Whilst picking nits in old posts, I discovered I never posted a film list from the 2005 backyard movie party. So here it is for the sake of the archives.
It was held Labor Day Sunday (Sept. 4), 2005, and was the first of the series held at Brian and Gary’s duplex in Ballard.
In this case, we had to scramble and relocate into the basement of Brian’s half due to rain. Unfortunately, the rain also meant a bunch of folks didn’t show up as they didn’t realize we had the basement option. On the other hand, it was already kinda cozy down there just with the folks who did show up, so maybe it was just as well.
The observant may note that some of the films shown were repeated for later backyard movie parties. This was largely because attendance for this one was sparse (plus they’re awfully good films). Now, however, effort is made not to have repeats…which is also easier now that my collection is larger. Then again, all rules were made to be broken, n’est ce pas?
Wabbit Twouble (1941, Warner Bros., USA)
Directed by Robert Clampett. Animation by Sid Sutheland, w/ Rod Scribner & Robert McKimson (uncredited).
Elmer seeks some west and wewaxation by going camping at Jellostone National Park. Unfortunately for him, he sets up atop Bugs’ rabbit hole. The first Bugs cartoon directed by Clampett, and the first of only four appearances of the “fat Elmer” character design (based on the real-life appearance of Arthur Q. Bryan, who provided his voice). The credits are written in Fudd-ese: “Diwected by Wobert Cwampett” and so on.
Betty Boop’s Ups and Downs (1932, USA)
B/W, Sound. An NTA television print ca. late 1950s or early ’60s.
Animated by Willard G. Bowsky and Ugo D’Orsi.
Directed by Dave Fleischer. Produced by Max Fleischer.
Earth goes bankrupt and is auctioned off. Saturn buys it and removes the magnet at the center, taking away gravity. Hilarity ensues. Includes some funny live action shots. One of the best Boop cartoons. (Repeated for Backyard Movie Party 2006, Part II – The Sequel.)
The Red Spectre (1907, PathÃ© FrÃ¨res, FR)
(aka El Espectro Rojo and Satan de Divierte; orig. Le Spectre Rouge)
Tinting and stencil color, Added sound
Directed by Segundo de ChomÃ³n. Produced by Ferdinand Zecca.
A demonic magician attempts to perform his act in a strange grotto, but is confronted by a Good Spirit who opposes him. A delightful trick film that is only further enhanced by the added soundtrack of unidentified electronic and electro-acoustic music (portions of which were also used on my Blackhawk print of Nosferatu). Although the color has faded somewhat, it is still a lovely example of the PathÃ© Color stencil process.
The Merry Frolics of Satan(1905, Star Films, FR)
(orig. Les Quatre Cents Farces du Diable)
B/W with multi-colored tinting. Silent. Music: “Hal on Earth” and “Calling All Mothers” by the Hal Russell NRG Ensemble from Hal on Earth (Abduction CD, 1989)
Produced and directed by Georges MÃ©liÃ©s.
A pair of British dolts visit an old wizard to obtain magic “pills” (more like “bombs” really) that explode and create whatever the thrower wants. Naturally, the wizard is actually Satan himself, who pursues and, well, bedevils the hedonistic fools with an army of acrobatic imps. The more the dolts use the magic bombs, the worse things go. In the end, a demonic carriage carries them into Hell, where they are roasted on a spit. One of Melies’ very best and most riotous films. (Repeated for Backyard Movie Party 2006, Part II – The Sequel.
A Chairy Tale (1957, Nat’l Film Board of Canada, CA)
(aka Il Ã©tait une chaise)
Norman McLaren, with music by Ravi Shankar
The amusing, surrealistic fable of a young man (Claude Jutra) who struggles to sit on a chair (animated by Evelyn Lambart) that refuses to cooperate. The film used McLaren’s pixilation technique of stop-motion animating people and objects. A superb film that was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Canadian Film Award and a BAFTA Special Award.
Night on Bald Mountain (1933, FR)
(orig. Une nuit sur le Mont Chauve)
Alexandre AlexeÃ¯eff and Clare Parker
An animated interpretation of the orchestral “musical picture” by Mussorgsky with additional inspiration from a short story by Gogol based on a Slavic fairy tale. It was the first film to use Alexeieff and Parker’s creation, the pinscreen — an obliquely-lit board with thousands of movable pins which create varying shades of white-to-black depending on how far they extend out from the surface of the board. The result is a gorgeous mezzotint-like effect. Alexeieff was also an illustrator and engraver whose works graced a number of books and anthologies.
Third Dimensional Murder (1941, MGM, USA)
(aka Murder in Three Dimensions)
A Pete Smith Novelty. Directed by George Sidney.
B/W 3D (red/blue anaglyphic), Sound
An early 3D release made to show off the effect. Seven minutes of non-stop throwing of shit at you! And the Frankenstein monster!! (Repeated for Backyard Movie Party 2006.)
Frankenstein (1931, USA)
Directed by James Whale. Art Director: Charles D. Hall. Set design: Herman Rosse.
With Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, and Dwight Frye.
The original horror masterpiece, with legendary sets and stunning expressionistic photography. This print includes the famous “Well…we warned you!” prologue, but does not have the complete scene of the monster with the little girl, cutting away just before he throws her into the water. That scene was censored after the initial release and was not restored to the film until after 16mm prints were no longer being made of the film. Still, a fantastic film that still holds up 75 years later.
It Came From Outer Space [digest] (1953, USA)
B/W 3D (red/blue anaglyphic), Sound
Directed by Jack Arnold
A well-made 18 min. digest that preserves the narrative of the classic sci-fi feature. The print has turned a little red with age but still has effective 3D. (Repeated for Backyard Movie Party 2006.)