Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Sunday I went to the Silent Movie Film Festival to see the Scarlet Letter. I've been a fan of silent movies, old radio shows, an early American Music since I was a kid. Why the interest, it must be the luddite in me or maybe I prefer technology of a different time.

Since it was Sunday I rode my bicycle to the theatre, that's a win-win for me! I get a little exercise and I make much better time a major improvement over standing on a corner waiting for a bus- which I loath. I road to the Castro district where the City's most beautiful movie house exist "The Castro." it's a wonderful example of Art Deco 1920s architecture. The theatre has an organ the Mighty Wurlitzer which is played not just at silent films but as a regular part of the theatre experience.

One of the reasons I was planning to see this Scarlet Letter was included in the evening program was news reel footage of the filming of Greed in Death Valley. I'm a big fan of the movie by Erich von Stroheim and the book McTeague by Frank Norris.

The Scarlet Letter was enjoyable and this was my first time of seeing the story told in film, I like many read the story in high school. Lillian Gish, played Hester Prynne and her performance was powerful. Apparently she pushed to have this film made and it was a good vehicle for her. I thought it was ironic that the film starts with a statement about prejudice and intolerance and Lillian Gish starred in and defended Birth of a Nation. She apparently never found the story questionable or inaccurate. So much for empathy for the ones around you? It's easy to have empathy for Hester Prynne she lived in a puritanical society over 300 years ago. How about your neighbors.


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