Saturday, July 27, 2013

Safety Last!

SF Silent Film Festival photo IMG_20130721_204514_zps0e48c58c.jpgThe Harold Lloyd classic Safety Last! was the final show of the SF Silent Film Festival on Sunday night, & it was great to see it with the joyful festival audience. Once again I saw no empty seats. I asked the lady next to me how she got interested in silent movies, & she replied, "I like to time travel." Operations Director Lucia Pier introduced the event, & there was a drawing for the raffle prize from McRoskey Mattress. Artistic Director Anita Monga then interviewed visual effects expert Craig Barron & Susanne Lloyd, Harold Lloyd's granddaughter. Mr. Barron referred to a video demonstrating how the clock scene was shot & admitted that the movie would be digitally projected at 24 FPS, which is just a tiny bit faster than it should be. We saw a beautifully crisp version from Critereon.

The atmosphere was terrifically fun. The audience laughed long & loud during the climbing sequence & applauded the moment when Harold Lloyd dangles from the clock. 2 ladies in the row behind me were actually screaming with laughter. The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra sounded consistently buoyant & elegant. Their original score of pleasant salon music was fitting & unobtrusive. They were sometimes drowned out by the audience's roaring laughter.

SF Silent Film Festival photo IMG_20130720_152706_zps759a5a64.jpgA book store & book signings were on the mezzanine throughout the festival, but every time I went up there it was too crowded to get a good look at anything. The festival hands out a substantial program book with excellent essays, also available online, about all the films. Next year's festival has been moved up to late May.

§ Safety Last!
USA, 1923, 70 mins. • Directors Sam Taylor, Fred Newmeyer
Musical Accompaniment by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra

2013 San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Sunday, July 21 at 8:30 pm
Castro Theatre

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