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I saw a film today, oh boy …
I just had to look
Having read the book
"A Day in the Life" (Lennon-McCartney)
Motion picture studios have always known that a sure-fire way to fill a movie theatre is to make a film out of a popular book. A bestseller is almost guaranteed to be a box office winner. But even a lesser known novel or short story may contain the ingredients for great cinema in the hands of imaginative screenwriters, talented actors, and a skilled director.
The 2023 Vintage Film Festival, next October at the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope, Ontario, will celebrate this "page-to-screen" journey with a program of 13 classic movies – some adapted from works by famous authors, others from books by writers you may never have heard of – but altogether providing a weekend of fascinating and enjoyable cinema!
We'll be sharing beloved favourites The Wizard of Oz and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, box office hits From Russia with Love and Rosemary's Baby, and the renowned silent films Broken Blossoms and The Phantom of the Opera. There'll be movies based on the works of some of the most illustrious writers in the English language: Joseph Conrad (Sabotage), Charles Dickens (Great Expectations) and Ernest Hemingway (The Killers). And, although the names of William H. Armstrong and E.W. Hornung may be unknown to you, you'll be delighted by the films drawn from their works: Sounder and Raffles.
The program features the films of directors like D.W. Griffith and Howard Hawks, David Lean and Luis Buñuel, Polanski and Hitchcock. The stars include Burt Lancaster (in his film début), Alec Guinness (another début), Ava Gardner (in her breakout role), Marilyn Monroe, Catherine Deneuve, Lillian Gish, David Niven and Olivia de Havilland. As always, there'll be something for everyone – musicals, drama, suspense, comedy, film noir, horror, family fare and action movies – in cinema spanning seven decades, from 1919 through 1972.
Check out the full program (with trailers, reviews and details for every title) right here.
And VFF 2023 will offer much more than "just" 13 fab films. There'll be live piano accompaniment for both silent movies, our Sunday lunchtime film talk (speaker TBA), the silent auction, movie banners and VFF merchandise, free admission for 25-and-unders, and free popcorn all weekend! Plus, next year will be our 30th Anniversary Festival – there may be surprises!
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The lucky patrons who attended the October 2022 Vintage Film Festival at the Capitol Theatre know what a fabulous, fun time it was! The weekend featured, not just 13 classic movies featuring great actors in their breakout roles, but a super Sunday lunchtime talk by Heather Babcock about the women of pre-Code gangster films, live piano accompaniment by Jordan Klapman for our two silent movies, a special introduction by Carole Lombard scholar Dr. Olympia Kiriakou to Twentieth Century, an amazing silent auction, great new banners and merchandise, free admission for 25-and-unders, and free popcorn all weekend! A couple of our attendees sported vintage fashion for their vintage film watching; and Dr. Frankenstein and his creation even turned out to enjoy their biopic, Frankenstein!
In addition to local film fans from Northumberland County, we welcomed many guests from Peterborough County, Durham Region and the GTA, and from as far afield as Kingston, Ottawa and London, Ontario, and even Nova Scotia!
The Marie Dressler Foundation’s warmest thanks go out to:
- the members of the Vintage Film Festival committee, who spent months planning the Festival, and a solid weekend working onsite at the Capitol
- the amazingly collaborative Capitol Theatre staff and volunteers
- the Foundation’s board members, who provided yearlong support, and helped out onsite
- and the many generous sponsors, donors, advertisers, promotional and creative partners, and Friends of the Festival – and, of course, our patrons! – without whom the proceeds of VFF 2022 would not be able to support the Foundation’s educational activities, including the bursaries for graduating high school students to help them achieve their post-secondary goals.
Next year's Vintage Film Festival explores the journey "from the page to the screen". We'll be sharing thirteen films adapted from novels and short stories, including The Wizard of Oz, From Russia with Love, The Phantom of the Opera, Rosemary's Baby and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – another terrific program!
Mark your calendars now for the 2023 Vintage Film Festival – Friday, October 20th through Sunday, October 22nd – at the Capitol Theatre, 20 Queen Street, Port Hope!
Join us to celebrate Marie's birthday! Wednesday, November 9th is "Marie Dressler Celebration Day" in Cobourg, Marie's birthplace. www.cdnwomeninfilm.ca.Marie was often referred to as an unconventional star. Her career in Broadway theatre, silent films and talkies spanned fifty years. She was awarded the Best Actress Oscar at the 1931 Academy Awards. You can learn more about Marie's career and life at the Canadian Women in Film Museum, located in Marie Dressler House in Cobourg. Book your visit at
We invite you to join us in celebrating Marie's birthday on November 9th with a Marie Dressler movie, refreshments, and a draw for something special. No reservations are required, and there is no charge. (Seating is on a "first come" basis.) We'd love to see you at the Citizen's Forum on the 2nd floor of Victoria Hall, 55 King Street West, Cobourg at 2:00 p.m. to help us celebrate our hometown movie star.
Marie Dressler Foundation
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The Marie Dressler Foundation's Vintage Film Festival returns for its 29th annual edition, on the big screen at Port Hope's beautiful Capitol Theatre, on October 21st, 22nd & 23rd! Buy tickets here: a full weekend pass for $79 admits you to all 13 movies, as well as Sunday's lunchtime talk: "Dangerous Dames: Celebrating the Women of Pre-Code Gangster Films". Single tickets are just $10 per screening, or free at the door for anyone 25 or under. And the popcorn is free for everyone, all weekend!
