London & South East

NB. Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure that the information contained in these listings is accurate, silentfilmcalendar.com can take no responsibility for any errors or inaccuracies. You are strongly advised to confirm with the venue that the event remains as detailed, particularly if traveling any distance to attend.


 

4 May

Bucking_Broadway Terje Vigen (Dir.  Victor Sjostrom,1917) and (T0 Be Confirmed) Bucking Broadway (Dir. John Ford ,1917) (Screening format – not known)  Bucking Broadway is an early John Ford comedy-western, probably the ninth film he made in 1917.  In the film, Cheyenne Harry (Harry Carey) is a cowboy on a ranch in Wyoming who falls in love with Helen (Molly Malone), the daughter of his boss (L M Wells). But then, Eugene Thornton (Vester Pegg), a “city chap,” arrives from New York in a flash automobile to buy horses.  On the night a party is given to celebrate the formal engagement of Cheyenne and Helen, the girl elopes with Thornton.  Cheyenne, devastated by the loss of his fiance, decides to go to the city to rescue her, while Helen finds out that Thornton isn’t quite as nice as he makes out.  Described at the time as “Ridiculously inconsistent but exceedingly effective for the not over-critical” the film builds to a hectic climax featuring a cowboy charge down Broadway and a furious free-for-all fist fight.  Sounds like great fun!  Find out more at Silentera.com    In terje vigenTerje Vigen   (aka A Man There Was), Victor Sjostrom plays a sailor who tries to bring food to his starving family by breaking through an enemy naval blockade, but is captured. The enemy captain (August Falck) ignores his pleas and he is put in jail for years. Upon his return he is heartbroken to learn that his family did not survive. Then when a ship is wrecked during a storm the sailor rushes to help, but is astonished to find that same former captain fighting for his life.  The sailor now has a chance for revenge.  Directed by and starring Victor Sjöström, the film was based on a poem by Henrik Ibsen (all the inter-titles are quotations of Ibsen’s original text) and is widely seen as heralding the TerjeVigen1917-01start of a golden era of Swedish cinema, characterised by breath-taking cinematography, deft editing and  performances of great intensity. The most remarkable aspect of the film is the outdoor on-location filming on small boats, which gives great authenticity to the action, in particular the very realistic chase and sinking of the dinghy in the middle of reefs. Sjöström gives  a measured yet intense performance in the title role and appeared in practically every scene.  His directorial technique is equally impressive, heralding a director who would go on to direct classic silent films in Sweden (The Phantom Carriage (1921) and Hollywood (He Who Gets Slapped (1924) and The Wind (1928)).  Find out more at acinemahistory.com   A presentation by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live musical accompaniment.     Cinema Museum, Lambeth  Link

King_John_1899Play On! Shakespeare in Silent Film (Dir. Various) (Screening format – DCP, 90mins) Adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays proved popular with early film-makers and audiences alike, from King John in 1899.  By the end of the silent era around 300 such films had been produced.  This feature-length celebration from the BFI National Archive draws together a delightful selection of thrilling, dramatic, iconic and humorous scenes from two dozen different titles, many of which have been unseen for decades, newly restored and digitised.  See Hamlet addressing Yorick’s skull, King Lear battling a raging storm at Stonehenge, the Merchant of Venice in vibrant stencil colour, the fairy magic of A Midsummernight’s Dream and what was probably John Gielgud’s first appearance on film in the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.    Introduced by Judith Buchanan (author of Shakespeare on Silent Film: An Excellent Dumb Discourse) who will explore the ways Shakespeare was adapted for the screen before the advent of sound followed by a conversation with the BFI’s silent film curator Bryony Dixon.     BFI Southbank, London Link

5 May

steamboatLARGE-1280x480Steamboat Bill Jnr.    (Dir. Buster Keaton, 1928)  (Screening format – 35mm, 71mins)  A crusty river boat captain hopes that his long departed son’s return will help him compete with a business rival.  Unfortunately, William Canfield Jnr (Buster Keaton) is an effete college boy.  Worse still, he has fallen for the business rival’s daughter (Marion Byron).  Not a commercial success at the time, this is now rightly regarded as a Keaton classic.    Find out more at Wikipedia       Prince Charles Cinema, London WC2       Link

