We talk about Mark Binelli's slapstick incarnations of Sacco & Vanzetti, and amazingly, several of us in the LBC have seen Laurel and Hardy films. We'll passionately proclaim that Buster Keaton was a far better comedian than Charlie Chaplin and cite the movie scenes to prove it. Maybe it's not just us -- silent films seems to have had a resurgence lately. If you want to see a silent movie with live accompaniment, you can, all across the country (and beyond). In addition to these venues and festivals, many museums and libraries show silent films, too.
When I lived in LA I loved going to the Silent Movie Theatre -- it shows silent films most every weekend, including this next one. In Seattle, silents play at the grand Paramount Theatre every Monday night (April 30: Harold Lloyd). In Fremont, California (that's in the Bay Area), the Essanay Silent Film Museum regularly shows silent films on Saturday nights. It will also host the 10th annual Broncho Billy Film Festival, June 24-30, 2007.
But you don't have to wait until then to catch a festival.
- From April 21-May 6, the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, NYC screens William S. Hart movies.
- Later this week, April 26-29: the 10th British Silent Cinema Festival in Nottingham, England.
- At the New York Historical Society in Manhattan you can catch the Silent Clown Film Series on intermittent Sundays; next up, May 6
- Cinevent, (Columbus, OH) May 25-28, 2007 - movies + collectibles
- San Francisco Silent Film Festival, July 12-14, 2007
- Cinestation (Massillon, Ohio), September 27-30, 2007
- Giornate del Cinema Muto (Pordenone, Italy) October 6-13, 2007
- Kansas Silent Film Festival (Topeka) February 22-23, 2008
- Cinefest (Liverpool, NY) March 13-16, 2008
Chances are silents can also be found at these places: 3 grand theatres around Chicago (check local listings). Perhaps the Chataqua Silent Film series in Boulder, Colorado, will be on again in June. The Vickers Theatre in Three Oaks, Michigan will probably be screening silent films again this August. Cinecon 43 might happen this year at its regular time -- Labor Day Weekend -- in Hollywood, CA. But that'll be competing with the Telluride Film Festival, which may have a silent or two, out in Colorado.
A terrific and authoritative resource for all things silent film is SilentEra.com.
And the International Laurel & Hardy Appreciation Society is called Sons of the Desert. Organized not by chapter but by tent; there may already be a tent near you.