Another year of Cinevent has ended and after a LOOOOONG drive home I am ready to give a brief report of my weekend at the festival. I have to say "brief" as I was sick for the first two full days and didn't see many films but I will fill you in on the ones I did check out and enjoy.
The show was really kicked off with 2 Columbia pre-codes shown at the Wexner Center for the Arts on the campus of Ohio State University. "Virtue", a 1932 feature with Carole Lombard and Pat O'Brien (from a STUNNING 35mm print) and 1933's "Cocktail Hour" with Bebe Daniels and Randolph Scott. Of the two, "Virtue" was the clear winner of the night from acting and bawdiness standpoint. The story had much quicker pace than the Daniels picture and Lombard as the "bad girl gone good" won me over.
On Friday I was knocked out in my bed at the hotel, waking only for a cocktail of orange juice and Day-Quil between various episodes from the “Deadliest Catch” marathon.
Saturday and Sunday I certainly did my best to rise to the occasion and get to the screening room to check out the films. Of those I saw, I enjoyed “A Gentleman of Paris”, with Adolphe Menjou, the GREAT Lon Chaney and an energetic Lupe Velez in “Where East Is East”, the Janet Gaynor/Charles Farrell/Frank Borzage collaboration (with the most unlikely but enjoyable ending), “Lucky Star” and 1926’s firefighting drama, “The Fire Brigade” starring May McAvoy and Charles Ray.
I ALWAYS enjoy Cinevent’s Annual Animation Program and it was certainly nice to see a BEAUTIFUL Technicolor print of one of the Warner Brothers “banned eleven”, 1941’s “All This and Rabbit Stew”, but I can do without seeing an Andy Panda cartoon ever again. There were also abundant comedy shorts from Laurel and Hardy and Charley Chase. The latter was represented by 3 of the comedian’s two-reel efforts while at Columbia Pictures. Although most people unjustly believe this period was the nadir of his filmed output, it didn’t seem to affect the audience reaction any as there were MANY laughs during “The Grand Hooter” (1937), “Many Sappy Returns"(1938), and half of “The Mind Needer” (1938), which was interrupted by a real life fire alarm, a first time that has happened at ANY festival I’ve been to! We soon found out that it had been a false alarm and were allowed back inside, but it was dinner time and I never got back to see the last half of the film.
Being a Cinevent weekend, there were TONS of dealers in various rooms throughout the hotel selling posters, lobby cards, films, DVD’s and just about anything movie related for all the punters who arrived. I purchased a few El Brendel lobbies, a window card, and a couple of El pics. I also bought a bunch of other photos that will be appearing in later blogs, but here are a few that I picked up, just to give you a taste of what I found:
It was also great to connect with new and old friends alike and I had many informative (but above all FUN) conversations with collectors and historians (like Paul Gierucki from Laughsmith Entertainment, Richard M. Roberts, Andy Coryell and his wife Carrie, John McElwee over at Greenbriar Picture Shows, and Mike Gebert from the wonderful Nitrateville forum) and it was nice to meet up with Samantha, who has commented on some of my posts here and I must give a shout out to her fantastic website on Dick Powell, make sure you click over there and see the wonderful research she has been doing on his life and career. Also, I must say, the 10 hour drive from and back to Massachusetts was made much easier and enjoyable with my friend Rich Finegan sitting shotgun next to me. Thanks to Rich, the weekend was crazier and funnier than it otherwise would have been going solo, thanks Rich!
All in all, a great weekend and I can’t wait for next year’s Cinevent!