The Cameraman (Dir. Edward Sedgwick & Buster Keaton, 1928 )  (Screening format – 35mm, 69mins) The last truly great film from Buster Keaton, one of silent cinema’s trailblazers. It remains as charming as it is hilarious.  The story sees, Keaton, as always, trying to win the heart of a pretty girl, this time the secretary at a newsreel production company. Deciding to trade in his tintype camera, he tries to make it in the world of moving pictures, but faces an array of obstacles, including, amongst other things, a jealous rival The_cameraman_postercameraman, his own lack of experience, and an interfering monkey. Find out more at Wikipedia   Presented to mark the first anniversary of the re-opening of the Regent Street Cinema, with live accompaniment on the cinema’s original 1936 Compton organ by renowned organist Donald MacKenzie.  Regent Street Cinema, London   (See  –  www.regentstreetcinema.com/programme/the-cameraman/  )

6 May.

The Cameraman (Dir. Edward Sedgwick & Buster Keaton, 1928 )  (Screening format – not known) The last truly great film from Buster Keaton, one of silent cinema’s trailblazers. It remains as charming as it is hilarious.  The story sees, Keaton, as always, trying to win the heart of a pretty girl, this time the secretary at a newsreel production company. Deciding to trade in his tintype camera, he tries to make it in the world of moving pictures, but faces an array of obstacles, including, amongst other things, a jealous rival Cameraman, his own lack of experience, and an interfering monkey. Find out more at Wikipedia    With live organ accompaniment by Donald MacKenzie.  St John’s Church, Notting Hill, London  Link

achmedLARGE-1280x480The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed) (Dir. Carl Koch and Lotte Reiniger, 1926) (Screening format – not known, 72 mins)   Based on the classic collection of stories “Arabian Nights,” the film tells the story of an evil African sorcerer who tricks a young prince named Achmed into riding a wild magical flying horse which he does not know how to control. The evil sorcerer assumes that the Prince will eventually get thrown from the flying horse and plunge to his death. However, Prince Achmed manages to tame the flying horse and instead gets whisked away into a series of adventures that include encounters with Aladdin, the Witch of the Fiery Mountains, the beautiful Princess Pari Banu and of course a showdown with the evil African sorcerer. This German animated fairy-tale film  is the oldest surviving animated feature film.  It features a silhouette animation technique co-director Reiniger had invented which involved manipulated cutouts made from cardboard and thin sheets of lead under a camera. The technique she used for the camera is similar to Wayang shadow puppets, though hers were animated frame by frame, not manipulated in live action. For more information see methodshop.com  Prince Charles Cinema, London WC2  Link

9 May

The Immigrant (Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1917.  Screening format – not known, 22 mins) On a  steamer crossing the Atlantic, the Tramp (Chaplin)  finds himself in assorted mischief while, among other things, playing cards, eating in a mess hall, and avoiding seasick passengers. He befriends another immigrant (Edna Purviance) who is traveling to America with her ailing mother.  Upon arrival in America, the Tramp and the woman part company. Later, hungry and broke, the tramp finds money on the street.   He enters a restaurant,  orders a meal and is reunited with the woman. But then he discovers the money is gone…  Find out more at IMDb Presented in support of a campaign to stop the new ’35k’ law regarding Tier 2 skilled migrant visas. The new law affects 1000’s of musicians, artists, teachers, and non-corporate workers who have settled in the UK for many years and have made their lives here, but who do not earn over £35k per year from their sponsoring employer. With live musical accompaniment by Meg Morley who will be directly affected by the new legislation. The Charterhouse Bar, London EC1  Link

