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Screening at Cinecon 54

Revised August 15, 2018

Cinecon is highly regarded among film fans for screening the rare and unusual films of the silent and early sound era—films that seldom get seen on a big screen. Cinecon combs the major film archives and Hollywood studio vaults to select often forgotten gems that deserve a fresh look and reappraisal. At Cinecon there is something for everyone—comedy, drama, musicals, Westerns. We show the latest restorations—and some one-of-a-kind rarities.

All films will be shown at Grauman's Egyptian Theater at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, most in 35mm. Silent films feature live musical accompaniment. In addition to our films we will also feature several Special Programs. For a full list of films with screening times please check out our schedule page.

For the most current film information visit our facebook page.     Film notes by Tobin Larson, Motion Picture Archivist (unless otherwise noted)

   

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CINECON 54’S OPENING NIGHT GALA PRESENTATION
Thursday night, August 30th

HELEN’S BABIES (1924, Sol Lesser Prod.)
Shades of “Family Affair!” In this silent comedy Edward Everett Horton is a young bachelor, Uncle Harry, who suddenly finds himself saddled with raising two precocious little girls: Jeanne Carpenter and Baby Peggy, who at the time this film was released was the second most popular child star (after Jackie Coogan of Chaplin’s THE KID) in all of moviedom. The girls' antics drive him crazy at first, but then he begins to warm to them. 19-year-old Clara Bow is the local girl who enters into Uncle Harry’s life.

Baby Peggy’s real-life father, Jack Montgomery was stand-in and stuntman for cowboy star Tom Mix and Baby Peggy grew up to chronicle Hollywood’s early history in a series of wonderful books under the pen name of Diana Serra Cary. She turns 100 this year.

Diana is a long-time friend to Cinecon, and this year’s Opening Gala, will be honoring her milestone birthday with the PREMIER of a NEW RESTORATION of HELEN’S BABIES from The Library of Congress, featuring newly discovered footage unseen since the film was originally released. It will be accompanied LIVE by THE FAMOUS PLAYER’S ORCHESTRA with new original score compiled and lead by maestro Scott Lasky!

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THAT CERTAIN FEELING (1956, Paramount)
This year’s special Cinecon guest, Academy Award Winner Eva Marie Saint, to whom we will be presenting our Legacy Award this year, has requested that we screen THAT CERTAIN FEELING in which she stars with her long-time friend, Hollywood legend Bob Hope. So join us as we salute her with this comedy set in the world of comic strips.

Snooty and urbane George Sanders plays a popular cartoonist whose comic strip has become stale. Bob Hope is recruited to add some spark to the strip as a ghostwriter. He’s much more down-to-Earth, but is highly neurotic and he needs extra money for his psychiatrist. The thing is, he’s still in love with his ex (Eva Marie Saint), and she’s not only George Sanders’ secretary but is also about to marry him.

With Pearl Bailey, Jerry Mathers and with a cameo by Li’l Abner creator and cartoonist Al Capp. We’ll be showing an original IB Technicolor studio print in Vista Vision!

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THE UNEXPECTED FATHER (1932, Universal)
Two of the Cinecon audience’s most popular actors – Slim Summerville and ZaSu Pitts – star in this Pre-Code comedy. Four-year-old child actor Cora Sue Collins made her debut here as "Pudge" and rumor has it that she’s never seen the film. Well, she will be in the theater when we show it at this year’s Cinecon. Please join us when we welcome her.

Slim is millionaire Jasper Jones on his way to marry his gold-digging fiancé when, through a series of mishaps, he ends up rescuing an abused little girl, "Pudge." He doesn’t make it to the wedding but instead he hires Polly Pickerill (ZaSu), a veterinary nurse, to look after the adorable child. Pudge makes it her business to see that Jasper and Polly become her new "parents."

