January 2017

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1 January

lodger-1The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1927) (Screening format – DCP, 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  With recorded Nitin Sawhney score.  BFI Southbank, London. Link

2 January

Sunrise_vintageSunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (Dir. F W Murnau, 1927) (Screening format – DCP, 94mins) 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 Hugo Riesenfeld recorded score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

3 January

navigator_the_02-posterThe Navigator (Dir. Donald Crisp/Buster Keaton, 1924) (Screening format – 35mm, 59)   In The Navigator,  rich socialite Rollo Treadway (Buster Keaton) and his girlfriend (Kathryn McGuire) manage to find themselves adrift on an empty ocean liner.  At first their only problem is a lack of servants and an awkward deckchair but soon Rollo is in a diving suit battling  swordfish and octopus while his girlfriend is captured by hungry cannibals.     Find out more at allmovie.com .    With recorded soundtrack.  Picturehouse Central, London Link

pandoras-box-01Pandora’s Box (Dir.  G W Pabst, 1928) (Screening format – 35mm, 133mins) Pabst’s landmark adaptation of two plays by Frank Wedekind boasts an iconic performance by Louise Brooks as Lulu, the guiltless, guileless beauty who wreaks havoc among all those seduced by her raw sexuality, only to fall prey to an even darker force. A precise and subtle expressionism inflects the sets, costumes and make-up, highlighting the ruinous appeal of unbridled eroticism.  Find out more at  silentfilm.org  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London   Link

piccadilly-1-archivePiccadilly  (Dir. E A Dupont, 1929) (Screening format – DCP, 109mins) London’s West End is given a glittery expressionist veneer, with a fraught sexual triangle arising when a nightclub boss finds himself entranced by the slinky sensuality of the table-top dancing of a Chinese member of his kitchen staff (Wong in fine fettle). Both sleaze and sophistication are admirably evoked by Alfred Junge’s art direction. Find out more at   silentfilm.org    With recorded Neil Brand score.  BFI Southbank, London   Link

4 January

Sunrise_vintageSunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (Dir. F W Murnau, 1927) (Screening format – DCP, 94mins) 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 Hugo Riesenfeld recorded score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

5 January

lodger-1The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1927) (Screening format – DCP, 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  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London. Link

6 January

pandoras-box-01Pandora’s Box (Dir.  G W Pabst, 1928) (Screening format – 35mm, 133mins) Pabst’s landmark adaptation of two plays by Frank Wedekind boasts an iconic performance by Louise Brooks as Lulu, the guiltless, guileless beauty who wreaks havoc among all those seduced by her raw sexuality, only to fall prey to an even darker force. A precise and subtle expressionism inflects the sets, costumes and make-up, highlighting the ruinous appeal of unbridled eroticism.  Find out more at  silentfilm.org  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London   Link

7 January

from_caligari_to_hitler_1__533_300_70From Caligari to Hitler (Dir. Rüdiger Suchsland, 2015) (Screening format – DCP, 118mins)  The Weimar Republic (1918 to 1933), was the freest state on German soil: a wild era characterised by disruption, crisis, and cultural brilliance. It was also arguably the most important period of German cinema, a time full of wonders and invention.  Directors including Murnau, Lang, Lubitsch, Pabst, Wilder, Sternberg and Ruttmann are still legendary today, their stars Marlene Dietrich, Louise Brooks, Emil Jannings and Conrad Veidt are unforgotten, and films like Nosferatu; The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari; Metropolis; M; People on Sunday; Berlin, Symphony of a Great City, and The Blue Angel demonstrate their unique aura. This essential documentary gives an insight into these great films, and this turbulent time.  Screening as part of the FOKUS: Films from Germany series, organised by the Goethe-Institut, Glasgow, and Filmhouse, Edinburgh.  Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee.   Link

piccadilly-1-archivePiccadilly  (Dir. E A Dupont, 1929) (Screening format – DCP, 109mins) London’s West End is given a glittery expressionist veneer, with a fraught sexual triangle arising when a nightclub boss finds himself entranced by the slinky sensuality of the table-top dancing of a Chinese member of his kitchen staff (Wong in fine fettle). Both sleaze and sophistication are admirably evoked by Alfred Junge’s art direction. Find out more at   silentfilm.org    With recorded Neil Brand score.  BFI Southbank, London   Link

