London and the South East

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8 AprilCC_Kid_Auto_Races_at_Venice_1914_(poster)

Shoulder Arms + A Dog’s Life (Dir. Charlie Chaplin, 1918) + Kid Auto Races At Venice (Dir.  Henry  Lehrman, 1914)    In Shoulder Arms, Chaplin is a soldier in the trenches who single-handedly wins World War One…..or does he?   A Dog’s Life  sees the little tramp at the back of the employment line, ‘Scraps’ the stray dog he rescues and Edna Purviance as the girl in the dance hall. If only he could find a wallet full of money!    Kid Auto Races was the first film release to portray Chaplin’s tramp persona, with him here interfering with the filming of a car race event   Find out more at   Wikipedia , IMDb  and  Wikipedia      Live musical accompaniment with Carl Davis and the Philharmonia Orchestra   Bedford Corn Exchange, Beds.  Link

UnchienandalouposterUn Chien Andalou (Dir. Luis Bunuel, 1929) (Screening format – 35mm, 16mins)   The opening sequence of Buñuel’s first film contains one of the most indelible images, and most primal “cuts”, in film history – the chillingly tranquil slicing of an eyeball with a razor blade. From there, Buñuel and collaborator Salvador Dali use a Surrealist version of narrative to thread together sequences involving a heterosexual couple, a disembodied hand and a rotting carcass inside a piano.  Un unchieneChien Andalou is a surrealist classic made by the pair soon after their arrival in Paris from Madrid. It is a mysterious, free-associating accumulation of images of violence, beauty and absurdity that confounded those who saw it then and confounds viewers still. The scenes involving the illusion of a human eye being sliced open has lost none of its power to shock. To make the film, Bunuel said, the filmmakers had to open up all doors to the irrational and keep only those images that surprised them. Find out more at sensesofcinema.com  Being shown with L’Age d’Or (1930).  Close-Up Film Centre, London E1  Link

People With No Tomorrow (aka.  Ludzie bez jutra) (Dir. Aleksander Hertz, 1921) (Screening format – DCP, 87mins)   People With No Tomorrow tells the tragic story of a  love affair between a Warsaw actress (Helena Brucz) and a Russian officer (Józef Węgrzyn).   Shot largely in 1919 but not released until 1921, this film was long considered lost until a print was rediscovered in the German Federal Archives.  A newly restored copy of the film was premiered in Warsaw in December last year.  This is the restored film’s UK premier (and probably the first time it has been seen outside Poland). The film was based upon an actual 1890 liaison between Polish actress Maria Wisnowska and Russian cavalry officer Alexander Bartenev and the subsequent and notorious crime of passion.  peopleMuch of the film was shot on location in Warsaw.  Helena Brucz (alt.  Halina Bruczówna) was a popular movie and theatre star, for whom this part was the last one in a Polish movie, before she left for the United States.   Jozef Wegrzyn was one of the most famous dramatic actors in Polish theatreHe began appearing in Polish films in 1911, making a total of around 50 appearances.  Initially playing camp and comic parts he moved on to dramatic roles in the 1920s and subsequently made a successful transition to talking films.  He remained involved in acting and stage direction until the early 1950s.  Aleksander Hertz was  an influential figure in early Polish cinema, producing and directing some 50 films before his death in 1928.  Find out more at kinopodbaranami.pl  This film is being presented as part of the 14th Kinoteka Polish Film Festival.  It will be accompanied by a  musical score commissioned by the Polish National Film Archive and composed and performed live by Paweł Szamburski, Patryk Zakrocki and Sebastian Wypych.  Regent Street Cinema, London W1   Link 

10 April

Merchant of Venice (Dir. Peter Paul Felner, 1923) (Screening format – 35mm,  85 mins) Released in the US (in 1926) as The Jew of Mestri, this is a loose adaption of Shakespeare’s play, filmed on location in Venice but with additional characters and scenes.  The Doge of Venice is played by Nosferatu star Max Schreck.  Find out more at  Wikipedia  Part of the Barbican’s Shakespeare on silent screen season with live piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne. Barbican, London   Link  

A Dogs Life - Chaplin Shoulder Arms + A Dog’s Life (Dir. Charlie Chaplin, 1918) + Kid Auto Races At Venice (Dir.  Henry  Lehrman, 1914)    In Shoulder Arms, Chaplin is a soldier in the trenches who single-handedly wins World War One…..or does he?   A Dog’s Life  sees the little tramp at the back of the employment line, ‘Scraps’ the stray dog he rescues and Edna Purviance as the girl in the dance hall. If only he could find a wallet full of money!    Kid Auto Races was the first film release to portray Chaplin’s tramp persona, with him here interfering with the filming of a car race event   Find out more at   Wikipedia , IMDb  and  Wikipedia      Live musical accompaniment with Carl Davis and the Philharmonia Orchestra.  Royal Festival Hall, London.  Link

