November 17, 2006
DeMille's silent Chicago and Disney's Silly Symphonies
San Francisco Silent Film Festival Special Event
The original 1927 silent film Chicago will return to the big screen on Saturday, December 2, 2006, at the Castro Theatre, San Francisco. This Bay Area revival of the film's long-lost roadshow version (restored by UCLA Film and Television Archive) will be presented by The Silent Film Festival, producers of the annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival, and will be scored live by the Baker-Mehling Hot Four, who specialize in authentic 1920s jazz.
With a striking performance by Phyllis Haver as jazz baby Roxie Hart, Chicago is producer Cecil B. DeMille's classic depiction of Roaring Twenties greed, larceny and murder upon which later film versions – Roxy Hart (1942) starring Ginger Rogers and Chicago (2002) starring Renee Zellweger (based on the 1975 Broadway musical) – have been compared.
From the Walt Disney Archives, the Festival will also present the early cartoon series Silly Symphonies, a trailblazing marriage of music and animation. Hosted by Russell Merritt (co-author, Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series), the series will include The Skeleton Dance (1929), Night (1929), Hell's Bells (1929), The China Plate (1931), Egyptian Melodies (1931), The Ugly Ducking (1931), Flowers and Trees (1932) and Music Land (1935).
Following the screening will be an on-stage discussion with animation experts and Disney scholars including Neal Gabler, author of the brand-new biography Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination. Book signings will take place in the theater lobby throughout the day. Authors scheduled to appear include: Merritt; Gabler; John Bengtson, Silent Traces: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Charlie Chaplin; and Jack Tillmany, Theatres of Oakland.
Silly Symphonies will be screened at 1:30 pm; Chicago at 7:30 pm. The Castro Theatre is located at 429 Castro Street in San Francisco. For more information, contact The Silent Film Festival at (800) 838-3006 or visit http://www.silentfilm.org.