December

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

1 December

The Penalty  (Dir. Wallace Worsley, US, 1920) (Screening format – not known, 89mins) The great American actor Lon Chaney demonstrates his unparalleled flair for on-screen transformation with his macabre characterisation of ‘Blizzard’ – a tortured, criminal mastermind. A young boy has both his legs needlessly amputated by an inexperienced surgeon and grows up to become “master of the underworld”, driven to terrible deeds by his passion for sadistic revenge. The film is considered Chaney’s break-out role, cementing his reputation as master of the gruesome and grotesque, ahead of his defining performance as the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The actor famously refused the use of trick camera angles to simulate his ‘deformity’, forcing his legs into leather stumps in a tightly bent position that was so painful he could only wear them for ten minutes at a time. The effect is astounding, as is Chaney’s nimble manoeuvring across the set of ropes, ladders and poles showing a technical ability that makes his character utterly believable.  Find out more at silentfilm.org  With live musical accompaniment by Graeme Stephen and Pete Harvey.  Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh Link

2 December

The Penalty  (Dir. Wallace Worsley, US, 1920) (Screening format – not known, 89mins) The great American actor Lon Chaney demonstrates his unparalleled flair for on-screen transformation with his macabre characterisation of ‘Blizzard’ – a tortured, criminal mastermind. A young boy has both his legs needlessly amputated by an inexperienced surgeon and grows up to become “master of the underworld”, driven to terrible deeds by his passion for sadistic revenge. The film is considered Chaney’s break-out role, cementing his reputation as master of the gruesome and grotesque, ahead of his defining performance as the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The actor famously refused the use of trick camera angles to simulate his ‘deformity’, forcing his legs into leather stumps in a tightly bent position that was so painful he could only wear them for ten minutes at a time. The effect is astounding, as is Chaney’s nimble manoeuvring across the set of ropes, ladders and poles showing a technical ability that makes his character utterly believable.  Find out more at silentfilm.org  With live musical accompaniment by Graeme Stephen and Pete Harvey. Film Theatre, Glasgow Link

The Lost World (Dir. Harry Hoyt, US, 1925) (Screening format – DCP, 64mins) Arthur Conan Doyle’s dinosaur adventure is brought to the big screen for the first time in an adventure across continents to the land that time forgot, featuring swooping beasts, the terrifying ‘apeman’ and the odd volcano too! This film used pioneering techniques in stop motion by Willis O’Brien (a forerunner of his work on the original King Kong film) and was one of the first to use a tinting technique that brought colour to film. It also features an introduction from the author himself.  Find out more at  moviessilently.com.  Introduced by Bryony Dixon.  With live musical accompaniment by the Lucky Dog Picturehouse.  BFI Southbank, London Link

The General  (Dir. Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman, 1926)  +  One Week (Dir. Buster Keaton/Eddie Cline, 1920)  (Screening format – not known, 75/19mins)  Widely considered one of the greatest films ever made and one of the most revered comedies of the silent era, Buster Keaton’s effortless masterpiece The General sees hapless Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray (Keaton) facing off against Union soldiers during the American Civil War. When Johnny’s fiancée, Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), is accidentally taken away while on a train stolen by Northern forces, Gray pursues the soldiers, using various modes of transportation in comic action scenes that highlight Keaton’s boundless, innovative wit and joyful, lighthearted dexterity, to reclaim the train and thereby save the South. Find out more at  busterkeaton.com .  One Week sees Buster and his new bride struggling with a pre-fabricated home unaware that his bride’s former suitor has renumbered all of the boxes.  Find out more at wikipedia.org .  With recorded Carl Davis score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

5 December

The Virgin of Stamboul (Dir. Tod Browning, USA, 1920)  (Screening format – not known, 70 mins)  Starring Browning’s wife Priscilla Dean, Wheeler Oakman and Wallace Beery. Achmet Bey (Beery), a Turkish chieftain, catches one of his many wives in adultery and murders her lover. Throwing aside the cuckolding wife, he abducts an innocent girl (Dean) to his harem. However, a brave American who loves her (Oakman) comes to her rescue.  Find out more at imdb.com.  Presented by Kennington Bioscope.  With live musical Accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth Link

