Friday, January 10, 2014

Hollywood Home Movies

On December 11, I ventured to the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center to see Hollywood Home Movies, a program consisting of home movies from Hollywood stars.  Curated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the program was narrated by Randy Haberkamp, the Academy's Managing Director of Programming, Education and Preservation & Lynne Kirste, Special Collections Curator, Academy Film Archive.  In addition, Michael Mortilla accompanied the films (all of which were silent) on piano.

The program consisted of 17 home movies and the total program was about 2 hours.

The next evening, the Smith Rafael was screening A Century Ago: The Films of 1913.  I wanted to go but I gave a friend the option of seeing Hollywood Home Movies or The Films of 1913.  Technically, I asked initially her to go to both but she flat out refused so it become either/or situation.  She chose Hollywood Home Movies although (unbeknownst to her) my preference was to see The Films of 1913.

For the past several years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences commemorates the early days of cinema by highlighting the films which are celebrating their centennial.  These Century Ago programs screen exclusively and one night only in the Bay Area at the Smith Rafael.  I've wanted to go for the past few years but work or some other film screening has kept me from going.  I should have just gone by myself but trips to San Rafael on consecutive nights seemed too much of an indulgence.  In hindsight, I regret my decision.

My favorite clips from Hollywood Home Movies include Marlene Dietrich and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. on their European vacation in 1937, James Wong Howe's trip to San Francisco just after the Bay Bridge & Golden Gate Bridge opened, guests lounging at Hearst Castle, Esther Williams home movies and the wrap party picnic for It's a Wonderful Life.

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