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UCLA Festival of Preservation

International House / Busy Bodies

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Thursday 4/17
7:00 pm
$9 General Public
$7 Students & Seniors
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International House
dir. Edward Sutherland, US, 1933, b/w, 35mm, b/w, 68 min.

The manic, boisterous energy that marks many Hollywood comedies of the early sound era—rarely matched in subsequent decades—owes almost entirely to the presence of vaudeville stars who found second careers on the big screen. The melding of vaudeville’s kaleidoscopic variety aesthetic with Hollywood’s narrative impulse lead to the emergence at the time of a new sub-genre, that film scholar Henry Jenkins dubbed the “anarchistic comedy.” In the anarchistic comedy, plotlines and characterization were shoved to the back to make way for anything-goes routines and performances.
Featuring a cast that Film Daily described in 1933 as “a fortune in marquee material,” International House rides high on dizzy turns by W.C Fields, George Burns, Gracie Allen and Peggy Hopkins Joyce. The ostensible plot is set in motion by the eccentric Dr. Wong (Edmund Breese), who calls an international conference at a swanky hotel in “Wu Hu, China,” to demonstrate his latest invention, the radioscope, which can pick up images and sound from anywhere in the world. As potential investors from the jet set descend on the hotel, various storylines emerge all in the interest of highlighting hilarious bits of comic business by the cast.

35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive
Preservation funding provided by the Packard Humanities Institute

Preserved in conjunction with Universal Pictures from a 35mm composite nitrate print. Laboratory services by The Stanford Theatre Film Laboratory, Audio Mechanics, DJ Audio, Simon Daniel Sound. Special thanks to Bob O’Neil.

Preceded by:

Busy Bodies
dir. Lloyd French, US, 1933, 35mm, b/w, 19 min.

UCLA Film & Television Archive continues its long-term initiative to restore the legacy of Laurel & Hardy, working with negatives that have survived (sometimes only barely) decades of abuse and neglect. The beloved comedians’ films have been altered for theatrical re-releases and for television, with footage often discarded, lost or damaged, and improperly stored in the bargain. In the recently-restored Busy Bodies, a masterpiece of physical comedy, Stan and Ollie report for work in the sawmill where they are employed, haplessly creating mayhem with planks and saws. The superb finish of this restoration does justice to the technical excellence of the hilarious short, far outshining all previously extant versions.

35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive
Preservation funding provided by Turner Classic Movies, Jeff Joseph/SabuCat, the Packard Humanities Institute, and the Laurel & Hardy Preservation Fund, including the support of many Sons Of The Desert Tents, and in honor of National Film Preserve: Tom Luddy, Gary Meyer and Julie Huntsinger

Preserved from the 35mm nitrate original picture and track negatives and a 35mm nitrate composite lavender print. Laboratory services by YCM Laboratories, The Stanford Theatre Film Laboratory, Audio Mechanics, DJ Audio. Special thanks to: Richard W. Bann, Jeff Joseph, RHI Entertainment, LLC.