8 January

pandoras-box-01Pandora’s Box (Dir.  G W Pabst, 1928) (Screening format – 35mm, 133mins) Pabst’s landmark adaptation of two plays by Frank Wedekind boasts an iconic performance by Louise Brooks as Lulu, the guiltless, guileless beauty who wreaks havoc among all those seduced by her raw sexuality, only to fall prey to an even darker force. A precise and subtle expressionism inflects the sets, costumes and make-up, highlighting the ruinous appeal of unbridled eroticism.  Find out more at  silentfilm.org  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London   Link

Vampyr1932Vampyr (Dir. Carl Theodore Dreyer, 1932)  (Screening format – not known, 83mins) (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    With live musical accompaniment by Minima and Stephen Horne.   Barbican, London  Link 

The Wizard of Oz  (Dir.  Larry Semon, 1925)     Putting Pants on Philip  (Dir.  Clyde Bruckman, 1927)       (Screening format – not known,    93/19 mins)   A radically different re-telling of the Wizard of Oz story, both from Baum’s original book and from the later Judy Garland version, this version sees the story focus primarily on the scarecrow character of the original stroy, played by director Semon.  The Tin Man villain is played by Oliver Hardy in his pre-Laurel & Hardy days while Dorothy Dwan plays Dorothy. Find out more at imdb.comPutting Pants on Philip  stars Laurel and Hardy but was made before they become a real partnership.  Ollie is Piedmont J. Mumblethunder, a pillar of society, waiting at dockside to welcome his cousin Philip (Stan) from Scotland.  But Philip is a sex-mad Scot in a kilt who sets about chasing attractive Dorothy Coburn at every opportunity. Find out more at  wikipedia.org .    With live organ accompaniment by renowned organist Donald MacKenzie.  Troxy, London E1    Link

 

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 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 With recorded Carl Davies orchestral accompaniment.   Film Theatre, Glasgow    Link

napoleon-portraitNapoleon (Dir. Abel Gance, 1927) (Screening format – DCP332 mins) For details see  above.   With recorded Carl Davies orchestral accompaniment.   Regent Street Cinema, London Link

10 January

What matters deafness of the ear when the mind hears?  (Dir. Various, 1904-2016)  (Screening format – 16/35mm) A programme of silent films designed to be accessible to people with hearing impairments as well as hearing audiences, creating a shared and uniquely immersive experience of silent film screened here without accompanying soundtrack.  Films include; The Ex-Convict (Edwin S. Porter, 1904), The Wonder Ring (Stan Brakhage 1955), Time Piece (David Leister, 1989), Tiny Tim’s New Year Gifts [Les Etrennes de Bout-de-zan] (Louis Feuillade 1913), Split Second (Bea Haut, 2016), Ghosts Before Breakfast (Hans Richter, 1928), Rescued by Rover (Cecil Hepworth and Lewis Fitzhamon, 1905), Daisy Doodad’s Dial (Florence Turner, 1914).  Followed, a panel of experts made up of Bryony Dixon (BFI), Pamela Hutchinson (Silent London) and Maverick Litchfield-Kelley (Neath Films),discuss parallels between cinema in the modern and silent era, hosted by film journalist Ian Hayden Smith.   ICA, London Link

From Magic Lanterns to Metro Goldwyn Mayer: the birth of the Silver Screen and the Artists it inspired.  The moving image has been a powerful source for imagination from the first moment a magic lantern flickered into life in the 17th century. This lecture  looks at how the Motion Pictures industry first developed throughout the late 19th and early 20th century and how it then went on to change the face of entertainment and inspire the imaginations of some of the greatest artists of the early 20th century. Ex Fleet Street journalist, ex MGM film publicist, Dr Geri Parlby provides a sparkling account of the development of the motion picture industry, which changed the face of mass entertainment around the turn of the 20th century.  Presented by Liskeard Arts.  Liskeard Public Hall, Liskeard, Cornwall.   Link

 12 January

danse-du-feu-01Restored Silent Films  A collection of early silents selected by Martin Scorsese,  this astute programme ranges from the Lumières’ very first moving images to DW Griffith, Georges Méliès’ pioneering trickery and Edwin S Porter’s landmark narrative short The Great Train Robbery. The Floorwalker, Chaplin’s department-store frolic meanwhile, shows the new medium’s rapid development. Also featured is Alice Guy Blaché – the first female film director, and key industry figure in France and the US. With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

