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Rare showing of all 15 chapters of 100-year-old vintage serial on tap

WILTON – It’s a cliff-hanger, but each time you won’t have to wait long to find out what happens next.

It’s ‘A Woman in Grey,’ a 15-episode adventure serial produced 100 years ago, when movies were a brand new form of entertainment.

The entire run of all 15 chapters will be screened over two days at the Town Hall Theatre, 40 Main St., Wilton.

Chapters 1 through 8 of the multi-part tale will be shown on Saturday, Oct. 3 starting at 2 p.m. Remaining episodes 9 through 15, including the serial’s thrilling conclusion, will be shown on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 2 p.m.

Admission is free to each screening; a donation of $10 per person is suggested to help defray expenses.

The screening, the latest in the Town Hall Theatre’s silent film series, will feature live accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based composer who specializes in creating music for silent films.

“Seeing all episodes of this marvelous multi-part adventure over two days is a century-old form of binge-watching,” Rapsis said.

“But it’s also a great chance to experience early cinema the way it was intended to be shown: on a big screen, in a theater, with live music, and with an audience,” Rapsis said.

The Town Hall Theatre is observing procedures to comply with all state and CDC public health guidelines, including reduced seating capacity. For complete information about the venue’s safety protocols, visit www.wiltontownhalltheatre.com.

Similar to the more famous ‘Perils of Pauline’ serial, ‘A Woman in Grey’ follows the story of a mysterious woman (Arline Pretty) who may hold the secret to finding a long-lost fortune in an abandoned mansion.

Like most multi-part serials, each chapter of ‘A Woman in Grey’ runs about 12 minutes, and was designed to be shown one episode each week at local theaters.

Most episodes ended with a “cliffhanger” predicament designed to keep audiences coming back to find out what happens next.

Most multi-part serials from the early days of film are completely lost, or exist only partially. ‘A Woman in Grey’ is unusual because it survives completely intact. The total length of all 15 episodes is nearly four hours.

‘A Woman in Grey’ is also unusual because it was produced not in Hollywood, but in Wilkes-Barre, Penn. by Serico Motion Pictures, Inc., a short-lived independent production firm.

The company recruited local stage performers, including leading actress Arline Pretty, to fill out the large cast of ‘A Woman in Grey.’

All 15 chapters were shot on location in northeastern Pennsylvania, providing a rare glimpse of the region as it looked a century ago.

Serials continued through the 1920s and into the era of sound films, but over time came to be regarded as programming for children’s matinees rather than a format for serious drama. The practice faded out after World War II and the development of television.

The complete 15-chapter serial ‘A Woman in Grey’ (1920) will be presented over two days at the Town Hall Theatre, 40 Main St., Wilton, N.H. Episodes 1 through 8 will be shown on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 2 p.m., followed by episodes 9 through 15 the next day, on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 2 p.m.

Admission is free; a donation of $10 per person is suggested. For more information, call (603) 654-3456 of visit www.wiltontownhalltheatre.com.

For more information about the music, visit www.jeffrapsis.com.

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