January 2016

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


1 January

Steamboat Bill Jnr.    (Dir. Buster Keaton, 1928)  A crusty river boat captain hopes that his long departed son’s return will help him compete with a business rival.  Unfortunately, William Canfield Jnr (Buster Keaton) is an effete college boy.  Worse still, he has fallen for the business rival’s daughter (Marion Byron).  Not a commercial success at the time, this is now rightly regarded as a Keaton classic.    Find out more at Wikipedia      Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds  Link

harold lloyd - speedySpeedy    (Dir. Ted Wilde, 1928)  Harold ‘Speedy’ Swift (Harold Lloyd) is a baseball-crazy young man who cannot hold down a job. His girlfriend (Ann Christy) lives with her grandfather, who owns New York’s last horse-drawn streetcar, under threat from railway magnates. Can Speedy save the day and win Pop’s respect and the hand of his granddaughter?  Find out more on IMDb   Saffron Screen, Saffron Walden, Essex  Link

220px-Vintage_PotemkinBattleship Potemkin (Dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1926)  Eisenstein’s account of the 1905 Black Sea mutiny and the sympathetic response it received from the people of Odessa, is often regarded as the supreme achievement of 1920s Soviet cinema,  Eisenstein makes brilliant use of montage both to provide drama through subtle alterations of space and time and to create striking metaphoric relationships that bolster his political arguments. Find out more at Wikipedia   Close-Up Film Centre, London  Link

2 January

Strike (Dir. Sergei Eisenetein, 1925) Eisenstein’s first film follows the progress of a workers’ strike at a factory in pre-Revolutionary Russia from worker dissatisfaction and organization to a violent denouement. True to his ideological resistance to the reliance on heroic individuals in mainstream cinema, the focus shifts among a number of groups: provocateurs, strike breaking troops, an arrogant ruling class and the workers themselves. Find out more at IMDb    Close-Up Film Centre, London  Link

3 January

October (Dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1928)  A dramatic chronicle of the events leading up to and during the October Revolution.  Eisenstein attempts a more complex and intellectual film than his previous efforts, including the famous sequence in which a montage of religious images amounts to a critique of religion. He refuses to focus on an individual protagonist. Even Lenin himself is rarely glimpsed among the soldiers, sailors, student agitators and bourgeois counterrevolutionaries who populate the film. Find out more at IMDb  Close-Up Film Centre, London  Link

Man_with_a_movie_camera9 January

Man With A Movie Camera  (Dir. Dziga Vertov, 1929) Experimental documentary pioneer Dziga Vertov’s best known work, Man with a Movie Camera is one of the most influential films in cinema history. A poetic vision of urban life in 1920s Russia, Vertov’s extraordinary montage presents a bustling city at work and at play – a high-octane metropolis invigorated by an increasingly industrialised economy. Narrative-free and stripped of many of the conventions of silent cinema, the film exhibits a technical confidence that belies the fact that it was the director’s first feature. Find out more at  Wikipedia   With live musical accompaniment by Graeme Ross (Radioolio)  Portico Gallery, West Norwood, London  Link

12 January

A Cosmonaut’s TripIn parallel with the exhibition ‘Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age’ at the Science Museum, this event investigates cinematic reactions to outer space, including a number of silent film shorts (Eclipse of the Moon Topical Budget 530-1 (1921), Voyage autour d’une étoile (Dir. Gaston Velle,  1906),  A Trip to the Planets (1920),  Les Astronautes, (Dir. Walerian Borowczyk & Chris Marker, 1959)  ICA, London   Link

13 January

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Dir. Lotte Reiniger  1926) Based on stories from “The Arabian Nights”, a wicked sorcerer tricks Prince Achmed into riding a magical flying horse which he uses to fly off to many adventures. While traveling, he falls in love with the beautiful Princess Peri Banu, and must defeat an army of demons to win her heart. The film is animated using the silhouette technique, which employs movable cardboard and metal cutouts posed in front of illuminated sheets of glass. Find out more at Wikipedia    Deptford Cinema, London Link

16 January

Piccadilly (Dir.  E A Dupont, 1929)     A young Chinese woman (Anna May Wong), working in the kitchen at a London dance club, is given the chance to become the club’s main act which soon leads to a plot of betrayal, forbidden love and murder.  Find out more at Wikipedia.  With live musical accompaniment.   Wilton’s Music Hall, London Link