Sunrise_vintageSunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (Dir. F W Murnau, 1927) (Screening format – DCP, 94mins) 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 Hugo Riesenfeld recorded score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

15 January

danse-du-feu-01Restored Silent Films  A collection of early silents selected by Martin Scorsese,  this astute programme ranges from the Lumières’ very first moving images to DW Griffith, Georges Méliès’ pioneering trickery and Edwin S Porter’s landmark narrative short The Great Train Robbery. The Floorwalker, Chaplin’s department-store frolic meanwhile, shows the new medium’s rapid development. Also featured is Alice Guy Blaché – the first female film director, and key industry figure in France and the US. With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

napoleon-portraitNapoleon (Dir. Abel Gance, 1927) (Screening format – DCP332 mins) For details see  8 Jan above.   With recorded Carl Davies orchestral accompaniment.   New Park Cinema, Chichester   Link

18 January

Orchids and ermine posterOrchids and Ermine (Dir. Alfred Santell, 1927) (Screening format – 35mm, 69mins)   Pink Watson (Colleen Moore)  dreams of marrying rich. She gets a job as hotel switchboard operator.   An oil millionaire named Tabor (Jack Mulhall) checks in to the hotel and is set upon by gold-diggers. He swaps places with his assistant Hank (Sam Hardy) and poses as a chauffeur. Pink falls for Tabor without knowing of his fortunes  while Hank gets in Orchids and Ermine Coleen Moore and 6 year old Mickey Rooneytrouble under the identity of his employer by charming Pink’s friend Ermintrude (Gwen Lee). Hank quickly learns the downside of the attentions of  gold diggers. Hank advises Tabor on the techniques to seduce a lady, because Tabor has fallen in love with Pink. These tips do not prove to be helpful and she tries to get rid of him in the mass of the New York streets. Will Tabor ever get the girl and will Pink get her millionaire?  Colleen Moore was one of the really great comediennes of the silent era and Orchids and Ermine shows her off at her very best. It was a very young Mickey Rooney’s first feature film (aged six) and also features Hedda Hopper before she went on to become the acid-tongued gossip columnist so beautifully portrayed by Helen Mirren in Trumbo (2016).  Find out more at  silent-volume.blogspot.co.uk   Presented by the Kennington Bioscope with live musical accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, LambethLink

p12619191_p_v8_aaNOT Film (Dir. Ross Lipman, 2015) (Screening format – not known, 130mins) NOT Film is a documentary about the embattled collaboration between Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett and silent-era genius Buster Keaton as they filmed Beckett’s only onscreen work.  During the restoration of FILM (1965), NOT Film director Ross Lipman discovered its long-lost prologue under the sink of Barney Rosset (producer of FILM). He then reconstructed this scene for NOT Film in strict accordance with Beckett’s original notes; a fascinating insight into Buster’s last ‘silent’ film. NOT Film is packed with references and clips from the work of Buñuel, Vertov, Vigo, Eisenstein (and many more) and presents many recent discoveries to the world for the first time, including some exceedingly rare recordings of Beckett’s voice, in which he discusses the making of FILM with his collaborators. Lipman’s archaeological approach is combined with interviews with a range of figures, from those that knew Beckett personally (his muse Billie Whitelaw, biographer James Knowlson and other friends) as well as film historians, painting an illustrious picture of Beckett’s work.  Find out more at filmcomment.com .  Being screened as part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Watershed Cinema, Bristol   Link

shooting-stars-01Shooting Stars (Dir. Anthony Asquith/ A V Bramble, 1927) + What’s the World Coming To? (Dir. Richard Wallace, 1926) (Screening format – not known, 80/23mins)  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 in Shooting Stars. 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 been restored to its original 1920s sparkle by a team of experts at the National Film Archive .  Find out more at  IMDb.com    What’s the World Coming To (aka A Furious Future) is a fantastic, little-known Hal Roach comedy set 100 years in the future when genders have reversed. Starring Clyde Cook and Katherine Grant and with an uncredited role for Stan Laurel. Find out more at wikipedia.org .      Being screened as part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival and introduced by stand-up comedian Shazia Mirza.  With live musical accompaniment from Guenter A. Buchwald & Frank Bockius. Watershed Cinema, Bristol   Link

piccadilly-1-archivePiccadilly  (Dir. E A Dupont, 1929) (Screening format – Not known, 109mins) London’s West End is given a glittery expressionist veneer, with a fraught sexual triangle arising when a nightclub boss finds himself entranced by the slinky sensuality of the table-top dancing of a Chinese member of his kitchen staff (Wong in fine fettle). Both sleaze and sophistication are admirably evoked by Alfred Junge’s art direction. Find out more at   silentfilm.org    Birkbeck Uni, 43 Gordon Sq, London Link

