Toronto Silent Film Festival presents: Why Be Good?

Opening Night for the Toronto Silent Film Festival. This year we dedicate most of our 6 screenings to newly restored, previously lost silent films. As always, all of our screenings will have live musical accompaniment.

Why Be Good? 1929 84min * Canadian Premiere of Restoration

Director: William A Seiter starring Colleen Moore, Neil Hamilton

Although a top star in the 1920s, the name Colleen Moore has all but disappeared from memory as most of her work is now considered lost. Moore, with her razor-sharp black bob, lithe dancer body and bowtie lips, was the physical embodiment of the flapper spirit of the Roaring ‘20s. Her on screen persona not only defined what her contemporary audiences embraced as the archetype flapper, but most of our modern interpretations of the red-hot jazz era come from her portrayals on screen.

Long thought lost, a 35mm print of this film was sitting virtually forgotten in the Bologna Italy film archive. Through the tireless work of several individuals, organizations, Warner Brothers and the archive, this rare treasure has been restored to full glory for modern audiences to renew their love for one of the great silent stars.

While this is one of the ultimate flapper films from the era with all the Gatsby trappings including wild nightclub scenes in "The Boiler Room" (which have to been seen to believed), it also addresses the rapidly evolving roles of women and the controversies surrounding them.

Rebelling against her father's rebukes about dress code and lifestyle, Moore, as Pert Kelly, argues that if she contributes to the household with her paycheque, then she has a right to look like and do what she wants. Pert is one of those “new women” an emancipated working gal by day complete with fashionable bobbed hair and a wild jazz baby by night who smokes, drinks illegal booze, and flirts with men. Her flapper reputation catches up with her after a night of risqué partying and she finds herself mistakenly linked romantically to her boss. How she gets herself out of the jamb is pure Colleen Moore and is so deliciously Twenties.

A re-discovery of one of her lost classics is such a pleasure for modern audiences that there will be no objection if would-be flappers start rolling their stockings, grab some giggle water and dance baby dance. Why Be Good when it's so much more fun to be bad!

Trivia: the male lead in the film is non other than Neil Hamilton, better known as Commissioner Gordon of the original TV Batman series!

Their First Misunderstanding 1911 10min * Canadian Premiere of Restoration

Director: Thomas Ince Starring: Mary Pickford, Owen Moore

Discovered in an abandoned shed a few years ago, this once lost Pickford title has been restored by the Library of Congress in the US just in the nick of time.

Their First Misunderstanding is a light tale of a newlywed couples’ first argument. This is a rare opportunity to see the first film in which Pickford was actually named (practice at the time was not to name the players). Film courtesy of Library of Congress.

Our Musical Accompaniment for tonight's programme is jazz pianist Jordan Klapman who will be re-creating an authentic 1920s jazz score.

Tickets: $15 online or at the door.

Festival Pass for all 6 screenings available


Toronto Silent Film Festival presents: Why Be Good?

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