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Cinecon 44…

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Cinecon 44

 

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Cinecon 44 is now history. From August 28 through September 1, film fans gathered at the Egyptian Theater in downtown Hollywood to enjoy more than 35 classic films. Some of the highlights included Damon and Pythias (1914); Ruth Roland in The Devil’s Bait (1917), and The Menace (1934) with Bette Davis.

 

I had the opportunity to volunteer at this year’s event, something I haven’t done in more than ten years, so I didn’t get to watch all the films but did enjoy some of the more rare ones. Some of my favorites included I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby, a 1940 Universal comedy starring Broderick Crawford as Public Enemy #3 and Jessie Ralph as his Ma Barker-like mother — only more fun.

 

The Mollycoddle (1920) stars Douglas Fairbanks who plays — against his usual swashbuckler roles — Richard Marshall V, who is descended from a long line of Arizona heroes. According to the program notes, the term ‘mollycoddle’ was popularized by Theodore Roosevelt to denote “an overly indulged and spoiled young man.” Fairbanks is the ‘mollycoddle’ of the film, being Arizona-born but raised in England, he is your stereotypical British fop. By the end of the film he quickly reverts to his ancestral heritage. Wallace Beery plays the heavy and Ruth Renick is the love interest.

 

The Poor Nut was a collegiate-comedy starring Jack Mulhall and an adorable Jean Arthur has a supporting role. The bookish-looking Mulhull with his unkempt curly hair, glasses and nerdy, ill-fitting apparel was a big hit with some of the ladies in my group who thought he was “adorable.” I didn’t see it, but his performance  was excellent and the film enjoyable.

 

And probably my favorite film was The Ninth Guest (1934), a Columbia who-dunit starring Donald Cook, Genevieve Tobin and a cast of recognizable character actors. The plot is similar to Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, but was adapted from a novel by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning. Eight people are invited to a penthouse party by an anonymous host only to discover that they are locked in with fellow guests whom they loathe. The host introduces himself through a radio hook-up as “the ninth guest” and announces that each guest will die before the night is over. However, as the program notes stated, the real star of the film is the Arte Moderne set. Catch this one if you get the chance.

 

The special guests this year included Walter Mirisch, Warren Stevens (The Case Against Brooklyn), Elena Verdugo (House of Frankenstein) and Celeste Holm (Champagne For Caesar).

 

The officers of Cinecon are Robert S. Birchard, president; Marvin Paige, vice-president; Michael Schlesinger, secretary and Stan Taffel, treasurer. The officers and their staff accomplished another great year considering the passings of Cinecon veterans, Harold “Rusty” Casselton, preservationist; Alex Theater projectionist George Crittenden and Robert Nudelman of Hollywood Heritage. The recent Universal Studios fire also wiped out many of the scheduled films for this years event.

 

 

A special thanks to volunteer coordinator, Stella Grace and her right hand, Sue Guldin. Stella cracked the whip when needed and at the same time showed her tender side. Thanks Stella — can’t wait until next year!

 

Attendees at the banquet this year included Celeste Holm, Warren Stevens, Elena Verdugo, Pat Hitchcock, Ann Robinison, Sybil Jason, Kathleen Hughes, Stanley Rubin, Jane Withers, Ann Rutherford, Mary Carlisle, Jayne Meadows, and many more.

 

 SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BANQUET

 

 

 

JANE WITHERS, ANN ROBINSON and SYBIL JASON

 

 

 

MARSHA HUNT

 

 

DORIS ROBERTS and JONATHAN CHIN-DAVIS

 

 

 

GARRETT BRYANT and DORIS ROBERTS

 

 

CELESTE HOLM

 

 

 

ELENA VERDUGO

 

 

 

 

JAYNE MEADOWS

 

 

 

BETTY GARRETT

 

   

EMAIL: Hollywoodland23@aol.com

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