5 – 6 December (4 Screenings)

The Marvelous Mabel Normand – The Leading Lady of Film Comedy  Everyone knows Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, but where are the women in silent film comedy? But the trailblazing Mabel Normand – who starred in 167 shorts and 23 features – is long overdue her moment in the spotlight.   Normand was the irrepressible spirit of early Hollywood, an extraordinary performer from the anarchic days of Mack Sennett’s Keystone company to the refined comedies of the 1920s. The first lady of silent comedy, she directed her own films, ran her own production company and worked with the best – including Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle and a young Oliver Hardy. But make no mistake: Mabel was always the star.The Marvellous Mabel Normand: Leading Lady of Film Comedy is a package of four short films from the BFI National Archive, including Mabel’s Blunder (1914), Mabel’s Dramatic Career (1913), His Trysting Place (1914) and Should Men Walk Home? (1927). Find out more about her at wfpp.cdrs.columbia.edu.  With a newly commissioned recorded score by The Meg Morley Trio. Quad, Derby Link

6 December

The Penalty  (Dir. Wallace Worsley, US, 1920) (Screening format – not known, 89mins) The great American actor Lon Chaney demonstrates his unparalleled flair for on-screen transformation with his macabre characterisation of ‘Blizzard’ – a tortured, criminal mastermind. A young boy has both his legs needlessly amputated by an inexperienced surgeon and grows up to become “master of the underworld”, driven to terrible deeds by his passion for sadistic revenge. The film is considered Chaney’s break-out role, cementing his reputation as master of the gruesome and grotesque, ahead of his defining performance as the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The actor famously refused the use of trick camera angles to simulate his ‘deformity’, forcing his legs into leather stumps in a tightly bent position that was so painful he could only wear them for ten minutes at a time. The effect is astounding, as is Chaney’s nimble manoeuvring across the set of ropes, ladders and poles showing a technical ability that makes his character utterly believable.  Find out more at silentfilm.org  With live musical accompaniment by Graeme Stephen and Pete Harvey.  Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling  Link

6 – 7 December (2 screenings)

Go West (Dir. Buster Keaton, US, 1925) + Beggar on Horseback (Dir.  James Cruze, US, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 69/??mins) .  Friendless (Keaton) is a Midwestern boy who is down on his luck. After an abortive attempt to get by in the city, he follows Horace Greeley’s advice to “Go West, young man!” As a result, Friendless winds up on a cattle ranch and is about the most unlikely cowboy imaginable (in fact, he never does trade in his porkpie hat for a ten-gallon). Various bits of comic business abound; standouts include the milking scene and a card game in which Friendless accuses a player of cheating. The sharpie tells The Great Stone Face “When you say that — smile!” But in affairs of the heart, Friendless is torn between the rancher’s daughter ( Kathleen Myers) and Brown Eyes, the lonely cow!   Find out more at silentfilm.org Only fragments of Beggars on Horseback survive, an almost surreal comedy of a man deciding to marry for money rather than love and the angst ridden nightmare that this decision brings on. Find out more at allmovie.com.  Preceded by a  live performance of movie prologues entitled  “Doing it the Pirandello way…” and “The Stylised Cowboy” originally staged to accompany the films in Rio de Janeiro in 1926.  Film Theatre, Reading Link

7 December

The Penalty  (Dir. Wallace Worsley, US, 1920) (Screening format – not known, 89mins) The great American actor Lon Chaney demonstrates his unparalleled flair for on-screen transformation with his macabre characterisation of ‘Blizzard’ – a tortured, criminal mastermind. A young boy has both his legs needlessly amputated by an inexperienced surgeon and grows up to become “master of the underworld”, driven to terrible deeds by his passion for sadistic revenge. The film is considered Chaney’s break-out role, cementing his reputation as master of the gruesome and grotesque, ahead of his defining performance as the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The actor famously refused the use of trick camera angles to simulate his ‘deformity’, forcing his legs into leather stumps in a tightly bent position that was so painful he could only wear them for ten minutes at a time. The effect is astounding, as is Chaney’s nimble manoeuvring across the set of ropes, ladders and poles showing a technical ability that makes his character utterly believable.  Find out more at silentfilm.org  With live musical accompaniment by Graeme Stephen and Pete Harvey.  Eden Court, Inverness  Link

