Enjoy the Silents

Movie buffs are about to get the silent treatment -- and it's all the buzz among Valley cinephiles. The Silent Sundays film series returns for its fourth season this Sunday, September 22, with a screening of The Phantom of the Opera, the 1925 classic starring Lon Chaney and Mary Philbin.

Held at downtown's historic Orpheum Theatre, Silent Sundays replicates the old-time cinema experience, from the pre-feature cartoon -- this Sunday, it's Koko's Cartoon Factory -- to the dramatic musical accompaniment, courtesy of organist Ron Rhode and the Orpheum's Mighty Wurlitzer.

The organ, in fact, is the star of the show. Before the film rolls, free theater tours provide an up-close look at the Mighty Wurlitzer, and proceeds from Silent Sundays contribute to its upkeep, overseen by the Valley of the Sun chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society.

The film series continues November 3, with a Douglas Fairbanks double feature -- The American Aristocracy and The Americano -- honoring America's veterans. On December 15, The General, starring Buster Keaton, and The Great Train Robbery, Hollywood's first narrative film, hit the screen; Laurel and Hardy's Mud and Sand and Rudolph Valentino's Blood and Sand follow on February 9. The series gives a nod to Women's History Month with a March 9 screening of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, featuring early cinema sweetheart Mary Pickford, along with film shorts starring other influential women of the silent screen. The season concludes April 13 with Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush.

Silence never sounded like so much fun.

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Jill Koch
Contact: Jill Koch

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