19 January

kid_boots_1926-filmposterkid-boots-1922-eddie-cantorKid Boots  (Dir. Frank Tuttle, 1926)  (Screening format – not known, 77mins) A salesman (Eddie Cantor)  is helped out of a jam with an angry customer by a wealthy playboy (Lawrence Grey). In return, he agrees to help the playboy get a divorce from his wife, only to find himself falling for the girlfriend (Clara Bow) of the customer who got him in trouble in the first place. Great American entertainer Eddie Cantor made his screen debut in this adaptation of his 1923 Broadway musical. ‘IT’ girl Clara Bow is wonderfully perky as his love interest. the result is a sparky romantic comedy featuring two American jazz age icons for the price of one!   Find out more at  afi.com   Presented as part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Introduced by Oscar winning director and film historian Kevin Brownlow. With live piano accompaniment by Daan Van Den Hurk.  Watershed Cinema, Bristol     Link

why be good 2Why Be Good  (Dir. William A. Seiter, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 84 mins) Starring the delightful Coleen Moore as Pert Kelly, this film tells the tale of a vibrant shop assistant who enjoys wild parties and dancing. She falls in love with a dashing well-to-do man who, unbeknownst to her, is in fact the son of the Why be goodowner of the department store in which she works. Comedy ensues as Pert is put to the test in order to prove herself worthy of the wealthy shop owner’s son.  Considered for a long time to be lost, Why Be Good was rediscovered in the 1990’s at which time it was restored and placed alongside its original Vitaphone soundtrack. It is one of few films therefore, that provides a bridge between silent cinema and the talkies. A showcase for the fun and excess associated with the flapper era, Why Be Good is a fast paced morality ride ripe with mischief and energy. Find out more  at   wikipedia.org    Presented as part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Introduced by stand up comedian and writer Lucy PorterWatershed Cinema, Bristol  Link

thomas-graals-best-filmThomas Graal’s Best Film (Dir.  Maurice Stiller, 1918) (Screening format – not known, 59mins) Thomas Graal is a screenwriter and very fond of his secretary Bessie. Overtaken by a kiss with Thomas she runs away. In his misfortune Thomas writes a screenplay thomas-graals-best-filminspired by Bessie, but she has not been completely honest with him. One of Sweden’s greatest filmmakers (Stiller) directs another, Victor Sjöström, in the role of Thomas, and the incomparable Karin Molander plays the unflappable Bessie. Find out more at  sensesofcinema.com .    Presented as part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Introduced by film historian David Robinson, with live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.   Watershed Cinema, Bristol  Link

20 January

paths_to_paradise_backPaths to Paradise ( Dir. Clarence Badger, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 60 mins) A con-woman (Betty Compson)  has a nice business going in fleecing gullible tourists who want a genuine ‘underworld’ experience — but the tables are turned when one of her victims (Raymond Griffith) turns out to be less innocent than he looks! Dodging the city detective who knows her by sight and wants her to “go straight”, she next sets her sights on pathsparadisea valuable diamond pendant; but when her elegant nemesis turns up at the scene of the would-be crime, it becomes a race to see who can carry out the con first.   Find out more at imdb.com  .  Presented as part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Introduced by renowned film historian Kevin Brownlow who provides an insight into the life and work of Raymond Griffith.  With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.   Watershed Cinema, Bristol     Link

master-of-the-house-1925Master of the House (Dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1925) (Screening formar – not known, 111mins)  Based on a play by Sven Rindon, the film centers upon Viktor Frandsen (Johannes Meyer) an insensitive bully who browbeats his wife and children beyond all reason until he is taught a lesson by his own former nanny, who begins giving him a dose of his own medicine. Although Dreyer is better known for The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) and Vampyr (1932) this film was believed to be one of the most successful Scandinavian film of the silent era, playing to critical acclaim and full houses across Europe. Find out more at  imdb.com .     Presented as part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Introduced by BAFTA award winning film editor, Don Fairservice.  With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.   Watershed Cinema, Bristol     Link

