Fairbanks Swashbucklers to Reclaim Academy Screen
Beverly Hills, CA (March 10, 2009) — Rare screenings of “The Thief of Bagdad” and “The Iron Mask” will be presented in celebration of Hollywood’s first action-adventure star, Douglas Fairbanks, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Friday, March 20, and Monday, March 23, respectively. Screenings will begin at 7:30 p.m. London-based silent film historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow will be a guest presenter at both events.
In “The Thief of Bagdad” (1924), Fairbanks delivers one of the most charismatic performances of his career. He portrays a thief who falls in love with the Caliph of Bagdad’s daughter; to win her hand he must secure a rare treasure, which leads him on a magical adventure. This screening will feature a color-tinted print restored by Brownlow and David Grill, and a stereo musical score composed by Carl Davis.
“The Thief of Bagdad” is prominently featured in the Academy’s recently-published book Douglas Fairbanks by Jeffrey Vance, with Tony Maietta and photographic editor Robert Cushman. A book signing celebrating the publication will take place prior the screening on March 20. Vance and Maietta will introduce the program.
In “The Iron Mask” (1929), Fairbanks reprises his role as d’Artagnan from “The Three Musketeers.” This romantic adventure marked the star’s final appearance in a swashbuckler film. The screening will feature a print restored under the supervision of Brownlow and Patrick Stanbury, with a stereo musical score composed by Davis and the original sound prologue by Fairbanks.
In addition to being regarded as one of silent Hollywood’s greatest stars, Fairbanks also was one of its most respected citizens. He served as the Academy’s first president, was a founder of United Artists, and along with his wife Mary Pickford, was the first to be immortalized in the Grauman’s Chinese Theater footprint ceremony.
Brownlow is widely regarded as the preeminent historian of the silent film era. His books include The Parade’s Gone By; The War, the West and the Wilderness; Hollywood, the Pioneers; Behind the Mask of Innocence; David Lean; and Mary Pickford Rediscovered. His documentaries include “Hollywood,” “Unknown Chaplin,” “Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow,” “Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius,” “D.W. Griffith: Father of Film,” “Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic,” and “Garbo.” Most famous among his many silent film restoration projects is Abel Gance’s 1927 epic “Napoleon.”
The Academy’s Fourth Floor Gallery exhibition “Douglas Fairbanks: The First King of Hollywood” will be open for special viewing hours from 5 to 7 p.m. and after each screening. The exhibition, which runs through Sunday, April 19, illuminates Fairbanks’s multifaceted life as a movie star, studio founder, philanthropist and civic leader through film clips, movie posters, props, costumes, original documents and stunning photographic imagery. It spans from his earliest days in silent films through his transition into talkies, delves into his famous marriage to Pickford and spotlights his friendships with such fellow Hollywood legends as Charlie Chaplin. Admission to the exhibition is free.
Tickets to “The Thief of Bagdad” and “The Iron Mask” are $5 each for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Tickets are available for purchase by mail, at the Academy box office (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), or online at www.oscars.org. Doors open one hour prior to the event. All seating is unreserved.
The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.
For more information call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org.
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