8:30 pm - Reginald Denny
WHAT HAPPENED TO JONES (US 1926; 72’)
by William A. Seiter, with Reginald Denny
Score composed and conducted by Juri Dal Dan and performed live by Zerorchestra
What Happened to Jones was hailed as a “Laugh-Riot” on release, with some claiming it was one of the funniest pictures ever seen on Broadway. Los Angeles Times columnist Grace Kingsley enthused, “The greatest comedy success of the current season is Reginald Denny in What Happened to Jones. Guffaws, not giggles, accompany its showing this week… If you don’t laugh until you cry…you will be different from the gang including myself which yesterday simply howled with laughter all through the comedy’s unrolling. If other comedians don’t watch out, Denny is going to tear the laurels from all their brows. His comedy gifts are being cultivated. But especially he has a tremendously likable personality. That wide crooked grin of his is a fortune in itself.”
10:30 pm - European Slapstick: Valentin’s Day
DER NEUE SCHREIBTISCH [The New Writing Desk] (DE 1914; 11’)
by Peter Ostermayr
[KARL VALENTIN UND LIESL KARLSTADT] (DE 1929; 2’)
DER SONDERLING [The Nerd] (DE 1929; 88’)
by Walter Jerven, Franz Osten
Pianoforte: Daan van den Hurk
Slapstick has a special place in film history. Although a mass-produced entertainment medium, it reflects social issues more strongly than many an “art” film, while the madness and surrealism it reaches at its peak is embraced as an art form.
Not only Hollywood’s slapstick product captured comic genius. Bertolt Brecht hailed German eccentric Karl Valentin as the equal of Chaplin; and much like W.C. Fields, Valentin specialized in verbal destructiveness and benevolent misogyny. Inspired by his French colleagues Valentin tried to be Munich’s answer to Max or Cretinetti by making shorts in the early 1910s.