'Sorrell and Son' 1927 Rare Screening

Sorrell and Son screening: Long-thought-lost silent classic to be shown in Hollywood

Sorrell and Son will be the first presentation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' new periodic screening series “Lost and Found,” featuring restored archival rediscoveries. The screening will take place on June 16 at the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study's Linwood Dunn Theater. Michael Mortilla will provide live musical accompaniment for the first U.S. public screening of Sorrell and Son in more than six decades.

Directed by Herbert Brenon, probably best known for the silent version of Peter Pan, Sorrell and Son stars several popular film performers of that era, among them H.B. Warner (Jesus in Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings), Anna Q. Nilsson, Nils Asther, Alice Joyce, Carmel Myers, and Mary Nolan.

Based on a popular novel by Warwick Deeping, the story of Sorrell and Son concerns a father (H.B. Warner) and his son (Mickey McBan, as a child; Nils Asther, as an adult), who, after being deserted by their ambitious wife / mother (Anna Q. Nilsson), strive to maintain their loving relationship in spite of severe financial difficulties. (Seven years later, Warner reprised his role in a minor English-made talkie version of the story.)

Sorrell and Son: 'Superbly mounted' early Academy Award nominee

Upon its release via United Artists in 1927, Sorrell and Son was referred to by Variety as a “beautiful story [that] has been superbly mounted, ably directed and well cast.” The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Direction of a Dramatic Picture in the first year of the awards. (That year, there was a Best Comedy Direction category as well.)

Sorrell and Son restoration

Despite restoration efforts, the only surviving print of Sorrell and Son suffers from deterioration and parts of its last reel are still missing. As was the case with the 1928 Gloria Swanson vehicle Sadie Thompson, Sorrell and Son's final segment has been reconstructed with the use of stills and title cards.

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