Evening at the Movies offers laughter, crying, thinking

HOLLYWOOD — The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s 15th annual Evening at the Movies started on a sad note and ended with a triumph.

Exec director Ruth Eliel‘s opening speech included news of the deaths last week of two longtime LACO friends, music patron Richard D. Colburn and org’s third music director, Iona Brown.

Happily, Buster Keaton saved the day — and the girl in “Steamboat Bill, Jr.,” and the live orchestral accompaniment, under Timothy Brock‘s baton, never faltered. Also screened was the first animated Mickey Mouse short, “Plane Crazy.”

Host Dustin Hoffman promised the full house at Royce Hall the best print available of the 1928 silent, from an archive in Denmark: “They flew it in, cleaned it, screened it, then they’re flying it back tomorrow.”

Of the three “genius silent film clowns,” he said, “Harold Lloyd made you laugh for laughter’s sake, Chaplin made you laugh and made you cry, and Keaton made you laugh and then think.”

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