The Johnstown Flood with Special Guests Janet Maslin and Robert Harris

The Johnstown Flood with Special Guests Janet Maslin and Robert Harris

Not Rated
Run Time: 100 min. (65 min. film followed by Q&A)
May 9, 2023 at 7pm
Tickets: $20 Regular, $30 Premium
Members: $17 Regular, $25.50 Premium
Main Theater

Starring: George O’Brien, Florence Gilbert, Janet Gaynor, Carole Lombard, Clark Gable
Director: Irving Cummings
Screenplay: Edfrid A. Bingham, Robert Lord

A benefit for the Bedford Playhouse.

The Bedford Playhouse is thrilled to announce a special preview of a newly-restored version of The Johnstown Flood, seen for the first time in this condition since 1926. The film will be followed by a Q&A with former NY Times film critic Janet Maslin and film restorer Robert Harris, presented in 4K projection with a newly recorded score based upon the original themes, by The Mont Alto Orchestra.

The Johnstown Flood is a major achievement of the silent film era. A 1926 William Fox production, the importance of The Johnstown Flood to film history is difficult to overstate. The special effects of the film combine miniatures and sets to depict the actual historic event of the flood and its aftermath, pioneering complex early techniques. Only a unique original 35mm nitrate print of The Johnstown Flood survived, preserved by the George Eastman Museum of Rochester, NY, but was deteriorating and endangered. Nitrate film decomposes over time, and over 90% of all silent films are lost. The Johnstown Flood was decomposing. Its final reel already gone.

Working from The George Eastman Museum’s original nitrate as well as their safety preservation negative, Playhouse board member Robert Harris and his partner, archivist James Mockoski took on the project of restoring The Johnstown Flood.

The film was the first starring role for George O’Brien and the supporting debut of a young ingenue named Janet Gaynor. Two future stars of Hollywood’s golden era have uncredited roles in the film – Carole Lombard and Clark Gable. The Johnstown Flood put O’Brien and Gaynor together, and Fox made history in 1927, when they would be cast together again in a film considered one of the most beautiful created in the silent era – Sunrise. Miss Gaynor would appear in two other important Fox films in 1927 – 7th Heaven and Street Angel. Miss Gaynor made her own history when she won the very first Academy Award for Best Actress for her roles IN ALL THREE FILMS!