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HE LEARNED ABOUT WOMEN (1933, Paramount)
Our feature presentation for this year’s SATURDAY NITRATE FEVER is this black and white, pre-code screwball comedy starring the child-like comic actor Stu Erwin.

NEW YORK CITY: In the midst of the Great Depression, recluse Peter Potter Kendall the second (Erwin), inherits fifty million dollars. Not knowing anything about how the world works he comes under the tutelage of his valet/guide Sidney Toler and they set off to use the money for good. First he rescues an unemployed young woman and her "mother" from a lecherous businessman, and moving them into his Fifth Avenue mansion. Then he opens a chain of soup kitchens, thus becoming a hero to the out-of-work population who come to his rescue when crooks scheme to steal his money. Meanwhile, he learns courage with help from The Little Engine That Could (I think I can… I think I can…). With Susan Fleming, Alison Skipworth, Gordon Westcott, Grant Mitchel. Written and Directed by Lloyd Corrigan.

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OUTSIDE THE LAW (1920, Universal)
The great Lon Chaney, “The Man of a Thousand Faces,” shows off his acting chops when he plays two roles in this silent crime drama. He plays both “Black Mike” Sylva, a cruel gangster, and, in his remarkable make-up, he plays Ah Wing, a kindly Chinese servant. Directed by Chaney’s frequent collaborator, Tod Browning, this was their second film together. With popular actress Priscilla Dean as the daughter of a crime boss who is thinking of going straight thanks to the influence of the Chinatown community. Look for an uncredited Anna May Wong in a small role.

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LAUREL AND HARDY AT CINECON
Two classic L&H shorts newly restored by UCLA and UCLA’s head of restoration (and friend of Cinecon) Scott MacQueen:

BRATS (1930, Hal Roach Studio)
The boys play their own children in this special effects extravaganza.

HOG WILD (1930, Hal Roach Studio)
Mrs. Hardy wants to get China on their radio, so Stan and Ollie attempt to erect a new antenna on the Hardy’s roof.

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THE APE (1940, Monogram)
So… how often do you get a chance to see a Monogram film on the big screen in a sparkling new 35mm print? That’s what we thought when we were looking for this year’s tribute to the late night Creature Features we grew up with, and George Willeman of the Library of Congress told us that they had a newly minted print of THE APE. “Now we can clearly see how bad this movie really is!” one of our board members said. Love it or hate it, horror icon Boris Karloff gives his all as an outcast scientist stuck in a rural California desert town, looking for a cure for Polio. And neither an escaped circus gorilla nor murder will stop him! Creaky, but with some great scenes of vintage circus acts.

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GOLDIE (1931, Fox)
The politically incorrect comic tale of salty sailors and the women they tattoo. An uncredited remake of Howard Hawks’ silent “A Girl in Every Port,” when this pre-code was submitted for a re-release in 1937 a storm of protest came from the Hayes Office which sited its “vulgarity and low-tone.” Sounds good, no? A sailor, Spike (Warren Hymer), keeps meeting women who carry the signature tattoo of the mysterious Bill (Spencer Tracy) another sailor. When he finally meets the legendary Bill, the two become fast friends. Then Spike falls for a carnival high-diver named Goldie (Jean Harlow). She also has Bill’s signature tattoo…

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MISS TATLOCK’S MILLIONS (1948, Paramount)
A tale of crime, romance and switched identities… just like SCOTLAND YARD, but this time played for laughs. Miss Tatlock has died, and her millions are up for grabs. Only problem is that one of the heirs – a nutty pyromaniac whom the family had committed to an asylum 20 years before – is also dead. He got ahold of some matches and burnt to death a couple of years ago. Only, no one thought to let the family know, and they are waiting for him to appear. John Lund plays a stuntman/actor who bears an uncanny likeness to the dead man and is hired to impersonate him as the family decides how to split up the money.

