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The Capitol Theatre
220 W. Dominick St., Rome, NY, 13440

About Capitolfest:

    Capitolfest is Central New York's premier summer Cinephile film festival—a place to see rarely-shown and newly-discovered films of the silent and early talkie era, held at the historic 1,788-seat movie palace, the Capitol Theatre, in Rome, New York, which opened in December, 1928 as a movie house.  Set in the small upstate New York city of Rome (population c.33,000) and regarded by attendees from the U.S., Canada, and Europe as the movie lover’s dream vacation, the weekend festival starts late Friday morning and ends early on Sunday evening.  Screenings are arranged by session, with each session essentially comprised of a double feature plus short subjects.  Each session contains intermissions and there are generous breaks between sessions (allowing for meals) as well.  The philosophy of Capitolfest is that there should be time to savor the films, thus our slogan, “A vacation, not a marathon.”
   To date, Capitol remains the only building in Rome constructed for the specific purpose of exhibiting motion pictures.  Although the theatre received an Modernistic face-lift in 1939, the auditorium is configured exactly as it was in 1928, and much of the original décor remains.  Included  as part of Capitolfest's silent film line-up is live organ accompaniment for each film, played on our original installation, 3-manual, 10-rank Style 70 Möller Theatre Organ.  Restoration work on the organ was started in 2002, and since then it has been used on a regular basis to accompany silent movies.  Each of the silent films will be accompanied by some of the world’s foremost exponents of authentic silent movie accompaniment.  Eminent musicians such as Avery Tunningley, Bernie Anderson, Dr. Phillip C. Carli, Robert Israel and Dennis James have performed for films on the Capitol's Moller in the past.  Additionally, ensembles such as the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra have graced the Capitol's orchestra pit in accompaniment of films.

    The goal of the Capitol Theatre's film series is to not only showcase vintage films, but to re-create the experience of seeing movies as when they were new.  All of the films at the Capitol are shown in 35 mm prints on the theatre’s carbon-arc, variable-speed projectors.  Capitolfest prints are provided by such archives as the Library of Congress, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, Universal Pictures, the George Eastman House, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Sony Pictures, as well as rarer prints from private collections.  The festival's line-up focuses on obscure films that received critical praise in their time, but are now near-impossible to see.

Capitolfest 13:
    Capitolfest 13 will be held on August 7, 8, & 9 2015.

    Capitolfest 13 promises to surpass its twelve previous installments, with three days of eclectic and critically-acclaimed programming.  Each year chooses a “tribute star,” and several of their films are showcased throughout the weekend.  Capitolfest 13’s star will be Nancy Carroll, star of Paramount musical comedies!

The Border Legion (Paramount, 1930)
Directed by Otto Brower & Edwin H. Knopf; Based on a novel by Zane Grey
with Richard Arlen, Fay Wray, Jack Holt, Eugene Pallette
68 minutes/Western Electric Sound/Black & White

Zane Gray’s famous novel concerns a young man (Richard Arlen) who is saved from hanging by the leader of a notorious gang of criminals (Jack Holt).  In gratitude the hero joins the gang, but he soon finds himself at loggerheads with their activities.  Fay Wray is the love interest, and Stanley Fields is a particularly despicable villain.
“Richard Arlen, Jack Holt, Fay Wray and Eugene Pallette in a strong, rousing picturization of a Zane Gray yarn—what more do western addicts want?  It’s good to see Jack in one of his familiar roles again, and Dick is appealing—but Pallette and Stanley Fields share their honors.”—Delight Evans, Screenland, 10/1930

“Of all the talking Western melodramas that have so far been produced, few can equal The Border Legion in fast action and realistic acting.  It is a virile melodrama of the days immediately following the civil war, when the West was infested with bands of criminals who had escaped from the East to escape paying the penalty of their criminal acts.  There is fast action all the way through, which sound [makes] true to life.  The scene of the last attack by the Border Legion on a small town…is thrilling.”—Harrison’s Reports, 7/5/30
Skinner Steps Out (Universal, 1929)
Directed by William James Craft
with Glen Tryon, Myrna Kennedy, E.J. Ratcliffe, Burr McIntosh
73 minutes/Western Electric Sound/Black & White

