Slapstick Divas comedy shorts program
Author Steve Massa's book "Slapstick Divas: The Women of Silent Comedy" pays tribute to the many accomplished screen comediennes of the silent era, from the underrated to the unjustly forgotten. Special thanks to the National Film Preservation Foundation, who have worked with many film archives to preserve these films, and have provided projection copies for this program.
Copies of Massa's book "Slapstick Divas: The Women of Silent Comedy" will be available on site for sale and signing.
WON IN A CLOSET (a.k.a. WON IN A CUPBOARD)
Mabel Normand was the "First Lady of Screen Comedy," and one of its few female directors. In this self-directed comedy, Mabel mixes in some novel directorial touches with the required Keystone knockabout. Long thought lost, the film was rediscovered in 2010 in New Zealand. DIR Mabel Normand; PROD Mack Sennett. U.S., 1914, b&w, 10 min. NOT RATED
BY MIGHT OF HIS RIGHT
"Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew" (real-life husband and wife Sidney Drew and Lucille McVey) were the writers, producers, directors and stars of a series of domestic comedies for Vitagraph and Metro. In this entry, Mrs. Drew's obstreperous brother comes for an extended visit, causing Sidney to search for a way to put his brother-in-law in his place. DIR/PROD Sidney Drew, Lucille McVey; SCR William B. Courtney. U.S., 1915, b&w, 10 min. NOT RATED
THE VILLAGE CHESTNUT
Louise Fazenda was a popular slapstick comedienne and character player from 1913 to 1939. Here, she's a backward student who has affections for her teacher Chester Conklin, who conducts the class in the best Mack Sennett roughhouse style. DIR Raymond Griffith, Walter Wright; PROD Mack Sennett. U.S., 1918, b&w, 20 min. NOT RATED
HER FIRST KISS
Overlooked Ethel Teare starred in comedies for Kalem, Mack Sennett and Fox, and even worked on stage with the Marx Brothers. HER FIRST KISS stars Teare as a country girl who is mistreated by cad Slim Summerville, but after much knockabout all ends well when she inherits a big department store. DIR Frank Griffin; PROD Henry Lehrman. U.S., 1919, b&w, 20 min. NOT RATED
Total program aprox. 65 min.
No AFI Member passes accepted.
About Ben Model
Ben Model is one of America's leading silent film accompanists. Ben has been playing piano and organ for silent films at the New York Museum of Modern Art since 1984 and has performed numerous shows at AFI Silver Theatre over the years. His recorded scores can be heard on numerous DVD/Blu-Ray releases, on TCM and on his YouTube channel. His indie DVD label Undercrank Productions has released several discs of rare/lost silent films, including films preserved by the Library of Congress. Ben is a regular accompanist at classic film festivals around the U.S. and internationally, and performs at universities, museums and historic theaters. In 2020, Ben also created a popular weekly livestreamed silent film show from his living room called "The Silent Comedy Watch Party." Visit Ben's YouTube channel and view past performances!
About Steve Massa
Steve Massa is the author of "Slapstick Divas: The Women of Silent Comedy" and "Lame Brains and Lunatics: The Good, The Bad, and The Forgotten of Silent Comedy." He has organized and curated comedy film programs for the Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and the Pordenone Silent Film Festival, as well as provided essays and commentaries for many DVD and Blu-ray releases. He also co-curated Undercrank Productions' "The Mishaps of Musty Suffer, Volumes 1 & 2," the award-winning "Marcel Perez Collection, Volumes 1 & 2," "The Alice Howell Collection" and the forthcoming "Edward Everett Horton Collection." His most recent book is "Rediscovering Roscoe: The Films of 'Fatty' Arbuckle."
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