13 April

Man,_Woman_and_Sin_1927_film_posterMan, Woman and Sin (Dir. Monta Bell & (uncredited) John Gilbert, 1927) + shorts. (Screening format – not known) A young man (John Gilbert) takes a succession of odd jobs in order to save enough money to buy he and his mother (Gladys Brockwell) a house. He lands a position in a newspaper office and falls in love with the beautiful society editor (Jeanne Eagels), who is secretly having an affair with the married managing editor (Marc McDermott). She returns the young man’s affections in order to make her lover jealous, but finds herself falling for him. This was a relatively rare cinema appearance by Jeanne Eagels who was predominantly known for her theatrical work.  Although widely praised for her acting ability, Eagles had the reputation of being difficult to work with, due largely to drug and alcohol problems. John Gilbert reportedly described Eagels as the most temperamental actress he had ever worked with and her contract on Man, Woman & Sin was prematurely terminated.  Eagels went on to make a couple of talkies, The Letter and Jealousy, both in 1929, before dying from a heroin overdose the same year.  She was posthumously nominated for an Oscar for The Letter but lost out to Mary Pickford in Coquette.   Man, Woman & Sin was not a critical or popular success.  Eagels’ performance received mixed reviews, but the picture was a failure primarily due to the poor reviews garnered by Gilbert. Critics rejected the great lover playing a naive mama’s boy in this film. Gilbert’s career was salvaged (and Man, Woman & Sin largely overshadowed by)  the release of his second film with Great Garbo, Love (1927), which was a smash hit at the box office. Find out more at allmovie.com  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope and introduced by world-renowned silent film historian Kevin Brownlow.  With live musical accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth  Link

18 April

Silent Comedy Night .  (Screening format – DVD) Five of the most well known, iconic and hilarious comedians from the silent film era; Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Laurel & Hardy, all played back to back. (Film titles not known)  With live musical accompaniment by Seamus Carey.   The Peckham Pelican, London SE15  Link

23 April

AdrianbrunelThe Roaring Twenties: A Celebration of 1920s British Silent Comedy  (Dir. Various) (Screening format – not known) We’re all familiar with the classic American silent film stars of the 1920s.  But what was happening here in Britain?  This selection of rare British silent comedies includes master parodist Adrian Brunel (shown right) – a forerunner to Peter Cook and Monty Python – and films inspired by the work of AA Milne and PG Wodehouse. (No specific film titles yet).   Presented as part of the London Comedy Film Festival (LOCO).  Introduced by BFI Silent Film curator Bryony Dixon. With live musical accompaniment by Lucky Dog Picturehouse.   BFI Southbank, London  (No link yet)

  24 April

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920) (Screening format – not known.  78 mins) In the village of Holstenwall, fairground hypnotist Dr Caligari (Werner Krauss) puts on show a somnambulist called Cesare (Conrad Veidt) who has been asleep for twenty three years.  At night, Cesare walks the streets murdering people on the doctor’s orders.  A student (Friedrich Feher) suspects Caligari after a friend is found dead and it transpires that the doctor is the director of a lunatic asylum.  Fueled by the pessimism and gloom of post-war Germany, the sets by Hermann Warm stand unequaled as a shining example of Expressionist design.  Find out more at Wikipedia    Presented as part of a Barbican season on German Expressionism in Extreme.  With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand and John Sweeney.  Barbican, London  Link

An Introduction To Silent Film (Dir. Various)  (Screening format – not known, 90mins)  Family screening with a selection of comedy classics plus a live introduction, music and magic.  A look at silent comedy and slapstick techniques, how music affects what makes us laugh, all seen through the skills of some of the greatest names in British and Hollywood silent film (No film details as yet). Presented as part of the London Comedy Film Festival (LOCO).  With live musical accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London  (No link yet)

25 April

220px-AnnaMayWong2Lotus Blossoms and Dragon Ladies: The Many Lives of Anna May Wong.  Author, filmmaker, critic and curator Jasper Sharp details the life and work  of movie legend Anna May Wong (1905–1961).  The world’s first Chinese-American film star  uncomfortably straddled two cultures. Born in California, she was regularly cast in stereotypical roles of long-suffering, submissive Oriental women, doomed prostitutes and seductive but deadly temptresses. America’s strict anti-miscegenation laws limited her chances of playing romantic leads against Caucasian actors, while her racy persona both onscreen and off did little to endear her to the Chinese. And yet against these odds, Anna May Wong sustained a career spanning four decades. Presented by the Last Tuesday Society  The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History, London  E8  Link

