February 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.


Man_with_a_movie_camera2 February

Man With A Movie Camera  (Dir. Dziga Vertov, 1929)  (Screening format – DCP) 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   The Electric, Birmingham   Link

Man With A Movie Camera  (Dir. Dziga Vertov, 1929) (Screening format – DCP  2015 BFI version) 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   Arts Picture House, Cambridge     Link

6 FebruaryNosferatuShadow

Nosferatu (Dir. F W Murnau, 1922)  (Screening format  – Blu-Ray 2013 Restoration  95 mins)  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  Byre Theater, St Andrews, Fife  Link 

The_Phantom_of_the_Opera_(1925_film)Phantom Of The Opera (Dir. Rupert Julian, 1925)  (Screening format – DVD, 93mins) 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 organ accompaniment by Alex Mason.  St Alphege Church, Solihull, Birmingham  Link

8-12 FebruaryThe_Lost_World_(1925)_-_film_poster

The Lost World (Dir. Harry Hoyt, 1925) (Screening format – not known) Explorer Professor Challenger (Wallace Beery) is taking quite a beating in the London press thanks to his claim that living dinosaurs exist in the far reaches of the Amazon. Newspaper reporter Edward Malone (Lloyd Hughes) learns that this claim originates from a diary given to him by fellow explorer Maple White’s daughter, Paula (Bessie Love). Malone’s paper funds an expedition to rescue Maple White, who has been marooned at the top of a high plateau. Joined by renowned hunter John Roxton (Lewis Stone), and others, the group sets off for South America.    This first adaptation of Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World” remains one of the most influential silent films, due to Willis O’Brien’s pioneer work in the field of special effects.  It showcases the first time that stop motion animation was used to create creatures on a feature length film which was of huge importance for this and future films, and earned Willis O’Brien and his dinosaurs an iconic place in film history, only surpassed by another of O’Brien’s creations: King Kong.  Find out more at Wikipedia   Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle   Link

9 FebruaryChicago_lobby_card

Chicago (Dir. Frank Urson, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 118 mins) 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 Amos (Victor Varconi) in the process the film tells how and to what lengths she is willing to go to escape conviction. The film is tight and well crafted. In particular, it’s a sharp and merciless satire on unearned celebrity, societal double standards, and the hedonistic 1920s lifestyle. Although Urson was credited as director, much of the direction was done by Cecil B de Mille.  There are many laugh-out- loud scenes, including where Flynn coaches Roxie on how to appear during his closing statement to the jury, and a scene of the photographer posing Roxie shortly after the murder takes place. Many scenes use exaggeration to make points about media sensationalism and lawyers’ appeals to emotion, rather than truth, in order to exonerate their guilty clients. The humor is balanced by the dramatic portrayal of Amos’ efforts to save his undeserving wife from the noose. Amos is the moral center of the movie, a decent man who is so in love with his wife that he is willing to break the law to save her, yet struggles with her murderous deed and self-centered, callous attitude. Find out more at IMDb. With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand.  City University, London  Link

10 FebruaryShoes 1916

Shoes (Dir. Lois Weber, 1916)  (Screening format – not known, 60 mins) + assorted shorts.   Eva Meyer (Mary MacLaran) is a poorly paid shop girl who works in a five-and-dime. She is the sole wage earner for her family of three sisters, their mother and a father unwilling to find work.  At the end of each week, Eva dutifully hands over her meager earnings to her mother.  Eva’s salary barely covers the grocer’s bill and cannot provide for nice clothes or decent shoes like those of her co-workers.  She becomes increasingly disheartened and begins to consider the uninvited advances of Charlie (William V Mong), a cad with clearly dishonorable intentions. Lois Weber was not only America’s first major female film director, she was a true pioneer.  Her “social problem” films, made between 1914 and 1921, took courageous stands on controversial issues but were also noted for their artistry and realism.  They helped raise the status of movie-going, making it respectable for middle-class audiences.  Find out more at silentfilm.org  A Kennington Bioscope presentation focusing on ‘women in silent film’ with other shorts by Alice Guy and Anita Loos plus presentation by Melody Bridges & Cheryl Robson, authors of the recently published book ‘Silent Women’.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London  Link