17 JanuaryChalincircus2b

The Circus (Dir. Charlie Chaplin, 1928)  On the run from the police, a tramp (Chaplin) unwittingly ducks into a big top, where his bumbling attempts to avoid the pursuing officers earn the laughter and applause of the crowd. Impressed, the ringmaster decides to employ him as an entertainer. Between a whirlwind of gags, getting trapped in a lion’s cage and some show-stopping high wire escapades, he falls for the ringmaster’s beautiful, mistreated daughter, a show rider who unfortunately only has eyes for a daring tightrope acrobat. Find out more at Wikipedia      Barbican, London  Link

20 January

Rediscovered and Restored (Dir. Various)  Serge Bromberg, one of Europe’s finest silent film champions, presents his latest collection of newly discovered and restored silent comedy shorts including newly restored versions of classic and rare films from Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, James Finlayson and Charley Bowers.   Part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Watershed, Bristol  Link

Ivor Novello The rat 1925The Rat (Dir. Graham Cutts, 1925)   Pierre Boucheron (Ivor Novello, “the British Valentino”) aka The Rat, is a Parisian jewel thief, and habitué of the White Coffin club.  His innocent girlfriend Odile (Mae Marsh) is desired by the sinister Monsieur Stetz (Robert Scholtz), while the demi-mondaine Zelie de Chaumet (Isabel Jeans) has designs on the Rat.   A powerful and enjoyable romantic melodrama and one of Novello’s best performances (he also wrote the original play in collaboration with Constance Collier). Find out more  at Wikipedia  A Kennington Bioscope presentation with live musical accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London

21 JanuaryMovie_Poster_-_Bed_&_Sofa

Bed and Sofa (Tretya Meshchanskaya)  (Dir.  Abram Room, 1927)  A married couple (Nikolai Batalov and Lyudmila Semyonova)  in a small apartment invite an old friend (Vladimir Fogel) to stay with them. This leads to interesting consequences for all three. Banned in both the Soviet Union (due to its focus on human relationships and disregard of state and party) and in the United States and Europe (due to its realistic portrayal of sexual relationships) this is now considered a landmark film due to its humour, naturalism and sympathetic portrayal of the female character. Find out more at  Wikipedia   Part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.  Watershed, Bristol.  Link

Silent Comedy Westerns (Dir. Various)  Oscar winning director and film historian Kevin Brownlow shares some of his favourite and lesser known Western comedy shorts. With impersonations of famous Western stars, and gags that mock the best cliché’s of the genre, this should be a fascinating and hilarious journey through the history of early silent comedy Westerns. Including Mack Sennett’s A Movie Star (1916). Part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Watershed, Bristol  Link

Chicago (Dir. Frank Urson, 1927) Based on a true crime story- a wild jazz-loving boozy wife Roxie Hart (Phyllis Haver) kills her boyfriend in cold blood after he leaves her. Entangling her ever-loving husband (Victor Varconi) in the process the film tells how and to what lengths she is willing to go to escape conviction. Find out more at IMDbPart of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Live musical accompaniment by European Silent Screen Virtuosi featuring Guenter A .Buchwald, Frank Bockius and Romano Todesco plus guests.  Arnolfini, Bristol  Link

22 January

Phantom Of The Opera (Dir. Rupert Julian, 1925)  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. Live musical accompaniment by Minima.   Thomas Cranmer Centre, Aslockton, Notts.   LinkCC_The_Kid_1921

The Kid  (Dir. Charlie Chaplin, 1921)  Cops (Dir. Edward F Cline, 1922) and Mighty Like A Moose (Dir H M Walker, 1926)  In The Kid, a tramp (Chaplin) befriends and raises an abandoned waif (Jackie Coogan).  Cops sees Buster Keaton being chased by what looks like the entire Los Angeles Police Department.  Mighty Like A Moose finds Charley Chase confused when he and his wife both have plastic surgery without telling each other.  Find out more at Wikipedia  or IMDb    Part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival   Live musical accompaniment by the Bristol Ensemble conducted by Timothy Brock.  Colston Hall, Bristol   Link

