Sprocket Society update!


Hello friends — if friends you truly be…

This Sunday is March 15 — the Ides of March, in the Roman calendar.  “Idus Martias” in Latin, it was a holiday devoted to Mars, the god of war.  Most of us know of it thanks to Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar,” about the brutal gang assassination of a despotic ruler on the same fateful day, and the descent into chaos and suicide that befalls the doomed perpetrators.


So, as the world’s economy burns around us and we hose it down with what little money is left unstolen, and the spectre of late-Weimar-scale decimation looms before us, it seems only fitting to liven things up a little and mark the occasion with a special program of excellent films celebrating betrayal, murder, and madness!

This Sunday at 3:00 PM
Northwest Film Forum — http://www.nwfilmforum.org/
No video!  All 16mm film, shown with a 1,000 watt projector!

A CORNER IN WHEAT (1909, b/w, silent) — an early one-reeler directed by DW Griffith, photographed by William “Billy” Bitzer.
Shown with music by Bela Bartok. Story adapted from the writings of Frank Norris: the short story “A Deal in Wheat,” and the novels The Pit and The Octopus: A California Story
A greedy speculator tries to corner the world wheat market, doubling the price of bread overnight.  As his profits soar, we see the devastating effects on countless ordinary people.  A very satisfying end is delivered.  Added to the National Film Registry by Congress in 1994.
About photographer Billy Blitzer: http://www.victorian-cinema.net/bitzer.htm

“Populist Films” (from “Visualizing Ideology: Labor vs. Capitol in the Age of Silent Film”):  http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/history/hist225g/pages/text/I_iii_8.html
Frank Norris:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Norris

“A Deal in Wheat”:  http://www.fullbooks.com/A-Deal-in-Wheat.html
“The Pit”:  http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/NorPit.html

THE TELL-TALE HEART (1953, color, sound) — Oscar-nominated animation from the UPA studios under John Hubley.
Narrated by James Mason.  Animated by Pat Matthews. Directed by Ted Parmalee (who later worked on the Rocky & Bullwinkle shows) and Art Babbitt.
A beautifully-made adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s chilling story of murder and conscience, making brilliant use of limited animation and periods of utter blackness.  Once worn thin by being shown in nearly every high school, it has since been unjustly neglected.  Voted #24 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field in 1994 (higher than Fleischer’s Superman and even A Corny Concerto).  Added to the National Film Registry in 2001.  Showing a near-mint print on low-fade color stock.
Excellent stills: http://the-haunted-closet.blogspot.com/2008/09/tell-tale-heart-1953-upa.html

A true masterpiece of intrigue, betrayal and paranoia made in France during the height of the Nazi occupation, inspired by events that actually took place just after World War I.  So perceptive that it’s home country banned it for 26 years, this early film by director Henri-Georges Clouzot ranks among the best of its time.
Criterion on Clouzot / Clouzot on Criterion: http://www.criterion.com/explore/7

Plus Our Serial!!

Chapter 3 of Zorro’s Fighting Legion (1939):  “Descending Doom!”
Faithful Juan discovers the secret underground chamber where the deadly golden arrows are being made.  But when Zorro investigates, Don Del Oro’s men set upon him!  What is that dude’s problem??

Hope to see you there…

Coming Soon!
Errol Flynn’s debut, in one of the best swashbucklers ever made!
The Marx Brothers at their peak!
The Silent Movie Show (the first of two) on April 5th, with Emil Jannings and 1920s experimental films!



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