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DISTINGUISHED STRANGERS

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What’s the World Coming To?

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Richard Wallace

USA, 1926, 23 min.

Cast: Clyde Cook, Katherine Grant, James Finlayson

Production: Hal Roach Studios

Print: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

A fantastic, little-known comedy set 100 years in the future (about now), when genders have reversed.

"What’s the World Coming To?" takes on cross-dressing by both sexes, also in an upper-class world.

 

Written in part by comedy’s up-and-coming genius Stan Laurel, the script is set a hundred years in the future when women and men have switched roles. Women are the dominant sex, sporting waistcoats and close-cropped hair, and the men have become not so much feminine as ruffle-draped buffoons. In this imagining of 2026, it’s a zero-sum game, in which any power gained by women is a loss for men.

San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Now we're in the air

(fragment)

Frank R. Strayer

USA, 1927, 23 min.

Cast: Wallace Beery, Louise Brooks, Raymond Hatton, Russell Simpson

Production: Lasky Corp.

Print: San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Comedy about two fliers called “looney Lindberghs” who wander onto a World War I battlefield near the front lines.

The film was one of several aviation-themed stories shot in 1927, incorporating leftover aerial and battle footage from “Wings”, visible in the Armistice scene in the last reel and featuring a popular comedy team in the late silent era - Wallace Beery and Raymond Hatton.

 

Louise Brooks plays the unusual role of twin sisters, one raised French and one raised German, named Griselle & Grisette, who are the love interest of the two fliers. Sadly only “Grisette” appears in the surviving fragment.

 

Now We’re in the Air was considered lost until 2016, when film preservationist Rob Byrne came upon approximately 23 minutes of film in the Czech Republic’s National Film Archive in Prague.

 

A restoration of the surviving material started in the same year and the resulting fragment was premiered in 2017 at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

Agora estamos no ar
Agora estamos no ar
Agora estamos no ar
 
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GRASS: A NATION'S BATTLE FOR LIFE

Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack

USA, 1925, 71 min.

Print: Kino Lorber Films/Milestone

"Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life" ranks among the most impressive and important ethnographic films of the 20th century and narrates the epic journey of nomadic shepherds through the Zagros Mountains of Iran in 1925.

Marguerite Harrison, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack travel through Asia Minor to reach a tribe of nomads in Iran known as the Bakhtiari. They follow the tribesmen on their 48 - day trek across deserts, rivers and mountains to reach summer pasture for their flocks.

Náufragos da Vida

There are hardships and conquests for the 50,000 tribesmen leading their 500,000 animals across the treacherous land.

 

First is fording the raging waters of the Karun River by floating on rafts buoyed by inflated goatskins.

 

Hardest of all is the ascending in bare feet of an almost perpendicular mountain only to face the even more towering Zardeh Kuh, pathless and covered with deep snow.

 

Finally, they descend to their goal — a fertile and grassy valley.

The filmmakers captured unforgettable images of courage and determination as the Bakhtiari braved the raging and icy waters of the half-mile-wide Karun River.

 

Cooper and Schoedsack almost froze when they filmed the breathtaking, almost unbelievable, sight of an endless river of men, women, and children — their feet bare or wrapped in rags — winding up the side of the sheer, snow-covered rock face of the 15,000-foot-high Zardeh Kuh Mountain.

Milestone Films