Emily Rossi-Snook stands next to a poster announcing the Archivio Nazionale del Film di Famiglia film festival.
continued “I was introduced as a special guest,” Emily said, “the only speaker in attendance who owned the films being shown and could provide personal commentary on family members and community involvement. A professional translator was provided to take my commentary and offer it in Italian.
“The festival was very well received and I was told that the warmth of the commentary and the story of my family and beautiful hometown were heartwarming and memorable,” she added. “It was a wonderful trip and memorable experience.”
As an introduction to the silent films. Emily told the audience:
“My family loved their Italian heritage and they loved the movies. They would be so proud to know that their home movies are here, home in Italy.
“In 1932 my dad, John Rossi, and Uncle Charles Rossi left their home in Hoboken, N.J., to buy a movie theatre in Schroon Lake, N.Y., known as the Lake Como of America. The family worked together. My first job when I was very small was to take the cellophane wrappers off the candy boxes.
“The highlights of Uncle Charlie’s life came in 1953 and 1957 when Hollywood came to his two home towns — ‘On the Waterfront’ with Marlon Brando was shot in the winter of 1953 in Hoboken and in 1957 ‘Marjorie Morningstar’ starring Natalie Wood and Gene Kelly was shot on beautiful Schroon Lake. Both times Uncle Charlie was there as an extra in the films. Both times he had his 16 mm camera.”
The home movies include footage of several Schroon Lake residents.
“I was able to point out local residents who were extras in the film with Uncle Charlie, hamming it up with George Tobias and Marty Milner,” Emily said. “There was a striking scene of a young, beautiful Natalie Wood during a light check; the rehearsal of the bullfight scene which included locals Lil Richardson, Janet Friedman, Marie Rossi and Eleanor Drake. Gene Kelly playing ping pong with Marty MIlner and Robert Wagner, who was not in the film but who showed up on set to court Natalie Wood.