North of England

 

4 November

The_Battle_of_the_Somme_film_image2Battle 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 the Durham University Symphony Orchestra.  Gala Theatre, Durham Link

7 November

speedy_posterbattle_of_the_century_1928Speedy (Dir. Ted Wilde, 1928)   and   Battle of the Century (Dir. Clyde Bruckman, 1927 ) (Screening format – not known, 86/19   mins)  Harold Lloyd saves the last horse-drawn trolley car from extinction in Speedy, his last silent comedy – and one of his best. An engaging caper shot on location in New York, it shows off the city as it was in 1928, including a beautiful sequence at Coney Island’s Luna Park and a breathtaking finale chase through Manhattan. In Laurel and Hardy’s short, Battle of the Century, which concludes with silent comedy’s biggest ever pie fight. The final reel was re-discovered in 2015 having been lost for decades. Find out more at wikipedia.org  and wikipedia.org  Presented as part of the Leeds International Film Festival.  City Varities, Leeds Link

lonesome_posterLonesome (Dir. Paul Lejos, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 69mins)  Lonesome is a lost treasure from Hollywood’s golden age, directed by pioneering explorer-anthropologist-doctor-filmmaker, Paul Fejos. It’s a New York City symphony set in Coney Island during the Fourth of July weekend, with dynamic camera work, experimental editing and an innovative use of colour tinting and superimposition effects. Largely silent, the film was made in the early days of the talkie and has three token dialogue scenes.   Mary is a telephone operator who lives alone and is lonely. Jim is a factory worker who lives alone and is lonely. Each decides to go to the beach  and both are captivated with each other, eventually realizing that they really do like each other. Having gone from loneliness to finding love, enjoying the company of each other and having fun, they are  separated from each other. Only knowing each other’s first name, Jim and Mary are desperate to find each other. Will these two lonesome individuals who have discovered their love for each other…lose it all that same day? Find out more at allmovie.com   Presented as part of the Leeds International Film Festival. With live accompaniment by Simon Lindley on the town hall pipe organ.  Leeds Town Hall – Victoria Hall, Leeds Link

exit_smilingExit Smiling (Dir. Sam Taylor, 1926)  and  My Wife’s Relations  (Dir. Edward F Cline/Buster Keaton, 1922) (Screening format – not known, 77/22 mins)  Beatrice Lillie was ‘the funniest woman of our civilisation’ according to Noel Coward, and Chaplin himself said she was his ‘female counterpart’. She hated making films and made only one my-wifes-relationssilent – this winning, memorable comedy about a disastrous touring theatre company. Lillie’s wonderful performance as Violet, the wardrobe mistress who dreams of stardom, will twang your heartstrings even while you’re laughing. Find out more at wikipedia.orgIn My Wife’s Relations, a judicial error results in Buster being married to a large domineering woman with an unfriendly father and four bullying brothers, a screening which includes a newly rediscovered shot of one of Keaton’s famous daredevil stunts. Find out more at busterkeaton.com   Presented as part of the Leeds International Film Festival.  City Varities, Leeds Link

9 November

The_Battle_of_the_Somme_film_image2Battle of the Somme (Dir.Geoffrey Malins, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins)  For film details see 4 Nov above.   Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented as part of the Somme100Film Centenary Tour.    Accompanied by a live performance from  The Works’ (community/ youth) orchestra conducted by Steve Cook.  Holy Trinity Church, Formby Liverpool   Link

12 November

Battle of the Somme (Dir.Geoffrey Malins, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins)   For film details see 4 Nov above.   Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented as part of the Somme100Film Centenary Tour.    Accompanied by a live performance from the  Stockport Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wynn Davies.   Stockport Town Hall, Stockport   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 in:  York,  Liverpool,  and Bradford Link

napoleon-panoramaNapoleon (Dir. Abel Gance, 1927) (Screening format – DCP332 mins) For film details, see above.  With recorded Carl Davies orchestral accompaniment.  Presented as part of the Leeds Internatrional Film Festival.   Leeds Town Hall – Victoria Hall, Leeds Link

Napoleon (Dir. Abel Gance, 1927) (Screening format – DCP332 mins) For film details, see above.  With recorded Carl Davies orchestral accompaniment.  Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle on Tyne   Link

Battle of the Somme (Dir.Geoffrey Malins, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins)   For film details see 4 Nov above.   Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented as part of the Somme100Film Centenary Tour.    Accompanied by a live performance from the Leeds College of Music Community Orchestra, conducted by Ben Crick.  Royal Armouries, Leeds Link