11 May

Never_Weaken_FilmPoster.jpegBrighton: Symphony of a City (Dir. Lizzie Thynne, 2016) +  Liberty    (Dir.Leo McCarey, 1929)   +    Never Weaken (Dir. Fred Newmeyer/SamTaylor, 1921) (Screening format – not known, ?/20 /19mins)  Drawing on such precedents as Walter Ruttmann’s 1927 silent classic Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, the world premier of this new film depicts a day in the life of the city of Brighton, darting back and forth through time to encompass archive film of the lost glories and contemporary events that have defined Brighton’s profile as the UK’s most vibrant location. Liberty is a tale of escaped convicts Laurel & Hardy, their trousers, death-defying stunts atop sky-scraping girders and a crab. This was the duo’s last silent film and widely held to be their best. Originally released with an optional soundtrack of music and sound effects that was rarely used due to the challenges of synchronisation, this also stars Jean Harlow.    Find out more at Wikipedia   In Never  Weaken,  Harold Lloyd works in an office on a tall building next to his girlfriend Mildred  (Mildred Davis). He assumes they will be married, but overhears her talking to a man who says to her, “Of course I will marry you.”  Distraught, he decides to commit suicide, blindfolding himself and setting up a gun which will fire when he pulls a string attached to the trigger….. . Find out more at  Wikipedia    Brighton: Symphony of a City  is accompanied by a sumptuous symphonic score performed live by Orchestra of Sound and Light. Liberty and Never Weaken come with live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand.    Dome Concert Hall, Brighton   Link

King_John_1899Play On! Shakespeare in Silent Film (Dir. Various) (Screening format – DCP, 90mins) Adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays proved popular with early film-makers and audiences alike, from King John in 1899.  By the end of the silent era around 300 such films had been produced.  This feature-length celebration from the BFI National Archive draws together a delightful selection of thrilling, dramatic, iconic and humorous scenes from two dozen different titles, many of which have been unseen for decades, newly restored and digitised.  See Hamlet addressing Yorick’s skull, King Lear battling a raging storm at Stonehenge, the Merchant of Venice in vibrant stencil colour, the fairy magic of A Midsummernight’s Dream and what was probably John Gielgud’s first appearance on film in the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.  BFI Southbank (Studio), London  Link   NB  Also screens on 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21, 27, 28, 29 May

 citylightsLARGE-1280x480City Lights (Dir Charlie Chaplin, 1931) (Screening format – DCP, 87mins) The story of the little tramp (Charlie Chaplin)’s on-off friendship with an alcoholic millionaire (Harry Myers) and his efforts to help a blind flower seller (Virginia Cherrill).  A Chaplin classic, eloquent, moving and funny.  The sound era was well under way when production of City Lights started but Chaplin decided to use the soundtrack to his own purposes while still leaving the dialogue on inter-titles, thereby utilising the best of the modern technology while still retaining the silent film sensibilities of his character and his physical comedy. City Lights also marked the first time Chaplin himself had composed the film score to one of his productions.  Chaplin was nervous about the film’s reception because, by this time, silent films were becoming obsolete, and a negatively received preview had undermined his confidence. Nevertheless, City Lights became one of Chaplin’s most financially successful and critically acclaimed works.  Find out more at Wikipedia.com   Prince Charles Cinema, London WC2   Link

14 MayFor_Heaven's_Sake_02

For Heaven’s Sake (Dir. Sam Taylor, 1926) + shorts (Screening format – not known, 58mins) Millionaire J. Harold Manners (Harold Lloyd) finds himself in the poor part of town one day. When he accidentally sets fire to a charity pushcart  owned by  Brother Paul (Paul Weigel), he offers to pay for it but Brother Paul assumes he wants to fund building of a new mission.  Once Manners reads in the newspaper that he is sponsoring a mission, he goes there to dissociate himself from it.  When he starts to tear down the sign, he is scolded by Brother Paul’s daughter, Hope (Jobyna Ralston) but he is immediately smitten with her. And thats when his troubles start…..The climactic chase is as hilarious and exciting a piece of celluloid as has ever been produced, but it is merely the capper to an uninterrupted stream of brilliant sight gags. Long underrated, For Heaven’s Sake is one of the cleverest and most consistently entertaining of all of Harold Lloyd’s silent vehicles.  Find out more at IMDb.com      With live organ accompaniment by renowned organist Donald MacKenzie.  St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Harrow and Wealdstone  Link