At one time MISS TATLOCK’S MILLIONS was a fairly popular movie and a staple of late-night television showings. But years ago it seemed to have dropped off the face of the earth and it’s never been on any form of home video so it’s been forgotten by most people. Friends who do remember it --and whose opinions we trust -- tell us that it belongs on the list of great American comedies, along with works by Howard Hawks, Preston Sturges and Frank Capra. See what you think when we show it at this year’s Cinecon! With a wonderful supporting cast including among others: Wanda Hendrix, Barry Fitzgerald, Monty Woolley, Robert Stack, Leif Erickson and Dan Tobin (no relation!) “I hate California. It’s the only place on Earth where you can fall asleep under a rosebush in full bloom and freeze to death.”

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SO LONG LETTY (1920, Christie Film Company)
This risqué silent comedy is based on a 1916 play which starred Charlotte Greenwood who later starred in the 1929 film remake. In the Miller household (Colleen Moore, T. Roy Barnes) the husband loves to spend his evenings partying and night-clubbing while his wife wants to quietly spend her evenings at home. Meanwhile, their neighbors, the Robbins (Walter Hiers, Grace Darmond), are the opposite with the wife wanting to go out and the husband wanting to stay home. The husbands get together and decide they should swap wives! The wives aren’t so sure…

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ONCE IN A LIFETIME (1932, Universal)
This precursor to SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN – a comedy of Hollywood’s transition from silent film to talkies based on a play by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman - should be right up the Cinecon alley with great behind-the-scenes views of classic Hollywood. When THE JAZZ SINGER causes a sensation, three vaudevillians, including Jack Oakie, lose their bookings. They come up with a scheme to con Hollywood itself by moving to Tinseltown and posing as voice and diction experts, opening a school. Through a series of mishaps Oakie becomes a Movie Director! With Aline MacMahon, Russell Hopton, Gregory Rattoff, Zasu Pitts, Sidney Fox and more.

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THE GOLDEN HORDE (1951, Universal)
Marvin Miller, star of the popular 1950’s television show THE MILLIONAIRE is Genghis Khan, attacking the country of Samarkand in 13th Century Central Asia. Ann Blyth is the country’s Princess Shalimar who is busy welcoming a group of English Crusaders who want to defend the country from the invading Golden Horde! With Henry Brandon as Genghis Khan’s son, Juchi. And with George Macready, Richard Egan and Peggy Castle. Filmed in Death Valley in Technicolor.

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SEVEN SINNERS (1925, Warner Bros.)
The lovely Marie Prevost is one of the “sinners” in this silent comedy film. In this case the sinners are seven burglars who converge on a Long Island mansion, all attempting to rob the safe on the same night! Instead they end up robbing each other. But by the end of the picture we learn that perhaps there is honor among thieves. Some thieves anyway.

With Clive Brook and Cinecon favorite Fred Kelsey as – what else? – a cop.

Written by Lewis Milestone and Darryl F. Zanuck, this was Milestone’s feature directorial debut. The film was thought to be lost after the film’s elements were purged from the studio vaults in 1948. But a print was found in Australia in 2015.

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KING SOLOMON OF BROADWAY (1935, Universal)
New York gangster “Ice” Larson (no relation!), is owner of the Broadway nightclub, Solomon’s Palace, but he’s doing time in Sing Sing. Meanwhile his debonair associate, “King” Solomon (Edmund Lowe), is running the joint. One night during a card game King loses the nightclub to Ice Larson’s main rival and he has only three days to come up with $64,000 to get the club back before Ice finds out. There follows a car accident, a new girlfriend, her rich uncle, a kidnapping, a gun fight and a number of night club acts!

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THE DESERT BRIDE (1928, Columbia)
World Restoration Premiere! Walter Lang directed this hour-long silent melodrama of romance, intrigue, spies, and evil Arabs in the desert. Starring Allan Forrest as a French army officer, Betty Compson as his sweetheart and Otto Matieson as an evil Arab. Until very recently this was a “lost film.” This is a new restoration done by Sony Pictures from a nitrate print found in France and Cinecon will have the first showing!