seven-years-bad-luckSeven Years Bad Luck (Dir. Max Linder, 1921) + Amour Et Fromage (Dir. Max Linder, 1910) (Screening format – not known, 62/6 mins)  In Seven Years Bad Luck, after breaking a mirror in his home, superstitious Max tries to avoid situations that could bring bad luck, but in doing so causes himself the worst luck (and most hilarious outcomes) imaginable: his fiancée abandons him, and his efforts to leave town seven-yrs-bad-luckare thwarted by a mad mishmash of adventures in which policemen, railroad employees, burglars, and wild beasts conspire to make life miserable for him. This rare and relatively late Max Linder film, features the much imitated broken mirror sketch, later mimicked by the Marx Brothers, Spike Milligan and even Aardman’s Morph. Find out more at  silentfilm.org .    In Amour et Fromage, Max’s maid is jealous of his prospective wife so she places a piece of stale cheese in his jacket pocket when he attends the wedding announcement party with amusing consequences.  Presented as part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Introduced by  Sir Christopher Frayling and with live piano accompaniment by Daan van den Hurk.  Watershed Cinema, Bristol     Link

film_film_posterWhen Keaton Met Beckett  + FILM  (Dir. Alan Schneider, 1965) (Screening format – not known, 20 mins)  In 1964 author Samuel Beckett set out on one of the strangest ventures in cinematic history – an embattled collaboration with silent era genius Buster Keaton on the production of a short, titleless avant-garde film. Beckett was nearing the peak of his fame, which would culminate in him receiving a Nobel Prize five years film-1965later. Keaton, in his waning years, never lived to see Beckett’s canonisation. In essence a chase film – one of the craziest ever committed to celluloid – the film they made (titled FILM), along with director Alan Schneider, renegade publisher Barney Rosset and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Boris Kaufman, has been the subject of praise, condemnation, and controversy for decades.  Find out more at   wikipedia.org.  Presented as part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Robin Ince introduces a newly restored version of FILM and , with special guests, he will tell the story behind the film and also talk about why comedians are so fascinated with Beckett.  Arnolfini, Bristol    Link

Freshman,_The_(1925)_harold lloydThe Freshman (Dir. Fred C Newmeyer/Sam Taylor, 1925) + The Finishing Touch (Clyde Bruckman/Leo McCarey 1928) + The High Sign ( Edward F Cline/Buster Keaton, 1921) (Screening format – not known, 76/19/20 mins)  In The Freshman Harold Lamb (Harold Lloyd) , an eager, uncoordinated college freshman who yearns to be the most popular man on campus, incurs contempt from a college cad and others when he emulates the demeanour of a movie college man. He tries to win friendship by spending most of his college Finishing_Touch_1928 laurel and hardymoney treating his classmates, but is only truly liked by Peggy (Jobyana Ralston) , the daughter of his landlady. Harold, who now likes to go by the nickname “Speedy,” tries further measures to make himself popular and attempts to join the football team.  But will he ever be able to be himself and win popularity as well as the love of Peggy. For more info see wikipedia.org    In The Finishing Touch, Laurel and Hardy are contracted to build a house in one day. Upon completion, a bird lands on the chimney and the house collapses, bit by bit. When the owner demands his money back, mayhem ensues.  For more detail see allmovie.com    In  The High Sign Buster Keaton plays a drifter who cons his way into working at an amusement park shooting High_Sign_(1921)_Keatongallery. Believing Buster is an expert marksman, both the murderous gang the Blinking Buzzards and the man they want to kill end up hiring him. The film ends with a wild chase through a house filled with secret passages.  For more detail see  imdb.com .  Presented as part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival, 2017.   The Freshman will be accompanied by the famous score composed by Carl Davis, with the 25-piece Bristol Ensemble conducted by Guenter A Buchwald.  The Finishing Touch and  The High Sign accompanied by The European Silent Screen Virtuosi.  Colston Hall.Bristol View

Charlie Chaplin: The Essany Comedies Restored – DVD Launch.   Join the BFI and Cinema Museum for a special evening celebrating the comic genius of Charlie Chaplin and the groundbreaking films he made at the Essanay studio during 1915. The BFI’s Douglas Weir and Chaplin expert and writer Glen Mitchell will be in conversation and introduce new restorations of The Champion and The Bank. They will also reveal an interesting Chaplin connection recently unearthed in the BFI National Archive featuring another legendary British comic talent. The newly restored Essanay Comedies DVD and Blu-ray will be on sale at a special launch price on the evening (ahead on the official 23 January release date), along with other silent cinema BFI DVD and Blu-rays at bargain prices.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth Link

