the san francisco silent film festival

Wherein Social Media Specialist Marya E. Gates (aka @oldfilmsflicker) tells you about the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

The 21st San Francisco Silent Film Festival will be held at the Castro Theatre on June 2-5 2016. This year special guests include Illeana Douglas, Leonard Maltin, and film historian David Robinson - who just retired as the director of Giornate del Cimea Muto in Pordenone, Italy (a bucket list festival for this TCMHQ staffer). 

The opening night presentation this year will feature Louise Brooks in William A. Wellman’s BEGGARS OF LIFE (‘28) with live musical accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. 

Every year at the festival the AMAZING TALES FROM THE ARCHIVES panel talks with preservationists. This year Georges Mourier will talk about his work with the Cinémathèque Française and Emily Wensel will discuss her work with Universal Pictures.

SFSFF always programs films from around the globe, with films as diverse as Yasujiro Ozu’s THAT NIGHT’S WIFE (SONO YO NO TSUMA) (’30), MOMA’s restoration of A WOMAN IN THE WORLD (’25) starring Pola Negri, and THE STRONGEST (DEN STARKASTE) (’29) scheduled. 

TCMFF favorite Serge Bromberg from Lobster Films will be presenting restorations of comic films, including a long thought lost reel from Laurel and Hardy’s THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (’27), featuring possibly the greatest pie fight in cinematic history. 

I attended SFSFF several times when I was in grad school in San Francisco and my memories of this festival are some of my most favorite movie going experiences. By the time the event is over you’ll be dreaming with inter-titles. Plus the Castro Theatre is one of those beautiful old movie palaces that takes your breath away every time you visit.

You can find out more about this year’s San Francisco Silent Film Festival here


a 23 minute reel of the lost 1927 Louise Brooks film Now We’re In The Air has been discovered in the National Film Archive of the Czech Republic, been restored and will premiere at this year’s San Francisco Silent Film Festival!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! por Colleen O'Eris

Historical Anime Picture Index

Akame ga Kill

France, 1914.

Scene from Akame ga Kill Bill, 2003.


Greaser Motorcycle Gang, 1955.

Aldnoah Zero

France, 1944.

Amagi Brilliant Park

Disneyland opening day, 1955.

Attack on Titan

England, 1917.

New Mexico,1945.

Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia, 1876.


Calligraphy studio, 1910.

Black Lagoon

Mekong Delta, Vietnam, 1968.

Scene from Desperado, 1995.


Johnny Casshern, Newport Folk Festival, 1964.

Code Geass

Pizza Hut TV commercial, 1984.

Cowboy Bebop

Sinatra and Spiegel, 1957.


“The Catch” - F.W. Glasier circus photo, 1907.

Boshin War era Satsuma Clan Samurai admiring early example of Hestia fan art, 1867.

Death Note

Scene from Death Note Wish, 1974.

Death Parade

Last day of Prohibition, December 5, 1933.


Chicago Speakeasy, 1924.

Evel Knievel and Celty Sturluson prepare for double jump at Ceasars Palace, Las Vegas, 1967.

Yalta Conference, February, 1945.

Times Square, New York, 1943.

Italy, 1944.

Cigarette ad, 1992.

Eureka Seven

Nikola Tesla, 1896.


The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917.

Baseball game, 1923.

Third inauguration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1941.

Archer and Bogart, 1942.

Motorcycle ad, 1920s.

Scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail War, 1975.


Kurt Cobain and Haruko Haruhara, 1993.

Full Metal Alchemist

Germany, 1917.

Roger Fenton Crimean War photograph, 1855.

Full Metal Panic!

F6F Hellcat on the deck of the USS Sable, 1945.

Gakkou Gurashi

Scene from Night of the Living Dead, 1968.

Gatchaman Crowds

“This was their finest hour-ssu.” London, 1940.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

Riding bicycles in Central Park, 1940.

Ghost in the Shell

Las Vegas, Nevada, 1949.

Girls und Panzer

Normandy, France, 1944.

Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?

Las Vegas, NV, Easter, 1952.


Battle of Amiens, 1918.

Belgium, 1917.

Chuck Yeager, 1947.

The River Thames, London, 1958.

Scene from Top Gundam, 1986.

Hataraku Maou-sama

Dewey’s Malted Milk stand, Philadelphia, PA, 1941.

Hatsune Miku

B-24 Hatsune Miku Bomber Art, 1944.

Hibike! Euphonium

Dixieland Jazz Band, 1917.

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Scene from The Shining, 1980.

Himouto! Umaru-chan

Coca Cola ad, 1947.

Hitsugi no Chaika

France, 1915.

The Battle of Stalingrad, 1942.

Hunter x Hunter

Holden Bros. Circus, c.1920.

Skateboarding with Tony Hawk, 1990.


Movie poster, 1967.

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

John D. Rockefeller along with son John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Robert Edward O. Speedwagon, 1915.

Brando and Brando, 1963.

Scene from Indiana Jones and the Stardust Crusaders, 1989.

Maison Bonfils photograph of the Great Pyramid of Giza, circa 1869.


Jimi Hendrix and Yui Hirasawa, Monterey Pop Festival, 1967.

Ritsu Tainaka playing with The Who, Monterey, CA, 1967.

Kantai Collection

Shirley Temple Kantai Collection card, 1934.

Japanese archers, c.1860.

Kill la Kill

England, 1918.

Milton Menasco, 1915 San Francisco World’s Fair.

Douglas High School Girls Basketball Team, 1920.

Harime Nui Mary Poppins Audition, 1964.

Eiffel Tower, 1922.

Rome, 1956.

Scene from Easy Rider, 1969.

Tea Time, 1930.

Berlin, 1945.

Scene from Fight Club, 1999.

Kuroko no Basket

Tetsuya Kuroko and Larry Bird, NCAA Championship game, 1979.

Log Horizon

Female Samurai, c.1895.

Love Live

Gallipoli, 1915.

Germany, 1918.

CBS Radio recording session, 1922.

μ’s performing at the Monterey Pop Festival, June 18, 1967.

Bikini Atoll nuclear test, 1948.

Shot from the silent film “Llama Drama”, 1919.

μ’s Atop A Skyscraper, 1932.

Fred Astaire and Honoka Kousaka, 1936.

Maki Nishikino and Maureen O'Hara, St. Patrick’s Day, 1940.

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1938.

Scene from Dr. Strangelove Live, 1964.

The Velvet Underground and Nico, 1966.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica

Battle of Verdun, 1916.

German delegation at the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, 1919.

Empire State Building under construction, 1930.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy on the set of Star Trek: The Original Series, 1967.

Polio patient enjoys his favorite magazine, 1955.

Hair salon displays new electric hair dryers, 1925.

Salvador Dali in Paris, 1969.

Alfred Hitchcock, 1972.

London Record shop, 1955.

The Great Blizzard, Boston, MA, 1888.

Time Magazine, April 8, 1966.

Monogatari Series

Lincoln, Nebraska, 1931.

Monster Musume

Scene from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, 1958.

Nanatsu no Taizai

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, 1958.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Amelia Earhart and Nausicaä, circa 1921.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

France, 1917.

France, 1918.

Germany, 1916.

Howard Hughes engaged in combat with the Angel Sachiel, 1935.

Trinity test site, July 1945.

Chrysler Building, 1936.

Einstein and Ikari, 1931.

James Dean and Asuka Langley Soryu, 1953.

Misato Katsuragi Budweiser ad, 1964.

London, 1969.

Sony Walkman ad, 1981.

The front page of today’s New York Post.

Sunglasses ad, 1960.


Public screening as part of an election campaign in London, 1931.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953.


Brooklyn NY, 1946.

John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, 1994.

Scene from American Psycho-Pass, 2000.


Recording session at Capitol Records, 1948.

Space Dandy

Harrison Ford in cosplay on the set of Star Wars, 1977.

