Rare Screening of the 1914 Silent Film "Salomy Jane" set in Hangtown
"Salomy Jane" was the first feature-length production of the California Motion Picture Corporation (CMPC) whose studios were once located in the Sun Valley neighborhood of San Rafael.
It starred Beatriz Michelena, one of the first Latina film stars in moving pictures. Her husband, George Middleton, was a CMPC director and the San Rafael Studio Manager.
Several months before "Salomy Jane" premiered in October of 1914, a leading trade journal of the day -"Motion Picture World"- writes:
"There is something essentially Californian in the entire history and production of the first photoplay which the California Motion Picture Corporation is preparing to release to the public. It is to be a realistic adaptation from Paul Armstrong's dramatic version of Bret Harte's celebrated story 'Salomy Jane's Kiss.' The scene of this story is laid in California and carries one back to the romantic days of the great gold rush of '49.
Not only is the story of California and from the pen of early California's most celebrated author, but in its motion picture adaptation, is to feature one of the most famous of that states' well known stage folk, Beatriz Michelena, the beautiful prima donna, who will appear in the title role."
Much of "Salomy Jane" was filmed in Marin, including extensive footage near the West Marin town of Lagunitas where the CMPC built their "Hangtown" set. Scenic locations along the Russian River and in the Boulder Creek area near Santa Cruz are also featured in the film.
We invite you to join us for a rare screening of "Salomy Jane" on Sunday, September 30 at 7 pm at the Rafael Theater. The screening is a partnership of the California Film Institute, the Niles Essanay Film Museum, The Marin History Museum and the Anne T. Kent California Room of the Marin County Free Library.
Preceeding this historic screening will be an illustrated presentation by film historian David Kiehn and librarian Laurie Thompson.
Bruce Loeb will provide piano accompaniment.
For more details and to purchase advance tickets see the calendar listing in this newsletter.