9/1/12.  Jô Shishido is a tough guy's tough guy.  In a fight he'd kick Clint Eastwood's ass any day of the week.

10. Crime Watch!  (1922-1973) @ Oddball Film Archive, 9/14/12.  No Top 10 list would be complete without an entry from Oddball, the Bay Area mecca for orphan film.  This program of seven crime/police related films, included Parole (1956) shot on location in San Quentin; Don't Shoot II (a sequel!) (1973), a training film for law officers about when to use their weapons, and Flesh and Leather (1951) starring Hugh Beaumont (aka Ward Cleaver) as a hard boiled private detective trying to unravel a murder.

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