Monday, November 30, 2009

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum and sees THE DUCHESS OF NEW YORK

But first, a couple of shorts in this night of comedy.

THE DUMB-BELL (1922): Snub Pollard stars in this Charles Parrot (aka Charley Chase) directed movie within a movie. When the temperamental director throws a fit, the producers ask actor Snub Pollard to fire him, offering him the directing gig if he's successful. Turns out that was the easy part (the director just quits). The hard part is controlling the actors. Turns out they're all dumb-bells, and the director was right to throw a tantrum. Funny send-up of the film-making process.

LONG FLIV THE KING (1926): Now Charley Chase stars, as a condemned prisoner who marries the visiting princess of Thermosa so she can inherit the throne. But when the governor grants him a pardon, he becomes king. So he travels to Thermosa (with his sidekick Max Davidson) to claim his throne. Hilarious. I love Charley Chase.

Then after the intermission, the feature...

THE DUCHESS OF BUFFALO (1926): In this comedy, Constance Talmadge stars as a dancer who struck out in her native U.S., but becomes a sensation in Russia. So much of a sensation that she catches the eye of both a young, strapping soldier and his father, the Grand Duke. The Duke, of course, has the power to block his sons ambitions, and tries. But there's one thing that can overrule the Grand Duke, and that's the Grand Duchess. And that leads to a typically hilarious bedroom hiding scene. Very funny.

Next weekend two big specials at Niles. First on Saturday there's The Great Nickelodeon Show, with live acts and hand-cranked film, including the classic Melies' THE TRIP TO THE MOON (with live narration) and G. M. Anderson's first break (and the breakthrough in movie story-telling) THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY. Due to the added frills, this isn't the normal $5 Saturday night, this is $15 ($12 for museum members)

Then on Sunday at 12:30 there's a special double bill. First a documentary THE LEGEND OF PANCHO BARNES about an early movie aviatrix. Then Howard "the wave of the future" Hughes' classic HELL'S ANGELS, for which Pancho Barnes provided the sound effects by flying around a microphone suspended from a balloon. This show is $10 ($8 members)

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