N ow in its 11th year, Trader Joe's Silent Movie Mondays series is the twice-a-year tradition wherein Seattleites experience classic silent cinema in the most glamorous way possible: with live organ accompaniment from Wurlitzer master Jim Riggs, in the beautiful Paramount Theatre. The theme of the already-under-way winter series: Adored and Restored, focusing on some of the most influential films from the silent era.
January 27 brings 1929's Pandora's Box, G.W. Pabst's controversial melodrama featuring silent icon Louise Brooks in her signature role. "Sensationally modern, the film follows the downward spiral of the fiery, brash, yet innocent showgirl Lulu, whose sexual vivacity has a devastating effect on everyone she comes in contact with," writes Criterion.com, bringing to mind a certain Verhoeven showgirl. The film even dabbles in lesbian subtext, with Lulu engaging in a shameless ballroom dance with a libidinous countess. Along with Riggs on the Wurlitzer, the screening features a post-film discussion led by SIFF director of programming Beth Barrett.
February 3 brings 1924's Peter Pan, the world's first big-budget film adaptation of the J.M. Barrie classic, this one starring Betty Bronson as the boy who can fly but will never grow up. Freshly restored from an original 35 mm nitrate print, the film will be scored by organist Riggs accompanied by harpist Leslie McMichael, and will be followed by a discussion led by Northwest Film Forum's director of children's programming, Liz Shepherd.
The series winds down on February 10 with The General, the 1926 Buster Keaton classic that routinely shows up on best-films-of-all-time lists. Set against the backdrop of the Civil War and inspired by the 1862 Great Locomotive Chase, the film features Keaton risking his neck in a hundred elegant ways and includes, in its train-on-a-burning-bridge segment, the most expensive stunt of the silent era.
Trader Joe's Silent Movie Mondays series continues through February 10 at the Paramount Theatre. More information at stgpresents.org.