The entertaining 2017 Cinecon Film Festival offered a little something for everyone this year, showcasing over 50 silent films, talkies, television kinescopes, musical shorts, and even documentaries with lovely vintage prints and live accompaniment adding some extra pizzazz. Several of the films offered timely messages about issues that still plague us today, while others continued to entertain with their goofy or physical humor. The festival highlights materials mostly unseen since their original release and unlikely to air on TCM or even be released as DVDs or through streaming, from top rate releases of the day through general programmers screened in small town houses. Fifty-three years young, Cinecon remains the ultimate destination for those seeking out rare, obscure, and typical American film releases starring superstars to mid-level talent to virtually unknown character actors.
While perhaps not an outstanding program, this year’s festival featured some moving and knockout pictures, as well as many engaging ones, in which truth, justice, and the American way always succeeded in the end, unlike that in real life. A smorgasbord of unplanned themes and topics highlighted the films, including cross-dressing, false identities, gambling, underhanded double dealing, working women, potential philandering, financial struggle, judgmental busybodies, and prescient politics. Each day built on the other, with Monday, September 4 featuring the strongest and most memorable pictures.
Hollywood at Play, by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester is now on sale.