Mar – Dec 2017

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March

1 March

Nell Gwyn (Dir. Herbert Wilcox, 1926) (Screening format – 35mm, 80mins)  Herbert Wilcox’s first effort at bringing the story of Nell Gwyn to the screen starred Dorothy Gish as Nell Gwyn and Randle Ayrton as Charles II.  Based on the 1926 novel Mistress Nell Gwyn by Marjorie Bowen it follows the life of Nell Gwyn, the mistress of Charles II.  Contemporary reviews were pretty positive, even in the US.  For example, the New York Times reviewer said, “Whatever may be the shortcomings of English motion picture producers, if they can put together other pictures as simply and with as much dramatic effect as this story of Nell Gwyn, they should have no difficulty obtaining a showing for them anywhere. The story moves quickly and surely. With nothing to strain one’s credulity, and the acting of Miss Gish and Randle Ayrton, who takes the part of Charles, is excellent. So is that of Juliette Compton as Lady Castlemaine. The immorality of the period is suggested without being offensive, and for the second time this summer a good picture has not been spoiled by prudery. The titles are unusually good and frequently amusing, that deal of gossip Pepys being restored to for purposes of verisimilitude.”  Wilcox later had a second go at making Nell Gwyn in 1934, starring Anna Neagle and Sir Cedric Hardwicke.  Find out more at silentsaregolden.com .  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  Print from the BFI. With live piano accompaniment. Cinema Museum, Lambeth   Link

3 March

Broken Blossoms (Dir. D W Griffiths, 1919) (Screening format – not known, 90mins)  Cheng Huan leaves his native China because he “dreams to spread the gentle message of Buddha to the Anglo-Saxon lands”, but his idealism fades as he is faced with the brutal reality of London’s gritty inner-city. When he becomes involved in protecting a young girl from her violent and xenophobic father he falls in love with her, but there is trouble when the father discovers that his daughter is staying with a foreigner… In contrast to Griffiths’ earlier epic scale films such as Birth of a Nation (1916) and Intolerence (1916), Broken Blossoms is a much smaller and intimate scale project and perhaps the first Hollywood film to feature an inter-racial love story (albeit completely platonic).  However, it remains a film very much of its era, right down to its sub-title The Yellow Man and the Girl (from the novel The Chink and the Child!) and one in which the Chinese character would be portrayed by white actor Richard Barthelmess.  But Lillian Gish as Lucy is the real star, her false smile the epitome of pathos while her performance in the closet sequence still produces shivers.  Find out more at  rogerebert.com .  With live organ accompaniment  by Donald Mackenzie.  Regent Street Cinema, London Link

Shoes (Dir. Lois Weber, 1916) (Screening format – not known, 60mins) Having directed several films in tandem with her husband Phillips Smalley, Lois Weber went solo with the 1916 production Shoes. The film was based on a Collier’s Magazine story by Stella Wynne Herron, which in turn was inspired by a quote from a book by 19th-century humanitarian Jane Addams. The heroine, working-girl Eve Meyer (Mary McLaren), is unable to afford a new pair of shoes on her meager wages. After several frustrating weeks of trying to scrimp and save, Eve is reduced to selling herself sexually for the sake of the shoes. She comes to regret this decision, bitterly ruminating over “what might have been” during the film’s somber closing scenes. Rarely seen, this forgotten classic has recently been beautifully restored by Eye Film Institute Netherlands and gives a sense of Weber’s talent behind the camera. Find out more at  wikipedia.org .   Presented as part of the Borderlines Film Festival.   Introduced by Ellen Cheshire, contributor to the book ‘Silent Women – Pioneers of Cinema’, with live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.   The Courtyard, Hereford  Link

5 March

Sherlock Jr (Dir. Buster Keaton, 1924)The Cameraman  (Dir. Buster Keaton/Edward Sedgwick, 1928)  (Screening format – not known, 45/69  mins)  A little over a decade after its invention, cinema became the most popular international form of entertainment. Audiences were movie-crazy, fascinated by the way they were made, and the people who made them. To feed this interest, magazines sprang up purporting to go behind the scenes and show the stars’ real lives, on- and off-screen, and studios turned their cameras on themselves.   On this theme Barbican presents a double-bill of Buster Keaton classics in which he stars as a cinema projectionist who dreams of becoming a famous detective in order to win his sweetheart’s hand, and a wannabe news cameraman wooing a girl in the MGM newsreel office. In addition to being set in the world of the movies, both films are celebrated as clever examinations of the medium of film itself. Find out more at www.busterkeaton.com/Films .   With recorded soundtrack.  Barbican, London   Link

The General  (Dir. Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman, 1926)  (Screening format – not known, 75mins)  Widely considered one of the greatest films ever made and one of the most revered comedies of the silent era, Buster Keaton’s effortless masterpiece sees hapless Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray (Keaton) facing off against Union soldiers during the American Civil War. When Johnny’s fiancée, Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), is accidentally taken away while on a train stolen by Northern forces, Gray pursues the soldiers, using various modes of transportation in comic action scenes that highlight Keaton’s boundless, innovative wit and joyful, lighthearted dexterity, to reclaim the train and thereby save the South. Find out more at  busterkeaton.com .  Presented as part of the Borderlines Film Festival.  With live piano accompaniment by Paul Shallcross.  Assembly Rooms, Ludlow, Shropshire     Link

napoleon-portraitNapoleon (Dir. Abel Gance, 1927) (Screening format – DCP332 mins) Gance’s astounding biopic of Napoleon traces his career from his schooldays (where a snowball fight is staged like a military campaign), his flight from Corsica, through the French Revolution (where a real storm is intercut with a political storm) and the Terror, culminating in his triumphant invasion of Italy in 1797.  The film ends here because it was intended to be part one of six, but Gance was unable to raise the money to make further episodes. The film’s legendary reputation is due to the astonishing range of techniques that Gance uses to tell his story (including fast cutting, extensive close-ups, hand-held camera shots, location shooting, point of view shots, multiple camera set-ups, multiple exposure, superimposition and under water shots) culminating in the final twenty-minute triptych sequence, which alternates widescreen panoramas with complex multiple- image montages.  This is the most complete version of the film available, compiled by Academy Award-winning film-maker, archivist and historian Kevin Brownlow who spent over 50 years tracking down surviving prints from archives around the world since he first saw a 9.5mm version as a schoolboy in 1954.  Find out more at  BFI and  Wikipedia   Presented as part of the Borderlines Film Festival.   With recorded Carl Davies orchestral accompaniment.  The Courtyard, Hereford Link

  10 March

The Fire (Il Fuoco) (Dir. Giovanni Pastrone, 1916) (Screening format – 35mm, 45mins)  A chance encounter between a wealthy poet and a fledgling artist sparks an incendiary and forbidden romance. The promise of fame and fortune makes the fire of their passions burn all the brighter. But it cannot last, and wreckless emotions leads to a dangerous obsession and a cursed conclusion.  The Italian silent film Il Fuoco (The Fire) stars the brilliant diva Pina Menichelli in a striking and sultry turn.  Projected using a unique 35mm print from the Turin Film Archives.  Find out more at  imdb.com .  Presented by South West Silents. With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.   Cube Microplex, Bristol   Link 