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SCOTLAND YARD (1941, 20th Century Fox)
A tale of crime, romance and switched identities. A London bank robber on the run from Scotland Yard’s Inspector Cork (Edmund Gwenn) breaks into the home of a drunken bank manager and his put-upon wife (Nancy Kelly). He rescues the woman from her abusive husband and escapes, taking a locket with their pictures in it as a souvenir. Later Inspector Cork learns that the robber joined the military and has died in battle at Dunkirk after serving with distinction. In reality he has been sent back to England with his face destroyed. The plastic surgeons think the photograph in the locket is the soldier, so they make him look just like the bank manager (John Loder). After recuperating he decides to take the man’s place and rob his bank.

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MILLION DOLLAR LEGS (1932, Paramount)
The tag line for this movie was "It’s Insane, It’s Joyous!" Both are true. Especially the "Insane" part. A truly surreal experience, if you’re in the right mood, this may be the funniest film you’ve ever seen. W.C. Fields is the physically super-strong President of Klopstokia, a small country on the brink of bankruptcy and where every man is named George and every woman is named Angela. Jack Oakie is a tourist in the country, in love with the President’s daughter (Susan Fleming). He comes up with a plan to save the country: enter Klopstokia in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics where the President can win the weight-lifting competition. "Klopstokia – A far away country – chief exports: goats and nuts." chief imports: goats and nuts – chief inhabitants: goats and nuts.” With Andy Clyde, Ben Turpin, Hugh Herbert, Dickie Moore. MILLION DOLLAR LEGS was released in Los Angeles three weeks before the start of the real Los Angeles Olympics.

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INFERNAL MACHINE (1933, Fox)
They don’t come much stranger than this one. It’s ostensibly a thriller about an ocean liner with a time bomb planted somewhere – but it’s played largely as a screwy romantic comedy! The glittery cast – mostly playing to type – includes Chester Morris, Genevieve Tobin (no relation!), Victor Jory, Elizabeth Patterson, Edward Van Sloan, J. Carrol Naish, Mischa Auer and Arthur Hohl – plus Nat Pendleton speaking French as a Parisian street thug. Directed by Marcel Varnel, this was the hit of UCLA’s 2017 Festival of Preservation. We’re glad to be able to share it this Labor Day weekend with the Cinecon crowd. (written by Michael Schlesinger)

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ON THE AVENUE (1937, 20th Century Fox)
The standard “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” was written by Irving Berlin for this musical. And watta cast! Dick Powell, Madeleine Carroll, Alice Faye and (drum roll, please) The Ritz Brothers!

When a new show opens on Broadway a sketch makes fun of an important New York family. The family members happen to be in the audience for the premier that night. Insulted, the daughter (Madeleine Carroll) goes backstage to complain to the Producer/Star (Dick Powell) but sparks fly and by the next morning the two are in love. That’s not such good news for the Star’s Co-Star (Alice Faye) who’s in love with the Star herself. She sets out to sabotage the romance… Okay, now get a load of just some of the supporting cast members: George Barbier, Alan Mowbray, Cora Witherspoon, Joan Davis, Walter Catlett, Sig Ruman, Billy Gilbert and… (gasping as I catch my breath)… Stepin Fetchit. Directed by Roy Del Ruth.

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NAUGHTY BABY (1928, First National)
“Naughty Baby, the girl with Champagne ideas and a home-brew income!” Alice White works as a hat check girl in a New York luxury hotel when she falls for rich-boy Jack Mulhall who is staying at the hotel. She can’t let him know that she is only a hat check girl so she and her friend Thelma Todd start a ruse pretending to be society women. Then they find evidence that he may not be rich after all… This was considered a lost film until the Museum of Modern Art found a print last year.

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. With Benny Rubin, George E. Stone and Andy Devine as the girls’ comical suitors.