11 February

Steamboat Bill Jr (Dir. Charles Reisner/Buster Keaton, 1928)   (Screening format – DCP, 70mins)   Neil Brand presents an evening of Buster Keaton through a range of clips, anecdotes and a classic main feature with live musical accompaniment. In Steamboat Bill Jnr, 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  Curzon Community Cinema, Clevedon  Link

12 Februarywritten-in-dust-2014-poster

Written in Dust (Dir. Gareth Rees, 2014) (Screening format – DCP, 82mins) Set in Beijing during the most intense period of urbanisation the world has ever known, Written in Dust tells the story of three young rural migrant friends (Bin Ba, Lilly Guo and Nick Ma) who seek the new life that modern Beijing promises.  But as they strive for money and struggle in an unfulfilled love triangle, their different desires lead to moral corruption, betrayal, theft and ultimately murderous tragedy. Find out more at IMDb   With  live musical accompaniment (Chinese/British fusion) by Ling Peng (on erhu, guzheng and xun) and Andy Middleton (on keyboards and guitar).  Hilgay Village Hall, Hilgay, Norfolk  Link

13 February

220px-MetropolisposterMetropolis (Dir. Fritz Lange, 1927) (Screening format –DVD 2005 version,  118 minutes )  Made in Germany during the  Weimar period, Metropolis is set in a futuristic urban  dystopia and follows the attempts of Freder (Gustav Frohlich), the wealthy son of the city’s ruler, and Maria (Brigitte Helm), a poor worker, to overcome the vast gulf separating the classes of their city. Filming took place in 1925 at a cost of approximately five million Reichmarks, making it the most expensive film ever released up to that point. It is regarded as a pioneering work of science fiction and is among the most influential films of all time.  Find out more at IMDb   Live musical accompaniment by Dmytro Morykit.    Royal Conservatoire, Glasgow Link

Safety Last (Dir. Fred C Newmeyer, 1923) + One Week (Dir.  Edward F Cline/Buster Keaton, 1920) (Screening format – Blu-Ray)  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.  Find out more at  IMDb  One Week sees newlyweds Buster Keaton and Sybil Seely trying to build a kit house, hampered by a rejected suitor who has secretly re-numbered all the crates.   Find out more at Wikipedia   A ‘Cinematic Time Machine’ presentation from the Electric Cinema with live organ accompaniment from David Ivory.    Birmingham Cathedral   Link

The General (Dir. Clyde Bruckman/Buster Keaton, 1926) (Screening format – not known)   Johnnie (Buster Keaton) loves his train (“The General”) and his fiancee Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack) . When the Civil War begins he is turned down for service because he’s more valuable as an engineer. Annabelle thinks it’s because he’s a coward. Union spies capture The General with Annabelle on board. Johnnie must rescue both his loves.   At the time of its initial release, The General  wasn’t well received by critics and audiences alike but the film has gradually been reevaluated, and is now considered one of the greatest films of all times.  Find out more at silentfilm.org .  With live organ accompaniment by Donald MacKenzie.  St Anne’s Church, Chingford  Link

Battle_of_the_Sexes_poster14 February

Battle Of The Sexes (Dir.  D W Griffith, 1928)  (Screening format –DVD, 88mins)  Beneath the surface of a frothy, entertaining and well-paced comedy lurks a sophisticated social commentary musing on double standards – should a man who indulges in a bit of hanky-panky be judged any differently than a woman? Find out more at Wikipedia    Presented as part of the Fife Jazz Festival with live musical accompaniment performed by Jane Gardner (piano), Laura MacDonald (saxophone) and Hazel Morrison (percussion)Adam Smith Theater, Kirkcaldy, Fife  Link

15-26 February (weekdays only)

