It’s that time of year again. If you live in the region you’ll know that we’ve already gotten our first snow – typical for October in the Adirondacks – a big, wet heavy snow. We love it. We can rely on it. We can also rely on the Late Fall Adirondack Film Society silent film presentation. This year we celebrate the Autumn and the spirit of the great outdoors, as well as honoring the early filmmakers of the 20th century with two early versions of Robin Hood.
In 1911, a French film manufacturing company opened a studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey, called the Éclair American Company. The company boasted what was considered the very latest in movie studio design, combining glass-covered shooting stages, administrative offices, a photographic laboratory, scenery storage, dressing rooms, and more. In 1912, the studio released the first American Robin Hood. The 45 minute film was directed by Etienne Arnaud and starred Robert Frazer as the eponymous arrow-slinging hero and Barbara Tennant as Maid Marian. (For more on the many “firsts” in the year of film 1912, check out: http://theoscarsite.com/chronicle/1912c.htm)
A decade later, Robin Hood was back with Douglas Fairbanks in the titular role and Enid Bennet as his incomparable love interest Marian. This epic was two hours long and silent, with some sets designed by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr.. The sprawling, arboreal feature cost almost a million dollars to produce, making it one of the most “titanic” ventures of its time. With Fairbanks writing as well as starring, the full copyrighted title was “Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood.” The film was produced by Fairbanks company, owned by Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and D.W. Griffith. It’s no wonder Fairbanks was considered by many as the first King of Hollywood.
On Thursday, October 28th, at 7 p.m., the Adirondack Film Society presents both of these films in their entirety, from prints right out of the vault. The Society’s Vice Chairman Nelson Page will speak about the lasting impact of Fort Lee, birthplace to so many filmic machines like Éclair American. Jeff Barker, renowned theatrical organist, will accompany the Robin Hood films on the Palace Theatre’s 1926 Robert Morton organ. Join us to toast these early landmark achievements in film that resonate with and continue to influence filmmaking today. Tickets are $10 at the door. Box Office will open an hour prior to show time. There will be an intermission between the two films, and all will be welcomed to ask questions at the conclusion. For more information, call 518-523-3456.