Toronto's Revue Cinema Celebrates A Year of Silent Sundays

Torontonians really have no reason to complain about the less then stellar line up Hollywood has been serving up at the multiplexes this summer, especially when their local film repertories have been offering a bevy of sumptuous retrospective alternatives. The Revue Cinema in particular will be celebrating the one year anniversary of their excellent Silent Sundays series this Father's Day (June 20th) at 4pm with the 1923 Universal Pictures adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. So this weekend, sure... see Toy Story 3, but save your disfigured-protagonist fix for Lon Chaney Sr. in lieu of Josh Brolin.

Here's the official release, with further details about both the series and this Sunday's screening:

The Revue Cinema's celebrated Silent Sundays program returns on Sunday, June 20, at 4PM, to screen The Hunchback of Notre Dame, (1923) which saw producer Carl Laemmle reproduce Paris and its fabled cathedral on the Universal backlot. Hunchbackblends the spectacle film with melodrama and horror.


Silent Sundays is the brain-child of Eric Veillette, a Toronto writer and programmer who sought to return silent films to an authentic silent movie house like The Revue. By selecting family-friendly comedies and adventure films, he hopes to cater to its neighbourhood crowd, and the results have consistently filled the Revue's seats with cinephiles, families and the uninitiated alike. The 
National Post's LiaGrainger says the atmosphere "is so convincing it makes you want to check that your bonnet isn't blocking anyone's view" and that it showcases "a simple charm rarely duplicated in cinema today."


Indeed, Silent Sundays is more than just a screening; it's a throwback to an exciting time in film history. To re-create the atmosphere, printed programmes are handed out and contemporary music, shorts and cartoons precede the feature. For Hunchback, a silent Toronto newsreel recently discovered at the National Archives by Ryerson professor Paul Moore will be shown.


Musical accompaniment was an integral part of the silent era. The Revue welcomes pianist William O'Meara, who has gained worldwide recognition for his film work. He has performed at the TIFF Cinematheque, Nuit Blanche, the Toronto Silent Film Festival, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Italy and as far east as Perm, Russia, where he played the organ to Man with a Movie Camera, an innovative Russian silent released at a time when Hollywood was switching to sound.


Lon Chaney Sr.'s performance as the hunch-backed Quasimodo makes this film essential viewing for fans of horror and early cinema. His makeup, both repulsive and piteous, consisted of a misshapen face made of mortician's wax; his mouth, full of fang-like teeth, was wired open; a wig of matted hair sat atop his crooked skull and the skin-tight rubber suit he wore, which made it impossible to stand up straight, was plastered with animal hair. And all for the love of a woman!


Once again, all of this goes down this Sunday (June 20th) at 4pm at the Revue Cinema (400 Roncesvalles Avenue) and admission is $8 for members / $10 for non-members.
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