Marie Dressler celebrations are gearing up

By Cecilia Nasmith


When you munch that popcorn Aug. 4 while enjoying Sherlock Gnomes in Victoria Park, remember that the crunchy treat is kind of a tribute.

In a recent interview, Marie Dressler Foundation president and chair Rick Miller recalled a time in the life of the Cobourg-born Oscar-winning actress before she shot to Hollywood stardom at an age when youth and beauty were just a lovely memory. Meanwhile, to support herself, she ran her own concession stand.

The foundation is helping to sponsor the popcorn sales at the Aug. 4 Movies On The Beach, Miller said. Thereafter, events will begin to roll out throughout the fall in advance of the celebration of Dressler's birth – 150 years ago, Nov. 9, in the northeast room of the Ontario cottage at 212 King St. W. that her family was renting from John Field for $8 a month.

In September, a big exhibition is planned at the Art Gallery of Northumberland to pay tribute not only to Dressler but to the Cobourg supporters who are (and, in some cases, remain) part of ensuring her story continues to reach the community.

And during that time, the 26th annual Vintage Film Festival runs Oct. 12 to 14 at the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope.

Originally begun as the Marie Dressler Film Festival, it showcases the best classic Hollywood films – and always includes several Dressler movies.

The brochure is now available for this year's offerings, and it includes the news that this year's Dressler films are The Patsy, Politics and Anna Christie.

It also spotlights some special selections, like the Marx Brothers classic Duck Soup, the Marilyn Monroe thriller Niagara and the classic John Ford western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

City Lights is considered the last great silent movie, And Cool Hand Luke not only cemented Paul Newman's status as a star, but also was one of the first films to feature an anti-hero lead.

Jordan Klapman provides piano accompaniment for the silent films in the line-up, and Toronto Star film critic Peter Howell returns to be the lunch-break seminar leader on Sunday (his subject will be The Love of Film).

The brochure includes the schedule and complete line-up.

Friday – Register at 3 p.m.

4 p.m. - The Birds (1963), an Alfred Hitchcock classic

6 p.m. - Gala reception

7 p.m. - Duck Soup (1933)

8:45 p.m. - Anna Christie (1930) with Dressler and Greta Garbo

Saturday – Register at 8:30 a.m.

9 a.m. - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), with Lee Marvin as the villain

11:20 a.m. - Politics (1931), with Dressler and Polly Moran

2 p.m. - City Lights (1931)

3:45 p.m. - Cool Hand Luke (1967)

7:30 p.m. - On The Town (1949), a Frank Sinatra-Gene Kelly musical

9:30 p.m. - The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944), directed by Preston Sturges

Sunday – Register at 8:30 a.m.

9 a.m. - The Four Feathers (1939), directed by Zoltan Korda

11:30 a.m. - The Patsy (1928), with Dressler and Marion Davies

12:50 p.m. - Brown-bag-lunch seminar with Peter Howell

2 p.m. - Niagara (1952)

3:45 p.m. - The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), with Catherine Deneuve

All-inclusive tickets are available for $99 – all films, opening-night reception and Sunday lunch-time lecture.

A festival pass for $89 includes opening-night reception and all movies.

An opening-night pass for $39 includes the opening-night reception and Friday movies.

Single tickets at the door (if available) are $10.

Student discounts are available, and tickets can be obtained at the Capitol Theatre or on-line at the Vintage Film Festival site.