Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: 58th Annual Cinecon Honors Mitzi Gaynor, George Chakiris

Cinecon poster, a movie facade with elephants like the Babylonian set of Intolerance
After two years online due to the COVID pandemic, the 58th Annual Cinecon Classic Film Festival returns to in-person screening September 1 through 5 at Hollywood’s American Legion Theatre at 2350 Highland Ave. in Hollywood. Besides offering films not available on DVD, streaming, or television, the festival will feature educational presentations, special celebrity guests, opening night reception, and opportunity to visit the Hollywood Heritage Museum, making this a don’t miss proposition. Full festival passes or day passes are available online, since programs can only be accessed with day or full feature passes.

The festival kicks off Thursday, September 1 with a grand opening reception offering a great way to reconnect with long missed friends or meet other cinema lovers. Besides enjoying food and greeting fellow cineastes, festival goers will get to experience the lush Hollywood Legion Theatre, renovated and opened just over three years ago.

Full festival passes are $299; day passes are $65 to $75. Visit the Cinecon EventBrite link to purchase tickets. A van will transport guests to and from the Ovation Mall in the evenings during the dinner break. Guests should park at the Ovation Mall, or can park at the Hollywood Legion for a fee each day.





Cinecon celebrates four special honorees this year for their contributions to cinema. Legendary singer/dancer Mitzi Gaynor will receive the Cinecon Legacy Award presented by accomplished performer Michael Feinstein before a screening of the big budget Fox musical Anything Goes Thursday night. Academy Award-winning actor George Chakiris will receive his special award Friday afternoon after a screening of the 1964 film 633 Squadron. Saturday evening, actor Jimmy Hunt will be honored for his accomplished career as a child actor following a screening of the newly restored Invaders From Mars. Patty McCormack will be honored for her more than 70 year career after the showing of Kathy O Sunday afternoon.

A wide variety of silent and sound features will also screen. Thursday night will feature the second West Coast screening of the recently restored King of the Circus, renowned French comedian Max Linder’s last feature. The restored 1923 Hunchback of Notre Dame starring “Man of a Thousand Faces” Lon Chaney screens Friday morning. Saturday night the newly restored sci-fi classic Invaders From Mars plays on the big screen.

Mad Game Film DailyRarely screened silents also play during the festival, including the 1923 Jackie Coogan starrer Daddy, the 1921 Cecil B. DeMille melodrama Fool’s Paradise, the 1924 DeMille supervised Changing Husbands, the 1927 Lillian Gish Scottish film Annie Laurie, the 1927 Tom Mix western Outlaws of Red River, the 1923 Buster Keaton comedy Our Hospitality, and the 1919 Constance Talmadge feature A Temperamental Wife. Silent films will also feature live accompaniment.

Hard to see sound films that will screen include the 1943 Deanna Durbin His Butler’s Sister, the 1939 Anna May Wong feature Island of Lost Men, the 1933 Fox feature The Mad Game starring Spencer Tracy, the 1933 Lilian Harvey Fox Pre-Code My Lips Betray, the 1935 Ricardo Cortez film Manhattan Moon, and the 1940 Republic film Scatterbrain, starring Judy Canova.

Several shorts will also play during the festival, including the Laurel and Hardy two-reeler Scram, the animated cartoon Buzzy Boop at the Concert, the Sammy Davis Jr. music short Sweet and Low, and the 1930s shorts Accent on Girls and The Finishing Touch.

The festival will include screenings of the full newly restored King of the Kongo (1929) serial which features an up and coming Boris Karloff. Kinecon at Cinecon will also run for the sixth time Saturday afternoon, starring such performers as Sid Caesar, Jack Benny, Carl Reiner, Danny Thomas, John Cameron Swayze, and many more. Library of Congress film archivist Rob Stone will give a presentation on the early Florida silent film comedy studio Vilm Films Corporation, for which such people as Oliver Hardy, Marcel Perez, Kate Price, and Rosemary Theby performed. Sunday afternoon, a Thunderbean Animation program will also occur.

Besides screening rare film and television, the Festival also will host two presentations in conjunction with the festival across the street at the Hollywood Heritage Museum. Jazz-on-film expert Mark Cantor will lecture on the history of soundies Saturday, an early form of music video in the 1940s, where patrons could view musical films in a jukebox for a dime. Recording stars such as Nat “King” Cole, Duke Ellington, and Kay Starr recorded for the medium. On Sunday, the Property Masters Guild will screen the 1914 The Property Man starring Charlie Chaplin, followed by a discussion about film props from the silent to the sound era with Natural History Museum of Los Angeles curator Beth Werling, and PMG President Hope Parrish, moderated by PMG Vice President Jeffrey Johnson.

Come enjoy rare and hard to see silent and sound films on the big screen the way they were meant to be seen, on the big screen, Labor Day Weekend.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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