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THE SHAKEDOWN (1929, Universal)
Once thought lost, this silent film, directed by William Wyler, was recently restored by Universal. James Murray is Dave Roberts, a low-life boxer who is part of a scam operation. He travels from town to town, ahead of his bosses, establishing himself as a boxer and local hero. Then the bosses come into town with another boxer, looking for a challenger, and a match is set up. Then Dave takes a dive and his bosses rake in the gambling profits. One day Dave arrives in a new town, meets a waitress (Barbara Kent) and her son and begins to re-think the direction of his life. He decides to turn the tables on the men who have been running his life.

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BLONDE TROUBLE(1937, Paramount)
Based on the 1929 George S. Kaufman/Ring Lardner musical “June Moon.” In BLONDE TROUBLE romance blossoms on board a train when aspiring songwriter Fred (Johnny Downs) meets dental assistant Edna (Eleanor Whitney) as he heads off from Schenectady to Manhattan to look for his big break. Being a 1930’s musical it’ll be no shock to learn that he gets both the girl and a hit song. But first Fred has to contend with crooked song publishers and gold-digging women who set their sights on his life’s savings. With some of Cinecon’s favorite players: William Demarest, El Brendel and Spec O’Donnell.

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INFERNAL TRIANGLE (1935, Roach/MGM)
One of the last (and rarest) Roach two-reelers, this delightfully clever spoof presents a standard romantic confrontation scene, then repeats it with the characters assuming various ethnicities – with quite different results! Phyllis Barry and John Warburton star under Gordon Douglas’ direction. (written by Michael Schlesinger)

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IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE (1933, Fox)
In this Pre-Code… Science Fiction… Musical… Comedy… whew!... a mysterious new disease spreads across the globe. Called Masculitis, it eventually kills every fertile male on Earth. Every male, that is, except Carlos Martin (Raul Roulien also in ASEGURE A SU MUJER!), a pilot who has been stranded on a desert island. Eventually rescued, Carlos learns that he is the last man on Earth and humanity’s only chance for survival. It’s great to be alive, indeed! Meanwhile, women have taken over all the jobs men used to perform. Including running the Chicago Mob! IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE is a remake of the 1924 silent comedy THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, which we showed at Cinecon in 2013. With classic movie favs Gloria Stuart, Edna May Oliver, Edward Van Sloan.

KINECON AT CINECON
A second iteration of our tribute to the Golden Age of Television. It follows-up last year’s sold-out/standing room only show. It’s a cornucopia of kinescopes from our board members’ private collections.

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THE VIRGINIA JUDGE (1935, Paramount)
In a small Southern village the “Virginia Judge,” Calhoun Davis, is the most beloved and respected man in town. “Cal” dispenses justice from the bench with fairness and thoughtfulness. In fact, there’s only one person in town who can’t stand him…his stepson.

Walter C. Kelly is the “Virginia Judge”. Robert Cummings in his first leading role is the stepson. And, in her first film role, Cinecon Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree Marsha Hunt is the girl next door whom the stepson is interested in. As of this writing Marsha is planning to be at this screening!

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FOUR DAYS WONDER (1936, Universal)
British author A.A. Milne is, of course, best known for his children’s stories of Winnie the Pooh and the Hundred Acre Woods. But before that he wrote humor for Punch Magazine and he wrote an acclaimed murder mystery novel, “The Red House Mystery”(1922)( Raymond Chandler was a fan). Later on, after his success with the silly old bear, he combined all three genres into another novel ; Full of odd-ball humor, “Four Day’s Wonder”( 1933), tells the story of a young girl, a mystery fan, who tries to discover the killer when her aunt is found dead. Universal adapted the book into this film three years later, starring 13-year-old Jeanne Dante. Also appearing are Cinecon favorites Martha Sleeper, Alan Mowbry and Walter Catlett.