28 April

220px-Frau_im_MondFrau im Mond (aka Woman in the Moon) (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 163mins)   Helius (Willy Fritsch) is an entrepreneur with an interest in space travel. He seeks out Professor Mannfeldt (Klaus Pohl), a visionary who has written a treatise on the likelihood of finding gold on the moon, only to be ridiculed by his peers. Helius recognizes the value of Mannfeldt’s work, but a gang of evil businessmen have also taken an interest in Mannfeldt’s theories.  They steal Professor Mannfeldt’s research   then present an ultimatum: either they are included in the project, or they will sabotage it.  Once the rocket expedition reaches the moon tensions mount and violence erupts.  It soon becomes clear that not everyone will make it home…. This was Lang’s final silent film, written in collaboration with his wife at the time, Thea von Harbou.  It is widely regarded as one of the first ‘serious’ science fiction films,  with many details uncannily prescient of contemporary space travel.  Indeed, German rocket scientist Hermann Oberth was credited as an advisor on the film.  Find out more at IMDb.com   With live and unique ‘cine-mix’ musical accompaniment by Techno pioneer Jeff Mills.  Coronet Cinema, Elephant & Castle, London   Link

The somme 1927The Somme (Dir. M.A. Wetherall, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 109mins)  Marking this year’s centenary of the battle of the Somme, this 1920s reconstruction of the battle mixes actuality footage and dramatic re-construction. In some scenes veterans re-enact their own experiences for the cameras.  This docu-drama was made at Isleworth Studios by New Era films using a number of  the crew who had previously worked on a successful series of documentary reconstructions of First World War battles produced by British masies marriageInstructional Films.   Although M A Wetherell received the directors credit, much of the film was probably directed by writers Boyd Cable and Geoffery Barkas (the latter going on to co-direct with Anthony Asquith the brilliant wartime drama Tell England (1931) about the Gallipoli campaign and in World War II becoming the Director of Camouflage in the Middle East theatre of operations). Find out more at nytimes.com  Presented as part of the British Silent Film Festival Symposium. With live musical accompaniment.  Kings College, London  Link

Maisie’s Marriage (aka Married Love ) (Dir. Alexander Butler/Walter Summers, 1923) (Screening format – not known, 95mins)  A fireman’s fiancée, ejected by her father, becomes a maid and finds small families happier than large ones. This notorious drama of family life was co-written by the inimical campaigner for birth control and author of Married Love, Marie Stopes. The association with Stopes – at that time involved in a highly publicised libel case – caused some headaches for the censor, and the film was advertised in some quarters as ‘For Adults Only’. Additionally, BBFC made the filmmakers change the title from Married Love to remove all association with her campaign.  Find out more at IMDb.com  Presented as part of the British Silent Film Festival Symposium. With live musical accompaniment.  Kings College, London  Link

 Knocknagow (aka  The Homes of Tipperary) (Dir. Fred O’Donovan, 1918) (Screening format – not known, 80mins)  The agent of an absentee landlord resorts to underhand means in order to evict tenants from land that knocknagow_still_2could be more profitably used for cattle in post-famine Tipperary. Adapted from the 1879 novel The Homes of Tipperary by Charles J. Kickham  and premiered in Dublin on the second anniversary of the Easter Rising, from its opening intertitle, “Produced by the Film Company of Ireland in Ireland by Irish Men and Women”, Knocknagow became a key patriotic production and  proved inspirational stuff for nationalist Irish audiences during the War of Independence.  Directed by Fred O’Donovan, an actor at the Abbey Theater, Knocknagow was one of the first major films to be produced in Ireland, and is the earliest surviving film made in Ireland – all earlier productions being believed destroyed in the 1916 Rising.  Find out more at screeningthepast.com  Presented as part of the British Silent Film Festival Symposium. With live musical accompaniment.  Kings College, London  Link

29 April

Big_Business_1929Big Business (Dir. James W Horne, 1929) and Liberty (Dir.  Leo McCarey, 1929)   (Screening format – not known, 19/20 mins)       In Big Business, catering to the under-developed market of door-to-door sales of Christmas trees in California, Stan and Ollie encounter a scrooge of a potential customer. As hardened salesmen they refuse to give in, resulting in a melee of destruction, flying pine needles and a slapstick L&H_Liberty_1929punchline which will literally blow your face off!   Find out more at Wikipedia.org  Liberty sees Stan and Ollie as fugitives on the run as prison escapees. In their haste to change into street clothes, they wind up wearing each others pants, and a crab accidentally finds its way into Stan’s trousers, causing him problems with nipping. A cop chases them to a construction site, where they escape by riding an elevator to the top floor of an unfinished building. Atop the girders, 20 stories in the air, they finally switch trousers, contend with a crab, and manage to nearly fall to their death a few dozen times.  Find out more at IMDb.com  Presented as part of the Herne Hill Free Film Festival.  With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand.  Herne Hill Railway Station, Herne Hill, London SE24  Link

30 April