TSFF Preview: The Italian Straw Hat (1927)
On April 2, Toronto Silent Film Festival presents a comedy of a different stripe with Rene Clair‘s The Italian Straw Hat. A comedy of manners rather than a slapstick, this French farce features a bride, a groom, an ill-mannered horse, a pretty young lady of questionable morals, and an angry hussar. Oh, and there’s also a wedding with all the attendant demanding and misguided family you might expect. Long story short, the horse eats a hat and Fadinard (Albert Prejean) has to delay his wedding to search for a replacement.
As with most comedy of manners, The Italian Straw Hat is kind of hard to describe. Farce depends on minutia, one tiny detail stacking atop another, until you have a veritable leaning tower of absurdity. Very fine farce adds up to a you-had-to-be-there situation, and The Italian Staw Hat is a very fine farce. It’s a light, effervescent sort of comedy and serves as an interesting counterpoint in this festival to the all-out slapstick of the American shorts program and the German-Expressionism-meets-Hollywood of the next night’s programming.
The French contribution to the silent film era is sophisticated and whimsical, and The Italian Straw Hat is a high point of France’s silent era offerings. Think of it as a nice palette cleanser and get over to Toronto Silent Film Festival to buy your tickets.
The Italian Straw Hat
A co presentation with the Toronto Theatre Organ Society
Featuring Clark Wilson on the “Might Wurlitzer” Canada’s largest theatre organ
Monday April 2. 2012
Casa Loma 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto
8pm (doors open at 7:30pm)
The Toronto Silent Film Festival Program
March 29 – Our Dancing Daughters
March 30 – Tabu: A Tale of the South Seas
March 31: Blood and Sand
April 1: 1000 LAFFS: Playmates
April 3: Variety