Capitolfest 19

Most of the films at Capitolfest are shown in 35mm prints on the theater’s carbon-arc, variable-speed projectors. The prints for the movies shown at Capitolfest come from archives such as the Library of Congress, George Eastman Museum, Museum of Modern Art, UCLA Film & Television Archive, and Universal Pictures, as well as from private collections. The festival includes several extremely rare talking films, as well as some equally rare silents. Each of the silent films will be accompanied by some of the world’s foremost exponents of authentic silent movie accompaniment. The goal of the Capitol Theatre is not only to show these vintage films, but also to re-create the experience of seeing these movies when they were new.


     This year’s Capitolfest features a tribute to sometime star and frequent supporting actor, Robert Armstrong (1890-1973), showcasing him in several movies from the silent and talkie era. Hero, villain, nice guy or cad, Robert Armstrong was a fixture in Hollywood A and B features (as well as television) in five different decades.


Back this year is the Capitolfest dealers room, featuring films, dvds, laserdiscs, autographs, posters, books, and other memorabilia, which will be open throughout the weekend.


 Capitolfest differs from other classic movie festivals in its leisurely pacing. There are intermissions within each session (featuring live organ music) and relatively lengthy breaks between sessions, allowing attendees to savor the films. (Thus our slogan: “A vacation—not a marathon.”) Approx. 90% of Capitolfest attendees come from out of town but, whether you are local or travel hundreds of miles, we want you to feel that the Capitol is your theater. As always, Capitolfest organizers would be more than happy to provide interested parties with more information. Updates can be found on the Capitol’s website at, and there is an on-going discussion on the Capitolfest Facebook page.



Thursday, August 11

Capitolfest eve mixer, dealers room preview, and feature film t.b.a. (Mixer is free to Capitolfest registrants; feature will have separate ticket fee.) More info available soon.

Capitolfest 19 Schedule

Capitolfest silent features will be accompanied by organists on the Capitol’s  1928 Möeller organ.


All silents accompanied on the Capitol’s 1928 original installation Möller theater organ.  

Friday, August 12                              DEALERS ROOM OPEN 9 AM

     Session #1

9:45 silent feature t.b.a.

11:10 Woman Trap (Paramount, 1929; 35mm) D: William A. Wellman; Hal Skelly, Chester Morris, Evelyn Brent, W.B. Davidson (82 min.) Hal Skelly, an easy-going police sergeant, is becomes hardened during his efforts to apprehend his ganger brother (Chester Morris). “Generates enough suspense to pump up the balloon of an hour’s engrossment.” –Harrison’s Reports.

12:15 Intermission

12:30 Ex-Bad Boy (Universal, 1931; 35mm) D: Vin Moore; Robert Armstrong, Jean Arthur, Jason Robards, Sr., Spencer Charters (76 min.) An innocent  small town simpleton (Robert Armstrong) manufactures a sordid past with a famed movie star to impress his would-be girlfriend (Jean Arthur). Complications ensue when the actress (Lola Lane) visits the town. “A very good comedy of the farcical sort.” –Harrison’s Reports.

1:40  Lunch break

       Session #2

2:40 pm  talkie feature t.b.a.

3:45 Intermission

4:00 talkie short subject t.b.a.

4:10 Nobody’s Fool (Universal, 1936; 35mm)  D: Arthur Greville Collins; Edward Everett Horton, Glenda Farrell, Cesar Romero, Frank Conroy (64 min.) Small-town waiter with a civic betterment obsession travels to New York City and runs afoul of two rival racketeering mobs. “Comedy situations are rather unique and afford not only Horton but his aiding players numerous opportunities for funny results.” –Variety.

5:30 Dinner break


     Session #3

7:20 pm  silent short subject t.b.a.

7:35 silent feature t.b.a.

8:50 Intermission

9:05 King Kong (RKO, 1933; digital presentation [DCP]) D: Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack; Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot (100 min.) This year’s Capitolfest war-horse, by popular demand, will be RKO’s ground-breaking adventure epic King Kong, featuring Robert Armstrong in his iconic portrayal of Carl Denham. 4K digital restoration from WB.


All films are in 35mm unless noted; silents accompanied on the Capitol’s 1928 original installation Möller theater organ.  

Saturday, August 13                         DEALERS ROOM OPEN 9 AM

     Session #4 

9:30 am  talking short subject(s) t.b.a.

9:55 Seed (Universal, 1931; 35mm) D: John Stahl; John Boles, Lois Wilson, Genevieve Tobin, Bette Davis, Raymond Hackett, ZaSu Pitts (96 min.) Husband (John Boles) writes a successful novel, leaves wife (Lois Wilson) and five kids to marry another woman (Genevieve Tobin). Forced to keep writing to support his new wife in the manner to which she has become accustomed, he becomes a best-selling author and decides to ask his ex-wife for custody of the children, “for their sake.” Bette Davis (as one of the children grown-up) in her rarely-screened second film. “Here’s the picture people are talking about. And no wonder. It’s the most human drama that has come to the screen in a long time.” –Screenland

11:35 Intermission

11:55 Celebrity (Pathé, 1928; 35mm) D: Tay Garnett; Lina Basquette, Robert Armstrong, Clyde Cook, Dot Farley (65 min.) The manager of a semi-illiterate boxer hires a “family” for him and promotes him as a Shakespeare scholar in order to capture the imagination of the public. Robert Armstrong’s second film, and the first feature helmed by prolific director Tay Garnett. “Three excellent performances by Robert Armstrong, the pug; Clyde Cook, manager; and Lina Basquette, gal snatched from a vaude smallie to pose as the Kid’s  ‘fee-ancy.’” –Variety

     Session #5 

2:15 pm talkie short subject t.b.a.

