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Charlie Chaplin Centennial Celebration on May 3

Chaplin
A centennial tribute Charlie Chaplin will take place at Santa Monica High School on May 3. (Courtesy Image)

The Santa Monica High School (Samohi) Band Program is hosting a Charlie Chaplin Centennial on May 3 at the school’s Barnum Hall theatre to celebrate the actor’s 100th anniversary of his first on-screen appearance in Little Tramp.

Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd return to the giant Barnum Hall screen in a trio of silent comedy masterpieces, plus A Trip to the Moon, Georges Méliès’ 1902 full color tour-de-force in the recently restored original hand-tinted version.

Christoph Bull, University Organist at UCLA and Royce Hall,is an internationally acclaimed silent cinema organist, concert artist, and composer who has been called ‘One of the greatest organists of the 21st Century.’  He has performed all over the world at venues including Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and Lincoln Center in New York as well as rock clubs such as The Viper Room, The Roxy and The Whisky.

The films screening on May 3:

KID AUTO RACES AT VENICE, 1914, was shot with a live crowd less than two miles from Barnum Hall 100 years ago this spring. See what the real people of Santa Monica and Venice looked like then as they interact with the as yet unknown Chaplin.

THE IMMIGRANT, 1917, Charlie Chaplin wins and gives away a fortune, is branded a thief, and meets the girl of his dreams, all while still on the hilariously rough voyage to America.  Totally broke, Chaplin blends comedy and tenderness in an unfriendly New York as he finds a way to pay for the hungry girl’s meal under the forbidding gaze of a bullying waiter, the last gatekeeper to the American Dream.  The Immigrant was cited as evidence of Chaplin’s un-Americanism when he was expelled from the U.S. in 1952. An early masterpiece, it has since been marked for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

COPS, 1922, featuring Buster Keaton vs. the entire LAPD in one of the largest chase scenes in silent film, is widely regarded as the funniest of Keaton’s two-reelers.  One of Keaton’s most iconic and brilliantly-constructed short films, Cops was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.

NEVER WEAKEN, 1922, The astonishing Harold Lloyd perfects his signature  “thrill comedy” as a love-lorn would-be suicide hanging from the girders of a tall building high above downtown Los Angeles. Considered the most hilarious of Lloyd’s shorts, it was his last and best before he embarked on a long and prolific career in features as one of the top box-office stars of the 1920s.

A TRIP TO THE MOON, 1902, George Méliès’ full color cinema milestone,  as one of the most popular films of the early twentieth century and featured in the 2011 hit HUGO. The original full color version was thought entirely lost for over ninety years until a badly decomposed hand-colored print resurfaced in Barcelona in 1993. After a monumental frame-by-frame restoration spanning nearly a decade, this rare hand-colored version premiered at Cannes in 1911 and was declared the “Cinematic highlight of the year, perhaps the Century” by the New York Times.

It was named one of the 100 greatest films of the 20th century by The Village Voice and in 2002 it became the first work designated as a UNESCO World Heritage film.

The evening, which starts at 7 p.m. on May 3 at Barnum Hall at Samohi, will also include rare silent cartoons and surprise guests.

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