Movies Making Movies: The Secrets of Cinema - Thu. July 11 - 8PM

Oddball Films and guest curator Lynn Cursaro present: Movies Making Movies: The Secrets of Cinema. Using cartoons, experimental film, trailers, making-of featurettes and more we’ll go behind the scenes to probe the life of movies and how movies have become a ubiquitous part of our lives. The history and tradespeople of tinseltown get their due in Let's Go to the Movies (1948). Film gets direct manipulation in meta-movie gem Kick Me (1975); just imagine the horror of being stuck in those teeny, tiny frames. The Looney Tunes Gang bites the hand that feeds it in when they spoof Hollywood in the glamorous Bacall to Arms (1946) and the manic Daffy Duck in Hollywood (1938).  Spend a day with teen-star Hayley Mills behind the scenes for 1966’s The Trouble with Angels in a breezy fluff piece for her tween fans. Housemaid Mabel Normand gets booted from the washboard and into film stardom in Mabel’s Dramatic Career (1913). Plus! A generous sprinkling of vintage Trailers and other cinematic curiosities from the Oddball treasure trove will be featured throughout the program!

Date: Thursday, July 11th, 2013 at 8:00PM.
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10.00, RSVP Only to: 415-558-8117 or

Highlights Include:

Mabel’s Dramatic Career (Mack Sennett, 1913, black+white)

Pioneering film comedienne Mabel Normand made over two dozen two-reelers in 1913 alone! Here she stars as a lovely kitchen maid whose job is in peril when she sways the heart of her boss’s son (played by her real-life beau, Mack Sennett). Our heroine’s days in the scullery are numbered, but she gets a Hollywood ending in more ways than one. Also featuring Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle.

Let’s Go to the Movies (B+W, 1948, AMPAS)
An industrial film from the film industry! The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seemed to feel 1948 was a good time to recap the proud history of the artform. After all, they gave us Barrymore and Chaplin, so why not boast? A wide variety of film clips are included from Hollywood’s early years, as well as glimpses of the work of behind the scenes craftspeople are featured. The stunningly shot sequence on the manufacture of film stock reminds us that the dream factories of Southern California were pumping out their silvery product at a scale comparable to those of Detroit!

The Trouble with Angels Production Short (Color, 1966)
Narrated by Hayley herself!  Legend holds that Roz Russell and Hayley Mills despised each other and the popular young star would stick her tongue at Miss Russell whenever her back was turned. Sure, none of that made in into this spry making-of short, but like all tinseltown lore, it lends a yummy subtext to slick product such as spry making-of shorts. A few glimpses of Ida Lupino directing complete the girly appeal!

The Making of Silent Running (Color, 1972, Excerpt)
Go behind the scenes of the Sci-Fi epic starring Bruce Dern.  This illuminating excerpt features a look at the double-amputees who brought the filled drone costumes and brought the machines to life, the filming of the poker game and an interview with the ever engaging Bruce Dern.

Kick Me (Robert Swarthe, 1975)
An Oscar-nominated meta-cinema gem gets a lot of mileage (or should we say footage?) out of a mysterious pair of animated legs, an adventure within the frames of celluloid and ultimately its deconstruction of the medium itself. Drawn directly on 35mm film, Kick Me is a stunning example of the “direct animation” technique popularized by Norman McLaren and Stan Brakhage.

Daffy Duck in Hollywood (Tex Avery, 1938, B+W) and A Bacall to Arms (Robert Clampett, 1946, color)
Daffy Duck in Hollywood: Before wise guy Bugs Bunny came along Daffy Duck was the Looney Tunes star to embody nose-thumbing anarchy. Sneaking onto the backlot of Wonder Pictures ("If it's a Good Picture, it's a Wonder!"), Daffy raises a ruckus, insults the stuffy and ultimately reinvents cinema. No, really, he does. A Bacall to Arms: This Merrie Melodies release features some great Hollywood star caricatures and a nasty final blackface gag (which hit the cutting room floor in re-release, so catch it here!)

Plus! For the Early Arrivals!

Newsreel footage of the final evening at San Francisco's Fox Theatre (1963)
Unfortunately, this film comes to us as a silent, black and white negative print, but there is no missing the beauty of the stunning Market Street movie theatre filmed before its closure. San Francisco voters failed to save the city's most beautiful palace of dreams from the wrecking ball.  Featuring filmland columnist Hedda Hopper telling us we were going to be very, very sorry. We are, Hedda, we are.

About the Curator
Lynn Cursaro is a local film blogger. The monthly picture puzzle on the Castro Theatre’s calendar is a bagatelle of her devising.