BIFF to present Silent Film Showcase Feb. 16

Staff Report

BELOIT, Wis. — The Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) signature event, the perennially sold-out BMO Harris Bank Silent Film Showcase Saturday, Feb. 16, will once again demonstrate the staying power of film. This year’s silent masterpiece will once again be drawn from the work of one of the greatest pioneers in film, Harold Lloyd.

Speedy, Lloyd’s last silent film release, will be presented at the Eclipse Center in Beloit, with the original musical soundtrack presented live by the Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Robert Tomaro.

With his familiar dark-rimmed glasses, Lloyd plays Speedy, a soda jerk who loses his job and goes to Coney Island for the day with his girlfriend. He takes on a heroic stature when he organizes the neighborhood to thwart the railroad when it tries to run the last horse-drawn trolley, operated by his girl’s grandfather, out of business. Released in 1928, Speedy was filmed in New York City and was nominated for an Academy Award.

The response was so positive to last year’s silent film selection, Harold Lloyd’s Kid Brother, that we decided to turn to the master again for this year’s film,” notes BIFF Executive Director Roddie Beaudoin. “It is amazing to see how well the humor stands up after 90 years. It is a high point of BIFF each year as we watch multiple generations sitting together and sharing in both the humor and the artistry of this purest form of film.”

A highlight of the annual Silent Film Showcase each year is the performance of an original score for the film by the full Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra. This year, the BJS will again present an orchestral arrangement of the score by British composer Carl Davis, who has gained an international reputation by giving new life to long-silent film scores.

The Silent Film Showcase is the centerpiece of the annual BIFF four-day festival and has been duplicated at numerous other film festivals around the country. Tickets are $25 and are available online at or by calling the Beloit Janesville Symphony office at (608) 313-1200.

The Eclipse Center doors will open at 6 p.m. that evening for a special pre-event reception and silent auction to benefit the Beloit Janesville Symphony. Bars will be open starting at 6 p.m., and the film will be shown at 7:30 p.m.

From the Feb. 13-19, 2013, issue

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