8 December

The Marvelous Mabel Normand – The Leading Lady of Film Comedy   Everyone knows Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, but where are the women in silent film comedy? But the trailblazing Mabel Normand – who starred in 167 shorts and 23 features – is long overdue her moment in the spotlight.   Normand was the irrepressible spirit of early Hollywood, an extraordinary performer from the anarchic days of Mack Sennett’s Keystone company to the refined comedies of the 1920s. The first lady of silent comedy, she directed her own films, ran her own production company and worked with the best – including Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle and a young Oliver Hardy. But make no mistake: Mabel was always the star.The Marvellous Mabel Normand: Leading Lady of Film Comedy is a package of four short films from the BFI National Archive, including Mabel’s Blunder (1914), Mabel’s Dramatic Career (1913), His Trysting Place (1914) and Should Men Walk Home? (1927). Find out more about her at wfpp.cdrs.columbia.edu. With a newly commissioned score composed and performed live by The Meg Morley Trio.  Birmingham Cathedral, Birmingham Link

Sherlock Jnr (Dir. Buster Keaton, 1924) + One Week (Dir. Buster Keaton/Eddie Cline, 1920)  (Screening format – not known, 45/19 mins) In Sherlock Jr, a kindly movie projectionist (Buster Keaton) longs to be a detective. When his fiancée (Kathryn McGuire) is robbed by a local thief (Ward Crane), the poor projectionist is framed for the crime. Using his amateur detective skills, the projectionist follows the thief to the train station – only to find himself locked in a train car.  Disheartened, he returns to his movie theatre, where he falls asleep and dreams that he is the great Sherlock Holmes.   Although not a popular success on its initial release, the film has come to be recognised as a Keaton classic with its special effects and elaborate stunts making it a landmark in motion picture history.  Find out more at silentfilm.org.  One Week sees Buster and his new bride struggling with a pre-fabricated home unaware that his bride’s former suitor has renumbered all of the boxes.  Find out more at wikipedia.org.  With live musical accompaniment by Paul Robinson and HarmonieBand.  Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds  Link

9 December

The Marvelous Mabel Normand – The Leading Lady of Film Comedy   Everyone knows Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, but where are the women in silent film comedy? But the trailblazing Mabel Normand – who starred in 167 shorts and 23 features – is long overdue her moment in the spotlight.   Normand was the irrepressible spirit of early Hollywood, an extraordinary performer from the anarchic days of Mack Sennett’s Keystone company to the refined comedies of the 1920s. The first lady of silent comedy, she directed her own films, ran her own production company and worked with the best – including Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle and a young Oliver Hardy. But make no mistake: Mabel was always the star.The Marvellous Mabel Normand: Leading Lady of Film Comedy is a package of four short films from the BFI National Archive, including Mabel’s Blunder (1914), Mabel’s Dramatic Career (1913), His Trysting Place (1914) and Should Men Walk Home? (1927). Find out more about her at wfpp.cdrs.columbia.edu. With a newly commissioned recorded score composed and performed by The Meg Morley Trio.  Filmhouse, Northampton  Link

Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Dir. Robert Wiene, 1920) (Screening format – not known,  77 mins) In the village of Holstenwall, fairground hypnotist Dr Caligari (Werner Krauss) puts on show a somnambulist called Cesare (Conrad Veidt) who has been asleep for twenty three years.  At night, Cesare walks the streets murdering people on the doctor’s orders.  A student (Friedrich Feher) suspects Caligari after a friend is found dead and it transpires that the doctor is the director of a lunatic asylum.  Fueled by the pessimism and gloom of post-war Germany, the sets by Hermann Warm stand unequaled as a shining example of Expressionist design.  Find out more at  wikipedia.org.  With live musical accompaniment by The Cabinet of Living Cinema.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London  Link

Open All Night (aka One Parisian Night)(Dir. Paul Bern, US, 1924) (Screening format – 35mm, 63mins) This comedy of manners, set in Paris, features a dissatisfied wife (Dana) who makes the common error of equating male rough treatment with passion, while her mild-mannered husband (played with his usual aplomb by Menjou) finds his own head turned… A six-day bicycle race offers a potential change for both, and an excuse for perpetually sozzled bon vivant Igor (Raymond Griffith) to supply the comedy – as always, he steals the show.  Find out more at imdb.com. With live piano accompaniment. Introduced by Bryony Dixon.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

