First of all, let me point out that it’s shameful I’ve lived in San Francisco for over a year and hadn’t been to the Castro Theater before tonight. What an amazing venue!! So beautiful and wonderfully old-timey; I can’t wait to go back.
Interior of the Castro
The theater was built in 1922 at the height of the silent movie era, so it was fitting that my first visit was to watch a silent movie, complete with live orchestra (btw, this was part of the SF Silent Film Festival, which I’m SO HAPPY exists).
My college roommate Olivia is also a fan of most things old and vintage (and Alex was interested without me even having to convince him), so I was in good company. The movie was “The Patsy,” a lighthearted comedy (with some realtalk moments) that – if anything – made me realize how awesome of a comedienne Marion Davies was. The highlight was her mimicking famous actresses of the day (Mae Murray, Lillian Gish, and Pola Negri), which must’ve been even more hilarious at the time the film premiered:
The last one was golden. We all lol’d, which brings me to the point I wanted to make…
I think everyone’s first silent movie experience should be in a proper theater, with a good audience. Not to say silent movies aren’t watchable at home (I watch them at home, alone, more than is probably healthy), but it’s just so much better when there’s a huge screen, live music, and a genuine crowd reaction for support. Dare I say it feels almost as if you’ve been transported back in time, to an era when motion pictures were novel and Hollywood was more glamour than grit.
To conclude, I know this kind of stuff isn’t everyone’s bag, but those who are interested really should seek out silent film showings in local theaters. It’s an awesome experience and especially cool to think that many of these movies are coming up on 100 years old. Crazy.