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Cineconline 2020 Preview

September 1, 2020

Like most film festivals this year, Cinecon 2020, which begins this Thursday, looks a little different. In vast contrast to a usual five-day packed cinema spree, this year’s condensed online edition takes place across three days, screening about four-five hours of content each day. (As much as I love classic films and festivals, I must say this is more my speed right now.)

The festivities, which are free, by the way, start at 3pm PST on Thursday, September 3. Though the start time is a bit early for me on the weekdays, as a non-night owl living on the west coast, I’m glad there won’t be any super late evenings. Because: sleep. The Cinecon team did a wonderful job incorporating the type of content the fest is known for, scheduling rare shorts and features from the 1910s-1940s with live musical accompaniment from musicians Jon Mirsalis, Frederick Hodges and Scott Lasky. (This year I recognized a whooping 0% of the lineup!) Signature events like Kinecon at Cinecon and Saturday Nitrate Fever are included as well, which is a treat, even online! Despite the situation and shortened event, one very positive takeaway is that the virtual experience will allow fans from around the world to get a taste of Cinecon without leaving their homes. I’m very happy that more people will have the opportunity to join and celebrate these rare titles together – and I’m very grateful to Cinecon for putting this improvised festival together in the first place!


Each year I usually share a festival preview, and this year is no different – it’ll just be a lot shorter… and have less actual insight because there’s not a ton of information available on some of these titles! (All times PST for anyone following along.)



3pm: Opening/Not Coming to a Theater Near You – Trailers of Lost Silent Films

Though I’ll still be working, I’m fine taking a short break to hear more about what’s in store for this virtual event. Also, I am quite curious to see these trailers for lost films, because it’s probably all that we’ll ever get to see of these titles.


5:03pm: Vacation Waves (1928)

First, I appreciate that Cinecon is still sticking to its down to the minute schedule. Second, Edward Everett Horton, please. That’s enough to start the workday early so I can catch this short.


5:24pm: That’s That (1937)

I predict a Hal Roach Studios gag reel will be just what I need following a long week of work. (Wait, it’s only Thursday… huh.)


5:32pm: First Things Last (1928?)

No IMDb entry, unsure of the date. That’s a rousing yes from me. The more unknown, the better.

Without Pity poster-min.jpg

5:45pm: Without Pity (1948)

Script co-written by Federico Fellini. Co-starring Giulietta Masina. A logline that begins, “An African-American soldier stationing in Italy refuses to make a deal with local gangsters.” I. am. very. intrigued.



3pm: Kinecon at Cinecon

I find clips from TV’s early days entertaining and fascinating, so I’m sure I’ll pop over to the Cinecon tab on my computer for a few minutes to catch some of these. Another well-deserved break, I’ll tell myself.


5:10pm: Sherlock Holmes’ Fatal Hour (1931)

Starting the work day early and busting out at 5pm, because formerly thought lost films deserve all the love they can get.

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6:50pm:  The Tin Ghost (1926)

I just really need to see this tin ghost with creepy hands in action.


7:10pm: The Best Man (1928)

A Mack Sennett short sounds like a suitable way to spend a sliver of my Friday evening.


7:30pm: A Lady Lion (1928)

From the few screenshots on IMDb, I spot a lady, a lion and a lot of physical antics. I suspect it will be a rousing 20 minutes!

Lorraine of the Lions.JPG


3pm: Lorraine of the Lions (1926)

More lions! But really, I must present you with this user-generated synopsis on IMDb: “A ship carrying a touring circus troupe sinks at sea, and Lorraine, a young girl, is washed up on a deserted island. Her only companion is a gorilla from the circus, Bimi, who raises her as its own. Several years later Lorraine's wealthy grandfather, who has hired a psychic to help find her, is led by the psychic to Lorraine's island, and she and Bimi are taken back to "civilization" in San Francisco, but things don't work out exactly as planned.” Yes, I will spend 70 minutes with that chaos.


4:34pm: The Bond of Blood (1920)

There’s a 1916 short of the same title listed on IMDb, but not this, so I’m guessing that means it’s really, really obscure. Yesssss.


4:54pm: Autobuyography (1934)

Cinecon’s transportation-themed Saturday Nitrate Fever kicks off with this short about a man who trades in his old car for a new pricey one that falls apart. As someone who just traded in a 12-year-old vehicle for a shiny, pricier (newer used) one, I bet I’ll get a few chuckles out of this while secretly hoping none of these antics happen to me.

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5:14pm: Speed in the Gay Nineties (1932)

Any old movie that looks to the future of transportation (from the vantage point of the 1890s or 1930s, doesn't matter) will pique my interest because they are usually so, so off. And as this is a comedy I expect it all to be completely overblown in the best way possible.


5:45pm: Covid Comfort Theater

Billed as a “collection of film rarities themed about film,” this seems the perfect way to wrap up the festival, because rare + film are two of the first words that come to mind when I think of Cinecon!


Are you planning on following along with Cinecon this year? (You should, because it’s virtual and FREE!) If so, what are you looking forward to?

thanks for stopping by!

I See a Dark Theater is a website dedicated to classic movie-going—and loving—in the City of Angels. Whether it's coverage on screenings, special presentations, or Q&As around Los Angeles that you're looking for, or commentary on the wonderful and sometimes wacky world of classic cinema, you've come to the right place for a variety of pieces written with zeal, awe, and (occasionally) wit. Enjoy.

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