Artists' Television Access

[email protected]: The Pleasure Garden & Chickens Come Home (screening at Noe Valley Library)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 6:30 pm

Tonight’s 16mm screening pairs a film by San Francisco poet and filmmaker James Broughton with one from the Golden Age of Comedy, the era which so profoundly inspired Broughton’s films.
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Chickens Come Home (James W. Horne, 1931) 31 min. Black & White
In this pre-code-era comedy, Oliver Hardy plays a fertilizer salesman-turned-politician, and Stan Laurel his assistant. When an old flame (Mae Busch) turns up with a compromising photograph, Hardy’s mayoral campaign is thrust into chaos. He sends Laurel to delay his blackmailer while he and his wife (Thelma Todd) schmooze with prominent campaign donors. Of course it all builds to a riotous conclusion as one expects from Laurel & Hardy.
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The Pleasure Garden (James Broughton, 1953) 38 min. Black & White
After introducing a program of his earliest films at the Edinburgh Film Festival, James Broughton was invited to make a movie outside San Francisco for the first time. Filming in the ruins of London’s Crystal Palace with future Oscar-winner Walter Lassally behind the camera, Broughton recruited his then-lover Kermit Sheets, director Lindsay Anderson, and a dozen others to perform as various kinds of “seekers” trying to follow their passions despite the desires of a dark-clad bureaucrat named Colonel Gargoyle, played by John Le Mesurier. Hattie Jacques plays his nemesis Mrs. Albion, who releases the cast from Gargoyle’s puritanical restraints through the use of a magical shawl. Combining the filmmaker’s silent-comedy- and dance-inspired early style with English pantomime, The Pleasure Garden won Broughton a unique prize (“Prix du film de fantaisie poétique”) from the 1954 Cannes Film Festival jury headed by his hero Jean Cocteau.
Noe Valley Libray, 451 Jersey St, San Francisco.

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