Monday, September 26, 2005

Golden Boy Comes to the Golden Gate

Those folks at the Balboa Theater say their new calendar should be out and about around October 7th. That's when we find out what titles will appear in the Paramount Pre-Code series. One other notable event at the Balboa - '50s heartthrob Tab Hunter will be appearing live at the Balboa on November 1st and 2nd for screenings of camp classics "Polyester," "Lust in the Dust," and the 1958 western noir "Gunman's Walk." Noir afficionado Eddie Muller will do the interview honors. Muller is the co-author of Hunter's coming autobio, "Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star." Based on early reviews of the book, Tab should have plenty to talk about.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Oh, Kay!

A few weeks back, I told you about two soon-to-be-released biographies of glamorous '30s star Kay Francis. The second book is "Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career," co-authored by Lynn Kear and John Rossman. Like Scott O'Brien's forthcoming tome, Kear and Rossman rely on Kay's diaries, scrapbooks, and correspondence which are now housed at the Wesleyan University Cinema Archives. I had heard that the diaries weren't particularly revelatory about her personal life, though the authors claim many diary entries were written in code, and once deciphered, are actually surprisingly frank. Kear and Rossman feature some rare outtakes from Kay's films on their Web site. It's a lot of fun to see some quick glimpses of the real Kay. The biography should be published in late fall '05 or early '06

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Columbia Before the Code

Great news for San Francisco pre-code enthusiasts: there are not one but two pre-code film series hitting the indie houses in the city this fall! Mick LaSalle's article in the Chronicle confirms what we already hinted at: the Paramount Before the Code series which packed them in at New York's Film Forum last summer will be playing in an abbreviated form at the Balboa in October. Titles have not been announced yet, but Mark Viera, author of "Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-Code Hollywood" and a new Greta Garbo biois putting together the program. Details as soon as the schedule is announced.

Perhaps more surprising is that The Castro has also announced a pre-code program featuring several rare Columbia releases not available on video or DVD! The nine-day series runs from October 12th through the 20th. Among the highlights:

  • Nancy Carroll in 1933's "Child of Manhattan," based on an early Preston Sturges play.
  • Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young in "Man's Castle" (1933)
  • Jean Harlow, Marie Prevost, and Mae Clarke in "Three Wise Girls"
  • A Fay Wray double feature: "Ann Carver's Profession," written by husband and Capra collaborator Robert Riskin, and 1934's "Mills of the Gods."
  • Early Barbara Stanwyck: "Mexicali Rose" (1929) and "Shopworn" with Regis Toomey.
  • Pre-Code Sopranos-style with the Italian mob melodrama "The Guilty Generation."

When it rains, it pours, as they say! After the success of the PFA's summer series, it was only a matter of time before the other rep houses followed suit. My only hope is that the two series don't conflict with each other. The Castro is already selling a series pass for the Columbia films at $45 for all 18 films!