The Secret Cinema returns (at last!) with CURATOR'S CHOICE 2015: UNSEEN CORNERS OF THE SECRET CINEMA ARCHIVES.
Admission is $8.00.
The Secret Cinema will present its first program in eight months, with a hand-picked program of nearly-lost treasures from the deepest depths of the Secret Cinema film vaults. CURATOR'S* CHOICE 2015: UNSEEN CORNERS OF THE SECRET CINEMA ARCHIVES will include just that --films never shown before by us, and probably not by anybody else either since their original release.
This will be the first full-fledged Secret Cinema event since SC founder Jay Schwartz was injured in a bicycle accident last September. This unfortunate event (and subsequent hospital stay and recuperation period) forced the cancellation of several Secret Cinema events last fall. We'll celebrate the return of our series by showing unseen films in a brand new venue, the Maas Building.
There will be one complete program, starting at 8:00 pm. Admission is $8.00.
As always -- still -- Secret Cinema programs are shown using 16mm (not
video, not digital) FILM projected on a giant screen (and sadly, we are
now one of the only presenters of repertory cinema to consistently do so).
The Secret Cinema's private archive contains literally thousands of reels
of 16mm (and 35mm, and 8mm) features, theatrical shorts, cartoons,
newsreels, television shows, educational films, travel films, industrial
films, and home movies. Together, they add up to well over one million
feet of often rare celluloid, with several prints thought to be the only
extant copies in the world.
Since 1992, the Secret Cinema has created programming that exposes every
category of such films, by showing these fascinating, historical, and
often hilarious shorts before features or in themed groupings. Yet,
despite exposing hundreds of rare works this way, there are still many
choice reels that we've never got around to screening publicly, often
unclassifiable films that had inconvenient running times or could fit into
no common theme.
Some of the best of these rare prints will at last see the light of a
projector bulb in CURATOR'S CHOICE 2015. This previously ungroupable group
of shorts will include films that were made to entertain, to teach, to
encourage commerce and to alter opinion. Spanning many decades, they show
wondrous places, styles and things that have long-since vanished. Some
them now seem campy, others still have valid lessons to teach, but all are
fascinating, and extremely unlikely to be seen anywhere else, including on
The program is still being assembled, but just a few highlights are:
CAMP MEETIN' (1936, Dir: Leslie Goodwins) – Staged one-reel musical short
subjects were a bread and butter studio product in the first decades of
talkies, but this one from Radio Pictures feels different than most.
Evidently shot on location, with a documentary-like realism, it captures
an open-air tent-and-camp meeting of the Hall Johnson Negro Choir,
somewhere in the deep South. Johnson, who helped train Marian Anderson,
lent the sound of true spiritual music to many Hollywood films, from THE
GREEN PASTURES to SONG OF THE SOUTH. The film manages to include some
humor, with help from cast member Stymie (OUR GANG) Beard.
WRINGO (1940s? Dir: Unknown) – This comic yet x-rated novelty item was
made to be shown at men's "smoker" parties, and is quite unusual among its
made-on-a-shoestring "stag movie" peers in that it has a soundtrack, with
synchronous dialog. The setting is a carnival sideshow and the action
centers on a most unusual attraction therein…but to say more would be a
terrible spoiler. This film was a sensation at the first "Bastard Film
Encounter," an academic symposium held in Raleigh, North Carolina.
HERMAN'S HERMITS (1968) – A common form of movie promotion in the 1960s
and '70s was the "production reel," short "making of" documentaries that
were usually provided to television stations to fill out extra minutes
after the broadcasting of feature films. This one takes us behind the
scenes of MRS. BROWN, YOU'VE GOT A LOVELY DAUGHTER, the second musical
feature to star Peter Noone and his titular British invasion rock band.
THE RENUNCIATION (1909, Dir: D.W.Griffith) – A.K.A. DIVIDED LOVE. One of
many short dramas D.W. Griffith shot at the Biograph studio, where he
perfected the art that would fully blossom in THE BIRTH OF A NATION and
several other classic silent features. Mary Pickford (who would similarly
go on to greater things in longer films) stars as the shared object of
affection for two miners whose friendship turns to violence, but the
surprise climax shows that the melodrama was tongue in cheek.
TODAY'S TEENS (1964) – An uncredited Boris Karloff narrates this mini
"mondo" documentary with eyebrows raised, as we take a tour of the wild
doings of teenagers around the globe – in nightclubs, record stores, and
on beaches, often in bikinis and always to the pounding beat of a non-stop
instrumental rock soundtrack.
Plus: HOW TO UNDRESS (1937), WHITE TREASURE (1945) and much more!
*It should be noted that we object to the expanding, and now quite cliched
usage of the word "curated" to describe what was called "programming" in
less pretentious times. However, we stubbornly label this program
"Curator's Choice" because: A) It's a title we've used for this ongoing,
if sporadic program concept since 2004, and B) As CARETAKER of the Secret
Cinema film archive, programmer Jay Schwartz really IS a curator (too).
SECRET CINEMA WEBSITE: http://www.thesecretcinema.com
MAAS BUILDING WEBSITE: http://www.maasbuilding.com