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Cinecon 2023 Preview

August 21, 2023

Labor Day weekend is coming up, which means it’s almost Cinecon time! This year, the fest moves from Hollywood to the Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo. I love the venue and the area, but it’s a much greater distance from me, which means I’ll most likely be limiting my experience to one day. In the meantime, here’s my preview of the fest. As per usual, I only recognized about 25% of the titles, and I’ve seen a resounding zero of them! That’s what I love about Cinecon—everything is a new discovery to me.

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Swedish posters for the win! This one is for The Gold Diggers (1923).


7:27pm: The Gold Diggers (1923)

The premise: A man doesn’t want his nephew to marry a chorus girl because, you know, they’re all gold diggers, so the girl’s friend decides to ‘gold dig’ him to prove him wrong. Of course, complications ensue. This rarity stars a cast I’m not familiar with, and I’d love to see it as Cinecon’s opening night feature in a packed theater. But, as mentioned above, I’m probably sitting Thursday out. Sad face. Attendees, please enjoy this one for me!


9:25pm: Why Worry? (1923)

I don’t normally do silent movies after 8pm, so there’s a good chance I’d fall asleep during this. But to see a Harold Lloyd classic for the first time (YES, I KNOW) on the big screen during its centennial year?! I don’t know, I may just have to buy a Thursday pass for these two films now…




10am: Boris Karloff Home Movies

I adore home movies, and I’m super curious to see what Karloff was like behind the makeup. Also, I think I read that his daughter Sarah will be presenting these special clips, which is an added bonus.

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10:20am: Little Mickey Grogan (1927)

There are no ratings and no summary for this film on IMDb—that’s how rare it must be! This generally boosts a movie to must-watch status for me. Plus, I’m sure the kid antics are highly amusing.


11:35am Abbott and Costello Rarities

I’m not the biggest Abbott and Costello fan, but if you add the word ‘rarity’ in there… well, there you have the secret to capturing my attention.  


1:25pm: The Scarlet Letter (1934)

Colleen Moore made four pre-Codes. I’ve watched three of them. Guess which one I haven’t seen? (Hint: It’s her last movie. Yes, this one.) The Scarlet Letter is available online, but would I voluntarily pass up Colleen Moore on the big screen? No, I wouldn’t.

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Clive Brook and Olga Baclanova in Forgotten Faces (1928).

2:45pm: Forgotten Faces (1928)

I mean, look at the above still. Can you say D-R-A-M-A-T-I-C?!

In addition to that, you have: Silent William Powell raising a kid! Clive Brook as a gentleman thief! Mary Brian, guessing she’s the grown daughter! Olga Baclanova + her stunning costumes! I honestly would consider spending the $75 for a day pass to see this silent movie alone. (OK, maybe I’d pay up to see this and The Scarlet Letter.)  


9:20pm: Destry Rides Again (1932)

Westerns aren’t my favorite genre, but I’m always down for a pre-Code!

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10am: The Night Cry (1926)

All I need to know about this silent film is that it stars Rin Tin Tin. Yes, please!


11:10am: Junior Laemmle Program

I don’t know much about Carl Laemmle Jr., who was basically the driving force behind the Universal monster movies. This program sold out the Hollywood Heritage Museum recently, which piques my interest even more.


1:55pm: Kinecon at Cinecon

This year’s Kinecon program pays tribute to CBS and Television City, which is actually in my neighborhood! For that reason alone, I’d like to attend, but I also always love seeing super rare television treasures.


8:20pm: Graustark (1925)

Not to be confused with the Marion Davies 1926 feature Beverly of Graustark… This film has no ratings on IMDb, was written by a trio of female writers, and stars Norma Talmadge. All of these elements make me very intrigued.

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9:20pm: Bulldog Edition (1936)

Though the late start time would probably be prohibitive for me, I love a zany sounding B-movie. This one’s got rival newspapers, a gangster in the middle of that competition, and a love triangle, all packed into 57 minutes! Kinda sounds like you have to see it to believe it…




10:10am: Saturday Night (1922)

Saturday Night on Sunday morning! At this point, Sunday is the day I’m targeting to buy a pass, so I would be delighted to start the day with this Cecil B. DeMille class clashing comedy.


11:40am: Q&A with Peggy Webber

I’m really not familiar with Peggy Webber’s career, so this will be an informative conversation for me!


12pm: Submarine Command (1951)

To think Cinecon is hosting two actresses from this film today: Peggy Webber and Nancy Olson! That’s very cool. I’ve never heard of this war drama, but I’m intrigued to see William Holden and Olson reunite the year after Sunset Blvd. (1950).


1:30pm: Q&A with Nancy Olson

I heard Nancy Olson regale an audience with stories at the Hollywood Heritage Museum back in June, and she was a pip. I can’t wait to hear what she’s got to say about Submarine Command.

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5pm: The Mantrap (1943)

Bring on all the 1940s Republic B-mysteries, please! And this one features an electric car—I’m quite interested to see what that looked like in 1943.


7:10pm: Iron Man (1931) plus clips from the silent version

No, not that one. The version starring Jean Harlow and Lew Ayres. As someone who worked in the comic book world, I much prefer the pre-Code title—and I haven’t even seen it yet! Suffice it to say, I’m very much looking forward to this new Tod Browning discovery. (It’s a new discovery for me, at least.)


9:05pm: Over the Hill (1931)

Two pre-Codes in a row! I must be in heaven. In all honesty, this family drama starring James Dunn and Sally Eilers doesn’t sound like it boasts a ton of pre-Code goodness. But I’m excited to see it all the same, especially since I just watched both of them in Bad Girl (1931) a few days ago.




11:10am: Soundies program

I first saw soundies, which are musical shorts that played in jukeboxes, in the Academy Museum’s Regeneration exhibit, and I still don’t know a ton about them. This seems like the perfect opportunity to learn and see more!


1:30pm: Operation 3 R’s (1956)

Apparently, this is a super rare TV episode that hasn’t been seen since its original broadcast in 1956. And that’s all I need to know! Very exciting that the Cinecon audience gets to experience this one.

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The absolutely fabulous book cover for Man, Woman and Sin.

2:40pm: Man, Woman and Sin (1927)

This is a pre-Code title if I ever heard one, though I don’t consider 1927 to be part of the pre-Code era. But I sure would love to see this John Gilbert-Jeanne Eagels romance, which sounds like drama with a capital ‘D.’


4:10pm: Freckles (1935)

If I were attending the final day of Cinecon, I’d probably close the festival out with this rare 1930s feature that stars a mischievous Virginia Weidler as a young girl with a pet bear. Ah, I love a crazy sounding plot, don’t you?


Stay tuned to see how many of these picks I actually get to see at Cinecon 59!

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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