Silent Cinema and the Classics  Dr Pantelis Michelakis (Bristol) introduces this discussion which will include screenings of Purity (Dir. Rae Berger, 1916) and L’Esclave de Phidias (Dir. Leonce Perret, 1917) (Screening format – not known, 70/?? mins)      In Purity, Purity (Audrey Munson), a simple country girl, comes to the city and is hired as an artist’s model. A young poet becomes obsessed with her, and is distraught when he learns she has been posing nude. But his distress is diminished when he finds that she intends to use her income from modeling to publish his poetry. Find out more at  wikipedia.org .     In L’Esclave de Phidias sculptor Phidias (Luitz Morat) is commissioned  to carve a ceremonial statue of Athena.  None of his models provide him with the inspiration to complete the statue but on hearing his slave Callyce (Suzanne Delve) playing the lyre he falls in love with her. Find out more at imdb.com . Followed by discussion led by Oliver Taplin, with Sue Jones, Laura Marcus, Pantelis Michelakis, and Stephen Horne.   With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.  Jacqueline Du Pré Music Building, St Hilda’s, Cowley Place, OxfordLink

11 March

The Winning of Barbara Worth (Dir. Henry King,  1926) (Screening format – not known, 89mins)  Based on the novel of the same name  by Harold Bell Wright (Chicago, 1911) this tells the story of  two engineers vying for the affections of the adoptive daughter of a landowner. Barbara Worth ( Vilma Banky) wants to help her father, Jefferson Worth (Charles Lane), build a dam on the Colorado River to help irrigate the desert land he owns. The elder Worth gets a loan from a New York banker, who brings with him his stepson, Willard Holmes (Ronald Coleman), an engineer. Local engineer Abe Lee (Gary Cooper, in one of his first big roles) and Holmes both fall in love with Barbara. But who gets the girl and does the dam ever get built?  Find out more at imdb.com .   Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Western Saturday.  With live musical accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth   Link

Thundering Hoofs (TBC) (Dir. Albert Rogell, 1924) (Screening format – not known, 50mins)  Dave Marshall (Fred Thomson) takes many dangerous chances in his efforts to visit his sweetheart, Carmelita  (Ann May), as a result of bandit Luke Severn (William Lowery)’s success in making Carmelita’s father, Don Juan Estrada (Charles Mailes), believe that Dave is an outlaw. When Don Estrada takes his daughter back to Mexico, Severn finally has Dave jailed on trumped-up charges.  Is this the end for Dave and Carmelita or will Dave’s horse, Silver King, help save the day?  Find out more at imdb.com .  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Western Saturday.  With live musical accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth   Link

The Narrow Trail (TBC) (Dir. Lambert Hillyer, 1917) (Screening format – not known, 68mins) Outlaw Ice Harding (William S Hart) tames a wild horse and names it King. When Ice holds up a stagecoach he encounters San Francisco vice king Bates (Milton Ross) and his innocent niece Betty Werdin (Sylvia Breamar). Ice takes a fancy to Betty, although at first she sees nothing in him. But she begins to come around when her uncle tries to swindle Ice.  But will their relationship survive when their real professions are revealed?   Find out more at  wikipedia.org . Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Western Saturday.  With live musical accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth   Link

The Devil Horse (TBC) (Dir. Fred Jackman, 1926) (Screening format – not known, 68mins)  A wagon train of Montana settlers is attacked by Indians, and all but young Dave Garson are killed. Years pass, and Dave (Yakima Canutt) grows to manhood hating the Indians.  Reunited with a horse  (Rex, the Wonder Horse) from his childhood the pair set out to save a cavalry fort and take revenge on the indians.  With a story by Hal Roach and Stan Laurel and featuring the emormous but apparently spectacularly bad tempered equine star Rex this film was a big hit in its time, helped by the beautiful cinematography of George Stevens.  Find out more at  imdb.com .    Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Western Saturday.  With live musical accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth   Link

12 March

Mother (Dir Vsevolod Pudovkin, 1926) (Screening format – not known,  89 mins)  Legendary film critic and writer Pauline Kael stated that “Pudovkin’s masterpiece, based on Maxim Gorky’s novel and frequently selected by critics as one of the greatest films of all time, gives an epic sense of the 1905 revolution through the emotions of the participants, and sweeps one along by its fervor and a brilliant and varied use of the medium.”   Telling the story of a woman’s struggle against Tsarist rule, Vera Baranovskaya plays the mother who is tricked by the police into betraying her son, whilst Pudovkin himself plays the officer who interrogates her.  Find out more at sensesofcinema.com   With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.  Barbican, London   Link

Shoes (Dir. Lois Weber, 1916) (Screening format – not known, 60mins) Having directed several films in tandem with her husband Phillips Smalley, Lois Weber went solo with the 1916 production Shoes. The film was based on a Collier’s Magazine story by Stella Wynne Herron, which in turn was inspired by a quote from a book by 19th-century humanitarian Jane Addams. The heroine, working-girl Eve Meyer (Mary McLaren), is unable to afford a new pair of shoes on her meager wages. After several frustrating weeks of trying to scrimp and save, Eve is reduced to selling herself sexually for the sake of the shoes. She comes to regret this decision, bitterly ruminating over “what might have been” during the film’s somber closing scenes. Find out more at  wikipedia.org .   Presented by South West Silents and introduced by Silent London’s Pamela Hutchinson.  With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.   Curzon Community Cinema, Clevedon    Link

15 March

French Silent Film Night  Dr Mark Bould (University of West of England)  introduces this session, dedicated to the work of celebrated film director Jacques Feyder (1885 – 1948).  Over the course of his career Feyder worked with some of the biggest names in cinema and made some of the key silent and sound films of French Cinema and yet, outside of France and Italy, he is hardly remembered by many Cinephiles. South West Silents hope to change that with this free Club ScreeningThe Lansdown Public House, Clifton Bristol  Link

17 March

The_Phantom_of_the_Opera_(1925_film)Phantom Opera - Lon Chaney1Phantom Of The Opera (Dir. Rupert Julian, 1925)  (Screening format – not known, 103mins)  A title that needs no introduction, ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ has spawned many remakes, remasters and sequels. This original film version, produced with moments of early Technicolour, sees Lon Chaney, the ‘Man of a Thousand Faces’ perform one of his most iconic roles. His ghastly make-up and outrageous performance made this title a benchmark in the American silent film era. The film was a critical and commercial success upon release, and still stands as an important film in cinematic history to this day, with press quotes from the time labelling the film an ‘ultra-fantastic melodrama’ (New York Times), ‘produced on a stupendous scale’ (Moving Picture World) and ‘probably the greatest inducement to nightmare that has yet been screened’ (Variety).  The mysterious phantom (Lon Chaney) is a vengeful composer living in the catacombs under the Paris Opera House, determined to promote the career of  the singer he loves (Mary Philbin).  Famed for the phantom’s shock unmasking, incredible set designs and the masked ball sequence, it still packs a punch. Find out more at Wikipedia. With live piano accompaniment by Jonathan Best.  Middleton Hall, University of Hull, Hull.   Link

