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July 2, 2004
9th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Charlie Chaplin's son to make in-person appearance

Sydney Chaplin, son of the most famous comedian of all time, will make an in-person appearance at The 9th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival, a two-day event showcasing archival silent films with live musical accompaniment, on Saturday and Sunday, July 10-11, 2004 at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street in San Francisco.

The festival kicks off on Saturday with the presentation of the 2004 Haghefilm Award for distinguished contribution to the preservation and restoration of world film heritage, given this year to the George Eastman House film archive. The presentation will be followed by a screening of the The Bluebird (1918), newly restored by George Eastman House. A stylish and beautiful fairy tale, The Bluebird tells the story of two children, Mytyl and Tyltyl, who are given a special power to see the soul hidden in all things. Jon Mirsalis will perform live piano accompaniment.

Also on Saturday is the hilarious comedy of errors What Happened to Jones (1926), starring the suave and delightful Reginald Denny. Preserved with funding from The Stanford Theatre Foundation, What Happened to Jones is presented as a tribute to The Stanford Theatre in recognition of their leadership in promoting public appreciation of classic films. Dennis James will perform live accompaniment on the Mighty Castro Wurlitzer.

The program continues with the first of two programs highlighting Asian silent film, the festival will present The Dragon Painter (1919) starring Sessue Hayakawa, the first Asian actor to become a matinee idol in the United States. To recreate the experience of seeing a silent film in Japan, master benshi artist Midori Sawato of Tokyo will perform traditional acted narration, and the Mark Izu Ensemble will provide accompaniment with a score incorporating Japanese instruments. Presented in cooperation with The Japan Society of Northern California and NAATA.

Saturday will conclude with a screening of the movie that made Rudolph Valentino an international star, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921). This monumental classic of the silent era will be accompanied by Dennis James on the Mighty Castro Wurlitzer.

The Festival continues on Sunday with Shennü (The Goddess, 1934), the second of two programs highlighting Asian silent film. This rarely seen classic from China stars legendary actress Ruan Lingyu, hailed as the Chinese Garbo, who appeared in a series of social dramas between 1927 and 1935 before committing suicide at the age of 24. In Shennü she plays a single mother whose only hope for supporting her son is to submit to a life of prostitution. Kevin Purrone will perform his original score for solo piano.

The second film of the day will be the wild, off- the-wall farce When The Clouds Roll By (1919), the first film directed by Victor Fleming (The Wizard of Oz), starring Douglas Fairbanks as a superstitious young man threatened by a scientist who's out to drive him crazy. The program will also feature Fairbanks as drug-loving supersleuth Coke Ennyday in the 1916 short The Mystery of the Leaping Fish. Dennis James will provide live accompaniment on the Mighty Castro Wurlitzer.

Next up will be Lady of the Night (1925), a witty and poignant slice-of-life drama that tells the story of two women brought up at opposite ends of the social spectrum whose lives briefly intersect when they fall for the same man. Directed with insightful sensitivity by Monta Bell, Lady of the Night features the legendary MGM star Norma Shearer. Mick LaSalle, author of Complicated Women and Dangerous Men, will introduce the program, and Jon Mirsalis will provide live piano accompaniment.

The festival will close with a screening of The Circus (1928), produced, written and directed by Charlie Chaplin and starring his universally beloved character, The Little Tramp. The Circus will be introduced by Jeffrey Vance, author of Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema, with very special guest Sydney Chaplin, Charlie's son, and will be shown in a beautiful new print complete with the original recording of the orchestral score composed and conducted by Charlie Chaplin himself.

The 9th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival is produced by The Silent Film Festival, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting silent film as an art form and as a cultural and historical record. For more information visit www.silentfilm.org or call the festival information line at 415-248-9377.

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