1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, classics, independent, movies, pre-code, rep theatre, silent films, silent movies, Uncategorized, vintage

Why Rep Theatres Are Important To The Vintage Culture and Community


I am a huge, HUGE classic movie nerd. Especially Silent Movies, Pre-code movies and 1950s Sci-fi. As a child, many Saturday mornings were filled with watching these movies and I have many fond memories of Saturday Night at the Movies with Elwy Yost. I grew up loving black and white classic cinema. Living in Toronto I am beyond fortunate that there are rep theatres that still show these movies on the regular or have themed movie afternoons/evenings. My fella and I have become regulars at the 4 pm Sunday show at the Carlton. $6 gets you a movie, popcorn, and a drink. Each month is themed. We are also a stone throw from The Revue and are found there often, especially during the Toronto Silent Film Festival. Why do I think these types of theatres are important, let me tell you.


History. The history of the theatre and the history that comes along with the movies that are shown. Sadly, with the condo boom, many of Toronto’s beloved architecture, including old movie houses are being torn down. I don’t want to make this piece about that, I do want to raise how important it is to keep some of old Toronto still alive and intact. This includes our original movie theatres. There is so much incredible history in these buildings. Imagine the movies that were shown in these beautiful structures. Everything from The Silents of the early 1900s to the gritty movies of the 1970s. The people that would have walked across the thresholds. Buildings that allowed you to take refuge from the heat, the cold, the depression, the war or the general world outside. A place where you could escape to another world via celluloid. I often dream of being a child, jaw open while being mesmerized by a Silent Film, a sassy teen being inspired by the Flappers gracing the screen or a twenty-something being tantalized by a Pre-code bit of raunch. Witnessing a time in history and film-making when the creators cared about the story and the presentation.


An escape. The world we live in is a harsh place to be in. It’s equally complicated by the all too convenient ability to pull out your phone to see or read the news, check social media, watch hours of youtube or stream whatever content you want and almost never be left to use your imagination if even for a short period of time. It’s why I write in complete silence. Going to a movie theatre, where you have to put your phone away is a wonderful feeling. To spend one to two hours being swept into another world, another time. To see films about a period of history, shot during that actual time. The music, clothes, sets — the story. Is it wrong that I still have crushes on Jimmy Stewart or Clara Bow?


Most importantly, supporting independent businesses. Most of these theatres are independently owned. I would much rather support independent or family-owned businesses. I don’t only go to rep theatres to see the classics, I would much rather see the latest blockbuster in them. Yes, it means waiting a few extra weeks to see it, but if it means the money is going to a small business, I will wait.


Please, check out your local rep theatre. The more we frequent them, the longer they stay alive.


Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (The Annex) – 506 Bloor Street West, Toronto 416-637-3123 — http://www.hotdocscinema.ca/

Carlton Cinema – 20 Carlton Street at Yonge, Toronto, 416 – 494-9371 — https://imaginecinemas.com/cinema/carlton-cinema/

Fox Theatre – 2236 Queen Street East, Toronto, 416-691-7330 — www.foxtheatre.ca

Humber Cinemas – 2442 Bloor Street West — http://www.humbercinemas.com/

Kingsway – 3030 Bloor Street West — http://kingswaymovies.ca/

Regent Theatre – 551 Mount Pleasant Road — http://regenttoronto.com/

Revue Cinema  – 400 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M6R 2M9 — http://revuecinema.ca/

Royal Cinema – 608 College Street, Toronto, 416-466-4400 — www.theroyal.to

1920s, classics, movies, silent cinema, silent films, silent movies, Uncategorized

Silent Cinema

As a child, I would spend hours watching silent movies. I was also that same child who not only wanted to be a flapper but insisted that her mother dress her like one. Fritzi Kramer runs a site called Movies Silently. You will always find incredibly informative posts about Silent Cinema from all over the world and because of Movies Silently, I have discovered silent movies I had never seen. I’m so thankful that so many silents have been preserved.

