The programs mark the second "Mary Pickford Celebration of Silent Film," a collaboration between the academy and the Mary Pickford Foundation to showcase classics of the era.
"Mary Pickford is the perfect name to have on a celebration of silent film," said Randy Haberkamp, the academy's managing director, programming, education and preservation.
Pickford, who was one of cinema's first international superstars, "represents the pinnacle of the silent-film art in the way she was able to produce, star and craft her own films with her company," Haberkamp said.
The screenings of "The Crowd" and "The Student Prince" will be introduced by Kevin Brownlow, the 2010 honorary Oscar recipient who is the author of the acclaimed history of silent film, "The Parade's Gone By... ." The renowned British preservationist and documentarian ("Unknown Chaplin") will be presenting his own restored prints of these classics, which feature Carl Davis' musical scores.
"Both of the films were from 1928 and point out so vividly what makes silent films such a special medium," Haberkamp noted. "Both of them really emphasize the unlimited communication of the human face."
The gritty and haunting "Crowd" chronicles the ups and downs of a young married couple (
Though shepherded by MGM's "Boy Wonder" producer
"The Crowd" has influenced many directors, including neo-realist Italian master Vittorio De Sica, who was inspired to make his landmark 1948
Wilder's scenes of Jack Lemmon toiling in a office filled with countless desks lined up in parallel rows is a homage to the scenes in "The Crowd," in which Murray is shown as just another faceless worker in a large, impersonal corporation.
"It is my favorite American silent film of all," said Brownlow of "The Crowd." "It anticipates the Crash before the Crash happened. It's one of those social-problem films that silent pictures didn't do all that often, and it's done so superbly."
The German-born Lubitsch, whose deft hand at romantic comedy was called "The Lubitsch Touch," brings a freshness, charm and enchantment to "The Student Prince," which premiered in late 1927 before opening in theaters in 1928. Two of MGM's biggest stars, Ramon Novarro (
Though the Mexican-born Novarro struggled in talkies, "Student Prince" beautifully demonstrates why he was a silent-screen superstar. "He's so self-effacing in this," Brownlow said. "You don't really think of him as an actor."
Mary Pickford Celebration of Silent Film
Where: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Samuel Goldwyn Theater, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills
What: "The Crowd"
When: Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
What: "The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg"
When: Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Admission: $3 and $5