Home James  (Dir. William Beaudine, 1928)    Hilarious story of a love affair across multiple mistaken identities. The girl (Laura Le Plante) trying to conceal the fact that she’s a lowly shop assistant, enlists the help of the boy (Charles Delaney), who is busy trying to conceal from her the fact that he’s not really a lowly chauffeur.  Find out more at IMDb   Part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.   With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.  Watershed, Bristol  Link

Mack Sennett: King Of Comedy.    Former Goody Graeme Garden  celebrates the mastermind of early slapstick comedy, the actor and producer Mack Sennett. Graeme will reveal a selection of his best comedy shorts from the 1910s and 1920s featuring performers from the Keystone stable including Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Roscoe Arbuckle and perhaps even a glimpse of Sennett’s ‘Bathing Beauties’ and the renowned, often imitated Keystone Cops.   Part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.  Watershed, Bristol   Link

Anita Loos: Hollywood Pioneer.  Lucy Porter talks about one of early Hollywood’s most talented and prolific screenwriters. Her friends and collaborators included DW Griffith, the Talmadge sisters, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. With two early examples of her work, The New York Hat (Dir: D.W. Griffith 1912)  featuring Mary Pickford and The Mystery of the Leaping Fish  (Dir: Christy Cabanne and John Emerson 1916) featuring Douglas Fairbanks and Bessie Love.  Part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Watershed, Bristol    Link

Wild and Woolly  (Dir. John Emerson, 1917)  The son (Douglas Fairbanks) of an Eastern rail mogul, who has always wanted to live in “the Wild_and_WoollyWild West”,  is sent to a Western town to assess its potential as a route for a new railroad.  Unknown to him, the town’s “wild” days are long gone, and it is an orderly, civilized place now. The townsmen, keen to secure the rail link, contrive to make over the town to suit the young man’s fantasy.  The film plays out some of the best stunts and funniest moments on film. Find out more at  Wikipedia    Part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Introduced by Lobster Film’s co-founder Serge Bromberg and accompanied live on piano by John Sweeney. Watershed, Bristol  Link

Chaplin’s The Kid: The Inside Story  Chaplin authority David Robinson offers fresh insights on Chaplin’s The Kid.   One of the world’s great comedies, at the same time achieving a pitch of emotion rarely paralleled in cinema, The Kid derives from Chaplin’s own life experience, and proves his fundamental conviction that comedy and tragedy are separated only by the thinnest line. Part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  Watershed, Bristol  Link

23 January

Phantom Of The Opera (Dir. Rupert Julian, 1925)  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.  Live musical accompaniment by Minima.   Coddington Community Centre, Notts.  Link

The Paleface (Dir. Buster Keaton & Edward F Cline 1922) + Go West  (Dir. Buster Keaton, 1925)  Rick Wakeman and Ian Lavender introduce the work of Buster Keaton, followed by a superb double bill.   In The Paleface , butterfly hunter Keaton saves an Indian tribe from greedy oil barons.  In Go West, Keaton plays ‘Friendless’, a drifter seeking his fortune out West who has to choose between the girl (Kathleen Myers) and ‘Brown Eyes’ the cow.  Find out more at  IMDb and  Wikipedia Part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  With live score performed by The European Silent Screen Virtuosi featuring Guenter A. Buchwald, Frank Bockius and Romano Todesco with special guest performer Adrian Utley (Portishead).  St George’s Concert Hall, Bristol   LinkCC_The_Immigrant_1917

The Immigrant (Dir. Charlie Chaplin, 1917) + Seven Chances (Dir.  Buster Keaton, 1926)  In the Immigrant, Chaplin as the little tramp meets a girl (Edna Purviance) on board ship heading to the US and later entertains her for lunch, which he may or may not be able to pay for.  In Seven Chances, Buster Keaton has just hours to find a wife if he is to inherit seven million dollars.  He has a girlfriend (Ruth Dwyer) but when she says no does he have time to find an alternative?  Find out more at  Wikipedia and IMDb.  With live musical accompaniment by Vincent Byrne.   St. Barnabas Church Erdington, Birmingham  Link

