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1939, 20th Century Fox, 97 min, USA, Dir: Irving Cummings, Malcolm St. Clair

In Daryl Zanuck’s pet project, 20th Century Fox Golden Girl Alice Fay is Molly Adair, a toiling New York stage actress who is lured into the fledgling motion picture business in 1913 by an ambitious young director (Don Ameche). Her career rises and his declines as the film takes us through the silent years, recreating productions of the slapstick comedies that defined the era - from Keystone Cops to pies in the face, bathing beauties and finally the first sound movie, THE JAZZ SINGER. It’s a treat to see the real Buster Keaton and Al Jolson play themselves re-creating elements of their own careers - in Technicolor! Renowned slapstick director Mack Sennett served as technical advisor and the scenario is said to be a thinly-veiled version of his love story with actress Mabel Normand. Also with silent cinema legend Rin Tin Tin.

1945, Warner Bros., 110 min, USA, Dir: Lemuel Ayers, Roy Del Ruth

A cavalcade of MGM stars populates this musical omnibus, with highlights from Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, William Powell, Red Skelton, Esther Williams, Lucille Ball, Judy Garland, and many others. A must-see for fans of classic Hollywood.

1971, Janus Films, 103 min, Germany, Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Semi-autobiographical and supposedly based on his Spanish shoot of WHITY, Fassbinder’s tale of a film set gone wrong is a deliciously absurd satire. When actors and crew (among them Hanna Schygulla, Fassbinder and Eddie Constantine as himself) arrive for a shoot only to realize that the script and director are nowhere to be found, a Waiting for Godot-style escalation of anxieties, jealousies and existential despair takes hold - only to be capped by a ridiculously funny deus ex machina when tyrannical director Jeff (Lou Castel) finally swoops down in a helicopter. In German with English subtitles.

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