When I said something about "old movies" to my 6 year-old the other day, she said, "You mean like The Wizard of Oz and E.T.?" I said, "Broadly speaking, yes."
But there are old movies and OLD movies, and while The Wizard of Oz is a remarkably spry 66, and E.T. is a very well-toned 23, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is reaching waaay back to salute the year 1905 and its contributions to film history with the presentation of "A Century Ago: The Films of 1905," on Monday, December 12, at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.
Films with such quizzical titles as Airy Fairy Lillian Tries on Her New Corset and Peeping Tom in the Dressing Room will get rare screenings in an evening of turn-of-the-century international filmmaking with trick films, news actualities, primordial dramas and gag films.
The program will showcase one-reel feature films including The Palace of the Arabian Nights (a hand-tinted extravaganza from French magician/filmmaker George Mèliés with live narration), The Little Train Robbery (the Edison company's ambitious follow-up to 1903's The Great Train Robbery) and The Kleptomaniac (an Edison film of social commentary involving theft among different classes), and box-office hits Rube in an Opium Joint(Biograph), The Whole Dam Family and the Dam Dog, and Coney Island at Night (both Edison).
Most prints will be shown in 35 mm and are drawn from the collections of the Academy, the Library of Congress and the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Michael Mortilla will provide live musical accompaniment.