A Trip to The Moon, Kingdom of The Fairies and Courtship Of The Sun And Moon (Dir. George Méliès. 1902, 1903 and 1907)   In A Trip To The Moon, a team of astronauts journey to the moon in a space capsule fired from a giant cannon.  They encounter alien inhabitants, fight them off and return to earth ( IMDb )    Kingdom of the Fairies is freely adapted from Biche au Bois, a popular stage pantomime that had originated at the  Theatre de la Porte Saint Martin (Wikipedia).   In the Courtship Of The Sun And Moon a professor of astronomy gives a lecture on an impending solar eclipse. The Moon and the Sun lick their lips in anticipation as the eclipse arrives, culminating in a romantic encounter between the two celestial bodies. Various heavenly bodies, including planets and moons, hang in the night sky; a meteor shower is depicted using the ghostly figures of girls (Wikipedia). Live musical accompaniment by Stems.  Electric Palace, Hastings  Link

24 January

Keaton_Go_West_1925Steamboat Bill Jnr.    (Dir. Buster Keaton, 1928)  A crusty river boat captain hopes that his long departed son’s return will help him compete with a business rival.  Unfortunately, William Canfield Jnr (Buster Keaton) is an effete college boy.  Worse still, he has fallen for the business rival’s daughter (Marion Byron).  Not a commercial success at the time, this is now rightly regarded as a Keaton classic.    Find out more at Wikipedia  The Electric, Birmingham   Link

The Paleface (Dir. Buster Keaton & Edward F Cline 1922) + Go West  (Dir. Buster Keaton, 1925)  In The Paleface , butterfly hunter Keaton saves an Indian tribe from greedy oil barons.  In Go West, Keaton plays ‘Friendless’, a drifter seeking his fortune out West who has to choose between the girl (Kathleen Myers) and ‘Brown Eyes’ the cow.  Find out more at  IMDb and  Wikipedia     With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.  Barbican, London    Link

Now Or Never + I Do  (Dir. Harold Lloyd, 1921) + Shorts   Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor discuss the work of Harold Lloyd,  followed by a classic double bill.  In Now or Never, Harold needs to look after the child, get the girl and avoid the train conductor while I Do sees Lloyd  and wife (Mildred Davis) suffering the travails of childcare.  Notable for the cartoon wedding in the first scene.   Find out more at Wikipedia and  IMDb   Part of the Bristol Slapstick Festival.  With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.   St George’s, Bristol   Link

Make more noiseMake More Noise – Suffragettes In Silent Film.  Make More Noise! combines documentary footage of the suffragettes’ public activities with comedy films of the period, which joyously pushed the boundaries of what was considered acceptable behaviour. These gloriously anarchic pre-war comedies are full of bright sparks like the Tilly girls (starring Alma Taylor and Chrissie White) who gleefully disobey society’s strictures. Women are seen acting like men, dressing in men’s trousers and even leaving the men at home minding the babies. The films reveal how girls and women were already acting differently, had higher aspirations and expected more freedom than their grandmothers could have imagined, going against conventional wisdom that female emancipation was a result of war-time changes. With recorded musical accompaniment by Lillian Henley. Electric Palace, Hastings Link

Le_Voyage_dans_la_luneThe Kid (Dir. Charlie Chaplin, 1921) +  A Trip To The Moon  (Dir. Georges Melies, 1902)    In The Kid, a tramp (Chaplin) befriends and raises an abandoned waif (Jackie Coogan).  This was Chaplin’s first full-length film as a director. It was a huge success, and was the second-highest grossing film in 1921, widely admired for its combination of comedic and dramatic elements. Find out more at  Wikipedia   In A Trip To The Moon, a team of astronauts journey to the moon in a space capsule fired from a giant cannon.  They encounter alien inhabitants, fight them off and return to earth.  Making early use of a wide range of cinematic techniques (superimposition, dissolves, rapid editing) Melies creates a milestone in world cinema history, the first true science fiction film, both entertaining and groundbreaking. Read more at IMDb.  With live organ accompaniment by Donald MacKenzie.  The Musical Museum, Brentford  Link

 25 January

Show People (Dir. King Vidor, 1928)  A lighthearted look at Hollywood at the end of the silent era charting the progress of Peggy Pepper (Marion Davies) from wannabe to slapstick star to pouting, pretentious silent-film diva.  Supposedly inspired by the career of Gloria Swanson, the film features cameo appearances by Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and William S Hart.  Find out more at IMDb   With recorded Carl Davis score and introduction by Kevin Brownlow.   BFI Southbank, London  Link