18 March

Wind_(1928)The Wind (Dir Victor Sjostrom, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 95 mins)  Innocent and naive Letty Mason (Lillian Gish) moves from her Virginia home to Sweet Water on the western prairies to live on the ranch of her cousin Beverly (Edward Earle) , his wife Cora (Dorothy Cumming) and their three children. Letty quickly learns how inhospitable the environment in Sweet Water is, the most obvious feature being the Lilian Gish - The Windincessant wind. But equally inhospitable are the unrefined way the people in Sweet Water live to which she is unaccustomed, and Cora, who believes Letty has come to steal Beverly away from her. As a result, Cora orders Letty out of her and Bev’s house. With no money, Letty is forced to accept one of the marriage proposals she receives, from Lige Hightower (Lars Hanson), a man who she does not love. But greater terrors loom and the incessant wind brings with it the prospect of madness.   Despite being a critical and popular failure on its release, The Wind is now considered a classic, featuring one of Gish’s greatest performances. But it marked the end of an era being the last silent film starring Gish, the last directed by Sjostrom, and the last major silent released by MGM.  Find out more at  silentfilm.org       With live musical accompaniment by Meg Morley.  St Mary’s Church, Stafford   Link

A Couple of Down and Outs  (Walter Summers , 1923) (Screening format – not known, 64mins) Despite his distinguished war record at the Somme and Flanders, ex-Royal Horse Artillery serviceman Daniel is down on his luck on civvy street.  Turned away from yet another casual job at the docks, he comes across ex-war horses on their way to the slaughter, and amongst them his loyal battle-companion ‘Jack’. Daniel rescues his beloved horse and the pair go on the run… A charming and moving film made just a few years after the events depicted and reflecting the indignation in some quarters of both the treatment of soldiers returning from the Western Front and the fate of equine heroes being sold off fast and cheap, mistreated or slaughtered for meat.  This original ‘War Horse’ film was missing-believed-lost until its discovery and restoration in the Netherlands and at the BFI National Archive.Find out more at imdb.com .  Presented in conjunction with the Hipperdrome Silent Film Festival.    Introduced by Sir Sydney Samuelson CBE, first British Film Commissioner and son of the film’s producer followed by post screening Q&A led by Yvonne McEwen, Scotland’s War.With live piano accompaniment by Mike Nolan.  Barony Theatre,  Bo’ness Link

19 March

The Kalem Film Company and its Irish Connection  An evening devoted to films made by New York’s Kalem Company, including The Lad From Old Ireland,  the first film made by a US company outside America. The company, fondly referred to as The O’Kalems, came to Ireland in 1910 and during several visits over the following years made almost 30 films dealing with Irish themes.    The Lad From Old Ireland (Sidney Olcott, 1910) tells the story of  an Irish boy (Olcott) who emigrates to America to escape the desperate poverty of Ireland. After finding work in construction, he finds success in politics. He returns to Ireland after receiving a letter from his sweetheart (Gene Gauntier) just as her destitute family is being forced off their land.  The film was a critical and popular success, particularly with Irish immigrants in America. Unlike previous films, the Irish characters were not cartoonish caricatures, and the story was a familiar and hopeful one for immigrants. The success prompted Kalem to send a larger company to Ireland the next year, which reportedly produced 18 films that summer.  Find out more at imdb.comAlso screening is You Remember Ellen (Dir. Sidney Olcott, 1912)  based on the poem of the same name by Thomas Moore. Ellen (Gene Gauntier) is a young countrywoman who marries a traveling peasant named William (Jack J Clark) and they leaves home to seek their fortune elsewhere. Eventually they come upon a mansion, where William reveals that he is an aristocrat in disguise and that Ellen is now the Lady of the manor.  Find out more at tcd.ie/irishfilmThe evening also includes The Colleen Bawn (Sidney Olcott, 1911), a version of the 1860 Dion Boucicault play of the same name, in which  a young Irish boy (Jack J Clark) has fallen in love with a poor girl (Gene Gauntier), the Colleen Bawn, and wants to marry her, but his mother will stop at nothing, including murder, to see that he marries his rich cousin.  Find out more at www.tcd.ie/irishfilm .  A presentation by the Irish Film Institure.  All the films are accompanied by an original score by Bernard Reilly, commissioned for the 2014 Kerry Film Festival, and performed live by the Irish CineTheatre Ensemble.  St Patrick’s Cathederal, Dublin Link

Beyond The Rocks (Dir. Sam Wood, 1922) (Screening format – not known, 76mins)  This recently rediscovered film captures two of the biggest stars of the silent screen, Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino in what remains the only film where the pair appear together. Cast as would-be lovers in a gloriously doomed romantic affair, she plays a habitual clotheshorse showcasing numerous glamorous gowns while he cuts a picture of elegance in a wardrobe designed by his then-lover Natacha Rambova. Among the film’s sartorial highlights are its resplendent eighteenth-century sequences, devised very much in the style of director Wood’s mentor Cecil B. deMille. Here secret desires of the heart play out among a lavish atmosphere of excess and erotic permissiveness, conjuring the gallants and marquises of the past in their ‘stately games of love’. Long thought lost, a copy of the film was rediscovered in 2003 by the Netherlands’ EYE Film Institute amongst two thousand rusty film canisters donated by an eccentric Dutch collector, Joop van Liempd.  It was restored and re-released in 2006. Find out more at  tcm.com.   Presented as part of the Fashion on Film Festival.    With a live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne and  introduced by film historian Adrian Garvey.  Rio Cinema, Dalston, London  (No link as yet)

21 March

Aelita (Dir. Yakov Protazanov, 1924) (Screening format – not known, 113mins ) Aelita remains one of the most ambitious endeavors of Soviet Russia’s silent cinema, and a bold showcase of its avant-garde design. The film is perhaps best known for its wild cubo-futurist aesthetic flaunted in its otherworld sequences on Mars. Here the angular geometric costumes and sets, designed by constructivist artists/designers including Isaac Rabinovich and Alexandra Exter, foreground hard, industrial materials such as metal sheets, celluloid and plexiglass. Complementing each other in a total look, both the costumes and sets form striking three-dimensional compositions of converging geometrical forms, and material textures. As in many science fiction films after it, Aelita’s deliberate contrast between the Earth and an alien civilization conceals a political message. The film is in fact less interesting as a science fiction fantasy than as a loaded ideological portrayal of the tumultuous reality of post-revolutionary Russia, with its nostalgia for the past and dreams of the future colliding in the uncertain present. Find out more at  silentfilm.org .  Presented as part of the Fashion on Film Festival.    With a live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne, plus a post-screening discussion with film historian Ian Christie and fashion scholar Djurdja Bartlett.  Genesis Cinema, London E1   (No link as yet)

22 March

Il Fuoco (The Fire) (Dir.  Piero Fosco, 1916 ) (Screening format – 35mm, 45mins)  Il Fuoco is an Italian romantic thriller, a sultry, mysterious poetess ( Pina Menichelli  ) seduces a poor young painter (Febo Mari ) when they meet by a river in the middle of the night. She whisks him away to her decadent villa, and they conduct a tempestuous affair, only for her to disappear suddenly. The artist goes mad when no one believes that he knew such a woman.  Star Pina Menichelli (image, below right) got her first film role in Il Fuoco after rising to prominence in the theatre.  Over the next nine years, Menichelli made a series of films, often trading on her image as a diva and her passionate, decadent eroticism. Menichelli became a global star, and one of the most appreciated actresses in Italian cinema, before her retirement in 1924, aged 34 after which she retired from public life and refused all contact with film historians. Menichelli also destroyed all the documents and photographs relating to her film career which were in her possession. She died in Milan on 29 August 1984.  Director Piero Fosco also went by the name of Giovanni Pastrone, by which he is better known as the director of Italian epic Cabiria (1914). Find out more at silentsplease.wordpress.com .  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.    35mm print provided by the Museo Nazionale del Cinema Turin.  With live piano accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth   Link

