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We're all entrenched in the talkies these days, and silent films strike most of us as just a little bit hokey. What's with all the broad gesticulating, subtitled inserts and tinkly, melodramatic piano music, anyway? A lot, actually. First, it's food for thought on the subject of how the film industry evolved and changed. Second, pooh-poohing the silents will deprive you of experiencing some pretty amazing wordless performances and cinematography. Third, these days silent-film viewings are happenings, anyway, often featuring sophisticated live musical accompaniment. And fourth? Just don't miss tonight's 7:30 p.m. screening of the 1926 King Vidor romance Bardelys the Magnificent, starring John Gilbert and Eleanor Boardman (and including a brief, early walk-on by an uncredited, nineteen-year-old John Wayne), at the Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder.
Based on a novel by Rafael Sabatini and set in the court of Louis XIII, where the protagonist plays too much hanky-panky and gets into some sticky trouble, the film languished in a cellar in France, where its long-lost reels were recently rediscovered, consequently refurbished, sent on tour and made into a brand-new Flicker Alley DVD release that features an original score by Boulder's Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. That estimable ensemble will perform live at tonight's Chautauqua screening, which is family-friendly and well-priced. So why not give in?