Every year, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival presents a 4 day summer program in February and a 1 day winter program in July. The festival presented an excellent program on Saturday, July 12, 2011, beginning with 3 Charles Chaplin shorts, and moving on to a great French masterpiece called “L’Argent” from 1928 and “La Boheme,” an MGM film, from 1926.
The 3 Chaplin shorts included “The Rink” from 1916, “The Adventurer” from 1917, and “The Pawn Shop” from 1916. I enjoyed the The Pawn Shop the best of these 3. Chaplin does a wonderful bit dissecting a clock, taking his time, and milking every minute of it. All three of the Chaplin shorts feature a lot of fighting between Chaplin and either Henry Bergman or John Rand or both. During the show, I heard children laughing. As you know, these films played at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, which was built in 1922. As Donald Sosin played live piano, and I heard children laughing in the audience, I saw the inventive genius of Chapin, and I felt the magic of the silver screen. As Adolph Menjou said in his autobiography, “It Took Nine Tailors,” they called Chaplin a genius because he was one. It’s nice to see his genius unfold on the big screen.