SpioneposterSpies (Spione)  (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 178mins) Haghi (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) is a criminal mastermind whose ubiquitous spy operation is always several steps ahead of the police and the government’s secret service. Enter Agent 326 (Willy Fritsch), the daring and dashing young man, who thinks his disguise as a dirty, bearded vagrant is fooling the unknown mastermind and his minions. But Haghi is well aware of 326’s existence and what he looks like. Enter Sonya (Gerda Maurus), a Russian lady in Haghi’s employ. Haghi wants Sonya to subvert the efforts of the government agent, but doesn’t count on her falling in love with him. Meanwhile, Haghi is anxious to get his hands on a Japanese peace treaty in the possession of the cunning Doctor Masimoto (Lupo Pick), whose mistress is also in his employ.  This film has everything that would later become spy film cliches: the ultra cool, ultra suave secret agent; the evil powerful genius, confined to a wheelchair, who dreams of world domination; his beautiful seductress, who falls for the secret agent. There are hidden microphones and disappearing ink and secret packages and bulletproof wallets plus a motorcycle/car chase and an in-tunnel train wreck to round out the action.  Find out more at Wikipedia   Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle  Link

16 February

Lucky_Dog_1919The Lucky Dog (Dir. Jess Robbins, 1921) + Liberty (Dir.Leo McCarey, 1929) + One Week (Dir. Edward F Cline/Buster Keaton, 1920)  (Screening format – not known, 24/20/25 mins)   Featuring suitors, robbers and, of course, dogs galore, The Lucky Dog was the first film to feature both Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, who would go on to become the comedy duo we know and love. Buster Keaton would later say “I was not the funniest, Chaplin was not the funniest, Stan Laurel was the funniest”.  Liberty  is a tale of escaped convicts, their trousers, death-defying stunts atop sky-scraping girders and a crab. This was the duo’s last silent film and widely held to be their best. Originally released with an optional soundtrack of music and sound effects that was rarely used due to the challenges of synchronisation, this also stars Jean Harlow.  One Week is Keaton’s ingenious parody of a documentary made by the Ford Motor Company called ‘Home Made’ to promote prefabricated houses. This tale of two newlyweds struggling to assemble their new home using a sabotaged instruction manual features Keaton’s incredible feats of scenery; no models were used and everything was filmed in one take including the stunts from which he would suffer a rare injury whilst falling two storeys. Find out more at IMDb , Wikipedia and IMDb.   A Lucky Dog Picturehouse presentation with live musical accompaniment.  Wilton’s Music Hall, London Link

17 February

South West Silents presents an evening of  silent filmmakers and explorers who took on the North Pole. Featuring some incredibly rare footage and introduced by Dr Peter Walsh.  The Lansdown Pub, Bristol  Link

L&H_Liberty_1929The Lucky Dog (Dir. Jess Robbins, 1921) + Liberty (Dir.Leo McCarey, 1929) + One Week (Dir. Edward F Cline/Buster Keaton, 1920)  (Screening format – not known, 24/20/25 mins)   Featuring suitors, robbers and, of course, dogs galore, The Lucky Dog was the first film to feature both Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, who would go on to become the comedy duo we know and love. Buster Keaton would later say “I was not the funniest, Chaplin was not the funniest, Stan Laurel was the funniest”.  Liberty  is a tale of escaped convicts, their trousers, death-defying stunts atop sky-scraping girders and a crab. This was the duo’s last silent film and widely held to be their best. Originally released with an optional soundtrack of music and sound effects that was rarely used due to the challenges of synchronisation, this also stars Jean Harlow.  One Week is Keaton’s ingenious parody of a documentary made by the Ford Motor Company called ‘Home Made’ to promote prefabricated houses. This tale of two newlyweds struggling to assemble their new home using a sabotaged instruction manual features Keaton’s incredible feats of scenery; no models were used and everything was filmed in one take including the stunts from which he would suffer a rare injury whilst falling two storeys. Find out more at IMDb , Wikipedia and IMDb.   A Lucky Dog Picturehouse presentation with live musical accompaniment.  Wilton’s Music Hall, London Link

