Classic treasures of Hollywood's past Film: It's not every day you'll find 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' sharing a bill with W.C. Fields. Orpheum's festival offers rare view of movie gold.

August 03, 1998|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

All-star film revues starring everyone from Clara Bow to Fay Wray. Bela Lugosi in a murder-mystery set inside a movie studio. Fredric March in his Oscar-winning turn as "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." A short subject, underwritten by Chesterfield cigarettes, made to raise money for a tuberculosis sanitarium.

Film lovers who make their way to Orpheum Cinema this week are in for a rare treat, as the tiny Fells Point movie house plays host to a festival of seldom-seen classics and first-rate Hollywood oddities.

Tonight: The Orpheum's "Film Collector's Showcase" kicks off at 7: 30 with 1930's "Paramount on Parade," an early talkie from the days when all a studio had to do to attract an audience was stick a microphone in its actors' faces and sit back as they sang,

danced and told jokes.

Besides Bow and Wray, the featured stars include Maurice Chevalier, Gary Cooper, Ruth Chatterton, William Powell, Kay Francis and Jack Oakie. Part of the film was directed by the legendary Ernst Lubitsch.

Also showing will be W.C. Fields' first sound comedy, 1930's "The Gold Specialist," filmed at New York's Astoria Studios.

"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931), the rare horror film to win an Oscar (March shared Best Actor honors with Wallace Beery, for "The Champ"), will be shown at 9: 30 p.m.

That film will be followed by the wonderfully entertaining curiosity "The Stolen Jools." Released in 1931 to benefit a sanitarium in New York state, the 20-minute short features a remarkable who's-who (Edward G. Robinson, Laurel and Hardy, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Buster Keaton, the original "Our Gang" kids, Irene Dunne, etc.) in a detective spoof about the search for actress Norma Shearer's missing jewelry. Not only is the film a hoot, but you'll have a hard time keeping up with all the stars as they fly by.

Tomorrow: At 7: 30 p.m. and 9: 45 p.m., the double feature "The Fallen Sparrow" (1943), with John Garfield as a Spanish Civil War veteran being led into a German trap by beautiful aristocrat Maureen O'Hara; and "Night and Fog," Alain Resnais' 1955 documentary look at Auschwitz, with a script by camp survivor Jean Cayroll.

Wednesday: At 7: 30 p.m., "She Goes To War" (1929), a largely silent film, with Eleanor Boardman as a woman who goes off to battle in place of her husband. At 8: 30 p.m., Lugosi in "The Death Kiss," a murder-mystery set at the Tiffany Studios, shown with the 1932 Laurel and Hardy short "Who Dun-It?"

Thursday: At 7: 30 p.m., Garfield in "Dust Be My Destiny" (1939), as a jailed drifter who falls for the beautiful daughter of a sadistic prison guard (Alan Hale). At 9: 30 p.m., Garfield in "He Ran All the Way" (1951), terrorizing a working-class family while also longing to be part of it. "He Ran" will be shown with the 1952 MGM cartoon "Magical Maestro."

Friday and Saturday: At 7: 30 p.m. (Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.), director John Ford's "The Informer" (1935), with Victor McLaglen betraying his comrades during the 1922 Sinn Fein rebellion. At 9: 30 p.m. (Saturday matinee at 4 p.m.), "Five Star Final" (1931), with Edward G. Robinson as a ruthless newspaper editor and Boris Karloff as an unscrupulous reporter (what a team!). "Five Star" is shown with "The Stolen Jools."

Sunday: At 3 p.m. and 7: 30 p.m.: "Show of Shows" (1929), a vaudeville-style review from Warner Bros., featuring Frank Fay, Beatrice Lillie, Myrna Loy, Noah Beery, Sally Blane, John Barrymore and others.

Film festival

When: Tonight through Sunday

Where: Orpheum Cinema, 1724 Thames St.

Tickets: $5; $3.50 matinees; $4 students, seniors Monday- Thursday

` Call: 410-732-4614

Pub Date: 8/03/98

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