London & South East

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.


 

2 March

girlWithTheHatbox-imageThe Girl with the Hat Box (aka Moscow that Weeps and Laughs) (Dir. Boris Barnet, 1927)   (Screening format – 35mm, )   Today, Russian cinema of the 1920s is best remembered for its epic and revolutionary themes, socialist propaganda, and avant-garde experimentation. Boris Barnet’s The Girl with the Hatbox, however, is a charming example of the era’s popular entertainment.  The film is a lighthearted romantic comedy about a naïve country girl (Anna Sten) who marries a student (Ivan Koval-Samborsky), in name only, so that they can circumvent Moscow’s rigid housing laws and share her room. She also fends off the advances of a love-struck railroad clerk, and the suspicions of her busybody landlords. Films like The Girl with the Hatbox may not have advanced the art of Russian cinema, but they made the masses laugh. Although the film was a popular success it was  attacked in the press for its failure to promote revolutionary ideology. Barnet’s subsequent career was marked by periodic run-ins with Soviet authority and a number of his films were banned.  He eventually committed suicide in 1965.   Anna Sten was signed by Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn. Despite  a massive publicity campaign and three starring roles, he failed to turn her into “the new Garbo” .  Instead, “Goldwyn’s Folly,” moved to London  where she acted in several minor pictures before  disappearing from the public eye.   Find out more at  moviessilently.com  .  A  Kennington Bioscope presentation with live musical accompaniment.    Cinema Museum, Lambeth  Link

3 March

shooting-stars-01Shooting Stars (Dir. Anthony Asquith, 1927) (Screening format – DCP, 103mins) 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. A slapstick comedy is being shot on the other stage and spoiled star Mae Feather is more interested in what’s happening on the other set (particularly in its lead) than in her husband and co-star. Acknowledged to be the debut of rising talent Anthony Asquith (Underground, A Cottage on Dartmoor), it weaves together on and off screen stories with energy, flair and considerable bravado, affording rare, behind-the-scene glimpses. Find out more at  IMDb    Accompanied live by a newly commissioned score from John Altman and the Live Film Orchestra.  BFI Southbank, London Link   (NB  This film is also being shown in the BFI Southbank Studio, 4-16 Mar with recorded John Altman score)

4 March

WTET.quake.WEBWhen the Earth Trembled (aka The Strength of Love) (Dir. Barry O’Neil, 1913) (Screening format – Blu-Ray, 43 mins) Featuring original footage of the devastation caused by the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, When the Earth Trembled tells the story of a mother (Ethel Clayton) and her two children surviving the earthquake and their eventual reunion with their father.  For more information see silentfilm.org  Presented by the Fleapit Cinema Club and being screened 102 years to the day from when this was the first film ever shown in Westerham.  Introduced by Rob Byrne, President of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, who led the film’s restoration project and with live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.  Westerham Hall, Westerham, Kent  Link

6 March

Hamlet (Dir. Svend Gard/Heinz Schall, 1920)  (Screening format – 35mm, 73 mins)  Fairly loose adaption of Shakespeare’s play.  Hamlet (Asta Nielson) is a woman forced by her mother to disguise herself as a man.  Danish silent movie-star Nielsen formed her own production company to make this film, inspired by Dr.E P Vining’s 1881 book The Mystery of Hamlet.   Nielson’s performance won praise and furthered cemented her reputation as an actress transforming movie acting from overt theatricality to a more subtle naturalistic style.  Find out more at   IMDb    Part of the Barbican’s Shakespeare on silent screen season with live musical accompaniment by Robin Harris and Laura Anstee.  Barbican, London   Link

7 Marchbeggars of life

Beggars of Life (Dir. William A Wellman, 1928)  Louise Brooks (disguised as a boy(!)) and Richard Arlen are on-the-run hoboes trying to reach Canada.  Wallace Beery is the villain (or is he?).  One of Brooks’ few opportunities to demonstrate her acting skills in a Hollywood film.  Great location shooting, terrific stunts and some thrilling action.  Find out more at IMDb  With live musical accompaniment by the Dodge Brothers.  Royal Albert Hall, London  Link