Sherlock Jnr (Dir. Buster Keaton, 1924) + One Week (Dir. Buster Keaton/Eddie Cline, 1920)  (Screening format – not known, 45/19 mins) In Sherlock Jr, a kindly movie projectionist (Buster Keaton) longs to be a detective. When his fiancée (Kathryn McGuire) is robbed by a local thief (Ward Crane), the poor projectionist is framed for the crime. Using his amateur detective skills, the projectionist follows the thief to the train station – only to find himself locked in a train car.  Disheartened, he returns to his movie theatre, where he falls asleep and dreams that he is the great Sherlock Holmes.   Although not a popular success on its initial release, the film has come to be recognised as a Keaton classic with its special effects and elaborate stunts making it a landmark in motion picture history.  Find out more at silentfilm.org.  One Week sees Buster and his new bride struggling with a pre-fabricated home unaware that his bride’s former suitor has renumbered all of the boxes.  Find out more at wikipedia.org.  With live musical accompaniment by Paul Robinson and HarmonieBand. Home 2, Manchester  Link

10 December

The First Born (Dir. Miles Mander, UK, 1928) (Screening format – 35mm, 85mins) Film historian Rachael Low was a big admirer of Miles Mander’s The First Born, which uses novel techniques to deliver a surprisingly gutsy adult drama set in the world of 1920s politics as Sir Hugo Boycott (Mander) and Lady Madeleine’s (Carroll) perfect political marriage conceals a sordid reality. The experienced Alma Reville (Mrs Hitchcock) co-wrote Mander’s directorial debut and it has many Reville touches. It’s a tour de force of late-silent cinematic art.  Find out more at  silentfilm.org. Introduced by Christine Gledhill, Professor of Cinema Studies.  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

Sherlock Jnr (Dir. Buster Keaton, 1924) + One Week (Dir. Buster Keaton/Eddie Cline, 1920)  (Screening format – not known, 45/19 mins) In Sherlock Jr, a kindly movie projectionist (Buster Keaton) longs to be a detective. When his fiancée (Kathryn McGuire) is robbed by a local thief (Ward Crane), the poor projectionist is framed for the crime. Using his amateur detective skills, the projectionist follows the thief to the train station – only to find himself locked in a train car.  Disheartened, he returns to his movie theatre, where he falls asleep and dreams that he is the great Sherlock Holmes.   Although not a popular success on its initial release, the film has come to be recognised as a Keaton classic with its special effects and elaborate stunts making it a landmark in motion picture history.  Find out more at silentfilm.org.  One Week sees Buster and his new bride struggling with a pre-fabricated home unaware that his bride’s former suitor has renumbered all of the boxes.  Find out more at wikipedia.org.  With live musical accompaniment by Paul Robinson and HarmonieBand.  Square Chapel, Halifax  Link

12 December

Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Dir. Robert Wiene, 1920) (Screening format – not known,  77 mins) In the village of Holstenwall, fairground hypnotist Dr Caligari (Werner Krauss) puts on show a somnambulist called Cesare (Conrad Veidt) who has been asleep for twenty three years.  At night, Cesare walks the streets murdering people on the doctor’s orders.  A student (Friedrich Feher) suspects Caligari after a friend is found dead and it transpires that the doctor is the director of a lunatic asylum.  Fueled by the pessimism and gloom of post-war Germany, the sets by Hermann Warm stand unequaled as a shining example of Expressionist design.  Find out more at  wikipedia.org.  With live musical accompaniment by Tony Judge.  Jacaranda Records, Liverpool Link

