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Brazilian Cinema & Carmen Miranda Showcase + Biggest Silent Domestic Blockbuster Restored

6 minutes read

Brazilian cinema at MoMA

Ramon Novarro Beyond Paradise

Ludmila Dayer Vida de Menina Diary of a Provincial GirlBrazilian cinema will return to New York City’s Museum of Modern Art in July. MoMA will be presenting the third edition of “Premiere Brazil!” between July 1–10. (Image: Ludmila Dayer Diary of a Provincial Girl.)

This year, “Premiere Brazil!” will feature three top award-winners at the 2004 Rio de Janeiro Film Festival: Lúcia Murat’s Almost Brothers / Quase Dois Irmãos, a solid, socially conscious Rio de Janeiro-set prison drama that will have a week’s run at MoMA; Marcos Prado’s documentary Estamira, about a schizophrenic woman who makes her home at a landfill; and Helena Solberg’s period drama Diary of a Provincial Girl / Vida de Menina.

Carmen Miranda remembered

Celebrating the centennial of Carmen Miranda’s birth (well, a little too early, as Miranda was actually born in 1909), “Premiere Brazil!” will also screen Alô Alô Carnaval (1936). The Brazilian musical revue along the lines of early, all-star Hollywood talkies – e.g., The Hollywood Revue of 1929, Paramount on Parade – will be introduced by independent curator Fabiano Canosa and by the daughter of Alô Alô Carnaval director Adhemar Gonzaga. (The Alô Alô Carnaval screening is probably in honor of Carmen Miranda’s death of a heart attack fifty years ago, on Aug. 5, 1955, in Beverly Hills.)

Most films in the “Premiere Brazil!” series will be introduced by their respective directors. All movies are in Portuguese with English subtitles.

Ludmila Dayer Diary of a Provincial Girl photo: Museum of Modern Art.

The Big Parade John Gilbert Renee AdoreeThe Big Parade with John Gilbert and Renée Adorée

The Big Parade: silent era blockbuster restored and tinted at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Next weekend, the 10th San Francisco Silent Film Festival (website) opens with Harold Lloyd’s 1926 comedy For Heaven’s Sake. The highlight of the festival, however, is a screening of a restored, tinted print of MGM superstar John Gilbert’s biggest blockbuster, The Big Parade (1925). Directed by King Vidor, the classic anti-war romantic drama – and biggest domestic box office hit of the silent era – also features the always outstanding Renée Adorée. The Big Parade will be shown at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday. (Image: John Gilbert, Renée Adorée The Big Parade.)

Among the San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s other screenings are The Scarlet Letter (4 p.m. next Sunday), with Lillian Gish and Lars Hanson in Victor Sjöström’s solid (and still timely) 1926 drama about intolerance and religious extremism; Allan Dwan’s 1925 Stage Struck (3:20 p.m. Saturday), a middling comedy with Gloria Swanson and scenes in two-strip Technicolor; and It (8 p.m. next Sunday), a 1927 fluffy comedy directed by Clarence Badger, and starring “It” girl Clara Bow and Antonio Moreno.

Silent Brazilian, Indian rarities

On the foreign front, the festival will show the 1929 Brazilian high-society drama Sangue Mineiro (1:15 p.m. Saturday), starring Brazilian diva Carmen Santos under the direction of the unofficial father of Brazilian cinema, Humberto Mauro; and Franz Osten and Himansu Rai’s 1925 Indian epic Prem Sanyas (1:30 p.m. next Sunday), which follows the life of Buddha.

Worth checking out: San Francisco Chronicle film critic Mick LaSalles’ article featuring an interview with Leatrice Gilbert Fountain, the daughter of John Gilbert and fellow 1920s Hollywood star Leatrice Joy.

John Gilbert, Renée Adorée The Big Parade image: MGM.

Robert Siodmak at LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art film series “Dark Mirrors: The Films Noir of Robert Siodmak” will screen several of the German director’s best-known American films between July 8-23.

Like so many other German Jews and/or intellectuals, Robert Siodmak was forced into exile by the rise of the Nazi party.

He began his Hollywood career in 1941, making B movies at different studios. After Phantom Lady (1944), considered by many one of the best films noir of the 1940s, Siodmak became an A-list director.

He received an Oscar nomination for The Killers in 1946. (My favorite Siodmak film is the 1948 crime drama Cry of the the City.)

Friday, July 8

Phantom Lady (above, 1944/b&w/88 min.) scr: Bernard C. Schoenfeld; dir: Robert Siodmak; w/ Ella Raines, Franchot Tone

Christmas Holiday (1944/b&w/93 min.) scr: Herman J. Mankiewicz; dir: Robert Siodmak; w/ Deanna Durbin, Gene Kelly
35mm print courtesy the Library of Congress

Saturday, July 9

The Killers (1946/b&w/105 min.) scr: Anthony Veiller; dir: Robert Siodmak; w/ Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien

Cry of the City (1948/b&w/96 min.) scr: Richard Murphy; dir: Robert Siodmak; w/ Victor Mature, Richard Conte, Shelley Winters
New 35mm print courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

Friday, July 15

The Spiral Staircase (1945/b&w/83 min.) scr: Mel Dinelli; dir: Robert Siodmak; w/ Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, Ethel Barrymore
Restored 35mm print courtesy the Walt Disney Company

The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945/b&w/82 min.) scr: Keith Winter, Stephen Longstreet; dir: Robert Siodmak; w/ George Sanders, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Ella Raines
35mm print courtesy UCLA Film and Television Archive

Saturday, July 16

Criss Cross (1948/b&w/87 min.) scr: Daniel Fuchs; dir: Robert Siodmak; w/ Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo, Dan Duryea

The File On Thelma Jordon (1950/b&w/100 min.) scr: Ketti Frings; dir: Robert Siodmak; w/ Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey

Friday, July 22

The Dark Mirror (above, 1946/b&w/85 min.) scr: Nunnally Johnson; dir: Robert Siodmak; w/ Olivia de Havilland, Lew Ayres
Restored 35mm print courtesy UCLA Film and Television Archive

The Suspect (1945/b&w/84 min.) scr: Arthur T. Horman; Bertram Millhauser; dir: Robert Siodmak; w/ Charles Laughton
35mm print courtesy Universal Archive

Liv Ullmann has new film project

Aftenposten reports that actress and filmmaker Liv Ullmann, 67, has written a new screenplay about a middle-aged British resident who returns to her roots in Iceland. Flashbacks reveal the reasons behind the woman’s initial flight from Iceland and for her eventual return.

Ullmann said that she has signed a contract “with a female Oscar winner” who will play the lead role, adding, “It’s a well-known name. It’s a powerful role.” The production, to be filmed in England and Iceland, will be supervised by producer Steven Haft, whose credits include Dead Poets’ Society.

This past weekend, Ullmann was a guest at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, where she was awarded a Crystal Globe for her film career. Other honorees were actor-director Robert Redford and actress Sharon Stone.

Last month, the Tokyo-born (to Norwegian parents) Ullmann was honored with Norway’s prestigious title of Commander with Star of the Order of St. Olav.

Awards and assorted honors aside, Liv Ullmann remains committed to the art of filmmaking. Despite financial setbacks, she still hopes to come up with a new film version of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, and a dramatization of the life of Norwegian violinist Ole Bull.

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