The Norman Studios Silent Film Museum and the Hotel Indigo® Jacksonville will screen The Social Secretary starring Norma Talmadge at the next Silent Sundays event April 8, 4pm.
In this 1926 silent film, Talmadge stars as Mayme, an attractive young stenographer from Wichita who moves to Manhattan to find success. What she finds instead is a string of male clients who make unwanted advances, sending her looking for new work again and again. Finally, she catches a break when she spots an ad placed by the wealthy Mrs. de Puyster looking for a new social secretary and specifying just one condition: That the girl is intelligent, well-bred and unattractive to men.
Desperate to get the job, Mayme slicks back her curls, dons a pair of glasses and plain-looking garb and heads out for an interview. With her beauty disguised, she’s immediately hired and becomes one of the family. But trouble brews when she learns that the daughter of the house is falling for a phony Count from Portugal. Meanwhile, she develops feelings of her own for the son of the house. And to top it all off, her cover may be blown, thanks to a nosy reporter.
This bold feminist satire from more than a century ago touches on a subject that’s every bit as relevant 100 years later – sexual harassment in the workplace – and is considered among the earliest feminist films. Even the story behind its writing is tinged with the issue of male dominance in the entertainment business. Writer Anita Loos married director John Emerson three years after the film’s release. It’s said that upon their nuptials, Emerson demanded that his name be added to the writing credits of all her works – even when he hadn’t contributed a word.
Pianist Bernie Katzman will provide live musical accompaniment. Known as the PianoImproMan, Katzman is a classically trained musician who began studies at the prestigious Julliard School of Music at age 10 and specializes in improvisational performances. His wildly successful Twitch.TV show boasts more than 3 million views and has garnered Katzman media coverage for his popularity even among decades-younger viewers and listeners. Bernie performs requests for his fans and community members all around the world at 2:00pm EST Tuesdays-Fridays and 10:00am EST on Saturdays, and will live-stream the screening on his channel at www.twitch.tv/pianoimproman.
Tickets are $5 and available at the door (cash or credit) and online. Silent Sundays proceeds support efforts of the Norman Studios Silent Film Museum, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing public knowledge of Northeast Florida's early film industry and the preservation and restoration of Jacksonville’s only remaining silent film studio. The Norman Studios was among the nation's first to produce films starring all African American casts. Find out more at normanstudios.org.
Located on the lake in upscale Tapestry Park, the Hotel Indigo® Jacksonville is a boutique-style, lakefront property with interior design elements that recall Jacksonville's film history.