Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Better with age

The organizers of the annual Cinecon film festival in Los Angeles have a simple mantra.

"We have a saying among ourselves that if it's rare we'll show it," said film and TV archivist-historian Stan Taffel, the festival's vice president.

That's not to say every film featured at the five-day festival, which features silent movies and early talkies, is a gem — to be honest, a few could even be described as turkeys. But that's not the point. "Because these films are so rare, no one has seen them," Taffel noted. "We are making these films available to be seen so they can be appreciated on their own merits."

Cinecon 47 opens Thursday at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and continues through Sept. 5. Besides screening nearly 30 films, Cinecon also features memorabilia and collectibles show at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel. The Sunday evening banquet at the hotel will honor veteran performers Julie Adams ("The Creature From the Black Lagoon"), Jimmy Lyndon ("Life With Father") and Fay McKenzie ("Down Mexico Way"). Cinecon is also honoring the work of the National Film Preservation Foundation, which funds the major U.S. archives' film preservation efforts and played a key role the past two years in repatriating silent U.S. films in the New Zealand Film Archive.

Above: Russian actress Alla Nazimova stars in "Stronger than Death" (1920).

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