Colonial Theatre screens restored 35mm film ‘Sparrows'

PHOENIXVILLE — The Colonial Theatre will screen a restored 35mm print of “Sparrows,” a 1926 film starring Mary Pickford.

Organist Ben Model will provide live accompaniment, and Pickford historian Christel Schmidt will introduce the film. The screening will take place on April 28, 2013 at 4 p.m.

“Sparrows” is a Dickensian tale of orphans living on a baby farm run by an evil caretaker. The movie boasts highly stylized sets, including an ominous-looking swamp, and atmospheric cinematography that illustrates the growing influence of German expressionist cinema on American filmmakers in the 1920s.

Though one of Pickford’s darker themed pictures, it is considered by many to be her best, including her business partner and onscreen rival Charlie Chaplin. The feature will be preceded by the “Sparrows” trailer and outtakes. The 35mm restorations of “Sparrows,” trailers and outtakes are by the Library of Congress.

Schmidt is the leading expert on the films of Mary Pickford and the editor of “Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies.” She will sign copies of her book after the screening.

Schmidt was awarded two fellowships, in 2000 and 2004, from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her research in locating and identifying Pickford films in US and European film archives. Her work has been used by the Women Film Pioneers Project and the Mary Pickford Foundation.

Model is one of the country’s leading silent film accompanists, and has been playing piano and organ for silents at the Museum of Modern Art in New York for the past 28 years.

A five-time recipient of the Meet The Composer grant, Model is a regular accompanist at classic film festivals around the U.S. and in Norway, and performs at universities, museums, and historic theaters. Model has composed ensemble scores for films by Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd that are performed around the U.S. every year by orchestras and by concert bands.

The Colonial Theatre’s programming includes art and independent films seven days a week, in addition to classic films, children’s programs, and live concerts. It was reopened in 1999 by the Association for the Colonial Theatre. More information about the Colonial is available at www.thecolonialtheatre.com, or by phone, at 610-917-1228.

More about The Colonial Theatre

The Colonial Theatre is located in the heart of downtown Phoenixville, Pennsylvania at 227 Bridge Street. Opened in 1903, the Colonial is the last surviving of four theatres once existing in the borough and is the only theatre of its kind in Chester County. In its early days, the Colonial was home to live stage shows, vaudeville acts and musicals including appearances by Harry Houdini and Mary Pickford. Real movie buffs know that the Colonial was featured in the 1958 science fiction classic, The Blob, starring Steve McQueen and filmed in and around Phoenixville.

The theatre is owned and operated by the Association for the Colonial Theatre (ACT), a nonprofit corporation, which re-opened the theatre in 1999. The Colonial’s programming includes art and independent films seven nights a week, classic films, children’s programs, live concerts, and community events. ACT is committed to the full restoration of the Colonial as a cultural arts center. Find out more about the Colonial at www.thecolonialtheatre.com. The mission of the Association for the Colonial Theatre is to enhance the collective well-being of our region by restoring the landmark Colonial Theatre and promoting cultural, economic and civic life. To that end, ACT presents film, live theatre, music, dance and other community events in the heart of Phoenixville’s historic business district.

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