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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 Pictures!

    Registration is now open for Capitolfest.  The following registration rates represent a pre-August 1 10% discount.

                                                                                                                                                       Adults/Capitol Friends/Children (12 & Under)
Entire show Registration                                All three days                                                              $55/$49/$33

Weekend Registration                                   Saturday & Sunday, All 5 Sessions                              $45/$39/$23
(Friday & Saturday registration also available)      

One-day Registration                                    All day Fri., Sat. OR Sunday (2 or 3 Sessions)            $26/$22/$14
(Friday, Saturday, or Sunday)

Single session Registration:                            Any ONE Session (Either Fri., Sat., or Sun.)               $14/$12/$8
    Session 1 (Friday, 11:30 am to 4:45 pm)
    Session 2 (Friday, 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm)
    Session 3 (Saturday, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm)
    Session 4 (Saturday, 1:45 pm to 6:25 pm)
    Session 5 (Saturday, 8:15 pm to 11:35 pm)
    Session 6 (Sunday, 9:30 am to 12:45 pm)
    Session 7 (Sunday,  1:45 pm to 5:45 pm)

The Flying Ace (Norman, 1926)
Directed by Richard E. Norman;
with Laurence Criner, Kathryn Boyd, Boise De Legge, Harold Platts
Approx. 60 minutes/Silent with organ accompaniment/Black & White

Made by the un-prestigious Norman Studios with an all-black cast, The Flying Ace concerns a pilot who returns from the World War a hero of aviation, and returns to his job as a railroad detective.  He is immediately thrown into a case involving a theft of $25,000 and a missing employee, leading to a series of perilous adventures.  Although obviously shot on a limited budget, reportedly The Flying Ace is a fast-moving and compelling action melodrama.
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
The Air Mail (Paramount, 1925)
Directed by Irvin Willat
with Warner Baxter, Billie Dove, Mary Brian, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
45 minutes/Silent with Organ Accompaniment/Black & White

A high-flying story of thrilling adventures in the government air service.

Many of the exteriors seein in The Air Mail were shot in the ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada, and many of that town's famous structures can be seen.  The 35mm Library of Congress preservation we will be presenting is of a 4-reel abridgement, which appears to be all that survives.
Million Dollar Ransom (Universal, 1934)
Directed by Murray Roth
with Phillips Holmes, Edward Arnold, Mary Carlisle, Wini Shaw, Andy Devine
70 minutes/Western Electric Sound/Black & White

Based on the Cosmopolitan Magazine story "Ransom, One Million Dollars" by Damon Runyon, Universal's screen adaptaion features Edward Arnold as an ex-bootlegger who gets into the kidnapping business with unexpected results!

"Mr. Arnold is an actor of extraordinary conviction, and his portrait of the well-intentioned gang boss is distinguished by its vigor and credibility." —The New York Times
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
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
Crooked Streets (Paramount, 1920)
Directed by Paul Powell
With Ethel Clayton, Jack Holt, Clyde Fillmore, Clarence Geldart
Approx. 65 minutes/Silent with organ accompaniment/Black & White

A secretary (Ethel Clayton) takes a job as a secretary to an alleged dealer of antiques, who turns out to be an opium smuggler.
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

“A good entertainment.” –Harrison’s Reports, 12/14/29
Special Presentation:

James Layton and David Pierce (authors of "The Dawn of Technicolor, 1915-1935") illustrate Technicolor’s origins during the silent film era in this special presentation. Before Technicolor achieved success in the 1930s, the company had to overcome countless technical challenges and convince cost-conscious producers that color was worth the extra difficulty and expense. Rare photographs from the Technicolor corporate archive and extracts from rarely seen films chart the development of Technicolor’s early two-color process and the films that established the company’s reputation. Highlights include behind-the-scenes accounts of The Gulf Between (1917), Ben-Hur (1925), The Black Pirate (1926), and the troubled production of The Mysterious Island (1929). The presentation concludes with a 35mm screening of the recently restored Colortone short Manhattan Serenade (1929) from George Eastman House.

Follow Thru (Paramount, 1930)
Directed by Lloyd Corrigan and Laurence Schwab
with Charles "Buddy" Rogers, Nancy Carroll, Zelma O'Neal, Jack Haley, Eugene Pallette, Thelma Todd
92 minutes/Western Electric Sound/2-Color Technicolor

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!  Our most-requested repeat title returns to celebrate both star-of-the-year Nancy Carroll and the 100th anniversary of Technicolor!

Buddy Rogers is a golf instructor who falls for his pupil (Nancy Carroll) in the movie version of Schwab and Mandel's Broadway hit of 1929, with songs by DeSylva, Brown, and Henderson.  In addition to Rogers and Capitolfest tribute star Nancy Carroll, the movie features Zelma O’Neal and Jack Haley from the original stage cast, plus festival favorites Eugene Pallette and Thelma Todd, and toe-tapping DeSylva, Brown and Henderson songs ("Button Up Your Overcoat," "I Want to be Bad").

Presented in a stunningly-restored 35mm print made from the original camera negative by the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
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

The grim, realistic drama about a crook hero who faces execution rather than reveal that his daughter committed murder.
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
The Sea Beast (Warner Bros., 1926)
Directed by Millard Webb
with John Barrymore, Dolores Costello, George O’Hara, Mike Donlin
Approx. 120 minutes/Silent with organ accompaniment/Black & White

Based on Herman Melville's classic novel, "Moby Dick," Whaler Ahab Ceeley (John Barrymore) and his half-brother, Derek (George O'Hara), are both in love with Esther Harper (Dolores Costello), a reverend's daughter. To get rid of his rival, Derek shoves Ahab overboard during a frenzied hunt for the legendary white whale Moby Dick, making it look like an accident. With one leg gone, Ahab is rejected by Esther. Unaware his brother caused the tragedy, Ahab becomes a captain and sets off to kill the whale he blames for robbing him of his true love.

"Mr. Barrymore's real triumph in this photoplay comes in the second half of the picture, for he has a great opportunity as the grim master of a whaler with a mixed crew of half-mad yellow, white and black scum."
The New York Times