Hart Park Celebrates Valentine’s Day with Silent Film Festival

Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. and Mary Pickford pose together on the set of the 1932 film Robinson Crusoe, one of Fairbank’s only sound performances. The couple were married in 1920, making this their 100th anniversary

Looking for a one-of-a-kind way to celebrate Valentine’s Day? How about a silent film festival to commemorate the 100th wedding anniversary of Hollywood’s first power couple, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.,? 

The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC), in partnership with the City of Santa Clarita and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, are marking this centennial anniversary with the inaugural “Newhallywood” Silent Film Festival, at NHMLAC’s William S. Hart Museum, as well as throughout Newhall and Santa Clarita. 

Attendees can watch screenings of more than a dozen silent films including Mary Pickford’s Little Annie Rooney and Ramona, The Mark of Zorro starring Douglas Fairbanks, and classic silent horror films The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Golem.

Visitors can also enjoy a pop-up exhibit and explore rarely seen props, costumes, and other memorabilia donated by the superstar couple to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM). There will be family friendly activities in the William S. Hart Museum and Hart Park throughout the festival weekend, and the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society’s train station will be converted into “Slapstick Junction,” for screening short silent film comic gems for audiences of all ages.

The Black Pirate, a swashbuckling romance that was one of the first movies to be filmed in Technicolor is the centerpiece of a special Valentine’s Day dinner event to kick off the inaugural “Newhallywood” Film Festival at William S. Hart Park in Newhall.

The screenings will take place at William S. Hart Museum, which showcases the eponymous silent era film star’s personal belongings and art collection, and the surrounding park is home to a herd of American Bison, a vast picnic area, and a series of hiking trails.

Two special kick-off events are scheduled for Friday, February 14: “Bus-tour” Keaton, a bus tour of various Hollywood film locations, and a special Valentine’s Day dinner with a screening of Douglas Fairbanks’ Technicolor feature The Black Pirate, accompanied by live music. 

Many scenes of this 1926 swashbuckler were filmed on Catalina Island. It was one of the first features to use an early form of Technicolor and one of the only surviving color silent films. The Festival’s Valentine’s Day schedule also includes: a Pickford & Fairbanks Pop-Up Exhibit with costumes, props and other memorabilia from Pickford and Fairbanks films from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; a Slapstick & Melodrama Workshop, 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.; a panel discussion with David Pierce, Library of Congress, and private collector Stan Taffel; and screenings of He Comes Up Smiling, and D.W. Griffith’s sweeping version of Ramona, starring Pickford, and Fairbanks Sr. in The Mark of Zorro.


For more information, and a full schedule of events for all three days of the festival, visit https://hartmuseum.org/newhallywood-silent-film-festival


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