West of England

1 November

Lodger_Poster The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1927) (Screening format – not known ) 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  With live musical accompaniment by Minima.    Bacon Theatre, Dean Close School, Cheltenham,   Link

3 November

nosferatushadowNosferatu  (Dir. F W Murnau, 1922)  (Screening format  – not known,  81mins) A German Expressionist horror film starring Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlok. The film was an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel (for instance,”vampire” became “Nosferatu” and “Count Dracula” became “Count Orlok”). Stoker’s heirs sued over the adaptation, and a court ruling ordered that all copies of the film be destroyed. However, a few prints of Nosferatu survived, and the film came to be regarded as an influential masterpiece of cinema.  In the film, the sinister Count Orlok, travels across Europe leaving a trail of death in his wake.  Brilliantly eerie, with imaginative touches which later adaptions never achieved.  Find out more at Wikipedia.   Live musical accompaniment by My Octopus Mind.  Curzon Community Cinema, Clevedon, N Somerset View

7 November

hamlet 1921 aHamlet (Dir. Svend Gade/Heinz Schall, 1921) (Screening format – not known, 110 mins) A unique vision of the cursed Dane, this silent take on Shakespeare’s drama stands the test of time thanks to a unique and brilliant twist. Starring the gorgeous Danish siren Asta Nielsen this adaptation supposes that Hamlet’s inner turmoil centred on having being born a girl, but having to pass incognito as the male heir to the throne. Visually stunning and tragically fated, this will be a familiar yet interesting adaptation for young and old fans of the Bard. Find out more at  imdb.com  Presented as part of the Bath Film Festival.    With live piano accompaniment from Lillian Henley.  Chapel Arts Centre, Bath   Link

10 November

Battle of the Somme (Dir.Geoffrey Malins, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins)  The Battle of the Somme gave its 1916 audience an unprecedented insight into the realities of trench warfare, controversially including the depiction of dead and wounded soldiers. It shows scenes of the build-up to the infantry offensive including the massive preliminary bombardment, coverage of the first day of the battle (the bloodiest single day in Britain’s military history) and depictions of the small gains and massive costs of the attack. The Battle of the Somme remains one of the most successful British films ever made. It is estimated over 20 million tickets were sold in Great Britain in the first two months of release, and the film was distributed world-wide to demonstrate to allies and neutrals Britain’s commitment to the First World War. It is the source of many of that conflict’s most iconic images. It was made by British official cinematographers Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell. Though it was not intended as a feature film, once the volume and quality of their footage had been seen in London, the British Topical Committee for War Films decided to compile a feature-length film.   Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented as part of the Somme100Film Centenary Tour.    Accompanied by a live performance from  Chichester University Orchestra.  Chapel of the Ascension, Bishop Otter Campus University of Chichester, West Sussex.  Link

12 November

Battle of the Somme (Dir.Geoffrey Malins, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins)   For film details see 10 Nov above.   Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented as part of the Somme100Film Centenary Tour.    Accompanied by a live performance from the   Westbourne Orchestral Society conducted by Lee Marchant.   Pavilion Dance South West Bournemouth   Link

13 November

napoleon 3napoleon-portraitNapoleon (Dir. Abel Gance, 1927) (Screening format – DCP332 mins) Gance’s epic 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 napoleon-panoramaspent 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 With recorded Carl Davies orchestral accompaniment.   Picturehouse Cinemas Southampton,  Exeter and  Bath  Link

Battle of the Somme (Dir.Geoffrey Malins, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins)   For film details see 10 Nov above.   Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented by South West Silents, Imperial War Museum and Curzon Cinema & Arts.    With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne (piano/accordian/flute) & Martin Pyne (percussion) playing the original 1916 score.  Curzon Community Cinema, Clevedon Link

14 November

Battle of the Somme (Dir.Geoffrey Malins, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins)   For film details see 10 Nov above.   Find out more at Wikipedia  With recorded soundtrack  Little Theatre Picturehouse, Bath Link

18 November

Battle of the Somme (Dir.Geoffrey Malins, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins)   For film details see 10 Nov above.   Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented as part of the Somme100Film Centenary Tour.    Accompanied by a live performance of the Laura Rossi score performed by the   Bristol Symphony Orchestra conducted by William Goodchild.  Clifton Cathedral, Bristol  Link

19 November

Sunrise_vintageSunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (Dir. F W Murnau, 1927) (Screening format – Blu-Ray/DVD) 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 musical accompaniment by Wurlitza.  Maker-with-Rame Community Hall, Cornwall  Link

20 November

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. Presented as part of the Magic and Mayhem Festival.  Pound Arts Centre, Corsham, Wiltshire Link


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