Rare Wellman silent film being screened at festival

Although I’ve been posting on a few different topics recently, I’m still very interested in William A Wellman’s silents and pre-Codes. So I was excited to read that one of his rare silent films is being screened at a festival, even though it is on the wrong side of the Atlantic for me!  His film You Never Know Women, made in 1926, is being shown at Capitolfest at the Capitol Theatre in Rome, New York,  at 4.50pm on August 15. This is a movie which was thought to be lost for many years until a print was found in the Library of Congress in 2001, and I believe it has been screened at a few festivals since then. Comments on the imdb from a handful of people who have seen it are very enthusiastic.

Here are the details from the Capitolfest website:

You Never Know Women (Universal, 1926) Florence Vidor, Clive Brook, Lowell Sherman, El Brendel, and Roy Stewart; directed by William Wellman. (70 min.) SILENT
Florence Vidor and Clive Brook are two members of a Russian troupe of acrobats on tour in the U.S. whose love for one another is threatened by manipulative playboy Lowell Sherman. Along the way there is a spectacular theater fire and the comic antics of El Brendel (and his goose). Reportedly Paramount was so pleased with director William Wellman’s work that rewarded him with a $25-per-week raise and the big-budgeted Wings (1927). “In addition to being one of the nicest program pictures in many weeks, it is flawlessly acted, brilliantly directed and filled with novel situations.” -Sisk, Variety

Florence Vidor and Clive Brook

This description sounds intriguing – I’m very interested to see that there’s a circus theme here, as this crops up in Wellman’s pre-Code Lilly Turner and so  many of his early films are full of wanderers. If anybody visiting my blog gets a chance to see this film, either at this festival or another, please let me know what you thought of it! I suppose there is even a chance it may show up at the BFI in London in the future.

6 thoughts on “Rare Wellman silent film being screened at festival

  1. Judy, you really tempted me here, and I just accessed the location of Rome, New York in Oneida County, which is bout 2/3 of the way through massive New York State. As it is, it’s a long distance from NYC, and the North Jersey area I live in (just minutes from Manhattan) and it would require about a five to six hour drive. That is admittedly a bit much for me, as it probably would mean a sleep over. Perhaps the film will soon makes it’s way down to the city. The best possible scario would be a full Wellmann festival. Now wouldn’t that be something!


    • Sam, I had a feeling Rome probably wasn’t very near to New York City, but didn’t realise it was quite that far away! I would hope there must be a good chance of this film turning up at your Film Forum sooner or later, without the need for a six-hour drive! A full Wellman festival would be fantastic, as you say – I get the feeling that interest in him is starting to increase, so maybe that will happen some day. Many thanks!


  2. Judy, thank you for posting this. I am the director of the Capitol Theatre, where YOU NEVER KNOW WOMEN is being shown. Rome is in almost the exact center of New York State, meaning we are about 5 1/2 hours from Manhattan by auto. Quite a number of people DO come up from NYC, though, either by automobile or train. (We’re a fairly small town, circa 34,000, but we do have a train station.) And, believe it or not, we actually have people come from overseas (incl. England) as well!
    While some come specifically to see one film, most come to see the whole weekend’s worth, about 13 features and 20 or so short subjects. Excepting a “pre-glow” of 16mm films on Friday night, everything is in 35mm. And the silents all have live accompaniment on our original 1928 Moller theatre organ. The complete schedule is on the web at: http://romecapitol.com/Capitolfest.html
    Thank you again for mentioning us–if you ever find yourself traveling in the eastern part of the U.S. be sure to drop by!


    • Thank you very much for responding and your kind comments, Art, and for giving the link to your website. The Capitol Theatre sounds wonderful – I would love to see it, and to be able to go along to this festival in particular because of my interest in Wellman. I wish you all the best with your restoration project and congratulate you on restoring your original 1928 Moller theatre organ – to date I’ve only been lucky enough to see one silent film with musical accompaniment in a cinema, but definitely hope to see more in the future. Thanks again for visiting and I hope the festival goes really well – I’m sure it will.


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