21 January

matrimaniac-1The Matrimaniac (Dir. Paul Powell, 1916) + The Count (Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 44/24  mins)  In The Matrimaniac,  A young couple (Douglas Fairbanks and Constance Talmadge) attempt to elope, with the bride’s irate father in hot pursuit. The train stops briefly and the young man dashes off to find a minister, but before he can get himself and the minister onto the train, it leaves, carrying his bride-to- count-1916be away. Now the young man, minister in tow, pursues his bride while her father and a horde of lawmen pursue them both.  Find out more at  centuryfilmproject.orgIn The Count, the tailor’s handyman (Chaplin) burns a count’s trousers while ironing them and is fired. His boss (Campbell) discovers a note explaining the count can’t attend a party so decides to take his place.  Chaplin also goes to  the party, as does the real Count, then its a struggle to win the girl (Edna Purviance).  Find out more at  www.imdb.com .    Presented as part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival. With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.  Watershed Cinema, Bristol   Link

 Safetylast-1Safety Last (Dir. Fred C Newmeyer, 1923)  (Screening format – not known, 70mins).   In Safety Last, Harold Lloyd heads to the big city to make his fortune. Although only a sales clerk he tells his girlfriend (Mildred Davis) he is the store manager. When she comes to visit, he needs to keep up the pretense, avoid the real store manager and escape the police by climbing up the outside of the building. A classic Lloyd comedy with hair-raising climax. Lloyd will forever be associated with Safety Last because of a single image. Even people who have never safetylast_1923_lc_01_1200_070620090310seen a Lloyd film are familiar with the iconography of a bespectacled man hanging off the hands of a collapsing clock on the side of a skyscraper high above teeming city streets. It is one of the most celebrated images in cinema (and one repeated again and again in homage, eg Jackie Chan in Project A (1983) or Christopher Lloyd in Back To The Future (1985)).  Although Lloyd was a good athlete and regularly did many of his own stunts, there were limits.   His insurance company did not allow him to do the entire sequence; an injury to the star could shut down the entire production and jeopardize the studio. Also, Lloyd had only one complete hand—the result of an accident in 1919 in which he lost his right thumb and forefinger. For parts of the climb, therefore, two stand-ins were used. In the long shots of Lloyd climbing the building it was Bill Strother  (who played Lloyd’s pal ‘Limpy Bill’ in the film) while for the shot in which Lloyd hangs from the building edge as a result of a mouse crawling up the leg of his trousers, it was assistant director Robert A. Golden (who routinely doubled for Lloyd) standing in. Find out more at silentfilm.orgWith live  organ  accompaniment by Vincent Byrne.     St. Barnabas Church, Erdington. Link

pandoras-box-01Pandora’s Box (Dir.  G W Pabst, 1928) (Screening format – 35mm, 133mins) Pabst’s landmark adaptation of two plays by Frank Wedekind boasts an iconic performance by Louise Brooks as Lulu, the guiltless, guileless beauty who wreaks havoc among all those seduced by her raw sexuality, only to fall prey to an even darker force. A precise and subtle expressionism inflects the sets, costumes and make-up, highlighting the ruinous appeal of unbridled eroticism.  Find out more at  silentfilm.org  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London   Link

nosferatuposter *****     NB………THIS SCREENING HAS BEEN CANCELLED         Nosferatu (F W Murnau, 1922)    (Screening format – not known, 93mins) Based upon Bram Stoker’s Dracula, one of the most evocative texts in popular culture, FW Murnau’s 1922 film adaptation relocates the story from Transylvania to nineteenth-century Bremen. Max Schreck stars as the terrifying Count Orlock, who thirsts for the body and soul of a young clerk and his beautiful wife. Regarded as the first vampire film, Nosferatu is one of the most artistically original and masterfully ghoulish of the genre.  Find out more at modernism.research.yale.edu  . With live musical accompaniment by Dmytro Morykit. Showing with Michael Daviot’s ‘illuminating, funny and incredibly touching one man show’ about the life and times of Max Schreck, the original Nosferatu Comrie Cinema and Events Club,  Comrie, Scotland Link

