Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Quiet on the Set 

Wednesday, Jul 6 2011
John Ford was an early practitioner of silent cinema’s straight-ahead narratives, moving up as a journeyman in cowboy movies to a respected spot as a staff director at William Fox’s Fox Studios by 1927. But the studio had greater ambitions and hired, with a great deal of publicity, the acclaimed German director F.W. Murnau, who made Nosferatu and Faust. Given carte blanche, Murnau and his largely German staff produced Sunrise, importing moody shadows and mobile cameras direct from Berlin onto the Fox backlot. Young Ford was deeply impressed by Murnau’s explorations, and his next several films absorbed that style, fusing it with his unpretentious training to produce the offhand and unforced poetry associated with the 40 years of sound masterpieces that would follow. Tonight, see Ford’s recently rediscovered Upstream from 1927 as well as Sunrise at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The Sosin Ensemble is on hand to score Upstream (7 p.m.), while Giovanni Spinelli plays the electric guitar to accompany Sunrise (9:15 p.m.). The festival includes films from Japan, Italy, Soviet Russia, and Germany; early cartoons from Walt Disney; a rare American film from Douglas Fairbanks (Mr. Fix-It, Saturday at 6:30 p.m.); and a 1920 version of Huckleberry Finn (Friday at 2 p.m.) by William Desmond Taylor, whose 1922 murder was never solved. The Goose Woman (Saturday at 4 p.m.) is a 1925 film loosely based on another true-life murder case, featuring a moving performance by Louise Dresser as a drunk who had once been an opera star and seeks a return to the public eye.
Thursdays-Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: July 14. Continues through July 17, 2011

About The Author

Gregg Rickman


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"