The Battle of the Century: Classic Comedies of Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton

Tuesday, March 7
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1hr 15mins

Don't miss your chance to experience the greatest pie fight in cinema history, as we present a program of four classic silent short comedies! 

Featuring the once lost Laurel and Hardy classic, The Battle of the Century, the restored Buster Keaton comedy classics Cops and Electric House, with live musical accompaniment from Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton! 

Along with the films and performance, we'll have a pie throwing contest! Join us for an unforgettable evening of music and laughs.

About the Films

The Dancing Pig (1907)

A popular act on the vaudeville circuit staged, recreated and filmed for Pathé Frères' camera. No animals were harmed in the making of this film. 

Cops (1922) - dirs. Buster Keaton & Eddie Cline

In one of Buster Keaton's best known comedies a series of mishaps manages to make a young man get chased by a big city's entire police force. With a cast of hundreds playing cops, this classic short audaciously parodies the notorious 1920 bombing of Wall Street by horse-drawn cart. It's Buster Keaton at his purest, mocking anarchists, authority - and happy endings

The Electric House (1922) - dirs. Buster Keaton & Eddie Cline

After being mistakenly certified as an electrical engineer, Buster, with a degree in botany, is hired to wire a house. One of Keaton's final two reelers, this short is a hilarious satire of technology during the heyday of the Warren Harding administration. Keaton at his funniest and best.

The Battle of the Century (1927) dir. Clyde Bruckman

One of the earliest shorts to star Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, The Battle of the Century tells the story of a prizefighter whose manager tries to arrange an accident as to collect an insurance policy. What ensues is a massive pie fight considered one of the funniest scenes ever filmed. Film Critic Leonard Maltin has called this film his 'holy grail' of lost and rediscovered comedy gems.

About the Performers

Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton are among the world's foremost silent film musicians, bringing their unique blend of keyboards, vocals and percussion to major film festivals—New York, Telluride, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, TriBeCa, Denver, Virginia, and Newport—and to MoMA, BAM, MFA Boston, the Berlin Filmmuseum, and Moscow's prestigious Lumière Gallery.They are favorite guest artists at the National Gallery and at Italy’s annual silent film retrospectives in Bologna and Pordenone. In 2015 they appeared at the largest film and music festival in Asia, the Jecheon International Film Festival in South Korea. Last year Donald's score for the 1916 "Sherlock Holmes" was premiered by the Odessa Opera Orchestra on the historic Potemkin steps, with 15,000 spectators attending. Joanna and Donald have performed at Yale, Harvard, Brown and Emory Universities, and created scores for over 50 silent film DVDs on the  Criterion, KinoLorber, Milestone and other labels.  Website: 

Joanna floated into showbiz as an Ivory Soap Baby. Called a ”silvery soprano” by The New York Times, she has appeared in over 80 Off-Broadway, regional, and stock theatre productions around the USA. Joanna has sung at many NYC landmarks,including The Rainbow Room, the former World Trade Center, the 92nd Street Y (with jazz great Dick Hyman), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has a Theatre Arts degree from Cornell University.

Donald grew up in Rye NY and Munich, studied composition at Michigan and Columbia, and played on Broadway for many years. His music has been heard on PBS, TCM, as background for soaps on the major networks, and in many contemporary films. The couple has two musical children, Nicholas and Mollie.

Joanna and Donald are delighted to return to Coolidge Corner, where they have accompanied the silent film antics of Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd numerous times, and John Ford’s long-lost feature Upstream.