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Toronto Silent Film Festival Preview

We’re heading into the final countdown… only one week ’til the launch of the 2012 Toronto Silent Film Festival! Heck to the yeah.

At this point in a run-up to a film festival, reviewers would have screeners in their grubby little paws and would be anxiously rolling the dice about what to say about a film without benefit of knowing what everyone else would say. Talk about a critical nightmare!

Ah, but not so for a silent film festival or a silent film reviewer! We have history on our side and the chances that an angry director will turn up to quibble with us are nil. But how do you preview a silent film festival?

Just like this. Check out each listing for what I have to say about Toronto Silent Film Festival’s line up and screening times for each film.

See ya at the festival!

March 29 – Our Dancing Daughters

March 30 – Tabu: A Tale of the South Seas

March 31: Blood and Sand

April 1: 1000 LAFFS: Playmates

April 2: The Italian Straw Hat

April 3: Variety

TSFF Preview: Blood and Sand (1922)

blood and sand-rudolph valentino-fred niblo-toroto silent film festival

Bieber-fever is a trifling allergy attack compared to the fan fueled adoration of cinema’s “Latin Lover,” Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina D’Antonguolla – or Rudolph Valentino, if you’re nasty. Valentino was the first movie star and the attention devoted to his every move, every smoky look, every career decision was astounding, and (one might dare) crushing. Valentino, like all obedient sex symbols, died at the tender age of 31, remaining his young, beautiful, sexy self for eternity. And he’s coming to Toronto on March 31 as part of the Toronto Silent Film Festival lineup! I hope there’s riot police on call!

Now Mr. Valentino starred in some truly terrible matinee movies. His job was to make the pulse of ladies (and some gentlemen) race and he did so admirably well. No one really cared very much what the movie was or what part he played. But Fred Niblo‘s Blood and Sand is one of the better Valentino offerings. Here our hero plays Juan Gallardo, a poor boy with a talent for bullfighting. He tosses over his sweet childhood sweetheart Carmen (Lila Lee) for vampish Dona Sol (Nita Naldi). Carmen understands and even rushes to nurse Juan back to health after a terrible goring. Does the cad care? No his obsession for Dona Sol leads to his ultimate downfall.

Now, is there anything profound here? Nope. But Blood and Sand sure is exciting, and man, Valentino sure is pretty. If the “Latin Lover” is this titillating 90 years after the fact, it’s easy to see why desolate fans committed suicide when he died and why his 1926 New York funeral erupted into riots. If you want to find out what the fuss is about, get over to Toronto Silent Film Festival and buy your tickets for Blood and Sand.

Screening information:

Blood and Sand

Musical Interpretation: Andrei Streliaev

Saturday March 31, 2012
4pm (doors open at 3:30)
The Revue 400 Roncesvalles Ave. Toronto
Tickets $12.00/$10.00 seniors and members

Plus: “Animation from the Lawless Days” Koko and the Cartoon Factory 1925 Fleischer Studios

The Toronto Silent Film Festival Program

March 29 – Our Dancing Daughters

March 30 – Tabu: A Tale of the South Seas

April 1: 1000 LAFFS: Playmates

April 2: The Italian Straw Hat

April 3: Variety

It’s coming! The Toronto Silent Film Festival Launches on March 29!

I am so excited I could spit! The Toronto Silent Film Festival launches on March 29. Check out my news piece at Toronto Film Scene.

Film festivals are generally all about the new and the next, presenting specific challenges to the critics charged with previewing them. Not so with The Toronto Silent Film Festival, returning for its third year on March 29, 2012. Apart from the modern silent short, The Force that Through the Green Fire Fuels the Flower,  and some of the animation winners from the 2011 Toronto Urban Film Festival, the youngest film on offer turns 81 this year. CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST


Coming Up in Toronto


Toronto continues to exhaust me with the wide array of silent/classic movie offerings. Really, it could be my full time job to see all these movies. (By the way, is anyone willing to provide a salary for this job? Just sayin’…)

Here’ s brief run down of the just some of the upcoming things I’m excited about.

February 10

TIFF kicked off a pretty bad ass Robert Bresson retrospective yesterday, but you can catch Pickpocket tonight at the TIFF Bell Lightbox at 7 pm. The series continues ’til March 8.

February 12

The Toronto Film Society marches on with two Fall/Winter Screening Series. The next installment of Film Buffs screens on February 12. Catch Chip Off the Old Block (1944) and The Pajama Game (1957) at Innis Town Hall at 2 pm.

February 13

To prime the V-day pump (ba dum dum), the fabulous pianist Robert Bruce will be providing accompaniement for 3 romantic silent Buster Keaton shorts, Neighbours (1921), The Balloonatic (1923) and Sherlock Jr. (1924), at Trinity-St.Paul’s United Church on February 13. Tix are available at the door or you can reserve at or 905.777.9196.

February 20

The Toronto Film Society (the hardest working film society in the biz?) screens Roxie Hart (1942) and The Adventuress (I See a Dark Stranger) (1946) at the Carlton Cinema on February 20, 7:30 PM as part of the Oscar Oversights series.

February 23

The Revue Cinema dishes up the next installment of The Epicure’s Revue on February 23. Have you always, always, always wanted to drop into Rick’s Cafe Americain in Casablanca? Now you can!

February 26

Celebrate the Oscars by seeing the first Best Picture winner ever at the Revue Cinema’s Silent Sunday series. Wings will be screening on February 26 with Bill O’Meara on the keys.



Silent Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Tonight at Casa Loma

The Toronto Theatre Organ Society is presenting the classic silent Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at Casa Loma. This screening not only features live musical accompaniement, John Lauter will provide an original score on the not to be trifled  with Wurlitzer!

If you’ve never seen John Barrymore as Jekll/Hyde, get out to see it! If you’ve never seen Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with live accompaniment, get out to see it! If you’ve never seen it in a castle with a massive Wurlitzer, for the love of all that is holy, get out and see!

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is screening Monday, November 7 at Casa Loma at 7 p.m. Get more information and purchase tickets here.

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