2:50 Glamour (Universal, 1934; 35mm) D: William Wyler; Constance Cummings, Paul Lukas, Phillip Reed, Doris Lloyd, Joseph Cawthorn, Alice Lake (73 minutes). A chorus girl (Constance Cummings) uses her wiles to persuade a noted songwriter (Paul Lukas) into writing numbers for her, eventually leading to their marriage. She gives birth to a child but neglects it in favor of her career. “Good adult entertainment…It has much human interest and the characters, because of their honesty towards each other, arouse sympathy…Not for children or Sunday shows.” –Harrison’s Reports

4:10 Intermission

4:25 talkie short subject t.b.a.

4:45 The First Year (Fox, 1932; 35mm) D: William K. Howard; Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Minna Gombell, Dudley Diggs (80 min.) Frank Craven’s hit Broadway comedy was the basis for another movie teaming Fox’s most romantic team, Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, focusing on the early misadventures of a pair of newlyweds. “A bright, homey little picture.” –Photoplay.


6:05  Dinner break


     Session #6 Silent movie accompaniment by

7:40 pm silent short subject t.b.a.

7:55 silent short subject t.b.a.

8:15 silent feature t.b.a.

9:30 Intermission (15 min.) 


9:55  Radio Patrol (Universal, 1932) D: Edward L. Cahn; Robert Armstrong, Russell Hopton, Lila Lee, June Clyde, Sidney Toler, Andy Devine (65 min.) A tribute to the American policeman, chronicling the exploits of a couple of rookie officers. (Robert Armstong and Russell Hopton). “Full of suspense, action, thrills and tragedy; a story of an officer, tried and true on his daily beat.” –Photoplay.


All films are in 35mm unless noted; silents accompanied on the Capitol’s 1928 original installation Möller theater organ.  

Sunday, August 14                           DEALERS ROOM OPEN 9 AM
     Session #7  Silent movie accompaniment by Ben Model (organ)* and Dr. Philip C. Carli (piano)**

9:15 am talkie feature t.b.a.

10:50 Extended Intermission—Dealers Room Open  

11:10 silent short subject(s) t.b.a.

11:15 Penrod and Sam (J.K. MacDonald, 1923) D: Wm. Beaudine; Ben Alexander, Joe Butterworth, Buddy Messinger, Newton Hall SILENT DIGITAL (85 min.) Booth Tarkington’s novel about a mischievous boy (Ben Alexander) and his friend (Joe Butterworth), who are constantly finding inventive ways of getting into trouble. New digital restoration from the Library of Congress.

 12:40 pm lunch break  


 12:45 pm Lunch break  

     Session #8  Silent movie accompaniment by Dr. Philip C. Carli

1:50 pm  I Love That Man (Paramount, 1933) D: Harry Joe Brown; Edmund Lowe, Nancy Carroll, Robert Armstrong, Lew Cody (70 min.) A con-man (Edmund Lowe) falls in love with a girl (Nancy Carroll) who wants him to go straight. “A lot of new angles to polite (and not so polite) racketeering are furnished in I Love That Man, Charles Rogers’ latest for Paramount. And right smartly done, too. The picture is well-paced, the story is full of good twists and intelligently developed….The best feature of I Love That Man is in its writing. The story encompasses the old theme of a crook’s regeneration, but herein it is embellished with some very amusing situations, original ideas and the kind of fast talk that gets laughs…” –Hollywood Reporter

3:10 Brief intermission

3:15 Above the Clouds (Columbia, 1933; digital presentation [DCP]) D: Roy William Neil; Robert Armstrong, Richard Cromwell, Dorothy Wilson, Edmund Breese. (68 min.) Depicts the rivalry between a young newsreel photographer (Richard Cromwell) and a veteran of the trade (Robert Armstrong), and the dangers they encounter on the job. “A thrilling picture with plenty of air action and a climax in which a dirigible cracks in mid-air…” –Photoplay

4:20 Intermission (15 min.)

4:30 The Fire Brigade (Warner Bros., 1926) D: William Nigh; May McAvoy, Charles Ray, Holmes Herbert, Tom O’Brien (90 min.) SILENT Charles Ray, a young recruit in the local fire department, the latest in a line of a family of firefighters, battles a greedy millionaire who tries to cut corners in the construction of his buildings. New 35mm restoration from the Library of Congress. “The Fire Brigade has more thrills than any picture in a year or more.” –Picture Play


Peter McCrea fielded questions at the 2019 Capitolfest 17 about his parents Frances Dee and Joel McCrea.

Here are some of the questions and comments. Look for more segments from Peter and others including Cora Sue Collins, featured in the 1932 movie “The Strange Case of Clara Deane”.

Cora Sue Collins, featured in the 1932 movie “The Strange Case of Clara Deane”, talks to fans at2019’s Capitolfest 17 in the Rome Capitol Theatre. The topics ranged from her age, marriage, career and childhood.