Screenings 2022

Women and the Silent Screen Archival Screenings
Lenfest Center for the Arts – Katharina Otto-Bernstein Screening Room
June 2 – 5, 2022

6/2: Conference Screening #1: Esfir Shub’s Segodnya (1930): Banned in New Jersey
6/3: Conference Screening #2: Columbia Women & Silent Era Cinema
     By Right of Birth. Dir. Harry A. Gant (Lincoln Motion Picture Company, US, 1921)
     The Diver. sc.: Marguerite Bertsch (Vitagraph, US, 1913)
     The Waning Sex. Dir. Robert Z. Leonard, sc.: F. Hugh Herbert, Frederica Sagor
          [uncredited] (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp., US, 1926) cas.: Norma Shearer.
6/4: Conference Screening #3:  Directed by Women: Comedy & Family Melodrama
Toodles, Tom and Trouble. Dir.: Edwin and Gertrude Thanhauser (Thanhauser Co., US, 1915).
Just Around the Corner. Dir./sc.: Frances Marion (Cosmopolitan Productions, US, 1921)
6/5: Conference Screening #4: International Serial Queen Rarities Pt. 1
Gene Gauntier, Pearl White, Emile Sannom, White Rose Woo
6/5: Conference Screening #5: International Serial Queen Rarities  Pt. 2
Grace Cunard, Josette Andriot, Leah Baird
6/5: Conference Screening #6: Love and Duty (1931) and Silent Shanghai Melodrama
Love and Duty. Dir.: Wangcang Bu (Lianhua Film Co., China, 1931) cas: Ruan Lingyu.

6/2: Conference Screening #1: Esfir Shub’s Segodnya (1930): Banned in New Jersey

A rare opportunity to view a film straight from Gosfilmofond, the most extensive Russian film archive, for the first time in US since 1932. Deemed so radical that it was confiscated by the New Jersey state police when the film was last screened in the US in the 1930s, A co-production of Sovkino (USSR) and Weltfilm (Germany), Today (Cannons or Tractors?) is one of the most visually experimental and the least studied of Esfir Shub’s early films. Conceived as “a biting film pamphlet denouncing the modern political and economic system of the capitalist world,” the film juxtaposes the Soviet Union with the West. The Soviet segment was shot for the film, while Today’s representations of the West are mainly comprised of newsreel footage that Shub selected at the German UF studio.

6/3: Conference Screening #2: Columbia Women & Silent Era Cinema

The Waning Sex. Dir. Robert Z. Leonard, sc.: F. Hugh Herbert, Frederica Sagor

Based on a play by the same name, The Waning Sex was adapted for the screen by Frederica Sagor Maas, who studied journalism at Columbia. This comedy follows an ambitious lawyer, played by Norma Shearer, as she balances professional aspirations with her romantic relationship to the district attorney (Conrad Nagel).

By Right of Birth. Dir. Harry A. Gant (Lincoln Motion Picture Company, US, 1921)

The only surviving title from the black-owned independent company Lincoln Motion Picture Company, By Right of Birth stars African-American actress Anita Thompson, who attended Teachers College at Columbia University in the 1920s. This short surviving fragment presents a tantalizing look at a film that reportedly was about an evil stockbroker and innocent land owners, oil leases, and mistaken identity.

The Diver. sc.: Marguerite Bertsch (Vitagraph, US, 1913)

[uncredited] (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp., US, 1926) cas.: Norma Shearer.


6/4: Conference Screening #3:
  Directed by Women: Comedy & Family Melodrama

Just Around the Corner. Dir./sc.: Frances Marion (Cosmopolitan Productions, US, 1921)

NEW restoration!! Amsterdam’s Eye Filmmuseum & The Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Sound Recording Division with Women’s Film Preservation Project funding. Ma Birdsong, her son Jimmie (a messenger boy), and her daughter Essie live together in New York City's East Side. Essie is allured by the city's night life, theaters, and restaurants, and finally she becomes an usher in a cheap theater where she falls in love with Joe Ullman, a crooked ticket speculator. Her mother, in failing health, repeatedly begs to meet Essie's fiancé, but Ullman declines to pay visits. When Ma Birdsong is seized with a heart attack and pleads to see him, Essie finds him in a poolroom, but he sneers and refuses to accompany her. She then encounters a stranger and in despair tells him her story; he agrees to visit her mother and represent himself as her fiancé.

Toodles, Tom and Trouble. Dir.: Edwin and Gertrude Thanhauser (Thanhauser Co., US, 1915).

6/5: Conference Screening #4: International Serial Queen Rarities Pt. 1

Gene Gauntier, Pearl White, Emile Sannom, White Rose Woo

6/5: Conference Screening #5: International Serial Queen Rarities  Pt. 2

Grace Cunard, Josette Andriot, Leah Baird

6/5: Conference Screening #6: Love and Duty (1931) and Silent Shanghai Melodrama

Love and Duty. Dir.: Wangcang Bu (Lianhua Film Co., China, 1931) cas: Ruan Lingyu.

Chinese star Ruan Lingyu essayed multiple roles in this story of a young woman who flees an arranged marriage to reunite with her true love. She pays a tragic price for breaking with tradition. Long thought lost, a complete print of Love and Duty was discovered in Uruguay in the 1990s and placed in the care of the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute. In 2014, TFAI along with L’Immagine Ritrovata did a 2K digital restoration.