8 March

Make More Noise – Suffragettes In Silent Film.  (Dir.various, 2015) (Screening format – DCP, 72mins)   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.  David Lean Cinema, Croydon   Link

Make More Noise – Suffragettes In Silent Film.  (Dir.various, 2015) (Screening format – DCP, 72mins)  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.  Phoenix Cinema, E Finchley, London  Link

10 MarchVampyr1932

Vampyr (Dir. Carl Theodore Dreyer, 1932)  (Screening format – not known, 75mins) (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  premier of a new accompanying score by Minima and Stephen Horne. Introduced by Ian Banks, from the Department of Film, Theatre and TV, at the University of Reading  . Reading Film Theater, Reading, Berks  Link

15-19 March

Buster keatonBuster Keaton at The Hollywood Canteen (as told by Orson Welles) Its not a silent film but a new play by Mike Carter with silent film connections. It imagines a meeting between two of Hollywood’s most celebrated figures during World War II.  In the silent era, nobody matched Vaudevillian Buster Keaton for the inventiveness and scale of his imagination. Without the sentimentality of Chaplin, Keaton brought us epic train crashes, underwater photography, hurricanes and battle scenes – all delivered fearlessly with his famously stoic, beautifully photogenic stone face. By the 1940s, however, he was washed up, unemployable and a by word for has-been.  Orson Welles, on the other hand, is infamous for his ambition. After an Academy Award win for his first film, Citizen Kane – still often quoted as the best film ever made – his reputation suffered from a string of bad choices. Did he waste his talent? How much talent did he have in the first place?  Orson Welles often told an anecdote about meeting Buster Keaton in the kitchens of The Hollywood Canteen when the star of silent film was down on his luck. This may have been fiction, Welles being famous for his talent of making up good material. But in this world premiere,  Oddservants Theatre Company imagine the meeting between two stars who gained and lost fame and fortune as they charted Hollywood’s Golden Age.   The Space Arts Centre, London E14  Link

16 March

800px-Blind-husbands-1919-movieposterBlind Husbands (aka The Pinnacle)  (Dir Erich von Stroheim, 1919) (Screening format – not known)   American couple Dr. and Mrs. Armstrong (Sam deGrasse and Francelia Billington) arrive at a retreat in the Alps at the same time as Lieutenant Erich von Steuben ( von Stroheim).  The Lieutenant is a reckless and dissolute soul who sets his cap for Mrs. Armstrong. Since her husband is kindly but neglectful, she is easy prey. Their flirtation is watched over carefully by the guide Sepp (Gibson Gowland) who is indebted to the good doctor, and he manages to keep the wife away from the Lieutenant on the night the four of them spend together in a lodge. The next day when von Steuben and Dr. Armstrong climb the summit, a letter from Mrs. Armstrong falls out of von Steuben’s pocket and a fierce battle between the two men takes place…….. This picture introduces themes that von Stroheim carried throughout  his career — the eternal triangle shows up in most of his films in one form or another, and the climatic struggle between the two men would be repeated in the director’s flawed masterpiece, Greed (1924, which starred Gowland as McTeague). The easy decadence and the careful attention to detail would also be constants. Even though this isn’t anywhere close to his best work, Blind Husbands was one of the most impressive directorial debuts of all time.  Find out more at  Wikipedia  Showing as part of an evening focusing on the career of Eric von Stroheim: The Man You Love To Hate. Introduced by writer and broadcaster Michael Pointon and including a wide selection of clips from many of von Stroheims silent and sound films, with live musical accompaniment by pianists Meg Morley and Cyrus GabryschCinema Museum, Lambeth, London  Link

19 March

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 starlet 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 pianist Cyrus Gabrysch.  The Phoenix Artist Club, London WC2  Link

 

