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Mar 5: Underworld at MoMA

Mar 5 – arrived at MoMA early to throw the Miditzer together for a show of Josef von Sternberg’s Underworld with George Bancroft, Evelyn Brent and Clive Brook. Oh, yeah, and Larry Semon in a character part. Brook comes off better than Bancroft as an actor, and Brook’s screen presence is great for silents; perhaps that’s why Bancroft did better in sound films. Still, it’s fun picture, and Larry Semon does a nice job as comedy reliefe, as does Jerry Mandy as one of the other “mugs”. I have an old show-at-home of a 1919 “mountie” 2-reeler starring and directed by Edgar Jones with Brent in a supporting role. The show was well-attended.

The print looked okay, about the same as the print we got from Paramount when we ran it at the Cinema Arts Centre last year. At the CAC show I brought a 16mm of Golf with Larry Semon to open, just to show people who Semon was, and the film played really well. I haven’t seen the new print(s?) of Underworld that were done by Paramount a year or two ago, but I’d imagine/hope they’re a bit sharper than these two 35mm’s I’ve now seen, which seem a tad dupey in parts.

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