The Gold Rush (Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1925) (Screening format – DCP, 86mins) Charlie Chaplin’s comedic masterwork – which charts a prospector’s search for fortune in the Klondike and his discovery of romance (with the beautiful Georgia Hale) – forever cemented the iconic status of Chaplin and his Little Tramp character. Shot partly on location in the Sierra Nevadas and featuring such timeless gags as the dance of the dinner rolls and the meal of boiled shoe leather, The Gold Rush is an indelible work of heartwarming hilarity. Find out more at silentfilm.org .  With recorded score.  The Electric Cinema, Birmingham  Link

  22 January

Accidentally Preserved: Surviving Slapstick on 16mm  Slapstick comedy shorts were excellent fodder for home movie companies of the 1920s and 1930s. Kodascope and Pathéscope rented or sold safety film prints for people to watch in their homes, not realising that decades later these prints would out-survive the 35mm prints originally in circulation. This programme contains hilarious rare slapstick comedies starring comedy stars whose work has been largely forgotten. (Film titles not yet available).  Presented as part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.    Curated by Ben Model  (silent film historian,accompanist and filmmaker) and hosted by Goodie Bill Oddie and Infinite Monkey Cage (Radio 4) star Robin Ince.   With live accompaniment from Guenter A. Buchwald. Watershed Cinema, Bristol   Link

cops_1922-keatonseven_chances_1925bCops (Dir. Buster Keaton, 1922)+ Seven Chances (Dir. Buster Keaton, 1925) (Screening format – DCP, 22/56mins) One of Keaton’s most iconic and brilliantly-constructed short films, Cops sees him accidentally gets on the bad side of the entire Los Angeles Police Department during a parade, and chased all over town.  Find out more at busterkeaton.comIn Seven Chances,   on the morning of his 27th birthday, James Shannon (Keaton) is informed that he stands to inherit $7 million if he is married by 7 o’clock that evening. He proposes to his sweetheart, but she rejects him when he offends her by stating that he must marry a girl–any girl–in order to come into a fortune.  He proposes to seven more girls who all turn him down,  Then all of a sudden there are lots of willing brides all looking for him!!  Can he escape, marry the girl of his dreams and inherit the money?  Find out more at wikipedia.org  .  Prersented in partnership with the Slapstick Festival, Bristol.  With live piano accompaniment by Guenter A. Buchwald.  Barbican, London Link

Battleship Potemkin  (Dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) (Screening format – DCP, 66mins)  Declared the greatest film of all time at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, Battleship Potemkin has been widely censored, as much out of fear of the perceived influence of its ideas as for any contentious material on screen.  In essence, it tells a five-part story of a naval mutiny leading to full-blown revolution, but while this material could be crudely propagandist in other hands, Eisenstein uses images of such dynamic compositional strength and editing of such frame-perfect precision that it’s hard not to be swept along, regardless of personal politics. And despite endless quotation and parody, the set-piece massacre on the Odessa Steps still packs a sledgehammer punch.  Find out more at  sensesofcinema.com .  With recorded soundtrack.  Electric Cinema, Birmingham   Link 

26 January

lodger-1The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1927) (Screening format – DCP, 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  With recorded Nitin Sawhney score.  BFI Southbank, London. Link

Safety Last (Dir. Fred C Newmeyer, 1923)  (Screening format – not known, 70mins)   In Safety Last, Harold Lloyd heads to the big city to make his fortune. Although only a sales clerk he tells his girlfriend (Mildred Davis) he is the store manager. When she comes to visit, he needs to keep up the pretense, avoid the real store manager and escape the police by climbing up the outside of the building. A classic Lloyd comedy with hair-raising climax. Lloyd will forever be associated with Safety Last because of a single image. Even people who have never safetylast_1923_lc_01_1200_070620090310seen a Lloyd film are familiar with the iconography of a bespectacled man hanging off the hands of a collapsing clock on the side of a skyscraper high above teeming city streets. It is one of the most celebrated images in cinema (and one repeated again and again in homage, eg Jackie Chan in Project A (1983) or Christopher Lloyd in Back To The Future (1985)).  Although Lloyd was a good athlete and regularly did many of his own stunts, there were limits.   His insurance company did not allow him to do the entire sequence; an injury to the star could shut down the entire production and jeopardize the studio. Also, Lloyd had only one complete hand—the result of an accident in 1919 in which he lost his right thumb and forefinger. For parts of the climb, therefore, two stand-ins were used. In the long shots of Lloyd climbing the building it was Bill Strother  (who played Lloyd’s pal ‘Limpy Bill’ in the film) while for the shot in which Lloyd hangs from the building edge as a result of a mouse crawling up the leg of his trousers, it was assistant director Robert A. Golden (who routinely doubled for Lloyd) standing in. Find out more at silentfilm.orgLive musical accompaniment by Jonathan Best.   Hull Truck Theatre, Hull   Link