23 Marchprimrose path clara bow 1925

The Primrose Path (Dir. Harry O Hoyt, 1925) + Devil’s Island (Dir. Frank O’Connor,1926)   (Screening format – not known, 60mins?/70mins? )  In The Primrose Path,  alcoholic playboy Bruce Armstrong (Wallace MacDonald) would like to sober up and become more responsible, after a drinking accident causes him to cripple little brother  Jimmy Armstrong (Pat Moore). Still, the lure of liquor makes him sneak drinks at home and go out partying with carefree showgirl  Marilyn Merrill (Clara Bow ) even though he’s promised her he’ll quit drinking and gambling. Further complicating Armstrong’s life are the bad debts he’s been accumulating. Criminal nasties  Tom Canfield (Stuart Holmes) and Big Joe Snead (Tom Santschi) force Armstrong to join their diamond smuggling racket, in lieu of payment.  The screenplay brings tender 220px-Pauline_Frederick_1918emotions to the fore  giving a softer than usual role for Bow, although still evidently very much a woman of the world in a film routinely directed by Harry O. Hoyt, and with acting laurels going to the talented MacDonald, whose face accurately mirrors his emotional struggles.  Find out more at tcm.com   In Devil’s Island, Jean Valyon (Richard Tucker) is sent to prison on the island to serve a life sentence. After several years, he is allowed to marry his sweetheart, Jeanette Picto (Pauline Frederick). They have a son, Leon, who studies to be a surgeon. The couple hopes that Leon (played as an adult by George Lewis) will be able to escape to France, but Valyon dies before the young man finishes his studies. Leon falls in love with fellow prisoner Rose Marie (Marion Nixon), and because he successfully performs a brain operation on a deranged convict, he wins a pardon for both himself and his mother. But he is unable to see Rose Marie before he leaves……… Melodramatic and contrived in the extreme this may be but Devil’s Island is believed to be one of only 10 surviving silents (out of 58) made by Pauline Frederick, leaving this great tragedienne almost forgotten. Find out more at Wikipedia  Coincidentally, both films are from the pen of Leah Baird who, although primarily an actress (appearing in films until the 1950s) was also a screenwriter and producer of silent films.  See tcm.com for her full filmography  A Kennington Bioscope presentation with live musical accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London  Link

27 March

Safety Last (Dir. Fred C Newmeyer, 1923)  +  The General (Dir. Clyde Bruckman/Buster Keaton, 1926) (Screening format – DCP, 67/79mins)  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 .   In The General,  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 re-evaluated, and is now considered one of the greatest films of all times. Find out more at  silentfilm.orgRegent Street Cinema, London   Link

28 MarchGeneral.WEB

Safety Last (Dir. Fred C Newmeyer, 1923)  +  The General (Dir. Clyde Bruckman/Buster Keaton, 1926) (Screening format – DCP, 67/79mins)  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 .   In The General,  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 re-evaluated, and is now considered one of the greatest films of all times. Find out more at  silentfilm.orgRegent Street Cinema, London   Link

31 March

King_John_1899Play On! Shakespeare in Silent Film (Dir. Various) (Screening format – DCP, 90mins) Adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays proved popular with early film-makers and audiences alike, from King John in 1899.  By the end of the silent era around 300 such films had been produced.  This feature-length celebration from the BFI National Archive draws together a delightful selection of thrilling, dramatic, iconic and humorous scenes from two dozen different titles, many of which have been unseen for decades, newly restored and digitised.  See Hamlet addressing Yorick’s skull, King Lear battling a raging storm at Stonehenge, the Merchant of Venice in vibrant stencil colour, the fairy magic of A Midsummernight’s Dream and what was probably John Gielgud’s first appearance on film in the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. With live musical accompaniment by the composers and musicians of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (Sarah Homer, Steve Bentley-Klein, Jon Banks,  Dario Rossetti-Bonell, Harry Napier and  Rob Millett.   BFI Southbank, London  Link 

Note:  2 For 1 Offer on seats.  Use Code shakespeare241 when booking