Monday, February 6, 2012

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum for SHORE LEAVE

But of course, first a few shorts.

THE INFERNAL CAULDRON (1903): The 2-month long celebration of George Méliès continues. In this one, demons throw victims into a cauldron where they disappear and translucent ghosts appear hovering over the demons' heads. Then the whole cauldron disappears.

THE DAMNATION OF FAUST (1903): Another Méliès. Okay, I admit I couldn't follow whatever passed as a story. But a victim (presumably Faust) is led through deeper and deeper pits of hell. Pretty cool scenery work.

As an aside, if you're a fan of the Faust story, Cinequest will be showing two versions of the story coming up soon. On Friday, March 9th they will present F. W. Murnau's silent classic at the California Theatre with Dennis James on the mighty Wurlitzer and Mark Goldstein on the Buchla Lightning Wands. But before that there are three screenings (March 1, 4, and 8) of Aleksander Sakurov's own take on the story.

Okay, that was a bit of a digression. Back to the movies.

HOT FOOT (1923): Little remembered silent comedy star Bobby Dunn stars as a vagabond who is mistaken for a famous dance marathon champion. Well, what the heck, there is a big cash prize. And then things get really, really weird when he drinks a bottle of chloroform and it gives him super powers. Kids, don't try this at home!

Then the intermission, and back for the feature presentation.

SHORE LEAVE (1925): This stars Richard Barthelmass, who isn't remembered much today but in the day starred in movies such as TOL'ABLE DAVID and D.W. Griffith's BROKEN BLOSSOMS. Here he plays Smith, a handsome young drifter who joins the navy, where he becomes known as "Bilge" Smith (a running joke is how many sailors are named Smith, even up to the admiralty.) While in port, he meets and is smitten with Connie Martin (Dorothy Mackail), but the life of a sailor keeps them apart. That, and his stubborn insistence on not being the kept man of no rich woman. The thing is, she's not that rich, she just owns a boat her father left her. She could have a nice pile of money if she sold it, but she would rather use it to host parties inviting every sailor named Smith. It's a little convoluted, and honestly I don't see what the big deal is about marrying a woman with money. Seems like a good idea to me, but I guess times were different back then.

Total Running Time: 121 minutes (estimated)
My Total Minutes: 263,722
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