Friday, February 13, 2015

An unusual Valentine's Day weekend
...complete with impending blizzard

Not even Greta Garbo and John Gilbert in 'Love' (1927), to be screened on Sunday, Feb. 15 in Wilton, N.H., will create enough heat to rescue us from yet another impending snowstorm.

What better day than Friday the 13th to ponder the fate of three separate screenings this Valentine's Day weekend, what with a severe blizzard expected to blow through our part of the world.

Sounds like Old Man Winter and Mother Nature are having a little tiff.

Well, as of now, all three screenings are still a go. I'll post updates if anything changes.

The three screenings are:

• Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015, 9 p.m. 'Seven Chances' (1925) starring Buster Keaton; Aeronaut Brewing Co., 14 Tyler St., Somerville, Mass. Special Valentine's Day program at popular brew-pub in Somerville, Mass. Admission $10 per person. For details, check out their Facebook page at: Please note you have to be logged into Facebook to see this page.

• Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, 4:30 p.m.: 'Love' (1927) starring Greta Garbo, John Gilbert; Wilton Town Hall Theatre, Main Street, Wilton, N.H.; (603) 654-3456; Silent-era mega-stars (and off-screen lovers) Greta Garbo and John Gilbert heat up the screen in this 1927 adaptation of Tolstoy's novel 'Anna Karenina.' (Great if you forgot to do anything special on Valentine's Day.) Admission free, donations of $5 per person encouraged.

• Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, 10 p.m. or thereabouts, 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' (1920); Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville, Mass.; (617) 625-5700; Somerville Theatre. Nearly a century after its release, the German expressionist film widely regarded as the world's first horror movie still has capacity to creep out audiences. Screened as part of the 40th Annual Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival's annual 24-hour science fiction film marathon, which runs noon on Sunday, Feb. 15 to noon on Monday, Feb. 16. Admission charged. For more info, visit the festival's Facebook page at

So, about the blizzard: it's expected to roar into New England starting Saturday night, and then peak during the day Sunday before departing that evening.

Hardest hit will be coastal areas, which includes the Boston area, where two of the three screenings are. Winds of 70 mph are expected, and maybe a foot to 18 inches of blowing, drifting snow.

But of the two in Beantown, the Feb. 14 show at the Aeronaut Brewery takes place before the brunt of the storm moves through.

And the screening of 'Caligari' at the Sci-Fi Marathon isn't until late at night on Sunday, when the storm will be outta here. (I understand the Marathon is still a go no matter what, even though it starts on Sunday morning, when the storm will be at its worst.)

As for 'Love' on Sunday at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre, I'd be surprised if that one doesn't happen, as interior New Hampshire will see a little less of the snow. And you can't stop love, right?

Still, this could change. And that leaves us all in as much suspense as if we're watching a frozen Lillian Gish stranded on an ice floe heading for the falls.

Will Old Man Winter or Mother Nature (or whoever is in charge of the weather) cause any of this weekend's screenings to be cancelled?

I'll keep you posted. For now, here's the press release on the Valentine's Day screening of 'Seven Chances' (1925) at the Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville, Mass. I'll include info about 'Love' and 'Caligari' in separate posts.

* * *

Buster checks the time, but he should also check the weather prior to a Valentine's Day screening of 'Seven Chances' (1925) on Saturday, Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. at the Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville, Mass.

Contact: Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 •

Silent film comedy 'Seven Chances' (1925) on Saturday, Feb. 14 at Aeronaut Brewery

Buster Keaton's classic romantic farce to be screened on Valentine's Day with live music

SOMERVILLE, Mass.—When words aren't enough to express those romantic feelings, why not let a silent movie do the talking?

That's the thinking behind a Valentine's Day silent film program to be presented on Saturday, Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. at the Aeronaut Brewery, 14 Tyler St., Somerville.

'Seven Chances' (1925), a classic Buster Keaton romantic comedy, will be shown at the brewery with live music by silent film accompanist Jeff Rapsis.

Admission to the screening is $15 per person. The program includes two shorter Keaton comedies in addition to 'Seven Chances,' one of Keaton's classic full-length feature comedies.

"We envision our Valentine's Day event as a throwback to marvelous days of wonderment celebrating times together with friends and community," said Christine Platzek of Aeronaut, a craft brewery that opened in 2014.

Just as beer aficionados appreciate a good hand-crafted brew, movie-goers are rediscovering the joys of silent cinema presented as it was intended: on a big screen, with live music, and with an audience.

"If you can put all the original elements together, the films of early Hollywood still come to life," said Rapsis. "These are the films that caused people to first fall in love with the movies."

Acclaimed for their originality and clever visual gags, Keaton's films remain popular crowd-pleasers even today.

Keaton never smiled on camera, earning him the nickname of "the Great Stone Face." But his comedies rocked Hollywood's silent era with laughter throughout the 1920s.

In 'Seven Chances,' adapted from a stage play, the story finds Buster learning that he'll inherit $7 million if he's married by 7 p.m. on his 27th birthday—that very day!

Buster's hurried attempts to tie the knot on his own go awry, but then a newspaper story changes the game, creating an avalanche of would-be brides who relentlessly pursue Buster as he searches for his one true love before the deadline.

Buster and his would-be brides in 'Seven Chances' (1925).

'Seven Chances' was the first screen adaptation of the now-familiar story, since used in movies ranging from the Three Stooges in 'Brideless Groom' (1947) to Gary Sinyor's 'The Bachelor' (1999), a romantic comedy starring Chris O'Donnell and Renee Zellwinger.

Keaton, along with Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd, stands today as one of the silent screen's three great clowns. Some critics regard Keaton as the best of all; Roger Ebert wrote in 2002 that "in an extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929, (Keaton) worked without interruption on a series of films that make him, arguably, the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies."

As a performer, Keaton was uniquely suited to the demands of silent comedy. Born in 1895, he made his stage debut as a toddler, joining his family's knockabout vaudeville act and learning to take falls and do acrobatic stunts at an early age.

A remarkable pantomime artist, Keaton naturally used his whole body to communicate emotions from sadness to surprise. And in an era with no post-production special effects, Keaton's acrobatic talents enabled him to perform all his own stunts, including some spectacular examples in 'Seven Chances.'

"We felt a vintage silent film program with live music would be a great way to create Valentine's Day memories that last a lifetime," Platzek said. "We encourage everyone to join us, whether you're on a date or on your own. We'll all end up laughing together!"

The Aeronaut is also hosting a beer and cheese tasting event on Saturday, Feb. 14 at 5 p.m.

'Seven Chances' (1925) starring Buster Keaton will be shown on Saturday, Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. at the Aeronaut Brewing Co., 14 Tyler St., Somerville, Mass. Admission $15 per person. For more information, call (617) 987-4236 or visit the Aeronaut Brewing Co.'s Facebook page at For more information about the music, visit

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