The Donovan Affair

Live musical accompaniment and narration by the Gower Gulch Players
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Castro Theatre Sat, May 30, 2015 4:30 PM
$16 general / $14 member (No processing fee!)
Film Info
Director:Frank Capra
Cast:Jack Holt
Dorothy Revier
William Collier Jr.
Agnes Ayres
John Roche
Fred Kelsey
Total Run Time:73 mins.


After no-good Jack Donovan kills the lights at a house party for effect, guests find he’s the knife-skewered victim—and then inspector Jack Holt is called in.

A classic dark-house comedy whodunit, with a classic denouement, based on a play by the prolific Owen Davis (whose 1923 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Icebound is currently being revived Off-Off-Broadway), The Donovan Affair was for Capra “the beginning of a true understanding of the skills of my craft” and his first “100% all-Dialogue Picture.” But its original soundtrack—recorded on 16” disks (before sound-on-film became standard)—has long been lost. The one existing print, at the Library of Congress, is completely silent, rendering the picture completely incomprehensible.

For this special screening at SFSFF, the lost Donovan Affair soundtrack will be recreated live, with the dialogue instantaneously dubbed by actors hand-picked for their affinity to the acting style of the late ’20s and ’30s, along with live music and recreated sound effects. This unique presentation has been shown only three times before, in New York and Los Angeles. Aside from these few special screenings, Donovan has not been seen since its original release, 85 years ago.

Live musical accompaniment and narration by Bruce Goldstein and the Gower Gulch Players

Sponsored by Fratelli Orsini/Leather Gloves Online

Co-presented by EatDrinkFilms and SF Sketchfest