27 January

South West Silents present an evening of rarely seen animated silent films with a smörgåsbord of styles, techniques, agendas as well as nationalities (No details yet of film titles).  Presentations introduced by Tom Vincent (Aardman Animations) and Mark Fuller (South West Silents). The Lansdown Pub, Bristol   Link

sonofthesheik28 January

Son  of the Sheik  (Dir.  George Fitzmaurice, 1926) Made five years after Valentino scored a huge success in The Sheik,  The Son of the Sheik has Valentino appearing as both the father and his son, the passionate desert leader who falls in love with Yasmin, a dancing girl who fronts her father’s gang of cut-throats. Among them is Ghobah, a villainous Moor to whom Yasmin is promised. In ruins near Touggourt, the city where Yasmin dances, she and Ahmed meet secretly until one night when her father and the gang capture the son of the sheik, torture him, and hold him for ransom. Will Ahmed believe that Yasmin set him up for capture? Even if true love finds a way through webs of deceit, what will the vigorous and imposing sheik say about his son consorting with a dancing girl?  Find out more at Wikipedia   With live musical accompaniment by Neil Brand and an introduction by Dr Andrew Moor (Manchester Metropolitan University) Home Cinema, Manchester   Link

29 JanuaryThe_Passion_of_Joan_of_Arc_(1928)_English_Poster

La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (Dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928)    Joan of Arc (Maria Falconetti)’s inquisition, trial and execution, based on actual historical transcripts.  Extensive use of close-ups produces an intense experience. When the film was released in 1928, it caused a minor scandal. Condemned unseen in France, vilified by Catholic authorities and even banned in England for its depiction of English soldiers, it is now recognised as a cinematic masterpiece, startlingly ahead of its time. Find out more at IMDb    Live musical accompaniment by vocal ensemble The Orlando Consort.  LSO St Lukes, London Link

30 January

Nosferatu (Dir. F W Murnau, 1922)  Unauthorised adaption of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. Max Schreck plays the sinister vampire, Count Orlok, traveling 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 Dmytro Morykit    Strathearn Artspace, Perth, Scotland   Link

Show_People_(movie_poster)Show People  (Dir. King Vidor, 1928)  A lighthearted look at Hollywood at the end of the silent era charting the progress of Peggy Pepper (Marion Davies) from wannabe to slapstick star to pouting, pretentious silent-film diva.  Supposedly inspired by the career of Gloria Swanson, the film features cameo appearances by Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and William S Hart.  Find out more at IMDb   With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.   BFI Southbank, London  Link

31 January

The Strong Man (Frank Capra, 1926)  Capra’s feature length directorial debut.  Harry Langdon plays a mild mannered Belgian World War One veteran arriving in New York to find his blind pen-pal girlfriend  Mary Brown (Priscilla Bonner) whom he has never seen before.  Find out more at IMDb      Sands Films, Rotherhithe   LinkSunrise_vintage

Make More Noise – Suffragettes In Silent Film.  Make More Noise! combines documentary footage of the suffragettes’ public activities with comedy films of the period, which joyously pushed the boundaries of what was considered acceptable behaviour. These gloriously anarchic pre-war comedies are full of bright sparks like the Tilly girls (starring Alma Taylor and Chrissie White) who gleefully disobey society’s strictures. Women are seen acting like men, dressing in men’s trousers and even leaving the men at home minding the babies. The films reveal how girls and women were already acting differently, had higher aspirations and expected more freedom than their grandmothers could have imagined, going against conventional wisdom that female emancipation was a result of war-time changes.With live musical accompaniment by Lillian Henley and an exclusive Q & A involving the BFI’s Silent Film curator Bryony Dixon, composer Lillian Henley and film critic Tara Judah.. Curzon Community Cinema, Clevedon   Link

Sunrise (Dir.  F W Murnau, 1927)    One of the undisputed pinnacles of silent cinema, this lyrical masterpiece is a study of betrayal, love and reconciliation. Seduced by a vamp from the city, a man (George O’Brien) from a small fishing village plans to murder his wife (Janet Gaynor) during a boat trip to town. However, both reach their destination unscathed and there, amid a dazzling panoply of urban attractions, the couple rediscover their love for each other.   Read more at Wikipedia      The Electric, Birmingham  Link