Rediscovered silent film screening Sunday at Wilton Town Hall Theatre
“Bardelys the Magnificent,” a 1926 MGM silent film, will be screened on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at the Town Hall Theatre.
A major Hollywood feature, considered lost for decades until a copy surfaced in France in 2006, will be getting its New England big screen “re-premier.”
Based on a novel by prolific Italian/English author Rafael Sabatini, “Bardelys the Magnificent” is a tale of romance, honor, and derring-do set during the reign of King Louis XIII of France.
The title role is played by legendary leading man John Gilbert, then at the height of his 1920s stardom. Gilbert was popular for his good looks, magnetic personality, and athletic stunts. Actress Eleanor Boardman plays Roxalanne, his love interest. The huge cast includes many silent film-era stars and supporting players.
The picture was a solid hit in its original release. MGM’s rights to the Sabatini novel expired in 1936, and the studio destroyed all copies per the licensing agreement.
Then in 2006, researchers in France discovered an almost complete copy of the film in a private collection. The print was missing about 10 minutes of footage, but was otherwise intact and in excellent condition. The missing footage is replaced with still photos taken on the set, written descriptions, and by footage recovered from a ‘coming attractions’ trailer for the film.
Live music for the movie will be provided. Admission to the screening is free, with donations accepted.