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September 27, 28, 29, 2019

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We’re very proud to announce that the Marie Dressler Foundation Vintage Film Festival will be a Community Partner with TIFF Cinematheque for one of the films in the Restored! Program in the spring of 2016 to be presented at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.  

The film is the 1925 German silent, Varieté, (variously known in world release as Variety, Vaudeville or Jealousy) directed by Ewald Andre Dupont, and featuring Emil Jannings. (Paul Rotha in his 1930 book, ‘The Film Till Now’ puts forward the notion that the producer of the film, Erich Pommer, made a strong, uncredited contribution to the direction of the Film.) [Restored! information on Varieté here]

When it was released in N. America, the film was a victim of the ruthless scissors of the new Hays Office Code, and shed up to 30 minutes in various jurisdictions. The chief no-no was a common-law relationship between two major characters in the opening reels. The truncated versions eliminate that the central character, Boss, who operates a seedy circus, abandons his wife and child to live with a much younger trapeze artiste.  The cuts to the film make it appear that Boss and the artiste are married.

Look up the running time for this film and you’ll find anything between 72 minutes and the original release time of 102 minutes; even so the power of the original seems to have survived not only the censorship but also the decades between then and now. The version to be screened in the Restored! program at the TIFF Bell Lightbox has a 92-minute running time.

The film contains a very famous sequence with the camera in the point of view of a trapeze artist swinging back and forth, to and from the catcher.

Emil Jannings in 1924 had starred in F.W. Murnau’s The Last Laugh a film that will be featured at this Year’s Vintage Film Festival on Sunday, October 16. He also starred in Joseph von Sternberg’s 1930 talkie, The Blue Angel, the film sensation that made a star out of Marlene Dietrich.

In May, 1929, Jannings got two separate best actor nominations for the very first Oscar awards, and won for his performance in Joseph von Sternberg’s The Last Command, (1928).

CMW