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THE AVENGER (1931, Columbia)
One of 8 western features that Buck Jones starred in during the year of 1931. Here he plays real-life Mexican bandit “The Robin Hood of the West’” Joaquin Murieta whose exploits were the inspiration for the fictional character Zorro.

In this version of the story, set in 1849 Gold-Rush California, Joaquin Murieta is robbed of his prosperous gold claim and forced to watch as his brother (played by a young Paul Fix) is lynched. He takes on the secret identity of “The Black Shadow” to get revenge on the racist white men who have done him wrong. Directed by Roy William Neill, best known for directing Universal’s Sherlock Holmes series and for directing last year’s Cinecon Creature Feature THE BLACK ROOM.

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LEGION OF TERROR (1936, Columbia)
Based on a true story that – sorry to say - could be taken from today’s headlines. When a bomb is sent through the mail to a Senator’s office, two Postal Inspectors (Bruce Cabot and Crawford Weaver) are sent to investigate. They discover a town under the control of a white supremacist group called the Hood Legion. Using assumed names they go undercover, get jobs in a local factory and join the organization. The same true incident was used as the basis for the 1937 motion picture BLACK LEGION which starred Humphrey Bogart.

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LITTLE ORPHANT ANNIE (1918, Selig Polyscope Company)
This is a 2016 restoration of a 1918 film based on a popular 1885 poem! The lovely Colleen Moore is Annie, a plucky orphan who charms the others in the orphanage with wonderful stories she creates in her imagination. That is until she is adopted by an aunt and uncle who treat her cruelly. But fear not…

The popular poet, author of the original poem, James Whitcomb Riley, appears in the film as its (silent) narrator. But wait! Shades of Ed Wood and Bela Lugosi! James Whitcomb Riley died years before the making of the movie. His appearance was originally filmed for another movie that was never finished.

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SWEET AND LOW-DOWN (1944, 20th Century Fox)
Benny Goodman and his band headline this comic, romantic, musical free-for-all directed by Archie Mayo. It’s WW II and Benny and the orchestra travel across the country to entertain the troops at army bases. When Benny discovers a young trombone player and gives him a job with the band, the kid becomes an unmitigated egotist and his attitude starts to cause trouble for everyone. With Linda Darnell, Jack Oakie, Lynn Bari, and lots of swingin’ big band tunes. When the band arrives at a boy’s military academy (run by Dickie Moore!) things really start to jump!

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WILD HORSE STAMPEDE (1926, Universal)
In this silent western, real-life Oklahoma cowboy turned stuntman, turned short-time Western Star, Jack Hoxie, plays Jack Tanner, a champion bronc-buster who has his eyes on Fay Wray (and who wouldn’t?). He accepts a challenge to corral 10,000 wild mustangs for enough cash to be able to get married. Unfortunately, Charlie Champion (William Steele), Jack’s rival for Fay’s hand, sets out to ruin Jack’s chances with a spectacular stampede. Past audiences have said that Bunk the dog is the best actor in the movie and that he steals the show! Restored from a recently found German print. Don’t miss it!

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ASEGURE A SU MUJER (INSURE YOUR WIFE!) (1935, Fox)
Foreign-language versions of early talkies were not uncommon, but this zany farce was so racy that the Breen office forbade Fox to make it in English! Raul Roulien (also in IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE) plays a ladies’ man with a Big Idea: Infidelity Insurance! If a man’s wife cheats on him, the company has to pay him damages. It’s a big success… until it unexpectedly blows up in his face. Also in the cast are such familiar faces as Antonio Moreno, Mona Maris, Barbara Howard, Carlos “Spanish Dracula” Villarias and Luis Alberni – who’s even more over the top in Spanish than he is in English! Directed by Lewis Seiler, this was recently preserved by Academy Film Archive and 20th Century Fox. (Subtitled, of course). (written by Michael Schlesinger)

As always films are listed here pending final clearance and are subject to change.

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