Many of you in English-speaking North America currently are trying to live through the coldest weather most people have experienced in roughly 20 years, so Carole Lombard and William Powell will seek to psychically warm you up with a photo of them returning from their honeymoon in Hawaii in early August 1931. (A temperature check here in Charlottesville, Va., shows it to be at 17 degrees Fahrenheit, down five from the high today; the forecast calls for it to drop to 3-above tonight, one degree below this morning's low.)
There's another reason I'm showing this, too -- to encourage tourism to central New York. Yes, there are some good ski resorts throughout the region, but this refers to visiting in August, specifically the Capitol Theatre in Rome, N.Y., for Capitolfest, its annual extravaganza of late silents and early talkies. Lombard was the event's featured star in 2013, and the honor for this year now goes to her first husband.
Carole and Bill made three films together: "My Man Godfrey," which anyone who deems themselves a classic film fan should have seen by now (though I'm sure a handful of you haven't); "Man Of The World," part of the six-movie Lombard "Glamour Coilection" on DVD; and a 1931 film that tends to be overlooked...
..."Ladies' Man," which also featured Kay Francis (Powell's best-known leading lady until Myrna Loy emerged, and who would become a close friend of Carole's). It will run at 7:55 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8 (the first of the three days of the festival). Here are three more pics of Powell and his ladies, from the April 1931 Picture Play:
Several other titles have been announced, several of them including Powell. It's expected that sometime on that Friday, the 1930 Paramount drama "Shadow Of The Law" -- part of which features Bill sans mustache -- will be shown:
And to paraphrase a quote from the late, great Roger Ebert, Powell without dialogue seems as pointless as Fred Astaire without dance. But Bill had a considerable career in silents -- usually as a villain, never as a lead -- and the 2014 Capitolfest will run the 1923 Dorothy Gish feature "The Bright Shawl," with a supporting cast that seems to be straight out of the '30s: Jetta Goudal, Richard Barthelmess, Powell, Mary Astor and Edward G. Robinson (it's his film debut). Even curiouser, as Alice might say, is that it's a First National production, on the same Burbank lot that would be acquired by Warners in 1928 and where Powell, Barthelmess, Astor and Robinson would gain fame in the following decade. (Capitolfest officials have yet to set a date or time for this film, but hey, it's some seven months away.) This still shows Powell with Barthelmess, who would become one of his best friends:
Non-Powell pics confirmed include some rarities. How about George Bancroft playing a seaman in 1930's "Derelict," co-starring Jessie Royce Landis (playing a singer, in her film debut!) and William "Stage" Boyd (not the actor who made a few films with Carole at Pathe):
Betty Compson in the ultra-rare 1930 Universal film "Czar Of Broadway":
(Doesn't that "nightclub" set look as if it could be converted into a "courtroom" set with relatively little difficulty?)
Pat O'Brien (shown with Douglas Dumbrille and Clarence Muse) stars in the 1933 Universal programmer "Laughter In Hell," which also stars Gloria Stuart; it's slated for 10:15 p.m. Saturday:
Lilian Harvey teamed up with Lew Ayres for "My Weakness," a Fox musical from 1933 that will run Sunday morning:
And the event is slated to end Sunday afternoon with the 1928 Fox silent "The Sharp Shooters," starring George O'Brien and Lois Moran:
All these films will be shown in 35mm prints.
You can keep up with the addition of films to the schedule and other news (including hotel information) by going to the Capitolfest Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Capitolfest-CNYs-35mm-Silent-and-Early-Talkie-Film-Festival/124103114276989. And while Rome, N.Y., is currently frigid -- it's 6-above as I write this -- it's a pleasant place to be in early August:
To close, here's a reconstruction of the greeting that welcomed patrons when the Capitol opened in 1928 (the exact wording ran in the Rome Daily Sentinel):