Henry Irving Dodge’s Skinner’s Dress Suit was the basis this early talkie, in which Skinner (Glen Tryon) is a cashier working for a large company.  He is too timid to ask for a raise, despite his wife’s urgings.  When he finally does ask for a salary increase, he is told his services are no longer required.  He keeps the situation from his wife, who believes he was successful in gaining his raise, and his bluffing eventually leads to extraordinary complications.
“This tale of a young man's adventures as a bluffer in social and business life presents several farcical incidents that provoked much laughter at the theatre yesterday. Mr. Tryon seems more enjoyable in his lighter moods than when he portrays a serious young man. His facial caricatures help the fun, and although the Skinner plot is by now familiar material, it still possesses a romantic freshness.” —New York Times, 12/7/29
The Devil’s Holiday (Paramount, 1930)
Directed by Edmund Goulding
with Nancy Carroll, Phillips Holmes, James Kirkwood, Hobart Bosworth
80 minutes/Western Electric Sound/Black & White

Nancy Carroll received her only Oscar nomination for her performance of the calculating manicurist who plays upon the innocence of Phillips Holmes in this Edmund Goulding production.
“…a little masterpiece—an original story directed by a man who has grown up with the movies, Edmund Goulding is his name….He has everything a director needs: imagination, poetry, humor, intuition, good taste….His story of the charming, innocent boy in the clutches of a mercenary manicurist is surprisingly absorbing, touching, and tender.  Nancy is a revelation: no longer a musical comedy cutie, but an actress.  Hobart Bosworth is splendid.  Ned Sparks and Zasu Pitts are legitimately funny.  You must not miss this.” —Delight Evans, Screenland, 8/1930
Illusion (Paramount, 1929)
Directed by Lothar Mendes
with Charles “Buddy” Rogers, Nancy Carroll, June Collyer, Kay Frances, Regis Toomey
84 minutes/Western Electric Sound/Black & White

Charles “Buddy” Rogers is a good-natured vaudeville magician and Nancy Carroll his assistant who adores him, but when he becomes infatuated with June Collyer, Nancy takes up with another man—though she still pines for Buddy.  Songs include “When the Real Thing Comes Your Way” and “Revolutionary Rhythm.”
“Featured pair make a very likable team, with youth, appearance and a talent for naturalness….Supporting players are good….A cleanly handled job [by director Lothar Mendes].” —Bang., Variety, 10/2/1929
Blue Jeans (Metro, 1917)
Directed by John H. Collins
with Viola Dana, Robert Walker, Sally Crute, Clifford Bruce, Russell Simpson, Margaret McWade
Approx.98 minutes/Silent with organ accompaniment/Black & White

Joseph Arthur’s famous 1890 melodrama was made fresh and compelling in the hands of master director John H. Collins.  The story of small-town life and political intrigue, climaxing with the legendary saw mill buzz saw sequence (excerpted in the Brownlow-Gill Hollywood documentary) provided an exceptional vehicle for Collins’ wife, Viola Dana.

Blue Jeans is an especially stunning film since it invades Griffith’s Way Down East territory of rural melodrama several years before Griffith did….Collins’ unerring sense of place and people, the perfectly selected rural locations, and the absolutely ‘right’ faces, was quite remarkable.” —William K. Everson, American Silent Film
Silence (Paramount, 1931)
Directed by Louis J. Gasnier and Max Marcin
with Clive Brook, Marjorie Rambeau, Peggy Shannon, Charles Starrett and John Wray
60 minutes/Western Electric Sound/Black & White

Love Me Tonight (Paramount, 1932)
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian
with Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Charles Ruggles, Charles Butterworth, Myrna Loy, C. Aubrey Smith.  Songs by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
96 minutes/Western Electric Sound/Black & White

In this year’s Capitolfest “war horse,” Paris tailor Maurice Chevalier falls in love with princess Jeanette MacDonald in  Rouben Mamoulian’s wildly imaginative musical (songs by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart) with songs such as “Mimi,” “Isn’t It Romantic?” and others.
“One of the best musicals ever made. ****” —Leonard Maltin’s Movie & Video Guide
Captain Blood (Vitagraph, 1924)
Directed by David Smith
with J. Warren Kerrigan, Jean Paige, Charlotte Merriam, James Morrison
Approx. 90 minutes/Silent with Organ Accompaniment/Black & White

The first film version of Rafael Sabatini’s novel, in which a doctor (J. Warren Kerrigan) is sentenced to slavery for treating a wounded rebel; through a series of remarkable adventures, he becomes the notorious pirate Captain Blood, the terror of Spanish shipping.  Long thought lost, the Library of Congress 35mm preservation lacks approx. 2,000 ft. from the original running time, but none-the-less plays very effectively.
“Splendid entertainment.” —Photoplay
“One of the greatest films since The Birth of a Nation” —New York Bulletin
“Captian Blood is a jim-dandy picture, full of stirring action, romance, and beautiful photography, directed intelligently and splendidly acted.  What more could you ask in a picture?”  —New York Post