The exquisite sound of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra complements the silent genius of Harold Lloyd at the 17th Annual Silent Film Gala on Saturday, June 3, at 8:00 p.m. in Los Angeles at UCLA's Royce Hall. Academy Award-winning actor Dustin Hoffman serves as the Honorary Chairman and is expected to address the audience.
The evening will launch with a rare showing of Lloyd's brilliant one-reel comedy, Ask Father (1919), in which Lloyd attempts -- with increasingly desperate and gag-filled urgency -- to get the attention of his would-be fiancée's businessman father. The Silent Film Gala will mark the world premiere of composer-conductor Timothy Brock's original score for the film, to be performed by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Brock himself.
The centerpiece of the Gala is the classic Lloyd comedy, Safety Last!, which features one of the most iconic images in silent film: Lloyd, in his trademark straw hat and round black-rimmed glasses, dangling precipitously from the hands of a clock tower several stories above a Los Angeles street. A freshly minted copy of the film, courtesy of UCLA's Film & Television Archive, is presented with the help of Sony Studios and the support of Suzanne Lloyd, Harold Lloyd's granddaughter. Timothy Brock will lead the Orchestra in a live performance of Carl Davis's film score.
Following the film, the Chamber Orchestra will host a VIP party under the stars on the Ahmanson Terrace outside Royce Hall, with a buffet supper catered by Peggy Dark's Kitchen for Exploring Foods.
Tickets for the Silent Film Gala are $30 for general admission, $75 for priority seating, and $275 for the film and the post-film supper. For ticket information, contact the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at 213-622-7001, ext. 275.
Harold Lloyd was not only a famous silent film star, he was a distinguished photographer. For the first time in over 50 years The Harold Lloyd Collection is available to the public and will be on display for viewing and purchase, for those that attend the VIP party. Limited edition fine-art prints of Marilyn Monroe are available as numbered prints with Certificates of Authenticity from the Harold Lloyd Trust signed by Suzanne Lloyd, Harold Lloyd's granddaughter.
A Los Angeles Tradition - The Silent Film Gala is a beloved event in Los Angeles each year, bringing together music lovers, film aficionados, Hollywood celebrities, and film and music industry heavyweights to celebrate both the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and classic silent films. The evening always features exhilarating live performances of each film's score by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
The Gala's supporters have included the biggest names in the entertainment industry -- Pierce Brosnan, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Norman Jewison, Eddie Murphy, Paul Newman, Victoria Principal, Rob Reiner, Martin Scorsese and Barbra Streisand, among others -- as well as independent production and post-production companies, major studios and film-restoration laboratories.
Academy Award-winning actor Dustin Hoffman serves as Honorary Chairman of the Gala for the sixth year in a row, a Silent Film Gala record! Hoffman's support of the event is virtually unparalleled: He began bringing his family to the Silent Film Gala nearly a decade ago and has often expressed his belief that modern audiences should have the opportunity to watch great silent films as they were supposed to be seen -- in a darkened theater, surrounded by an enthusiastic audience, with musicians performing the film's score.
The Classic Comedy of Harold Lloyd - Ask Father may be the finest of Harold Lloyd's one-reel comedies, with its ingenious construction and clever gags. In order to marry his girl, Harold must first ask her father for permission. However, the father is consumed with business and impervious to distraction. Though plucky Harold tries numerous ways -- including scaling the side of a building, firing off pistols, and wearing a suit of armor -- to gain access to the father's inner office, he is repeatedly kicked out by the front office men. Bebe Daniels plays the kindly switchboard operator, who manages to toss her seat cushion precisely where Harold endures many crash landings. When the object of Harold's affections announces she has eloped with another man, Harold turns his attention to Bebe and a happy ending.
Safety Last! was Harold Lloyd's fourth and most complex thrill comedy. He came upon the idea for the film after watching a so-called "human fly" climb up the side of a tall building; Lloyd then convinced the "fly," Bill Strother, to meet his producer, Hal Roach. Roach placed Strother under contract and then devised a rough idea of a story that would involve a daredevil climb.
Lloyd plays a country boy who sets out from his hometown of Great Bend to make good in the big city. His sweetheart (Mildred Davis, Lloyd's real-life wife) promises to marry him once he is a success. Lloyd is only able to get a position as a lowly dry goods clerk in a department store, although he writes his girl at home telling her he is one of the store executives. His chance to succeed comes when he overhears the general manager pledge to pay $1,000 to anyone who can draw a large crowd to the store.
Harold successfully proposes that the general manager hire his roommate, Bill (Bill Strother), who works as a steeplejack, to be a human fly and climb the side of the department store building. But on the day of the publicity stunt, Bill is forced to dodge a disgruntled policeman (Noah Young), and Harold has to make the climb himself.
Lloyd never revealed exactly how his most famous sequence was achieved, but the long shots of Lloyd climbing the building were actually of Bill Strother, who climbed the International Bank Building in Los Angeles on September 17, 1922 with four cameras covering the action, under the direction of Hal Roach. The results -- including Lloyd's infamous clock stunt -- were convincing enough that some 1920s audience members fainted while watching these sequences; many theaters even hired a nurse or kept ambulances on call outside the theater.
Orchestrating the Gala - Former Turner Entertainment Co. president Roger Mayer -- the Chairman of the National Film Preservation Foundation and the 2005 recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy Awards -- serves as co-chair of the Silent Film Gala, along with longtime LACO board member Hanna Kennedy. Mayer has been integral to the success of every Silent Film Gala since 1994. "The Silent Film Gala brings together two of the cultural landmarks of Los Angeles: classic film and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra," says Mayer.
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, established in 1968, is one of the most widely respected chamber orchestras in the country. Under the guidance of Music Director Jeffrey Kahane and the leadership of Executive Director Ruth Eliel, the Orchestra performs 15 concerts each September through May at UCLA's Royce Hall and the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale and chamber music concerts at Zipper Hall. LACO is currently celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth by performing all 23 of Mozart's piano concertos -- conducted by Jeffrey Kahane from the keyboard -- in 15 months, a feat no other American orchestra has ever attempted.