15 May

Waxworks (Dir. Paul Leni, 1924) (Screening format – not known.  83 mins)  Described by film historian Lotte Eisner as one of the most genuinely Expressionist films, Waxworks sees a young nameless poet (William Dieterle) enter a wax museum where the proprietor works in the company of his daughter. The proprietor hires the poet to write a back-story for his wax models of Harum al-Rashid (Emil Jannings), Ivan the Terrible (Conrad Veidt), and Jack the Ripper (Werner Krauss) in order to draw an audience to the museum. With the daughter by his side, the poet notices that the arm of Harun al-Rashid is missing and writes a story incorporating the missing arm.  Find out more at IMDb  Presented as part of a Barbican season on German Expressionism in Extreme.  With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.  Barbican, London  Link

21 May

Paulette_McDonaghThe Far Paradise (Dir. Paulette McDonagh, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 85mins)  The McDonagh Sisters, Isabel (image below), Phyllis, and Paulette (image left), were business partners and creative collaborators who made films in Sydney, Australia, in the 1920s and 1930s. Isabel, the eldest, was the actress and star of all their films under the name Marie Lorraine. Phyllis took on the role of art director, publicist and producer. Paulette, the youngest of the three, was the writer and director of all their films. The sisters grew up in the upper middle class suburb of Drummoyne in Sydney, Australia. Drummoyne House, the grand family home, was filled with antique furniture and became the movie set and backdrop for many of their films. The home was a hub of bohemia, with traveling theatrical and entertainment people visiting whenever in Sydney.  Isobel McDonagh in The Far Paradise The McDonagh Sisters is a new 60-minute documentary interview with Alan and Charles Stewart, the sons of Marie Lorraine. Alan and Charles will introduce the documentary.  This will be followed by the main feature: the sisters’ silent film, The Far Paradise, set in the town of Kirkton where James Carson is involved in criminal activity and is investigated by the Attorney-General, Howard Lawton. Carson’s daughter Cherry falls in love with Lawton’s son Peter, and Lawton forbids the relationship. James Carson goes into hiding, taking Cherry with him.  A year later Peter finds Cherry selling flowers in a mountain tourist resort, trying to support her now-alcoholic father. Will they ever find happiness.  Find out more at IMDb.com    Finally, there will be a short Q&A with Alan and Charles, together with Trader Faulkner, son of lead actor John Faulkner, who will also be attending.  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live musical accompaniment.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth   Link

22 May

sunrise-tormentSunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (Dir. F W Murnau, 1927) (Screening format – DCP, 95mins)  A  woman vacationing from the City (Margaret Livingston) lingers in a lakeside town. After dark, she goes to a farmhouse where the Man (George O’Brien) and the Wife (Janet Gaynor) live. She whistles from the fence outside. The Man is torn, but finally departs, leaving his wife with the memories of better times when they were deeply in love. The man and woman kiss passionately. She wants him to sell his farm and join her in the city. Then she suggests that he solve the problem of his wife by drowning her….Considered by some to be the greatest film of the silent era, Sunrise is at very least a combination of artistic triumph and artistic enigma. Perhaps the finest example of the melding of German visual design with American studio production techniques, Sunrise is an oddly disconnected story that still manages to reach its audience with its tremendous emotional undercurrent. Find out more at Wikipedia  With live organ soundtrack.  Regent Street Cinema, London   Link

24 May

shooting-stars-01Shooting Stars (Dir. Anthony Asquith, 1927) (Screening format – DCP, 103mins) A handsome cowboy gazes adoringly at his ‘gal’ perched winsomely in a tree. No, it’s not the Wild West, it’s Cricklewood, a British movie studio in the 1920s. This is not the only illusion to be swiftly shattered. A slapstick comedy is being shot on the other stage and spoiled star Mae Feather (Annette Benson) is more interested in what’s happening on the other set (particularly in its lead) than in her husband and co-star (Brian Aherne). Acknowledged toshooting-stars-650 be the debut of rising talent Anthony Asquith (Underground (1928), A Cottage on Dartmoor  (1929) ), it weaves together on and off screen stories with energy, flair and considerable bravado, affording rare, behind-the-scene glimpses. With stunning photography and gripping storytelling, this rarely seen masterpiece of British silent film has just been restored to its original 1920s sparkle by a team of experts at the National Film Archive and this is the Northern premiere screening.  Find out more at  IMDb.com    David Lean Cinema, Croydon    Link