Aboard the Millennium Falcon, 1977.

Spirited Away

Peter Witt streetcar, Toronto, Ontario, 1928.


1st Academy Awards ceremony, May 16, 1929.

Computer ad, 1975.

Soft Drink ad, 1963.

Mayuri and Marley, 1976.

Scene from Star;Gate, 1994.

Suisei no Gargantia

Gargantia fleet near the Makin Atoll, 1943.

Super Sonico

Telephone switchboard operators, 1940.

Suzumiya Haruhi

SOS Brigade Chief Haruhi Suzumiya addressing a joint session of congress, May 1947.

Mikuru Asahina Jessica Rabbit screen test, 1988.

Haruhi Suzumiya and Cream, Royal Albert Hall, London, 1968.

Berlin Wall, 1988.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Belgium, 1915.

John and Yoko Bed-in, 1969.

Coal Miners in Scranton, PA, 1902.

St. Louis, Missouri, November 4, 1948.

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun

England, 1915.

Nikola Tesla experiment, 1899.

Tonari no Totoro

Gene Kelly, Singin’ in the Rain, 1952.

Yoru no Yatterman

Pipe Tobacco ad, 1924.

Yuri Kuma Arashi

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1924.

Yuru Yuri

Walt Disney, 1928.

Suddenly a wild Gillette Holmes appeared

What the hell are you all worked up about Heimish?

First, there was Arthur Conan Doyle. Then, there was William Gillette. He co-wrote the first Holmes adaptation as a play with ACD himself, and then starred in it as Sherlock for pretty much the rest of his life. In 1916, the play got a film adaptation, using the same cast as the play, both titled simply Sherlock Holmes.

It was incredibly popular when it debuted. An entire generation had Gillette as the definitive Holmes. Then time happened. It’s estimated that something like 80-90% of all early/silent-era films have been lost forever, because early film material corroded really quickly and preservation wasn’t a thing yet. The 1916 Sherlock Holmes was assumed to be one of those films. Up until now, the definitive Holmes has been widely referenced without any extant canon material, going only off of people’s memories who had seen the play or the movie.

Then, in late 2014, the Cinematheque Francaise announced they had found a complete copy, and teamed up with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival to do a full digital restoration. Film nerds (that’s me by the way, hello!) around the world simultaneously piddled with joy. The finished product has just started to be shown at film festivals. My understanding is that the very first American public showing was last week at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival? I think maybe? I got to see it today and I have words about it.

I’m here for BBC Sherlock, give me one reason why I should care.

I’ll give you three reasons: Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, and Sue Vertue. Listening yet? Good.

The very first frame of the restored film is a thank you to 8 individuals who were patrons of the restoration. 8 people who financed this entire thing. Name number one, at the very top of the list? Mark Gatiss. Guys. I cannot even tell you the wattage of my shit-eating grin in the theatre. I genuinely thought I could not adore this man any more. Name number 4: Steven Moffat. Name number 8: Sue Vertue. The showrunners haven’t just seen this movie, they made this movie happen. (Thank you so much, showrunners!)

And actually, here’s a fourth reason: Gillette’s Holmes is in some ways more of a template for future Holmes adaptations than ACD’s was. Two words ACD never linked up with Holmes: pipe and deerstalker. (They showed up in a few of the Paget illustrations, that’s it.) And you know what ACD Holmes never said? “Elementary, my dear Watson.” You know what Gillette’s Holmes said? “This is elementary, my dear fellow.” Guess who created and name Billy? Gillette. Basically, our common understanding of Holmes is as dependent on Gillette as Bela Lugosi is for Dracula.

Here’s a fifth reason, because what the fuck: Gillette’s Holmes falls in love. On screen.

After seeing the film, I really do think this is something we should have on our collective radar. Gillette Holmes is probably the most definitive Homes adaptation out there, and the writers are paying pretty goddamned close attention. Beneath the jump cut, I’m going to analyze, squee, draw parallels to our generation’s Sherlock, and talk implications.

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