Not So Silent Women  There has been much in the press recently about the paucity of women directors working today, has this always been the case?  No! There were more women working at every level in the first twenty years of the film industry in the USA than at any point since.  Early pioneers, such as Alice Guy Blaché, Lois Weber and Nell Shipman directed hundreds of films, invented techniques, ran businesses and set up distribution but, with the rise of the male-dominated studio system, their significant contribution to the dawn of the movies has been forgotten.  In this lively and richly illustrated talk Ellen Cheshire, film writer and speaker who is one of the contributors to the recently published ‘Silent Women: Pioneers of Cinema’, will be sharing the stories of some of the fascinating women who worked in cinema’s earliest days. Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).    Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’NessLink

The Grub Stake (Dir. Bert van Tuyle/Nell Shipman, 1923) (Screening format – not known, 70mins) Nell Shipman plays Faith Diggs, a naive girl tricked into a fake marriage to Alaska-bound gambler Mark Leroy (Alfred Allen).  In Klondike, she finally learns about her “husband’s” grub-stake-4treachery and flees into the wilderness along with her invalid father. Hugh Thompson as Jeb offers the prospect of genuine romance but is Leroy gone for good?   This is a rare screening for this well regarded action adventure film shot in the wilds of Idaho and Washington state. Find out more at allmovie.com  .  Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest) and introduced by Silent London’s Pamela Hutchinson.   The film will be accompanied by the premier of a new score written specifically for this screening by composer and acclaimed silent film accompanest Jane Gardner.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland   Link

23 March

Women in Chinese Silent Cinema  An illustrated talk by Prof. Paul Pickowicz (University of California, San Diego)  one of the country’s leading historians of modern China,on the golden age of Chinese silent cinema.  The directors and screenwriters working in the film industry were men but it was women – the legendary actresses of the early Chinese film world – who dominated the silver screens of Shanghai and captivated the imaginations of the rapidly growing urban film audience.  Filmmakers were eager to confront the complicated and frightening national crisis facing China in the pre-war years but why did they place Chinese women at the centre of their gut-wrenching narratives about the national calamity, and why were their accounts of women’s struggles so preoccupied with sex and violence?   Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live piano accompaniment by Forrester Pyke.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness. Link

Around China with a Movie Camera  Take a trip back in time with this programme of rare and beautiful travelogues, newsreels and home movies.  See Shanghai’s bustling, cosmopolitan Nanjing Road in 1900, and a day at the Shanghai races in 1937. Cruise Hangzhou’s picturesque canals and visit China’s remote villages in Hunan and Yunnan provinces.  Made by British and French filmmakers – from professionals to intrepid tourists, colonial-era expatriates and missionaries – this programme explores fifty years of Chinese history and includes possibly the oldest surviving film to be shot in China, unseen for over 115 years.  Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest)  Introduced by Ruth Chan, composer of the music commissioned for this programme by the BFI, to introduce the screening and give us an insight into her composition, the instruments used and the unique challenge of creating music for this extraordinary footage.  With recorded soundtrack.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness  Link

Together (Dir. Lorenza Mazzetti,  1956) (Screening format – not known, 52mins)  HippFest forays out of the silent era with a special screening of this dialogue-free film made without synchronised sound by pioneering, Italian-born Lorenza Mazzetti, part of the British ‘Free Cinema’ movement, whose manifesto celebrated ‘freedom’ for filmmakers from orthodoxy and conservatism. The film is a refreshing and sometimes moving slice of everyday working-class life, set in London’s East End.  It follows two deaf-mute dockers in the midst of the wary, hearing community.  Mazzetti cast the then unknown, 32-year-old Scottish artist Eduardo Paolozzi in the lead. He relished his role, modelling his performance on Marlon Brando!  Find out more at imdb.comPresented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live musical accompaniment  by Raymond MacDonald and Christian Ferlaino (saxophone & percussion) .   Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness       Link

The_Battle_of_the_Somme_film_image2Battle of the Somme (Dir.Geoffrey Malins, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins)  For film details see 4 Feb above.   Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented as part of the Somme100Film Centenary Tour.    With live orchestral accompaniment by  Musica Youth Orchestra conducted by Thom Meredith.  Huddersfield Town Hall,  Huddersfield Link

24 March

The Last Silent Picture Show  An illustrated presentation by  Geoff Brown, film historian and chief researcher on the AHRC-funded project ‘British Silent Cinema and the Transition to Sound, 1927-1933’  on the turmoil that hit the British film industry in 1929. With sound technology beginning to make inroads into our film studios and cinemas where did that leave the silent features already completed and awaiting exhibition? Using extensive clips, we explore the mixed artistic results of the industry’s frantic attempts to remodel existing silent properties with synchronised dialogue and music. Hitchcock achieved a triumph in ‘Blackmail’, but was the same true of the sentimental drama ‘Kitty’, the steamy ‘White Cargo’, or the tartan nightmare of ‘The Lady of the Lake’?  Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness Link

The Patsy  (Dir. King Vidor, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 88mins + short)  Legendary Hollywood director King Vidor recognised Davies’ hitherto underused talent for comedy, hailing her as a “darn good comedienne” and casting her as the gloriously impudent Patricia.  Patsy by name and Patsy by nature she is the black sheep of the family, in thrall to her glamorous and favoured older sister Grace and hopelessly in love with her sister’s beau.  Davies will win your heart with her hilarious clowning and impersonations and the effortless charm of her performance.  Find out more at silentfilm.org .     Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).    With live musical accompaniment by the Netherlands’ Filmorchestra The Sprockets: Daphne Balvers (soprano sax), Frido ter Beek (baritone, altsax), Marco Ludemann (mandolin, banjo, guitar), Jasper Somsen (double bass), Rombout Stoffers (percussion, accordion) and Maud Nelissen (piano) performing the world premiere of a new musical arrangement of the score by Maud Nelissen.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness   Link

25 March

What’s the World Coming To? (Dir. Richard Wallace, 1926) +  The High Sign (Dir. Eddie Cline/Buster Keaton, 1921) Screening format – not known, 21/21mins)  Whats the World Coming To? , co-written by Stan Laurel, takes place “one hundred years from now—when men have become more like women and women more like men.” Clyde Cook plays the “blushing groom” whilst Katherine Grant is his caddish tuxedoed bride and the pair have tremendous fun in their cross-dressed roles, sending up gender stereotypes with glee.  Find out more at imdb.com .    In The High Sign, Buster takes a job in a shooting gallery, where he is enlisted to undertake a mob killing, only to be recruited as a bodyguard for the very man he has been hired to kill!  A brilliant example of Keaton’s breathless and balletic slapstick skills. Find out more at  wikipedia.org .    Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).    With live musical accompaniment by  Neil Brand.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness  Link

