Movies Without Sound

Silent film fest honors another era.


"The Three Musketeers."

Courtesy of Jeff Vance

Now hear this (or don’t!). Are you tired of big-budget blockbusters that beat you into submission with loud noises and constant chatter, all sound and fury but in the end, they signify nothing? The San Francisco Silent Film Festival celebrates the days before cacophonous movie explosions and blaring soundtracks with screenings of classic pre-talkies like Body and Soul, The Three Musketeers, and Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman (though not the one with the Komodo dragon).

After an opening night party on the top-floor loft of the historic McRoskey Mattress Company building at 1687 Market St., all screenings will be held at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre. Sci-fi fans will especially thrill to see The Lost World, an early adaptation of the Arthur Conan Doyle book about adventurers exploring a prehistoric jungle full of stop-motion dinosaurs created by special effects pioneer Willis O’Brien.

Most exciting this year will be the world premiere of Silence, a rediscovered Cecil B. DeMille production thought lost. In 1926, the Motion Picture News proclaimed Silence to be “a mighty drama that held the New York audiences spellbound.” Let’s see if it holds up.

June 1-4, screening times vary, $15-$25 per film. Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., San Francisco,


Published online on May 25, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.

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