The Silent Film Showcase

Music by the acclaimed Beloit Memorial Jazz Orchestra
Under the direction of Mr. Chris Behrens

Steamboat Bill Jr.

Starring Buster Keaton

Fri Feb 28, 2020 – 7:30 pm | BMHS

$20 online & at the door
$5 students with ID

Sponsored by:

BMO Harris Bank

BIFF’s Silent Film Showcase

The tradition continues as BIFF presents its 15th installment of the Silent Film Showcase.

This year’s selection is the 1928 Buster Keaton comedy classic, Steamboat Bill Jr. Released by United Artists, the film is the last product of Keaton’s independent production team and set of gag writers. The film is known for what might be considered Keaton’s most famous film stunt: The facade of an entire house falls on top of him while he stands in the perfect spot to pass through the open attic window instead of being flattened.

An emerging tradition, The Beloit Memorial Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Chris Behrens will, once again, provide the musical backdrop for this special screening. This will be the fourth consecutive silent film performance by the nationally recognized, award-winning ensemble. BIFF is tremendously proud to partner with such a marvelous collection of young local talent for its flagship film event.

The program will be presented at Beloit Memorial High School auditorium which meets the crowd size and convenient parking for this popular event.

Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Staring Buster Keaton

Three Movie Buffs

So far, Steamboat Bill, Jr is my favorite Buster Keaton film. It was one of his last great silent masterpieces. It contains his most famous stunt and Walt Disney likely used it as inspiration for his first Mickey Mouse cartoon Steamboat Willie, 1928.

William Canfield owns and runs an old passenger river boat. His arch rival has just bought a brand new one. William is upset by this but becomes excited when he gets a telegram from his son who has just graduated from college. Will has not seen his son, Willie, since he was a baby and pictures him as a big strapping lad.

When they meet, Will sr. is disappointed that Willie is short but he is also disgusted that his son is a dandy. He has a thin mustache, that Will has shaved off. He has a beret that Will tries to get rid of. In a hat store, Will has his son try on many hats. Everyone that he does not like he yanks off his son’s head. At one point, Willie puts on a hat that Keaton wore in many films. He quickly throws it away before his father gets the chance.

Continue reading the full review

Steamboat Bill Jr. | Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton

Joseph Frank Keaton (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966), known professionally as Buster Keaton, was an American actor, comedian, film director, producer, screenwriter, and stunt performer. He is best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression that earned him the nickname “The Great Stone Face”. Buster Keaton

Critic Roger Ebert wrote of Keaton’s “extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929” when he “worked without interruption” on a series of films that make him “the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies”.

Continue reading the fuller bio on Wikipedia

Accompanying the Silent Film

Beloit Memorial Jazz Orchestra

Under the direction of Mr. Chris Behrens
National Board Certified Teacher

Chris Behrens, Director | Beloit Memorial Jazz Orchestra

The BMJO has developed a tradition of exceptional and nationally recognized jazz music program. BMJO was first invited to the nation’s leading high school jazz band festival and competition Essentially Ellington hosted by Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at the Lincoln Center in New York City in 2009. Hundreds of high school jazz bands from across the country submit three performances for the judges of internationally known jazz masters at the Lincoln Center for blind review. Each year only fifteen are invited to New York for the nation’s foremost high school jazz band festival and concert.

In 2012 BMJO was invited back again. And BMJO has earned an invitation back each year since. Quite a feet considering their competing with metros many of which are considerably larger than Beloit, arts magnet schools or both. The Beloit Jazz Band program is well known and recognized at the Lincoln Center in New York and among the greatest H.S. Jazz programs across the county.

One thing that doesn’t get mentioned is the fact that these students aren’t just exceptional musicians, they’re also exceptional students. It should be noted that the average GPA of the student-musicians hoping to make it to Essentially Ellington this year is 3.6.

BIFF - Beloit International Film Festival
BIFF | Beloit International Film Festival