The Hands of Orlac (Dir. Robert Weine, 1924) (Screening format – not known, 92mins + short) A gruesome psychological horror about a talented concert pianist (Conrad Veidt, ‘Casablanca’), whose precious hands are amputated after a calamitous accident.  Replacements are grafted on but soon after his operation Orlac learns the horrible truth – his new hands were from the cadaver of a recently executed killer.  Plagued by nightmarish visions, Orlac fears his hands are possessed by evil and that he has become a murderer himself.  Made five years after his landmark ‘Cabinet of Dr Caligari’ director Robert Weine strikes a more sombre and restrained look for this creepy drama but wrings every terrible shudder out of the theme of an alien body with a mind of its own.  Find out more at  slantmagazine.com .   Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).    With live musical accompaniment by Günter Buchwald (piano & violin) & Frank Bockius (percussion) .  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness Link

The Goddess (Shen nu) (Dir. Wu Yonggang, 1934) (Screening format – not known, 73mins)  A masterpiece of social realism featuring Chinese superstar Ruan Lingyu as a struggling mother who takes to prostitution on the streets of Shanghai in order to shelter her son from the corrupt city and give him a better chance in life.  This devastatingly beautiful and recently restored film was made by first time director/writer/designer Yonggang aged just 27-years-old, and draws its great power from the striking and subtle performance by Ruan. Ruan’s heart-rending and sympathetic portrayal of a self-sacrificing woman at the mercy of society’s hypocrisy was a sensation that was tragically echoed in her real-life.  On the eve of her trial for adultery and after months of tabloid harassment Ruan killed herself, aged 24, just one year after the release of ‘The Goddess’.  Find out more at  shaoyis.wordpress.com .    Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).    With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney .  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness   Link

The Hazards of Helen (Dir. Paul C Hurst, 1915)  +  Teddy at the Throttle (Dir. Clarence G Badger, 1917) (Screening format – not known, 18/13mins)  In The Hazards of Helen, the 13th (of 119!) episode of this cine-serial: ‘Escape on the Fast Freight’, Helen pursues a pair of robbers in a dogged chase atop a moving train. Helen Holmes is credited only for her starring role but at the time was also running the company and writing the scripts. , Oh, and she did all her own stunt work as well. What a gal!. Find out more at filmpreservation.orgIn Teddy at the Throttle, Gloria Swanson reveals her comedic as a wronged fiancée whose fiendish adversary plots to rob her of an inheritance.  The film pokes fun at Victorian stage melodrama with a suspenseful rail-track-themed finale.  Oh, and Teddy is the ever so smart dog who saves the day.  Find out more at threemoviebuffs.com .   Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).    With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand.  Bo’Ness Railway Station, Bo’Ness   Link

By the Law (Po Zakonu)   (Dir . Lev Kuleshov, 1926) (Screening format – not known, 80mins + short)    Legendary director Lev Kuleshov adapted a short story by Jack London, fashioning a tense, existential study of moral pressure…in effect a pared-back Soviet Western.    Three gold prospectors are holed up in a cabin – one driven to murder by greed, the other two wrestling with whether to wait for the snow and ice to thaw and go for the authorities or to take the Law into their own hands.  The stage is set for a claustrophobic drama of raw power, combining naturalism and the grotesque, realism and melodrama…   Find out more at silentsaregolden.com .  Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  Multi-award-winning, post-rock, Scottish composer and song-writer R.M. Hubbert (aka Hubby) performs the world premiere of his brand new guitar score, commissioned by HippFest, to accompany this screening.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness Link

New Babylon (Dir. Grigorii Kozintsev & Leonid Trauberg , 1929) (Screening format – not known, 95 min)  An exceptional opportunity to hear the score as the composer himself intended – Shostakovich’s hitherto lost original piano score to the newly restored and expanded avant-garde Soviet masterpiece about the revolutionary 1871 Paris Commune.  Shostakovich’s spectacular first film score, New Babylon, was written when he was just 23 years old.  Numerous re-writes of the film were demanded even before shooting started and the directors’ final cut completed in December 1928, when the composer was contracted to join the production. His myriad musical quotations matched a fast cross-cut film to produce a work of astonishing complexity and precision unequalled in silent film composition.  However, after two industry preview screenings with the composer himself performing his original solo piano score, the Moscow Sovkino office ordered the removal of over 20% of the film. Re-editing Shostakovich’s score to match proved impossible, parts were incomplete and early performances, a series of debacles, were beyond the abilities of cinema orchestras. Remaining copies of the piano score, destined for smaller cinemas and now unfitted for the re-edited film, were sold off. A rare surviving copy has provided the material for this first public performance.  Find out more at   nytimes.com  Featuring the world premiere live performance of Shostakovich’s lost original piano score by Sasha Grynyuk.  Introduced by John Leman Riley, author of Shostakovich: A Life in Film LSO St Lukes, London    Link

26 March

The Informer  (Dir. Arthur Robison, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 101mins + short) A technically and artistically sophisticated drama set in Dublin amongst members of a revolutionary party in the newly independent Ireland of 1922.  The noir-ish story follows the fateful consequences of jealousy and betrayal when fiery Gypo ‘informs’ on his former comrade Francis, out of misguided suspicion over a girl.  With a German/American director, a Hungarian leading lady and a Swedish leading man the international nature of the production was typical of a period in filmmaking unencumbered by dialogue and exhibits hallmarks of a distinctively German style thanks to cinematography by Werner Brandes (‘Piccadilly’) and Lubitsch regular Theodor Sparkuhl. The film was released in both part-talkie and silent versions but this afternoon we present the superior, silent version, newly restored by the British Film Institute.   Find out more at  screenonline.org .    Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live musical accompaniment by Günter Buchwald (violin) & Stephen Horne (piano & accordion).  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness  Link

Putting Pants On Philip (Dir. Clyde Bruckman, 1927 ) + The Finishing Touch (Dir. Clyde Bruckman/Leo McCarey, 1928) + Battle of the Century (Dir. Clyde Bruckman, 1927)  (Screening format – not known,19/19/19mins )  No HippFest would be complete without its celebrated Laurel and Hardy triple bill – a glorious afternoon in the company of the world’s best-loved comedy team.   First up is ‘Putting Pants on Philip’, their first official joint billing which casts Ollie as a pompous man-about-town reluctantly put in charge of Stan’s Scottish, kilt-wearing dandy with an unswerving eye for the ladies.  Next up is the brilliantly funny ‘The Finishing Touch’ where the boys are typically inept handymen charged with the building of an alarmingly flimsy house under the unforgiving eye of the plot owner and a nurse from the neighbouring sanatorium.  Finally we are proud to present the Scottish premiere of the Holy Grail of the Boys’ films: ‘The Battle of the Century’.  A complete version of this two-reeler has not been available since the silent era but now the missing footage has been found and archivists at Lobster Films in France have restored the work, allowing fans to enjoy the full film including the mother of all pie-fights for the first time in nearly a hundred years.  Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live musical accompaniment by John Sweeney on piano.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness   Link

Chicago (Dir. Frank Urson & Cecil B.DeMille (uncredited),  1927) (Screening format – not known,   118mins + short)  Seventy-five years before Bob Fosse’s Oscar-winning musical version of Maurine Watkins’ successful stage play, Cecil B. DeMille’s production company made this saucy silent film version.  Phyllis Haver is hugely entertaining as the brazen Roxie Hart “Chicago’s most beautiful murderess” – a woman so pathologically shallow she sees notoriety for a murder rap as an opportunity to secure her fortune.  Egged on by her crooked lawyer (“they’ll be naming babies after you”) Roxie neglects her long-suffering loyal husband and sets about milking her celebrity status for all she’s worth.  The sequence in the prison is an absolute delight – particularly the rivalry between Roxie and fellow-murderess Velma (played by DeMille’s mistress), as are the climactic courtroom scenes.  A cracking, satire on fame and the media, this fun-filled tale of adultery, murder and sin (so sinful that DeMille – known for his Biblical epics – was at pains to keep his name off the credits) is as fresh and relevant as ever.  Find out more at wikipedia.org .   Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne (piano, accordion) & Frank Bockius (percussion)  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness   Link

