Midweek Matinee

MetropolisFestival News

If you’re passing through Colorado this month, perhaps unveiling a statue to Denver natives Myrtle and Lincoln Stedman, you should spend some time in Estes Park. In the first and third weekends of August, the beautiful Park Theatre will host films by Chaplin, Keaton, Arbuckle and other heroes of the silent era. Music will be provided by the improvising pianist Jordan McBeen.

 Park Theatre Colorado

The Park Theatre itself is no stranger to silent films. It opened in 1913, and will have shown some of these comic gems the first time around. Its distinctive tower, added in 1926, is a beloved local landmark. So if you’re curious to find out more about the theatre, and the festival, follow the link here: http://www.historicparktheatre.com

 Old Irish Cinema

Can any cinema in Ireland claim over a century of unbroken use?

Stedman & Myrtle Myrtle and Lincoln Stedman

Interested in Myrtle and Lincoln Stedman and knowing a bit more? Well then follow the link below:

www.earlysilentfilm.blogspot.ie

Posted by Kevin McGee

 

Silent Movie Time Capsule: 100 years ago, this was a cop comedy

Fatty ArbuckleFatty Arbuckle

There’s a cracking article about the Legend that was Fatty Arbuckle at Silently Movies and it can be viewed here at the link below:

Silent Movie Time Capsule: 100 years ago, this was a cop comedy.

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

Why Nenagh – Famous Connections

Welcome to this week’s version of Why Nenagh, our look at different reasons to come to Nenagh and the North Tipperary area. Last week I looked at different famous film and television characters who have connections to the Nenagh and North Tipperary area. This week I am going to look at some other people who have connections to Nenagh.

Shane MacGowanShane MacGowan

First up is one of the greatest contemporary song-writers of the 1980s right through to the 90’s and noughties. Shane MacGowan and his music is world famous with some of his more famous tracks including Fairytale of New York, A Rainy Night in Soho, Summer in Siam and The Sunnyside of the Street. Shane was born in London, but spent his youth in his mother’s family home in Carney, which is just outside of Nenagh. He regularly visits Nenagh each year, as he has a dwelling just outside of the town, so you are very likely to bump into an Irish musical legend  at anytime down in old Nenagh town.

NPG D9303; John Toler, 1st Earl of Norbury after Unknown artistJohn Toler (1st Earl of Norbury)

Well you have your good characters and bad characters that are connected to any town or parish and Nenagh is no different, so lets have a look at John Toler, the ‘Hanging Judge’. John Toler, the 1st Earl of Norbury, was born on the 3rd December in 1745 in Beechwood, Nenagh. He went onto become one of the most hated figures in power in Ireland during the late seventeen hundreds and the early eighteen hundreds. He was appointed Chief Justice of Ireland in 1800 and his most famous trial was that of Irish nationalist leader and patriot Robert Emmet. Norbury interrupted and abused Emmet throughout the trial before sentencing him to death. Throughout the 27 years he held the post of Chief Justice he was known to joke even when the life of a human being was hanging in the balance; this resulted in Norbury becoming known as ‘The Hanging Judge’. Throughout his life Norbury had a strong belief in the Protestant ascendancy and he had a number of run-ins with the Irish Catholic Leadership, including Daniel O’Connell on several occasions, and also the British establishment after the Napoleonic Wars, when they there was a new aim of establishing a better relationship with the Catholic majority. Norbury died at 85 years in 1831 and was buried at St. Mary’s Church, Mary Street, Dublin.

J. D. BernalJ. D. Bernal

John Desmond Bernal, who was born at Brookwatson Nenagh on May 10th 1901, was one of the foremost scientists of the twentieth century. He was a controversial figure because of his communist beliefs and connections, but the work he produced throughout his lifetime as a scientist is hugely impressive. He is considered a pioneer of X-ray crystallography in molecular biology. In 1924 he determined the structure of graphite and he also did work on the crystal structure of bronze. His strength was in analysis as much as experimental method, and his mathematical and practical treatment of determining crystal structure was widely studied. Later on, he worked for the British War Ministry during World War II, where his main contribution to the Normandy Landings was the detailed mapping of the beaches. After assisting in the preparations for D-Day with work on the structure of the proposed landing sites as well as the bocage countryside beyond, Bernal landed at Normandy on the afternoon of D-Day +1 in the uniform of an instructor-Lieutenant RN to record the effectiveness of the plans. During his lifetime, Bernal was awarded the Royal Medal (1945), Guthrie Lecture (1947), the Stalin Peace Prize (1953), Grotius Gold Medal (1959), the Bakerian Lecture (1962) and he was a Fellow of the Royal Society. John Desmond Bernal died on the 15th September 1971, aged 70 years, and is buried in Battersea Cemetery, Morden, in a grave that is unmarked.