The queen of Egypt loves her Romans and so she falls for Mark Antony… What? You mean you know this one? Well, anyway, we’re looking over one of the very first feature-length Cleos with Helen Gardner in the title role. Home Media Availability: Released on DVD. Taking command A quick note before getting started. This…

via Cleopatra (1912) A Silent Film Review — Movies Silently

1920s, 1930s, classics, joan crawford, movies, old hollywood, silent films, silent movies, vintage

Silent Movies Are Good For the Soul

Ever since I can recall, I’ve wanted to be a Flapper and even to the point, as a young child I would often ask my mother to dress me like one. In my early days of high school, I would mix styles of punk, Edwardian and Flapper. A look that made a fourteen-year-old stick out in the hallways, clashing with her fellow, small town, plaid wearing classmates. I would be seen wandering the halls with books on ghosts and a notebook to write in.  When I was home, I would either be in my room writing, doing art, or sewing or watching classic movies, especially silents. No one understood why I would want to do this, no one really got me. Why would a teenager, be so intrigued by silent movies or prefer reading the 1927 Eaton’s Spring and Summer catalogue replica she inherited from her grandfather? Shouldn’t she be out running amok in the streets or listening to that rock and/or roll music?



At some point in grade ten, my love of German Expressionist film started. Unfortunately, being in a small town, my only options for silent movies was TVO or rentals. At that time I didn’t have a huge selection and unlike here in Toronto, our public library didn’t have a huge selection of rentals. I was able to get my hands on Metropolis and Nosferatu from our local rental place. I watched both of these movies so many times, I could have shadowcast them. When I moved away from that small town and to Toronto, my world opened up. Not only did I have access to places like the Toronto Reference Library and Blockbuster, but there were groups and organizations that also loved silent movies. Pre-Facebook (yes there was a time before Facebook) I was able to find meet-ups via the classifieds in Now Magazine or posters, found on the telephone poles along Queen street.

My fourteen-year-old self would be beside herself today if she had those options. Social media has helped bring together large groups of silent film aficionados and like-minded, dames and fellas. Every April in Toronto, there is a Silent Film Festival. Sadly, I’m not able to see all of the movies at the festival (if only there was more time), but my dream is to one day get a pass and see every — single — one. This year we were able to see some ‘found’ movies and serials such as Sherlock Holmes, a Buster Keaton short and the 2nd reel from an epic pie fight brought to you by Laurel and Hardy called ‘The Battle of the Century’. It truly was the greatest pie fight in history.  I have included a YouTube video below of a shorter version of the video. If you can, you should see the restored longer version.  Side note: at 3:22 mark, I still drool over how stunning the outfit, worn by the woman who lands fanny first on a pie. I’m so glad her dress missed the pie!

I have an ever growing collection of silent movies on DVD. I fantasize often about owning a projector and film on reels, but due to the condition of most original silent films, this may remain a fantasy and a whole other blog post. Fortunately for me, a streaming service called FilmOn has a silent film and classic movie channel. I have discovered films I’ve never seen and also get to re-watch and fall in love again with, old favourites. I will never grow weary of watching the Barrymores, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Clara Bow, Mary Pickford, Errol Flynn, Valentino or Joan Crawford. Joan Crawford you say? Absolutely.  She got her start, on the big screen, in the silents. There is something so delightful in watching her in Our Dancing Daughters.

As I continue to watch silents, I am finding new favourites. Recenty I watched ‘The Married Virgin (1918) – Rudolph Valentino. As soon as Valentino walks into a scene, you can see why women swooned over him. As I watch Valentino and other stars like Clara Bow, Jean Harlow and Joan Crawford, I often wonder what it would have been like to have been alive in the 1920s and 1930s. It would have been incredible to see these movies, for the first time, in the cinemas of those eras. We are fortunate for festivals such of The Toronto Silent Film festival, but if I could hop into a time-machine, I would set the dial to that era.

What are your favourite silent films?

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