The Inferno Unseen (Dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1964) (Screening format – not known, 60mins) In something of a departure from the traditional notion of a silent film this screening is a newly mastered cut of rushes created in 1964 in preparation for Henri-Georges Clouzot’s unfinished film The Inferno. Together with his cinematographers Andréas Winding and Armand Thirard, Clouzot staged seemingly endless kinetic and optical experiments focusing primarily on actress Romy Schneider performing simple, seductive actions in carefully composed mises-en-scene.   The Inferno Unseen focuses solely on haunting and often beautifully colour-lit visions. Here the union between the filmic and the sartorial is made all the more striking by the unique temporality of a screen test performance.  Presented as part of the Fashion in Film Festival.  With world premier live musical accompaniment by Rollo Smallcombe.  Barbican, London Link

  27 March

Behind The Door (Dir. Irvin Willat, 1919) (Screening format – 35mm, 70mins)  With America entering World War I, German-American Oscar Krug (Hobart Bosworth) is thought to be an enemy sympathizer. He fights his foes to prove that they’re wrong, then immediately enlists and is assigned to the merchant marines. The night before boarding, he marries his sweetheart, Alice Morse (Jane Novak), and she sails with him. A German submarine torpedoes the craft and sinks it. Krug and his bride board a lifeboat. The Germans take Alice and leave Krug, who swears revenge to the commander (Wallace Beery)…. Restored from surviving incomplete copies held at the US Library of Congress and at the Gosfilmofond, the Russian national archive so that what Kevin Brownlow called “the most outspoken of all the [WWI] vengeance films,” can now be seen in its most complete form since its release in 1919.  Find out more at  silentfilm.org .   Presented as part of the second Colour In Film International Conference. Introduction and concluding remarks by Robert Byrne, Film Restorer and President of the SF Silent Film and Bryony Dixon, BFI National Archive, Silent Film Curator. With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand.  BFI Southbank, London  (No link yet)

29 March

The_Battle_of_the_Somme_film_image2Battle of the Somme (Dir.Geoffrey Malins, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins)  For film details see 4 Feb above.   Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented as part of the Somme100Film Centenary Tour.    With live orchestral accompaniment by Haringey Youth Orchestra. Heartlands High School,  Wood Green, London   Link

April

1 April

The_Phantom_of_the_Opera_(1925_film)Phantom Opera - Lon Chaney1Phantom Of The Opera (Dir. Rupert Julian, 1925)  (Screening format – not known, 103mins)  A title that needs no introduction, ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ has spawned many remakes, remasters and sequels. This original film version, produced with moments of early Technicolour, sees Lon Chaney, the ‘Man of a Thousand Faces’ perform one of his most iconic roles. His ghastly make-up and outrageous performance made this title a benchmark in the American silent film era. The film was a critical and commercial success upon release, and still stands as an important film in cinematic history to this day, with press quotes from the time labelling the film an ‘ultra-fantastic melodrama’ (New York Times), ‘produced on a stupendous scale’ (Moving Picture World) and ‘probably the greatest inducement to nightmare that has yet been screened’ (Variety).  The mysterious phantom (Lon Chaney) is a vengeful composer living in the catacombs under the Paris Opera House, determined to promote the career of  the singer he loves (Mary Philbin).  Famed for the phantom’s shock unmasking, incredible set designs and the masked ball sequence, it still packs a punch. Find out more at Wikipedia. With live musical accompaniment by acclaimed musicians Minima. Clent Parish Hall, Stourbridge, West Midlands  Link

4 April

Works by Segundo de Chomon.  (Screening format – not known)   Although Spanish film pioneer Segundo de Chomon has often been overshadowed by his early cinema contemporary Georges Méliès, the work he left behind is arguably as brilliant. Starting out in Barcelona and then based at Pathe in Paris from 1905, de Chomon was happy roaming across genres from Gothic horror and trick-film to slapstick and travelogue, and the selection of films on show here give a good taste of his joyous inventiveness. Look out for gigantic frogs, gravity-defying acrobats and an electric hotel, as well as some eye-popping experiments with stencil colour. Find out more at thebioscope.net .  Presented as part of the Flatpack Film Festival.  With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.  Grand Hotel, Birmingham Link

       The_Battle_of_the_Somme_film_image2Battle of the Somme (Dir.Geoffrey Malins, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins)  For film details see 4 Feb above.   Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented as part of the Somme100Film Centenary Tour.    With live orchestral accompaniment by  Suffolk Youth Orchestra, Conducted by Philip Shaw.   The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk Link

5 April

The_Battle_of_the_Somme_film_image2Battle of the Somme (Dir.Geoffrey Malins, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins)  For film details see 4 Feb above.   Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented as part of the Somme100Film Centenary Tour.    With live orchestral accompaniment by  Suffolk Youth Orchestra, Conducted by Philip Shaw.  Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, Suffolk Link

7 April

Around China with a Movie Camera  Take a trip back in time with this programme of rare and beautiful travelogues, newsreels and home movies.  See Shanghai’s bustling, cosmopolitan Nanjing Road in 1900, and a day at the Shanghai races in 1937. Cruise Hangzhou’s picturesque canals and visit China’s remote villages in Hunan and Yunnan provinces.  Made by British and French filmmakers – from professionals to intrepid tourists, colonial-era expatriates and missionaries – this programme explores fifty years of Chinese history and includes possibly the oldest surviving film to be shot in China, unseen for over 115 years.  Presented as part of the Flatpack Film Festival.   Helping to bring this footage to life will be a five-piece band brought together by composer Ruth Chan. Chan is based in the Midlands and for her the project was a chance to connect with her own family roots, creating a beguiling mixture of East and West. Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham  Link

12 April

Stark Love (Dir. Karl Brown, 1927)  Stark Love is the story of Rob Warwick (Forrest James), a young man living in a hillbilly society in Carolina, who learns to read, begins to understand that women should be looked up to, and tries to provide an education for his neighbour Barbara Allen (Helen Mundy). When his mother dies, he has to battle against the reactionary views and plans of his father. A mixture of anthropology and melodrama, Stark Love was released by Paramount Pictures on February 28, 1927. When the film was released it was praised for its documentary realism but even with such praise, the film was not a commercial success. Paramount most likely burned the picture, along with 1,014 other feature silent films, for the silver they contained and it was thought lost until a copy was found by Kevin Brownlow in the Czechoslovakian film archives. In 2009, the Library of Congress described it as “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant, and it was preserved in the National Film Registry.  Find out more at wikipedia.org .   Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.    With live piano accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth   Link

19 April

Australian Silent Film Night.   Dr Stephen Morgan (King’s College London) introduces an evening devoted to Australian silent cinema, titles TBC.  A South West Silents presentation. The Lansdown Public House, Clifton Bristol Link

