The Secret Cinema will return to the historic Maas Building with another chapter of our ongoing series, ARCHIVE DISCOVERIES: UNSEEN CURIOSITIES FROM THE SECRET CINEMA COLLECTION. Once again we'll feature a mélange of fascinating short films from the past. As we go through our collection, reel by reel, we continually find films that don't
necessarily lend themselves to fitting into a themed group, yet are too interesting, or fun, or funny to not share. None have been shown in previous Secret Cinema programs. Indeed, few of these films are likely to have been seen ANYWHERE in recent years.
This month's program accidentally has a recurring theme, however: several of the films are about music, in one way or another.
As always -- still -- Secret Cinema programs are shown using 16mm (not video, not digital) FILM projected on a giant screen.
A few highlights from this new edition of ARCHIVE DISCOVERIES… include:
AMERICAN MUSIC: FROM FOLK TO JAZZ TO POP (1966) – A segment from a sprawling, behind-the-scenes documentary about the mid-sixties music industry. While not much rock 'n' roll is on display, we get to instead visit Nashville's Music Row and Grand Ole Opry, catch Peter, Paul & Mary at the Newport Folk Festival, hear interviews with Richard Rodgers and Duke Ellington, and watch Tony Bennett in the recording studio.
HUNGARIAN RHAPSODY (1930) – William Cameron Menzies was the most important and influential art director of Hollywood's golden age: Menzies created the look of everything from Douglas Fairbanks' THE THIEF OF BAGDAD to GONE WITH THE WIND to the visionary sci-fi masterpiece THINGS TO COME (which he also directed). In the early years of talkies Menzies, in partnership with pioneering film composer Hugo Riesenfeld, produced a series of short films that visualized operettas and other classical works. These films displayed much higher production values than typical one-reel shorts. HUNGARIAN RHAPSODY, based on Franz Liszt's folk music adaptations, is no exception, with gorgeous photography, special effects, sumptuous sets and a wordless story.
MUSICAL JUSTICE (1931) – An entertaining, and frankly weird theatrical short from Paramount starring Rudy Vallée, the famed crooner and bandleader who was arguably the first pop music star of the 20th century. Vallée plays the judge in a court of musical misdemeanors, while his band the Connecticut Yankees is the jury that deliberates, in closed-door jam sessions, over the fates of assorted oddballs charged with melodic
offenses. Also appearing is the real-life voice of Betty Boop, Mae Questal -- who pleads with the court to not take her boop-oop-a-doop away(!)
ELVIS WORK TAPE kinescope (1968) – Rare footage of rehearsal sessions for Elvis Presley's 1968 "Comeback Special" for NBC (which was actually titled SINGER PRESENTS...ELVIS). Revealed is some rather lascivious grinding among the dancers, throat clearing, guitar straps failing, and some mild cussing from the King.
Plus much, much more!
Admission is $9.