romerome 3Ancient Rome in Silent Cinema.   Hollywood has released a number of big-budget films set in antiquity, yet cinema has been fascinated with the ancient world and with Roman history in particular ever since it emerged as a new technology more than 100 years ago. Within a few months of the first public shows of moving images held in 1896, Nero was brought onto the screen trying out poisons on his slaves. The persistent presence of ancient Rome in early cinema raises important questions. Why did so modern a medium as cinema have so strong an interest in classical antiquity right from its start? What did ancient Rome do for cinema? And what did cinema do for ancient Rome? Presented as part of the UCL Festival of Culture by Professor Maria Wyke, Chair of Latin at University College London . She has written extensively on Roman love poetry and ancient gender and sexuality, on the reception of Julius Caesar in Western culture, and on ancient Rome in cinema.  University College, London WC1 Link

26 May

chaplin - modern timesClose-Up Cinema and Pluto Press  host a special book launch event to mark the publication of The Chaplin Machine: Slapstick, Fordism and the Communist Avant-GardeAuthor Owen Hatherley will talk about the strange and under-investigated connections between comedy, industry and communism via the silent comedy and its more ambiguous successor, the musical.  Too often, Soviet avant-garde cinema of the 1920s is treated as a high-minded affair of dialectics, rarefied theory-making and stern propaganda. But Hatherley will bring out another, much forgotten side, their constant dialogue with American silent comedy, something which was always fundamental to their work. Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd shuffled the same deck as Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Kuleshov and Vertov – equally concerned with Fordism, industry, the modern city, scorn for traditional high culture and an obsession with the effects of mechanisation on the human body – but they were put down in a very different order.  Hatherley will also show clips of the following films: The Bank (Chaplin), One Week (Keaton), Never Weaken (Lloyd), Adventures of Mr West in the Land of the Bolsheviks (Kuleshov), One Sixth of the World (Vertov), The General Line (Eisenstein/Alexandrov), Enthusiasm (Vertov), Happiness (Medvedkin), The Little Music Box (Khodataev), Circus (Alexandrov) and Modern Times (Chaplin).  Close-Up Cinema, London E1  (  See    www.closeupfilmcentre.com/film_programmes/2016/the-chaplin-machine-book-launch/  )

28 May

_Lumiere_advertisement_1895L'Arrivée_d'un_train_en_gare_de_La_CiotatRecreation 1896 Night.   A trip back in time to 1896 and a typical evening’s entertainment of ‘electric animated photographs’ (silent movies) featuring;  some of the earliest films from the Lumiere brothers including  La Sortie des Ouviers de L’Usine Lumière à Lyon (1895) (Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory) and L’arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat (1895) (Train Pulling into a Station) ; some of the first films of R W Paul,the leading pioneer of early British film production, including Rough Sea at Dover (1895),  Footpads (1895)  The Derby (1896) and  Blackfriars Bridge (1896) ; together with other early short films with a local interest.  Presented as part of the Worthing World of Words (WOW) Festival 2016.   Live musical accompaniment in part.   The Southern Pavilion, Worthing Pier,  Worthing, West  Sussex  Link

30 MayThe_cameraman_poster

The Cameraman (Dir. Edward Sedgwick & Buster Keaton, 1928 )  (Screening format – 35mm, 69mins) The last truly great film from Buster Keaton, one of silent cinema’s trailblazers. It remains as charming as it is hilarious.  The story sees, Keaton, as always, trying to win the heart of a pretty girl, this time the secretary at a newsreel production company. Deciding to trade in his tintype camera, he tries to make it in the world of moving pictures, but faces an array of obstacles, including, amongst other things, a jealous rival cameraman, his own lack of experience, and an interfering monkey. Find out more at Wikipedia   With live accompaniment on the cinema’s original 1936 Compton organ by renowned organist Donald MacKenzie.  Regent Street Cinema, London Link