23 April

Les Miserables (Dir. Henri Fescourt, 1925 (Screening format – DCP, 397mins)  Never screened before in the UK this is the restored, retinted and full length version of Fescourt’s adaption of Hugo’s classic 19th century novel.  The film is centred primarily on the story of Jean Valjean (Gabriel Gabrio), an ex-convict struggling to redeem himself, with his attempts  continually ruined by the intrusion of the  cruel, ruthless police inspector Javert (  Jean Toulout ), who has dedicated his life to pursuing Valjean, whose only crime was stealing a loaf of bread. Never actually a lost film, screenings of Fescourt’s epic have previously been limited to a heavily cut-down, black and white version.  But following a four year restoration project, the film has been restored to its former glory, all six hours worth!.  Screened in France initially in late 2014 and then at Pordonone in 2015 this will be its first UK screening.  Although Hugo’s novel has been adapted at least 50 times for screen, television or stage, those that have seen the full length version of Fescourt’s adaption contend that ” Among all these, however, it is not too much to surmise that Henri Fescourt’s 1925 cinéroman is the most faithful in every sense – to the narrative, the philosophy, the humanity, and the morality. This is Hugo.”  Find out more at cinetecadelfriuli.org  (Page 38-42)   With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand.  Barbican, London   Link

 

May

3 May

Kennington Bioscope.  Silent film with live piano accompaniment.  Film titles to be confirmed.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London  Link

6 May

The_Phantom_of_the_Opera_(1925_film)Phantom Opera - Lon Chaney1Phantom Of The Opera (Dir. Rupert Julian, 1925)  (Screening format – not known, 103mins)  A title that needs no introduction, ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ has spawned many remakes, remasters and sequels. This original film version, produced with moments of early Technicolour, sees Lon Chaney, the ‘Man of a Thousand Faces’ perform one of his most iconic roles. His ghastly make-up and outrageous performance made this title a benchmark in the American silent film era. The film was a critical and commercial success upon release, and still stands as an important film in cinematic history to this day, with press quotes from the time labelling the film an ‘ultra-fantastic melodrama’ (New York Times), ‘produced on a stupendous scale’ (Moving Picture World) and ‘probably the greatest inducement to nightmare that has yet been screened’ (Variety).  The mysterious phantom (Lon Chaney) is a vengeful composer living in the catacombs under the Paris Opera House, determined to promote the career of  the singer he loves (Mary Philbin).  Famed for the phantom’s shock unmasking, incredible set designs and the masked ball sequence, it still packs a punch. Find out more at Wikipedia. With live musical accompaniment by acclaimed musicians Minima.  St Peter’s Church, Cowleigh, Malvern, Worcs.    Link

7 May

Such Is Life (Dir. Carl Junghans, 1930) (Screening format – DCP,  71mins)  This Czech film captures the tragic story of an aging laundress (Vera Baranovskaja) whose drudgery and toil support a licentious and abusive alcoholic husband (Theodor Pištěk). A psychological drama with social themes, it draws from Zola’s novel, The Kill, and with full cinematic expression, a progressive approach to montage and emphasis on the symbolic power of close-ups, represents the climax of silent film.  Find out more at imdb.com .  With live musical accompaniment.  Barbican, London    Link

14 May

Tall Tales and Incredible Journeys  (Dir. various) (Screening format – not known)  Take a journey into the impossible with this collection of short fantasy films, some exquisitely hand coloured, by two of early cinema’s most extraordinary talents, George Méliès and Segundo de Chomón . Melies probably needs no introduction, being perhaps the best known early exponent of cinema trickery and innovation.  His most well known film,  A Trip to the Moon (1902), is included in this collection.  By contrast, Chomon is almost forgotten. Starting work in his native Spain he soon moved to France to join the Pathe Freres where he made numerous innovative silent films from 1907-12.  Some critics compared his work favourably to Melies although others saw him merely as a mere imitator. In 1912 he moved to Italy and helped provide special effects for the classical epic Calabria (1914) as well as working on visual effects on Gance’s classic Napoleon (1927).  Find out more at  wikipedia.org .  Being screened as part of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.  With live musical accompaniment by Elizabeth-Jane Baldry (harp), Jonathan Best (piano) and  Trevor Bartlett (percussion).    National Centre for Early Music, York  Link

lodger-1The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 90mins) A serial killer known as “The Avenger” is on the loose in London, murdering blonde women. A mysterious man (Ivor Novello)  arrives at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Bunting looking for a room to rent. The Bunting’s daughter (June Tripp)  is a blonde model and is seeing one of the detectives (Malcolm Keen) assigned to the case. The detective becomes jealous of the lodger and begins to suspect he may be the avenger.  Based on a best-selling novel by Marie Belloc Lowndes, first published in 1913, loosely based on the Jack the Ripper murders,  The Lodger was Hitchcock’s first thriller, and his first critical and commercial success. Made shortly after his return from Germany, the film betrays the influence of the German expressionist tradition established in such films as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) and Nosferatu (1922). Find out more at silentfilm.org  Being screened as part of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.  With live harp score by Elizabeth-Jane Baldry.  National Centre for Early Music, York  Link 

kid-poster kid-chaplinThe Kid   (Dir. Charlie Chaplin, 1921) + The Champion (Dir. Charlie Chaplin, 1915)  (Screening format – not known, 53/33 mins)  The Kid is Chaplin’s first feature length film and a masterful blending of comic genius and sentimentality.   In the film,  Edna Purviance deposits her new baby with a pleading note in a limousine and goes off to commit suicide. The limo is stolen by thieves who dump the baby by a garbage can. Charlie the Tramp finds the baby and makes a home for him. Five years later Edna has become an opera star but does charity work for slum youngsters in hope of finding her boy. Will Edna find the child and will the little tramp get the girl?  As Chaplin says,  “A comedy with a smile–and perhaps a tear” .  Find out more at imdb.com .       In The Champion,  Charlie finds a “good luck” horseshoe just as he passes a training camp advertising for a boxing partner “who can take a beating.” After watching others lose, Charlie puts the horseshoe in his glove and wins. The trainer prepares Charlie to fight the world champion. Will he win and more importantly will he get the girl.    Find out more at imdb.com .      The Kid is believed to have been the first film ever shown at The Kinema when it opened in 1922.   It will be shown today as part of The Kinema’s 95th Anniversary celebrations with the original recorded soundtrack as composed and conducted by Chaplin.  The Champion will be accompanied live by Alan Underwood at The Compton Organ.  The Kinema in the Woods, Woodhall Spa, Lincs Link

24 May

Kennington Bioscope.  Silent film with live piano accompaniment.  Film titles to be confirmed.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London  Link

June

4 June

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  With live musical accompaniment by students of the Guildhall Electronic Studio.  Barbican, London   Link

23 June

Silent Cinema: A Night At The Cinema In 1914 (Dir. Various, 1914)(Screening format – not known) Recreation of a typical night out at the cinema in 1914, with a glorious miscellany of comedies, adventure films, travelogues and newsreels.  Cinema a century ago was a new, exciting and highly democratic form of entertainment. Picture houses across Britain offered a sociable, lively environment in which to relax and escape from the daily grind. With feature films still rare, the programme was an entertaining, ever-changing roster of short items with live musical accompaniment.  Among the highlights of this programme of 14 shorts films are a quirky comic short about a face-pulling competition, a sensational episode of the American film serial The Perils of Pauline, an early aviation display, scenes of suffragettes protesting at Buckingham Palace and Allied troops celebrating Christmas at the Front. There is also an anti-German animation film and an early sighting of one of cinema’s greatest icons… .  Produced by the British Film Institute, with live musical accompanimant by Will Pickvance.  Festival Theatre, Edingurgh  Link