27 January

Sunrise_vintageSunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (Dir. F W Murnau, 1927) (Screening format – DCP, 94mins) 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 Hugo Riesenfeld recorded score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

28 January

Piccadilly  (Dir. E A Dupont, 1929) (Screening format – DCP, 109mins) London’s West End is given a glittery expressionist veneer, with a fraught sexual triangle arising when a nightclub boss finds himself entranced by the slinky sensuality of the table-top dancing of a Chinese member of his kitchen staff (Wong in fine fettle). Both sleaze and sophistication are admirably evoked by Alfred Junge’s art direction. Find out more at   silentfilm.org    With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand.  BFI Southbank, London   Link

napoleon-portraitNapoleon (Dir. Abel Gance, 1927) (Screening format – DCP332 mins) For details see  8 Jan above.   With recorded Carl Davies orchestral accompaniment.  Home Cinema, Manchester   Link

29 January

Napoleon (Dir. Abel Gance, 1927) (Screening format – DCP332 mins) For details see  8 Jan above.   With recorded Carl Davies orchestral accompaniment.   New Park Cinema, Chichester   Link

Passion of joan of arc 1The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928) (Screening format – Blu-Ray, 82 mins) In 1926 Danish film director Dreyer was invited to make a film in France by the Société Générale des Films and chose to direct a picture about Joan of Arc due to her renewed popularity (having been canonised as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in 1920 and subsequently adopted as one of the patron saints of France). Apparently discarding a script provided by the Société, Dreyer spent over a year researching Joan of Arc including study of the actual transcripts passion of joan of arc 2of her trial before producing a script of his own.  In the title role, Dreyer cast the little known stage actress Renee Jeanne Falconetti, who had previously acted in just two inconsequential films, both in 1917.  The film focuses on the trial and eventual execution of Joan of Arc after she is captured by the English.  Although not a popular success at the time, the film attracted immediate critical praise.  The New York Times critic wrote “… … as a film work of art this takes precedence over anything that has so far been produced. It makes worthy pictures of the past look like tinsel shams. It fills one with such intense admiration that other pictures appear but trivial in comparison.”  Falconetti’s performance has been widely lauded with critic Pauline Kael writing in 1982 that Falconetti’s portrayal “may be the finest performance ever recorded on film.”  The film was subsequently re-edited against Dreyer’s wishes and his original version was long thought lost.  But in 1981 a near perfect copy was found in the attic of a psychiatric hospital in Oslo.  The Passion of Joan of Arc now regularly appears in ‘Top Ten’ lists not just of best silent films but best films of all time.  Find out more at  rogerebert.com  With recorded soundtrack by Japanese silent film composer Mie Yanashita.  Electric Cinema, Birmingham   Link

An Afternoon With Buster Keaton  (Screening format – not known) Laugh away the January blues with this silent comedy afternoon featuring Buster Keaton on the big screen.  Films include;  The Cameraman (Dir. Edward Sedgwick & Buster Keaton, 1928 )   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  and:   The Scarecrow 1920 KeatonScarecrow,(Dirs. Edward F Cline/Buster keaton, 1920) in which Buster plays a farmhand who competes with Joe Roberts to win the love of the farmer’s daughter (Sybil Seely). Running from a dog , Buster falls into a hay thresher and ruins his clothes. Forced to borrow the clothes of a nearby scarecrow, Sybil believes Buster to be proposing as she stumbles upon him tying his shoe. The couple speed off on a motorcycle with Joe and the farmer (played by Buster’s father, Joe) in hot pursuit. Scooping up a minister during the chase, they are married on the speeding motorcycle and splash into a stream at the climax of the ceremony and the film. Find out more at imdb.com.    With live accompaniment on the Wurlitza organ by Donald MacKenzie.  The Musical Museum at Kew Bridge, London Link


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