18 February

Earth  (Dir. Alexander Dovzhenko, 1930) (Screening format – DVD, 77 mins) Commissioned during Stalin’s reign as a propaganda piece about the new policy of collectivisation, Dozhenko’s film proved controversial on its release – by which time the disastrous human cost of the policy had become clear.  But despite the film’s account of the necessity of moving from a reliance on man to machines, it is very much a lyrical hymn to nature and Ukrainian peasant culture.  Dovzhenko’s failure to adequately tow the party line cost him his job, yet today the film  stands as a visually stunning and heroic work.  Find out more at Wikipedia   Small Cinema, Liverpool      Link

20 FebruaryThe_General_poster

The General (Dir. Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton, 1926)   (Screening format – not known) Engineer Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton) is turned down when he tries to enlist in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War as his occupation is deemed too important. When his train (The General) is stolen by Union soldiers so that it can be used to attack Confederate forces, only Johnny and his girl Annabelle Lee can save the train and warn the Confederates about an impending attack. Find out more at Wikipedia  Presented as part of the Ilkley Film Festival.  Live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne and Martin Pyne.  King’s Hall, Ilkley   Link

21 February

Phantom Of The Opera (Dir. Rupert Julian, 1925)  (Screening format – not known) 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.  Phoenix Cinema, Finchley, London   Link

Von_morgens_bis_mitternachts_(2.Akt)From Morn to Midnight (Von Morgens bis Mitternacht) (Dir. Karl Heinz Martin, 1922)  (Screening format – Blu-Ray, 65 mins)  A bank cashier in a small German town is alerted to the power of money by the visit of a rich Italian lady. He embezzles 60, 000 Marks and leaves for the capital city, where he attempts to find satisfaction in politics, sport, love and religion.  Rarely screened, and one of the most radical films of the German Expressionist movement, From Morn to Midnight uses stylized sets which are even more avant-garde than those of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Find out more at Wikipedia  With live accompaniment by Stephen Horne (piano, flute, accordion) and Martin Pyne (percussion).  Barbican, London  Link

24 February

Phantom Of The Opera (Dir. Rupert Julian, 1925)  (Screening format – Blu-ray, 77mins) 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.  Curzon Community Cinema, Clevedon  Link

25 February

Love_(1927_film)Love (Dir. Edmund Goulding, 1927 ) (Screening format – not known,  108 Mins)   Loosely based on Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and intended by MGM to build on the success of the previous year’s Flesh and the Devil, married Garbo and dashing soldier Gilbert embark on a doomed affair.  Alternate happy and tragic endings shot for the American and European markets respectively.  Find out more at Wikipedia    Live musical accompaniment composed by Aphrodite Raickopoulou and played by the Philharmonia Orchestra   Royal Festival Hall, London Link

26 February

The Navigator  (Dir. Buster Keaton/Donald Crisp, 1924) (Screening format – not known)  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 Wikipedia   A presentation from Holmfirth Silents with live piano accompaniment by Jonathan Best.  Hepworth Village Hall, nr Holmfirth, West Yorks  Link

Luckystar_1929Lucky Star (Dir. Frank Borzage, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 100mins) Mary (Janet Gaynor), a poor farm girl, meets Tim (Charles Farrell) just as word comes that war has been declared. Tim enlists in the army and goes to the battlefields of Europe, where he is wounded and loses the use of his legs. Home again, Tim is visited by Mary, and they are powerfully attracted to each other; but his physical handicap prevents him from declaring his love for her. Deeper complications set in when Martin (Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams) , Tim’s former sergeant and a bully, takes a shine to Mary. Considered one of the great Hollywood romanticists, director Frank Borzage began his career in 1912 as an actor. He appeared in dozens of melodramas, comedies, and westerns before he began directing for Universal in 1916. Lucky Star was the tenth film Frank Borzage directed for the Fox Film Corporation. He is one of the few directors to have won an Academy Award for both a silent film, Seventh Heaven (1927), and a sound film, Bad Girl (1931). Find out more at silentfilm.org  With live musical accompaniment by vocalist and composer Ela Orleans.  Mackintosh Church, Queen’s Cross, Glasgow  Link