Start 2022 with Hollywood’s top box office hits from a century ago at Wilton Town Hall Theatre

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Rudolph Valentino stars in the exotic bullfighting drama ‘Blood and Sand’ (1922), the year’s third-highest-grossing picture.

WILTON, NH — It’s a film series 100 years in the making!

Starting in January, the Town Hall Theatre will reset the clock and celebrate the top box office hits of 1922, when the movie industry was just coming into its own.

The program includes now-classic blockbusters such as Rudolph Valentino’s bullfighting drama ‘Blood and Sand’ (1922); Marion Davies in the medieval romance ‘When Knighthood was in Flower’ (1922); and the year’s highest-grossing film, ‘Robin Hood’ (1922) starring Douglas Fairbanks Sr.

First up is Harold Lloyd’s uproarious comedy ‘Grandma’s Boy’ (1922), to be screened on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 2 p.m. at the Town Hall Theatre, 40 Main St., Wilton.

Live music will be provided by silent film accompanist Jeff Rapsis. Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $10 per person to help cover expenses.

Subsequent programs will include all of 1922’s five highest-grossing titles, each shown on the big screen with live music, as well as century-old oddities, short films, cartoons, and more.

Douglas Fairbanks stars in the epic adventure film ‘Robin Hood’ (1922), the year’s highest-grossing picture.

“Putting these films back on the big screen is a great way to celebrate the 100th anniversaries of some terrific motion pictures,” said Rapsis, the silent film accompanist who will create live music for all screenings.

“These are films that set the standard for Hollywood, and still retain their power to entertain, especially when shown in a theater with live music and an audience,” Rapsis said.

‘Grandma’s Boy,’ the first feature in the series, tells the story a cowardly young man (Harold Lloyd) who seeks the courage to battle a menacing tramp who terrorizes his small hometown.

Audiences loved ‘Grandma’s Boy.’ The film grossed $1.1 million, making it the year’s 4th-highest grossing picture and the year’s most popular comedy.

At the time, a successful feature film typically grossed $100,000. The picture helped establish Lloyd as a major star for the rest of the silent film era, and prompted rival comedians Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton to also make feature-length films.

In revival, ‘Grandma’s Boy’ continues to delight movie-goers and serves as a great introduction to the magic of silent film. It also provides a window into small-town American life as it was lived a century ago.

The Jan. 9 screening will include a special 100th-anniversary cake to be enjoyed by movie-goers on a first-come, first-served basis.

Harold Lloyd stars in ‘Grandma’s Boy’ (1926), a classic silent comedy and one of 1922’s top box office hits, to be screened with live music by Jeff Rapsis on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 2 p.m. at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre

Upcoming programs in the Town Hall’s 100th-anniversary series include:

Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022 at 2 p.m.: ‘Nanook of the North‘ Breakthrough 1922 documentary tells the story of Inuit hunter struggling to survive in far-north Canada.

  • Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022 at 2 p.m.: Rudolph Valentino in ‘Blood and Sand‘ Film’s ‘Latin Lover’ in his first starring role, as a sexy bullfighter in this 1922 romantic thriller.
  • Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022 at 2 p.m.: ‘When Knighthood was in Flower‘ Marion Davies goes medieval in this epic big budget costume picture from 1922 that put her on the map as a top Hollywood star.
  • Sunday, March 13, 2022 at 2 p.m.: Norma Talmadge in ‘Smilin’ Through‘ In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, a 1922 romantic drama set in the Emerald Isle.
  • Sunday, March 27, 2022 at 2 p.m.: Douglas Fairbanks in ‘Robin Hood‘ Celebrate the 100th anniversary of this blockbuster adaptation. Massive sets, great action, and Doug Fairbanks in the lead made this the top grossing film of 1922!
  • Sunday, April 10, 2022 at 2 p.m.: Chaney/Houdini Double Feature. In ‘Flesh and Blood‘ (1922), escaped convict Lon Chaney hides out in Chinatown and plots revenge. In ‘The Man From Beyond‘ (1922) illusionist Harry Houdini plays an Arctic adventurer frozen for 100 years!
  • Sunday, April 24, 2022 at 2 p.m.: Emil Jannings in ‘Othello‘ The Bard’s immortal tragedy brought to the screen in this early German version. Silent Shakespeare in honor of the author’s 458th birthday.

The 1922 series is made possible in part by the unlikely survival of so many of the year’s top titles.

“With 80 percent of all films from the silent era lost or missing, we’re fortunate to have all top five films from 1922 available to screen a full century after their release,” Rapsis said.

“We invite all silent film fans, and also those who haven’t experienced this type of cinema in a theater with an audience and live music, to come see the motion pictures that caused people to first fall in love with the movies,” Rapsis said.

‘Grandma’s Boy’ will be screened with live music on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 2 p.m. at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre, 40 Main St., Wilton, N.H.

Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $10 per person to help defray expenses. For more info, call (603) 654-3456 or visit www.wiltontownhalltheatre.com.
For more info on the music, visit www.jeffrapsis.com.

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