Fox Theater, the poster

14390-Fox poster 3.jpg

At one point about all that construction crews had found inside Pomona’s Fox Theater were dead pigeons. But when an internal wall was knocked out recently, this vintage movie poster was uncovered. It’s for “Christina,” a 1929 silent film starring Janet Gaynor.

The Fox, as all schoolchildren know, opened in 1931. Perhaps “Christina” played there in a revival later on, or the poster was used as theater decor at one point, as movie posters sometimes are. It was a Fox film, by the way.

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  • Charles Bentley


    David, what a terrific job on your first attempt at including an “image” with your blog!

    I was curious to read that “Christina” was a silent film, yet on the poster it clearly states “All talking their parts on Fox Movietone.”

    However, when looking up the film, I see it listed on the IMDB page that “musical score and sound effects” were included on the Movietone system. But then why does the poster say otherwise?

    Anyway, here’s the New York Times review from April 1929.

    At the Gaiety Theatre, William Fox presented last Saturday evening “Christina,” a silent picture, except for the synchronized sound effects and music score. It is a well-acted but not an especially stirring story woven around a betrothal custom of Holland. The climax of the picture is apt to be anticipated and other events leading up to it are far from convincing.

    Janet Gaynor, however, is charmingly whimsical as Christina, the heroine of this romance of a comely maiden and a young circus performer. Somehow or other one does not connect circuses with Holland and the siren of this tale appears to be extremely anxious to impress one with her calling, even when she is off duty. She is called Mme. Bosman and she is highly incensed when she learns that Jan, with whom she is smitten, has fallen in love with a girl of the village where the circus is holding forth.

    William K. Howard, who has several good films to his credit, has accepted somewhat trite situations to govern the incidents in Tristam Tupper’s story. Mme. Bosman wishes to teach Jan a lesson, so she has him arrested for embezzlement, and then she succeeds in carrying out the old idea of stopping all his letters to Christina.

    Christina is, however, persistent, and she goes with her father, who loses his sight during the story, to Amsterdam. It is here that several incredulous happenings take place, notably the shooting of Jan by Mme. Bosman, and then her pretense at loving him while he is unconscious, and finally the discovery, by the audience, that Jan is only slightly injured.

    Rudolph Schildkraut portrays Christina’s father. He might easily be old enough to be her grandfather. Mr. Schildkraut, as is his wont, gives an excellent performance as the old Hollander. He impresses one with his blindness, but it appears to have to come about with extraordinary suddenness.

    “Christina” is the sort of thing that wants to tug at the heartstrings, but its scenes are not developed with sufficient perspicacity. It hinges on the betrothal custom in Holland of the sweethearts watching a lighted candle. If the candle is blown out before it burns down it means trouble for the young people.

    Charles Morton gives a genuinely good performance as the circus horseman. Harry Cording, who did so well in “The Patriot,” is capital in a minor rle.

    CHRISTINA, with Janet Gaynor, Charles Morton, Rudolph Schildkraut, Harry Cording, Lucy Dorraine and others, based on a story by Tristam Tupper, directed by William K. Howard.

    [Wow! Thanks for the detective work, Charles. Interesting how much of the plot the reviewer gave away. — DA]

  • An LA Times review of the film (20 Dec 1929) says “The talking finish seems static in comparison with the silent portion.” Perhaps in deference to other talkies then being released, a spoken sequence was filmed and included at the end of the film. The poster is clearly exaggerating the film’s attributes.