Sonny O'NeillSonny O’Neill’s Headstone

Denis ‘Sonny’ O’Neill wasn’t born in Nenagh town or outside it, but he lived most of his life in a town that became a protector and an adopted home for an individual who actually changed Irish history. So who was Sonny O’Neill? Well, he’s none other than the person who shot the Irish patriot and Leader Michael Collins. The story goes that the anti-treaty forces had set up an ambush at Béal na Bláth on August 22nd 1922 to assassinate Collins. The ambush squad consisted of Tom Hales, Jim Hurley, Dan Holland, Tom Kelleher, Sonny O’Neill, Paddy Walsh, John O’Callaghan, Sonny Donovan, Bill Desmond and Dan Corcoran. Seemingly the squad had decided to disperse and were clearing the road as well as diffusing a roadside bomb, when the convey of vehicles that included Michael Collins came upon them. A gun battle ensued and as the anti-treaty forces retreated, a shot rang out from O’Neill’s weapon that entered Collins forehead and blasted a hole at the back of his head. Michael Collins was dead and Sonny was soon on the run. He eventually made it to North Tipperary and before long he took lodgings in Queens/Mitchell Street in Nenagh town, where he remained for the remainder of his life. His secret was kept safe by those that knew who he was in the town and he was even one of the founding fathers of the Fianna Fail party in North Tipperary. Sonny O’Neill is buried in Tyone Cemetery, Nenagh.

Donal RyanDonal Ryan (Author: The Spinning Heart)

Donal Ryan’s debut novel The Spinning Heart was nominated on the Man-Booker Prize Long-List for 2013. An amazing achievement for a debut novelist, he has being quoted to have said he received approximately 50 rejections from publishers, before he eventually found a publisher who were willing to back him. Ryan’s publisher Transworld Book (Doubleday) tweeted that it was “thrilled” that his “stunning debut” had been longlisted. Donal is a born and bred Nenagh man.

JFK

Not a bad collection that we have linked to the town. Of course there is an actual connection to President John F. Kennedy also. You see back in the Norman times, before they decided they wanted to build the Nenagh castle and plant their own knights here, the land around Nenagh was O’Kennedy country and remained so for several centuries after the Norman conquest. So you see, although John F. Kennedy’s family roots may have been linked to Wexford, his ancient clan’s roots are here in Nenagh and North Tipperary. In fact the ancient treaty that was presented to President Kennedy on a visit to Ireland in 1962 and is now housed in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Massachusetts was signed between the invading Normans and the Kennedy’s in Nenagh Castle. More next week when I will have a look at festivals that are connected to the area.

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

Charlie’s Sunday Quote

Modern Times

Happy Sunday to one and all! Well, I’m a bit early with this week’s version of ‘Charlie’s Sunday Quote’, but sure what’s time but the human race’s attempt to understand life all around us and then stick it in a box that is labeled TIME! Ah, enough of the crap. Hope you enjoy today’s Quote from Charlie Chaplin. By the way, a thought just occurred to me, if Charlie Chaplin was the name of the actor, what was the name of The Tramp? Please drop us a comment below with your answer.

Charlie Chapli & GhandaiI believe that faith is a precursor of all our ideas. Without faith, there never could have evolved hypothesis, theory, science or mathematics. I believe that faith is an extension of the mind. It is the key that negates the impossible. To deny faith is to refute oneself and the spirit that generates all our creative forces. My faith is in the unknown, in all that we do not understand by reason; I believe that what is beyond our comprehension is a simple fact in other dimensions, and that in the realm of the unknown there is an infinite power for good.” ~ Charlie Chaplin

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

In the Vaults #10: The Arab (1924)

the arabNow here’s another post from the good people at the Movies Silently Blogsite. This one looks at the newspaper critique reports on Rex Ingram’s The Arab. The difference in the two reports makes for interesting reading so follow the link below and enjoy:

In the Vaults #10: The Arab (1924).

