Mar 07, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
One of the best vocalists of the 20th century, Bing Crosby, got his start singing with the Rhythm Boys, a vocal trio featured with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra.
When the Syracuse Cinephile Society presents its 32nd annual Cinefest March 15 through 18, at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, one of the five dozen featured films will show a dashing young Crosby harmonizing with the Boys, Harry Barris and Al Rinker.
The 1931 flick, “Confessions of a Co-Ed,” stars Sylvia Sidney as a jazz-age college gal who is impregnated by the man she loves but marries a classmate instead. The true lover returns, and our heroine must make a difficult choice.
The Rhythm Boys appear in the film’s first 10 minutes depicted entertaining at a fraternity house party. Der Bingle croons “Out of Nowhere,” a huge hit from Paramount’s Dude Ranch, and then the boys join him for a rollicking “Ya Got Love.”
“Confessions of a Co-Ed” screens here at 4:50 p.m. Friday, March 16.
Hundreds of classic movie buffs from around the world will gather in Liverpool to view seldom-screened vintage films at Cinefest 32. The film festival runs four days, from Thursday, March 15, through Sunday, March 18, at the Holiday Inn on Electronics Parkway. Silent and sound films produced between the early 1900s through the early 1940s will be shown along with rare short subjects. Highlights include an auction, a 35mm show at Eastwood’s Palace Theatre, memorabilia dealer rooms and appearances by film historians such as author Leonard Maltin.
An offbeat oddity, the 1933 pop musical “Moonlight and Pretzels,” will also be screened. An ambitious competitor to “Gold Diggers of 1933,” “Moonlight and Pretzels” boasts a pleasing score, including songs by Yip Harburg and Jay Gorney, but also featuring Herman Hupfeld compositions such as “I’ve Gotta Get Up and Go to Work.” The title tune, “Moonlight and Pretzels,” comes complete with bubbling beer and bratwurst.
The movie, which borrows heavily from the Busby Berkeley style, stars Roger Pryor and Mary Brian, and if you look closely you’ll catch a youthful William Frawley, who later starred as Fred Mertz in the “I Love Lucy” TV series. “Moonlight and Pretzels” screens at 10:10 p.m. Thursday, March 15.
“The vintage films presented at Cinefest are rare titles which can’t be found on television or commercially-released DVDs,” said Cinephile president Gerry Orlando. “Many are one-of-a-kind prints which haven’t been publicly seen in decades.”
Silent films will feature live piano accompaniment by Dr. Philip Carli, Dr. Andrew Simpson and Jeff Rapsis.
Registration for all four days of Cinefest costs $85, or $30 per day. Screenings begin at 9 a.m. on March 15 and run through 5 p.m. March 18.
On Saturday, March 17, 35mm films will be shown at Eastwood’s Palace Theater. The features include “Once in a Lifetime” (1933) with Jack Oakie and Zasu Pitts, “Get Your Man” (1927) with Clara Bow and “Mr. Fix-It” (1918) starring Douglas Fairbanks. Separate admission to the 35mm program costs $25 and includes transportation from the hotel to the Palace and back to the hotel.
The memorabilia dealers’ rooms will open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Posters, photographs, DVDs, films and books will be on sale. Admission to the dealers’ rooms on Saturday costs $5, and that sum will be applied toward any purchase.
Did you hear the one about the actor who was so bad, he was good? Funny, huh?
Well, for a few minutes, maybe, but Jeff Kramer’s new play “Reaching for Marsby” stretches out that joke for more than two hours.
With a superb cast and a veteran director, “Reaching for Marsby” reaches, all right, but never quite grabs.
Mark Eischen stars as Gary Blenkinsopp, a good-natured but untalented American actor who accidentally wins a part in a British play. True to his hapless character, Eishen’s Cockney accent is so thick it regularly renders dialogue unintelligible.
But that’s funny, right?
As Gary’s live-in galfriend, Kris Rusho also mumbled through the first scene, obscuring many of her lines. The rest of the top-shelf cast – Brendan Cole, Karis Wiggins, Michael O’Neill, Peter Moller and Moe Harrington – each brighten the proceedings briefly, but there’s only so much they can do as action progresses from awful audition to worse performances of an imaginary “Marsby” script heavy on banal Victorian stereotypes. The play may have worked better if Blenkinsopp had been cast in a familiar play, one of Shakespeare’s comedies for instance, rather than the fictional and obtuse “Marsby.”
Kramer’s play is all over the place, both literally – from New Jersey to old England – and figuratively – from self-esteem issues to sexual shenanigans, from stupid stardom to a desultory drunk scene. It provokes occasional laughter with Anglophobic humor, annoying cell phone usage and frazzled and frustrated characters.
But even the play’s happy ending lacks punch. The denouement bedecks Blenkinsopp in a bunny costume, and the deus ex machina is a golden-framed portrait of a stuffed squash.
That’s funny, right?
Directed by Len Fonte, who also helmed Kramer’s hilarious 2007 debut “Lowdown Lies,” “Reaching for Marsby” continues its run at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 8, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday March 9 and 10; and at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 11; and closes March 15-18, at the BeVard Studio at the Mulroy Civic Center, 411 Montgomery St., downtown. Tickets cost $22; 435-2121.