Attention Los Angeles-based Pictorial readers: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced a summer long celebration of silent film with their new screening series Summer of Silents.The focus here is quite intriguing: Photoplay magazine, once the undisputed king of movie fan rags, bestowed upon America’s most popular films an award called the Photoplay Magazine Medal of Honor. This is widely considered to be the first significant annual award in the film industry. Photoplay readers voted on the best film of the year, based on “the ideals and motives governing its production…the worth of its dramatic message.”
The Academy has chosen to screen a collection of these Photoplay-winning films, and in my mind it is a great decision: just as we use the Oscars as a barometer for our collective mindset, the Photoplay Medal of Honor award should prove similarly instructive.
From the Academy website:
Today these films tell the story of the American film industry’s first true Golden Age and offer now overshadowed work by some of Hollywood’s most influential directors and performers.
The nine evenings will feature the best available prints, music performed and composed by a variety of accompanists specializing in the period, a comedy short featuring a different silent screen comedian each week, and surviving fragments of lost films from the era, introduced by film historians including recent honorary Oscar recipient Kevin Brownlow.
Tickets are only $5 per film ($25 for a pass) and the lineup is as follows:
June 13 – HUMORESQUE (1920)
June 20 – TOL’ABLE DAVID (1921)
June 27 – ROBIN HOOD (1922)
July 11 – THE COVERED WAGON (1923)
July 18 – THE BIG PARADE (1925)
July 20 – THE GENERAL (1927)
July 25 – BEAU GESTE (1926)
August 1 – 7TH HEAVEN (1927)
August 8 – FOUR SONS (1928)
(I missed Monday’s screening of Humoresque, but am much looking forward to seeing Richard Barthelmess in Tol’able David ..