Silent Movie Time Capsule: Mark Twain and the movies, 1909 Edison footage

marktwainWhy not click on the red link below and view the latest post from the Movies Silently Blogsite. Well worth viewing to see actual footage of Mark Twain”:

Silent Movie Time Capsule: Mark Twain and the movies, 1909 Edison footage.

Friday Facts

journoheadline

Welcome back to our weekly Nenagh Silent Film Festival Friday Facts post. Again I’ve been studying the 1947 article Hollywood’s Green Years, which is a treasure trove of information about the silent era. Of course with this article having being published less than twenty years after the beginning of talkies, the time would have being fresh in many minds. I hope you may be amazed at some of the facts I’ve found as I have been, and you if you want to read the previous Friday Facts posts, you’ll find them under the Category Friday Facts.

 

Hollywood

In 1909 the American Film Company (AFC) sent it’s first unit to California. After a time there was no sign of any word coming back, so a scout was sent out to locate the company. He eventually found it in San Juan Capistrano, where the director had become a confirmed drunkard and the actors and crew were broke and stranded. The scout contacted AFC and advised them of the situation. The reply wire from AFC read: “WE WANT PICTURES. MAKE UP STORY AND DIRECT IT.” The scout did as he was told! Such was the way of things back in the pioneering days of the early silent era.

 

tarentino

The title of the first two-reeler ever shot was called Oil on Troubled Waters. The story was about a heroine who owned oil wells that were located in the sea off California. The villain of the piece coveted the wells, but the hero of the story arrived just in time (Hooray!) Of course, as in every story like this back in the day pre-Tarentino, you have a calm, comfortable setting at the beginning, then an anti-hero or a villain comes along and upsets the apple cart, until the hero arrives to resolve everything, before everything returns to a calm, comfortable setting again. This is usually accompanied with a love interest between the hero and the heroine. (Check out most films you have watched – same rules nearly always apply) Anyway, a fight inevitably happens between the hero and villain and this occurs when the hero is drilling a new well from a rowboat(?) and the villain had swam out to beat the bejaysus out of him (Booo!), however the hero wins through and ends up drowning the villain by sitting upon him. (Tarentino again: Unnecessary violence)

Complaining

After the first two-reeler was screened, there was a lot of people who were very unhappy with this progression in the motion film industry and hundreds of letters were addressed to the powers that be, as well as to the film companies. An extract from on of these letters from a church minister read: “It is morally degrading to have a motion picture more than one reel in length.” The film industry remained tight-lipped over the matter and continued to make two-reel silent films – Thank God! That’s all for this week, but don’t forget to check us out next week when we’ll have some more amazing facts from the silent era.

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

A Quote on Thursday

Singing in the Rain

Quote from Singing in the Rain:

Talkies will never last…..”

That’s what they said about the automobile….”

Sunset Boulevard

Quote from Sunset Boulevard:

You’re Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.”
I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.

W. C. Fields

W. C. Fields:

The movie people would have nothing to do with me until they heard me speak in a Broadway play, then they all wanted to sign me for the silent movies.

Sunrise

James D’Arc:

Sunrise was one of the last silent films. And as much is proof of why so many filmmakers lamented the coming of sound. It is a lovely and very powerful picture and the power of fidelity in marriage.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert:
“The wonderment is that we still have the silent clowns, many now available in restored versions. Almost all of Keaton, of Lloyd, of Chaplin. They were artists who depended on silence, and sound was powerless to add a thing. They live in their time, and we must be willing to visit it. An inability to admire silent films, like a dislike of black and white, is a sad inadequacy. Those who dismiss such pleasures must have deficient imaginations.”

Gerald Mast

Gerald Mast:

The great silent movies revolve around the body and the personality of its owner; the great sound comedies revolve about structure and style–what happens, how it happens, and the way those happenings are depicted. Film comedy, as well as film art in general, was born from delight in physical movement. The essence of early filmmaking was to take some object (animate or inanimate) and simply watch it move…. The sound comedy is far more literary. Given the opportunity to use the essential tool of literature, words, as an intrinsic part of the film’s conception, the filmmaker did not hesitate to do so. In silent films, the use of words in titles was intrusive, a deliberate interruption of the cinematic medium and a substitution of the literary one. We stop looking and start reading. But the sound film provided the means to watch the action and listen to the words at the same time. Whereas the silent performer was a physical being,… the sound performer was both physical and intellectual at once.”

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee