Monday, April 2, 2012

The April Guest Author at The Silver Screen Oasis: John Bengtson

Have you ever wished that you could step into a silent film like Buster Keaton did in Sherlock, Jr. (1924) and experience that other world? Our upcoming guest in April will bring us as close to that wondrous experience as possible. In fact, retracing the steps of Keaton, Chaplin and Lloyd (and more) are on the horizon for the SSO this month. 
Update!  The Q & A with John Bengtson can now be perused on the Silver Screen Oasis here. Enjoy!

The Silver Screen Oasis is pleased to announce that film historian John Bengtson will be our Guest Author from Tuesday, April 24th through Saturday, April 28th, 2012. Mr. Bengtson, a lawyer as well as film historian, blends cinematic archeology with social and urban history through his unique approach to examining the locations where and when films were shot. His work, which The New York Times described as a “Proustian collage of time and memory, biography and history, urban growth and artistic expression,” takes us on a virtual tour of the sites that provided inspiration for such giants as Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton through his books, films and website. Researching his discoveries of locations where films were shot and placing them in a social and cultural context has proved fascinating as he unearthed subtle class differences among these comic stars, the way that sequences were edited together (sometimes jumping from city to city, as in the case of Lloyd's hectic 1928 comedy, Speedy), and sometimes taking walking tours of the actual places that still exist in some form. Mr. Bengtson's books include the following :

Silent Visions: Discovering Early Hollywood and New York Through the Films of Harold Lloyd (Santa Monica Press, 2011)

Silent Traces: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Charlie Chaplin (Santa Monica Press, 2006)

Silent Echoes: Discovering Early Hollywood through the Films of Buster Keaton (Santa Monica Press,1999)

In addition to these enchanting books, which make city streets and spots where early films were made come alive with their history, Bengtson has hosted events at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, and the UCLA Film and Television Archive. He has also contributed to many of the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of films of Chaplin and Keaton, which are linked at his blog, Silent Locations(shown below) where he writes about his ongoing passion for Keaton, Chaplin and Lloyd.

SILENT LOCATIONS - John Bengtson's Blog

Here's a taste of the kind of film history that John Bengtson can unearth on just a simple walk around the streets of bustling Los Angeles:
 Please consider this your invitation to join us between April 24th-April 28th at The Silver Screen Oasis for this exciting special event and welcome John to our classic film discussion group.

1 comment :

ClassicBecky said...

Very exciting things to come, Moira! How often I've wished to be able to just walk into a movie and stay there, usually when I'm not too happy with the world!


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