15 November

shadowtraps1webThe Shadow Traps: Louis Le Prince  In 1888, Louis Le Prince shot the world’s first films in Leeds before disappearing without a trace on 16th September 1890. The Shadow Traps is an illustrated talk on Le Prince, his films and his relationship with Leeds. Presented by Irfan Shah (researcher and co-writer of the documentary The First Film), the talk will present newly discovered material never before seen in public. An engrossing mix of film history, psycho-geography and detective work, The Shadow Traps will shed new light on one of the great Victorian mysteries.  Find out more at nationalmediamuseum.org      Presented as part of the Leeds International Film Festival.  Leeds Town Hall – Albert Room, Leeds  Link

lonesome_posterLonesome (Dir. Paul Lejos, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 69mins)  Lonesome is a lost treasure from Hollywood’s golden age, directed by pioneering explorer-anthropologist-doctor-filmmaker, Paul Fejos. It’s a New York City symphony set in Coney Island during the Fourth of July weekend, with dynamic camera work, experimental editing and an innovative use of colour tinting and superimposition effects. Largely silent, the film was made in the early days of the talkie and has three token dialogue scenes.   Mary is a telephone operator who lives alone and is lonely. Jim is a factory worker who lives alone and is lonely. Each decides to go to the beach  and both are captivated with each other, eventually realizing that they really do like each other. Having gone from loneliness to finding love, enjoying the company of each other and having fun, they are  separated from each other. Only knowing each other’s first name, Jim and Mary are desperate to find each other. Will these two lonesome individuals who have discovered their love for each other…lose it all that same day? Find out more at allmovie.com   Presented as part of the Leeds International Film Festival. With live accompaniment by Simon Lindley on the pipe organ.   Chaple FM, Leeds Link

18 November

robinhood-1922-1Robin Hood (Dir. Allan Dwan, 1922) (Screening format – not known) Amid big-budget medieval pageantry, King Richard (Wallace Beery) goes on the Crusades leaving his brother Prince John (Sam De Grasse)  as regent, who promptly emerges as a cruel, grasping, treacherous tyrant. Apprised of England’s peril by message from his lady-love Marian (Enid Bennett), the dashing Earl of Huntingdon (Douglas Fairbanks) endangers his life and honor by returning to oppose John, but robin-hood-1922-2finds himself and his friends outlawed, and Marian apparently dead. Enter Robin Hood, acrobatic champion of the oppressed, laboring to set things right through swashbuckling feats and cliffhanging perils.  One of the films that shaped the world of Hollywood, Robin Hood had a huge budget, large scale sets and was the first film to have a premiere. Pioneering in its ambitiousness, it is now considered one of the most significant films of early cinema. Douglas Fairbanks as Robin Hood masterfully conquers the athletic stunts of the ‘Swashbuckler’ silent films, whilst managing to bring emotional depth to this defining role. Read more at Wikipedia  Presented by the Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust. With live organ accompaniment by Donald MacKenzie.  Town Hall Ballroom, Stockport   Link

24 November

intolerance-5Intolerance (Dir. D W Griffith, 1916) (Screening format – not known, 197mins)   Griffith’s epic intercuts between four separate stories about man’s inhumanity to man. In Babylon, pacifist Prince Belshazzar is brought down by warring religious factions. In Judea, the last days of Christ (Howard Gaye) are depicted in the style of a Passion play. In France, Catherine de Medici presides over the slaughter of the intoleranceHuguenots. And in California, a woman (Mae Marsh) pleads for the life of her husband (Robert Harron) when he is sentenced to hang for a murder he did not commit.  Intolerance was made partly in response to criticism of Griffith’s previous film, The Birth of a Nation (1915), which was condemned for its racism and for glorifying the Ku Klux Clan.   However, it was not, as is commonly implied, an apology for the racism of his intolerance-2earlier film. Griffith made clear that the film’s title and overriding themes were meant as a response to those who he felt had been intolerant of him in condemning The Birth of a Nation.   Remarkably sophisticated in some scenes, appallingly naïve in others, Intolerance is a mixed bag dramatically, but  it is also a work of great cinematic skill. The film did poorly on first release, not so much because its continuity was difficult to follow as because it preached a gospel of tolerance and pacifism to a nation preparing to enter World War I.  Find out more at  silentfilm.org .  With live musical accompaniment by Matt Handley.  The Cosy Cinema,   The Concertina Club,  Mexborough, South Yorks.  Link

26 November

Battle of the Somme (Dir.Geoffrey Malins, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins)   For film details see 4 Nov above.   Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented as part of the Somme100Film Centenary Tour.    Accompanied by a live performance from the  Hull Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrew Penny MBE.   Hull City Hall, Hull   Link


 


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