July

12 July

Kennington Bioscope.  Silent film with live piano accompaniment.  Film titles to be confirmed.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London  Link

13 July

Vampyr1932Vampyr (Dir. Carl Theodore Dreyer, 1932)  (Screening format – not known, 75mins) (Technically, Dryer’s first sound film but with very little dialogue and extensive use made of inter-titles) Staying at a country inn, Allan Grey scoffs at the notion of supernatural death before being forced to believe that there may be things beyond his understanding. The skills of director and cameraman induce a similar confusion on the part of those watching, as we encounter one of cinema’s great nightmares. Dreyer offers few explanations for the phenomena on screen:  strange and frightening things may just happen. Vampyr  opened to a generally negative reception from audiences and critics. Dreyer edited the film after its German premiere and it opened to more mixed opinions at its French debut. The film was long considered a low point in Dreyer’s career, but modern critical reception to the film has become much more favorable with critics praising the film’s disorienting visual effects and atmosphere. Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented as part of the Deal Festival of Music and the Arts.  With live musical accompaniment by Minima and Stephen Horne.   Venue to be confirmed. Link

September

29 September

cottage on dartmoorA Cottage on Dartmoor (Dir. Anthony Asquith, 1929) (Screening format – BluRay, 84mins)  Joe (Uno Henning) works as a barber in a shop in a Devon town, alongside a manicurist called Sally (Norah Baring). He becomes infatuated with her and asks her out but  it is clear that Sally does not reciprocate Joe’s feelings.  Joe’s infatuation with her develops into obsession. Meanwhile a young  farmer Harry (Hans Schlettow), begins to woo Sally and the couple begin seeing each other which leaves Joe in despair. After a fight with Harry, Joe is jailed but swears revenge on Harry and Sally.  A Cottage on Dartmoor is a tale of love and revenge set in the bleak landscape of Dartmoor and a thoughtful distillation of the best of European silent film techniques from a director steeped in the work of the Soviet avant-garde and German expressionism. One of the last films of the silent era and a virtuoso piece of film-making, A Cottage on Dartmoor was a final passionate cry in defence of an art form soon to be obsolete. Find out more at  silentfilm.org   Presented as part of the Landulph Festival   With live musical accompaniment by Wurlitza. Landulph Village Hall, Landulph, Cornwall  Link

October

6 October

cottage on dartmoorA Cottage on Dartmoor (Dir. Anthony Asquith, 1929) (Screening format – BluRay, 84mins)  Joe (Uno Henning) works as a barber in a shop in a Devon town, alongside a manicurist called Sally (Norah Baring). He becomes infatuated with her and asks her out but  it is clear that Sally does not reciprocate Joe’s feelings.  Joe’s infatuation with her develops into obsession. Meanwhile a young  farmer Harry (Hans Schlettow), begins to woo Sally and the couple begin seeing each other which leaves Joe in despair. After a fight with Harry, Joe is jailed but swears revenge on Harry and Sally.  A Cottage on Dartmoor is a tale of love and revenge set in the bleak landscape of Dartmoor and a thoughtful distillation of the best of European silent film techniques from a director steeped in the work of the Soviet avant-garde and German expressionism. One of the last films of the silent era and a virtuoso piece of film-making, A Cottage on Dartmoor was a final passionate cry in defence of an art form soon to be obsolete. Find out more at  silentfilm.org    With live musical accompaniment by Wurlitza.  Liskerrett Film Club, Liskeard, Cornwall   Link

7 October

cottage on dartmoorA Cottage on Dartmoor (Dir. Anthony Asquith, 1929) (Screening format – BluRay, 84mins)  Joe (Uno Henning) works as a barber in a shop in a Devon town, alongside a manicurist called Sally (Norah Baring). He becomes infatuated with her and asks her out but  it is clear that Sally does not reciprocate Joe’s feelings.  Joe’s infatuation with her develops into obsession. Meanwhile a young  farmer Harry (Hans Schlettow), begins to woo Sally and the couple begin seeing each other which leaves Joe in despair. After a fight with Harry, Joe is jailed but swears revenge on Harry and Sally.  A Cottage on Dartmoor is a tale of love and revenge set in the bleak landscape of Dartmoor and a thoughtful distillation of the best of European silent film techniques from a director steeped in the work of the Soviet avant-garde and German expressionism. One of the last films of the silent era and a virtuoso piece of film-making, A Cottage on Dartmoor was a final passionate cry in defence of an art form soon to be obsolete. Find out more at  silentfilm.org    With live musical accompaniment by Wurlitza.  Tolmen Centre, Constantine, Cornwall    Link

26 October

October: Ten Days That Shook The World (Dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 104mins) Borrowing its title from a book by American journalist John Reed, Sergei Eisenstein’s Ten Days That Shook the World reenacts the crucial week-and-a-half in October, 1918, when the Russian Kerensky regime was toppled by the Bolsheviks.  Eisenstein used the film to further develop his theories of film structure, using a concept he described as “intellectual montage”, the editing together of shots of apparently unconnected objects in order to create and encourage intellectual comparisons between them.  A largely non-professional cast was employed, the “actor” playing Lenin, a nonprofessional cement factory worker named Nikandrov, so closely resembles the genuine article that the effect is striking while a University student took on the role of Kerensky and Zinoviev was played by his real brother. The film was not as successful or influential in the Soviet Union as Battleship Potemkin with audiences finding the film stilted and artificial.  Eisenstein’s montage experiments met with official disapproval; the authorities complained that October was unintelligible to the masses and he was also required to re-edit the work to expurgate references to  Trotsky, who had recently been purged by Stalin.  Nevertheless, film historians now consider it to be an important film, a sweeping historical epic of vast scale, and a powerful testament to Eisenstein’s creativity and artistry.  Find out more at  imdb.com .  Presented by Kino Klassika to mark the centenary of the October Revolution. With live music accompaniment by the London Symphony Orchestra led by Frank Strobel.  Barbican, London  Link

November

11 November

cottage on dartmoorA Cottage on Dartmoor (Dir. Anthony Asquith, 1929) (Screening format – BluRay, 84mins)  Joe (Uno Henning) works as a barber in a shop in a Devon town, alongside a manicurist called Sally (Norah Baring). He becomes infatuated with her and asks her out but  it is clear that Sally does not reciprocate Joe’s feelings.  Joe’s infatuation with her develops into obsession. Meanwhile a young  farmer Harry (Hans Schlettow), begins to woo Sally and the couple begin seeing each other which leaves Joe in despair. After a fight with Harry, Joe is jailed but swears revenge on Harry and Sally.  A Cottage on Dartmoor is a tale of love and revenge set in the bleak landscape of Dartmoor and a thoughtful distillation of the best of European silent film techniques from a director steeped in the work of the Soviet avant-garde and German expressionism. One of the last films of the silent era and a virtuoso piece of film-making, A Cottage on Dartmoor was a final passionate cry in defence of an art form soon to be obsolete. Find out more at  silentfilm.org    With live musical accompaniment by Wurlitza.  Newnham Film Club, Newnham, Cornwall    Link


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