November at Niles

The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont has a busy November schedule well worth checking out. Here's what's playing.

The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont has a busy November schedule well worth checking out. There is a Helen Holmes drama, a Harold Lloyd comedy, a Buster Keaton comedy, and a night at the movies as one might have experienced it during the Nickelodeon era. Each will be presented with live musical accompaniment. Along with their regular "Saturday Night at the Movies" programming, there is also the Comedy Short Subject Night, a Laurel & Hardy Talkie Matinee, and special holiday themed programs. All together, it is another fine month of early cinema in the East Bay. Here's what's playing.

"Saturday Night at the Movies" with Frederick Hodges at the piano
Saturday November 3 at 7:30 pm

Lovely Helen Holmes was best known for the Hazards of Helen railroad serial films made for the Kalem Company. She continued to work in dozens of films after those were made. The Lost Express (1926, Schlank) is an example of one of her later action movies. Directed by J.P. McGowan, the film also features Niles Essanay actor Fred Church. This seldom screened feature will be preceded by two shorts, The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912, Biograph) with Lillian Gish, and Our Daredevil Chief (1915, Keystone) with the great Ford Sterling.

"The Great Nickelodeon Show" with Frederick Hodges at the piano
Sunday November 4 at 7:30 pm

Return to a time when movies were shown with vaudeville acts, illustrated songs, hand-colored slides, and lecturers in frock coats. See Illusionist extraordinaire, Reed Kirk Rahlmann with his notorious contortionist routine, still uncensored but all-new, rivaling Houdini and the Great Sandow for its outrages against the human body and so much more.

"Saturday Night at the Movies" with Bruce Loeb at the piano
Saturday November 10 at 7:30 pm

After the success of Grandma’s Boy (1922), Harold Lloyd planned his next feature film, Dr. Jack (1922, Hal Roach Studios). Billed as "five reels of fun," it turned out to be his biggest hit to date. The Lloyd classic will be preceded by two shorts, The New York Hat (1912, Biograph) with Mary Pickford, and Bromo and Juliet (1926, Roach) with Charley Chase.

"Laurel & Hardy Talkie Matinee"
Sunday November 11 at 4:00 pm

In Block-Heads (1938, Roach), it's 1938, but Stan doesn't know the First World War is over. He's still patrolling the trenches in France, and shoots down a French aviator. Oliver sees his friend's picture in the paper and goes to visit Stan at the Soldier's Home. Thinking he is disabled, Oliver takes pity on him and takes him home for a nice home-cooked meal. But Oliver's wife has other ideas. Also on the bill are County Hospital (1932) with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, and Mike Fright (1934) with Our Gang.

"Special Sunday Matinee"
Sunday November 17 at 2:00 pm

The beloved character Nancy Drew is the subject of this special live stage presentation and film screening. On the bill are Nancy Drew, Girl Reporter (1938) with Bonita Granville, plus a Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys book swap and sale in conjunction with Pegasus Books, of Berkeley.

"Comedy Short Subject Night" with Greg Pane at the piano
Saturday November 17 at 7:30 pm

If you love to laugh, then don't miss this monthly program of shorts featuring some of the most famous comedians of the silent film era. On the bill are Behind the Screen (1916, Lone Star) with Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance, The Blacksmith (1922, Comique) with Buster Keaton, Pass the Gravy (1929, Hal Roach) with Max Davidson, and The Second Hundred Years (1927, Hal Roach) with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

"Holiday Movie Talkie Special"
Friday November 23 at 8:00 pm

In Remember the Night (1940, Paramount), Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray star in a heartwarming holiday classic featuring a strong supporting cast, stylish costumes by Edith Head, a charming script by Preston Sturges, and superb direction by Mitchell Leisen. This special screening is a fundraiser for the Adopt a Family holiday program.

"Saturday Night at the Movies" with Frederick Hodges at the piano
Saturday November 24 at 7:30 pm

In The Three Ages (1923, Buster Keaton Productions), Buster Keaton and Wallace Beery battle each other across the ages - the Stone Age, the Roman Age, and the Modern Age - in this, Keaton’s first independently produced feature. Margaret Leahy plays the Girl. The evening's entertainment includes Koko’s Thanksgiving (1925, Out of the Inkwell) with Koko the Clown, and The Caretaker’s Daughter (1925, Hal Roach) with Charley Chase.

For more info: The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum is located at 37417 Niles Blvd. in Fremont, California. For further information, call (510) 494-1411 or visit the Museum's website at www.nilesfilmmuseum.org/.

Thomas Gladysz is a Bay Area arts and entertainment writer and early film buff, as well as the Director of the Louise Brooks Society, an internet-based archive and international fan club devoted to the silent film star. Gladysz has contributed to books on the actress, organized exhibits, appeared on television and radio, and introduced Brooks' films around the world.

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