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TUESDAY & THURSDAY
These days, the Hope Diamond is safely ensconced at the National Museum of Natural History, but things were perilous for 15 weeks back in 1921. That’s how long it took audiences to watch The Hope Diamond Mystery, a serial based on the fascinating (and often shadowy) history of the 45.52-carat gem. In one of his first movies, Boris Karloff plays two roles in a story that alternates between 17th-century Mandalay and 20th-century England. (In fact, the diamond was probably mined in India, and though it was in Britain for most of the 19th century, it spent most of the 20th in Washington.) The introduction features an appearance by Pennsylvania-born May Yohe, one of the film’s three scripters, who sometimes wore the blue megadiamond before her husband, Lord Francis Hope, sold it in 1902 to pay off his debts. (Washington socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean bought it in 1912.) This screening offers a rare opportunity to see a silent-era serial in its entirety, as well as a film by Stuart Paton, who directed more than 50 now-forgotten flicks between 1915 and 1937. Chapters 4-8 show Tuesday and Chapters 9-15 screen Thursday; each program runs a bit longer than two hours. At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, and Thursday, June 8, at the Library of Congress’ Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. For reservations call (202) 707-5677. (Mark Jenkins)