The theme of this year's program is "breakout roles": those performances that transformed actors into movie stars, that lifted them into the ranks of the A-list, that boosted them onto a new plateau of celebrity! See the full program here: there is definitely something for everyone! Every decade from the Twenties to the Seventies is represented, as well as a huge range of vintage film genres: melodrama, gangster, horror, screwball comedy, film noir – as well as classic drama and comedy, and even something for the young people. As usual, we've made sure to share a musical, a foreign film offering, and two silent films which will be presented with live piano accompaniment.
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The Vintage Film Festival has a couple of changes to announce regarding its 2022 programme.
In addition to moving a few films around in the schedule for this year's Festival on October 21st, 22nd & 23rd, we are changing a couple of the titles.
The Mary Pickford Foundation will not have their remastered edition of her 1914 silent film Tess of the Storm Country available for us to screen this year. In its place, VFF 2022 will present 1923's Little Old New York. This movie, together with 1922's When Knighthood Was in Flower, made Marion Davies a silent screen star.
And, as our traditional foreign film offering, we will show, not Vittorio De Sica's Two Women, but something much more delightful for a Sunday morning: Jacques Tati's 1953 classic, Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (Les Vacances de M. Hulot).
Jacques Tati (1907-1982), born Jacques Tatischeff, was the grandson of an Imperial Russian Army general and a circus performer. After having spent a few years working in the family picture-framing business and playing semi-professional rugby, Tati exploited his innate talent as a mime in the development of an act called Impressions Sportives. It made him a star of the Parisian music hall stage during the Thirties, and led to performances in London and Berlin as well. During the same decade, he also starred in a few short films, some of which he wrote himself.
Following service in the Second World War, Tati returned to cabaret performance, and appeared in the 1946 comedy feature, Sylvie et le fantôme. Connections made on this production led to the making of films with Tati as director, as well as writer and star. His 1947 short, L'École des facteurs (The School for Postmen), won the Max Linder Prize for film comedy. He expanded the short into his first feature, Jour de fête (The Big Day), which received Le Grand Prix du Cinéma Français in 1950.
In 1953, Jacques Tati released what would be the first of four movies featuring his newly created title character, Monsieur Hulot's Holiday. It won Tati an international reputation, and earned him and co-scenarist Henri Marquet an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Its sequel, 1958's Mon Oncle (My Uncle), won Tati the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, the New York Film Critics Award, and a Special Prize at Cannes. It was followed by two more Hulot movies, Playtime (1967) and Trafic (1971).
Monsieur Hulot's Holiday is a film with very little dialogue: the comedy is largely visual (although it also generates humour from sound effects). M. Hulot himself is a comic character in the tradition of Charlie Chaplin's little tramp and Buster Keaton's “great stone face”. He also anticipates the very similar Mr. Bean, whose creator, Rowan Atkinson, acknowledged his debt to Tati.
Please join us this October, at Port Hope's beautiful Capitol Theatre, to enjoy thirteen films, featuring great actors in their breakout roles, at the 29th Vintage Film Festival!
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Great news! Beginning next year, the Vintage Film Festival will return to its traditional 3rd weekend in October timeslot. Mark your calendars for VFF 2022 on October 21st, 22nd & 23rd!
The theme for our 2022 Vintage Film Festival is "breakout roles". We'll be sharing thirteen great films which made one of their cast members a star, or vaulted an actor to a new level of renown. Check out this programme!
- James Dean in East of Eden (Elia Kazan, 1955)
- Cary Grant in The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey, 1937)
- Boris Karloff in Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931)
- Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet (Clarence Brown, 1944)
- Mary Pickford in Tess of the Storm Country (Edwin S. Porter, 1914)
- Cybill Shepherd in The Last Picture Show (Peter Bogdanovich, 1971)
- Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl (William Wyler, 1968)
- Gene Wilder in The Producers (Mel Brooks, 1968)
- Edward G. Robinson in Little Caesar (Mervyn LeRoy, 1931)
- Sophia Loren in Two Women (Vittorio DeSica, 1960)
- Norma Shearer and Lon Chaney in He Who Gets Slapped (Victor Seastrom [Sjöström], 1924)
- Alan Ladd in This Gun for Hire (Frank Tuttle, 1942)
- Carole Lombard in Twentieth Century (Howard Hawks, 1934)
There is definitely something for everyone here! Every decade from the Teens to the Seventies is represented, as well as a huge range of vintage film genres: melodrama, gangster, horror, screwball comedy, film noir – as well as classic drama and comedy, and even something for the young people. As usual, we've made sure to schedule a musical, a foreign film offering, and two silent films which will be presented with live piano accompaniment. (The silent movies feature Canadian-born Mary Pickford and Norma Shearer, who will be joining Cobourg's own Marie Dressler as stars of the new Canadian Women in Film Museum: https://www.cdnwomeninfilm.ca/.)
Plan to join us next October, at Port Hope's beautiful Capitol Theatre, for the Vintage Film Festival!
Rick Hill, Chair
Vintage Film Festival Committee
Marie Dressler Foundation