Friday, June 14, 2024

Starting summer with three silent comedies: one Buster, one Harold, and one Marion Davies

Original promotional art for 'The Cameraman' (1928).

The official start of summer will arrive next week. Before we reach that seasonal milestone, I'll accompany three silent comedies at venues in three states. 

On Friday, June 14 (hey, that's tonight!) at 6 p.m., it's Buster Keaton's 'The Cameraman' (1928) at the Jane Pickens Theatre in Newport, R.I.

Then on Sunday, June 16 at 2 p.m., it's Harold Lloyd's 'The Kid Brother' (1927) at the Town Hall Theatre in Wilton, N.H.

And then on Wednesday, June 19 at 7 p.m., it's Marion Davies and William Haines in 'Show People,' director King Vidor's sparkling comedy about the film business, which is at the Leavitt Theatre in Ogunquit, Maine.

Collect all three! 

For now, I'll post the press release for 'The Kid Brother' below so you can decide if Father's Day is a good time to screen this film.

Happy Father's Day weekend to all, and see you at the movies!

*    *    *

Harold Lloyd stars in 'The Kid Brother' (1927).

Contact Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 •

Town Hall Theatre to screen 'The Kid Brother' on Sunday, June 16

Harold Lloyd's 1927 comedy masterpiece the latest in venue's series of silent films with live musical accompaniment

WILTON, N.H.—He was the most popular film star of the 1920s, routinely outpacing comic rivals Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton at the box office.

He was Harold Lloyd, the boy next door who could wind up hanging from the hands of a clock high atop a skyscraper. Audiences loved Lloyd's mix of visual comedy and thrilling adventures, making him one of the most recognized icons of early Hollywood.

See for yourself when 'The Kid Brother' (1927), a feature-length film regarded as Lloyd's masterpiece, is screened on Sunday, June 16 at 2 p.m. at the Town Hall Theatre, 40 Main St., Wilton, N.H.

Admission is free; donations are accepted, with $10 per person suggested to defray expenses.

The screening, the latest in the venue's silent film series, will feature live accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based composer who specializes in creating music for silent films.

In 'The Kid Brother,' meek country boy Harold Hickory (Lloyd) looks up to his tough father, but is overshadowed by two burly older brothers. When a traveling circus brings trouble to town and possible disgrace to the Hickory clan, can Harold save the family name?

From that simple situation, Lloyd weaves a roller coaster tale that critics and film historians say show him at the height of his powers as a filmmaker and comedian.

Jobyna Ralston and Harold Lloyd co-star in 'The Kid Brother' (1927).

"The first silent film I ever saw that made me actually stand up and cheer," wrote critic Steven D. Greydanus of The Decent Films Guide. "As a first introduction to silent film, I would pick 'The Kid Brother' over the best of Chaplin or Keaton every time."

"Unlike Chaplin’s Little Tramp, who was as much defined by his bizarre eccentricities as his bowler and cane, Lloyd’s character, with his trademark spectacles, was an instantly likable, sympathetic boy-next-door type, a figure as winsome and approachable as Jimmy Stewart or Tom Hanks," Greydanus wrote.

The film co-stars Jobyna Ralston, Walter James, Eddie Boland, and Constantine Romanoff.

Harold Lloyd, along with Chaplin and Keaton, stands as one of the three masters of silent comedy. Though Lloyd's reputation later faded due to unavailability of his movies, the recent re-release of most of his major films on home media has spurred a reawakening of interest in his work and a renewed interest in theatrical screenings.

"Seeing a Harold Lloyd film in a theater with live music and an audience is one of the great experiences of the cinema of any era," said Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based silent film musician who will accompany the film.

"Films such as 'The Kid Brother' were designed for a specific environment. If you can put those conditions together again, you can get a sense of why people first fell in love with the movies," Rapsis said.

'The Kid Brother' will be screened with live music on Sunday, June 16 at 2 p.m. at the Town Hall Theatre, 40 Main St., Wilton, N.H.

Admission is free; donations are accepted, with $10 per person suggested to defray expenses. For more information, call the theater at (603) 654-3456.

No comments:

Post a Comment