The General  (Dir. Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman, 1926)  +  One Week (Dir. Buster Keaton/Eddie Cline, 1920)  (Screening format – not known, 75/19mins)  Widely considered one of the greatest films ever made and one of the most revered comedies of the silent era, Buster Keaton’s effortless masterpiece The General sees hapless Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray (Keaton) facing off against Union soldiers during the American Civil War. When Johnny’s fiancée, Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), is accidentally taken away while on a train stolen by Northern forces, Gray pursues the soldiers, using various modes of transportation in comic action scenes that highlight Keaton’s boundless, innovative wit and joyful, lighthearted dexterity, to reclaim the train and thereby save the South. Find out more at  busterkeaton.com .  One Week sees Buster and his new bride struggling with a pre-fabricated home unaware that his bride’s former suitor has renumbered all of the boxes.  Find out more at wikipedia.org .  With recorded Carl Davis score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

16 December

The Goldrush (Dir. Charles Chaplin, US, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 95mins) In this classic silent comedy, the Little Tramp (Charles Chaplin) heads north to join in the Klondike gold rush. Trapped in a small cabin by a blizzard, the Tramp is forced to share close quarters with a successful prospector (Mack Swain) and a fugitive (Tom Murray). Eventually able to leave the cabin, he falls for a lovely barmaid (Georgia Hale), trying valiantly to win her affections. When the prospector needs help locating his claim, it appears the Tramp’s fortunes may change. It is today one of Chaplin’s most celebrated works, and he himself declared several times that it was the film for which he most wanted to be remembered.  Find out more at moviessilently.com .  With live piano accompaniment by Lillian Henley.  Palace Cinema, Broadstairs, Kent Link

Charlie Chaplin Silent Shorts  To celebrate the comic genius of Charlie Chaplin here are four of his  silent short films. Audiences first met his iconic ‘Tramp’ character in Henry Lehrman’s Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914). In One A.M. (1916) we follow an inebriated man arriving home late, in Easy Street (1917) our hero becomes a policeman, and in A Dog’s Life (1918) the Tramp saves a stray dog named Scraps.  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

16 – 17 December (2 Screenings)

The Marvelous Mabel Normand – The Leading Lady of Film Comedy  Everyone knows Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, but where are the women in silent film comedy? But the trailblazing Mabel Normand – who starred in 167 shorts and 23 features – is long overdue her moment in the spotlight.   Normand was the irrepressible spirit of early Hollywood, an extraordinary performer from the anarchic days of Mack Sennett’s Keystone company to the refined comedies of the 1920s. The first lady of silent comedy, she directed her own films, ran her own production company and worked with the best – including Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle and a young Oliver Hardy. But make no mistake: Mabel was always the star.The Marvellous Mabel Normand: Leading Lady of Film Comedy is a package of four short films from the BFI National Archive, including Mabel’s Blunder (1914), Mabel’s Dramatic Career (1913), His Trysting Place (1914) and Should Men Walk Home? (1927). Find out more about her at wfpp.cdrs.columbia.edu.   With a newly commissioned recorded score by The Meg Morley Trio. Eden Court, Inverness  Link

18 December

The Marvelous Mabel Normand – The Leading Lady of Film Comedy  Everyone knows Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, but where are the women in silent film comedy? But the trailblazing Mabel Normand – who starred in 167 shorts and 23 features – is long overdue her moment in the spotlight.   Normand was the irrepressible spirit of early Hollywood, an extraordinary performer from the anarchic days of Mack Sennett’s Keystone company to the refined comedies of the 1920s. The first lady of silent comedy, she directed her own films, ran her own production company and worked with the best – including Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle and a young Oliver Hardy. But make no mistake: Mabel was always the star.The Marvellous Mabel Normand: Leading Lady of Film Comedy is a package of four short films from the BFI National Archive, including Mabel’s Blunder (1914), Mabel’s Dramatic Career (1913), His Trysting Place (1914) and Should Men Walk Home? (1927). Find out more about her at wfpp.cdrs.columbia.edu.   With a newly commissioned recorded score by The Meg Morley Trio.  Showroom, Sheffield  Link

22 December

Charlie Chaplin Silent Shorts  To celebrate the comic genius of Charlie Chaplin here are four of his  silent short films. Audiences first met his iconic ‘Tramp’ character in Henry Lehrman’s Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914). In One A.M. (1916) we follow an inebriated man arriving home late, in Easy Street (1917) our hero becomes a policeman, and in A Dog’s Life (1918) the Tramp saves a stray dog named Scraps.  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link


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