April – December

 

 

 

 

 


April

2 April

Sodom and Gomorrah: The Legend of Sin and Punishment (Dir. Michael Curtiz, Aust, 1922) (Screening format – not known, 180(?) mins) In 1920s America, Mary, a young girl exposed from her infancy to evil influences, is in love with Harry, a sculptor, but for the sake of financial gain becomes engaged to be married to the rich banker Jackson Harber, a much older man, and the former lover of her mother. Harry attempts suicide. By her subsequent behaviour, including her attempted seduction not only of Harber’s adolescent son, Eduard, but also of Eduard’s tutor, a priest, Mary drives Harber to the verge of suicide as well. But as Mary sleeps, her dreams cast her back first as the queen of ancient Syria and then as Lia, the wife of lot and we witness the  wickedness and destruction of Sodom.  Made on an epic scale, Sodom and Gomorrah rivals not only earlier Italian blockbusters such as Quo Vadis or Cabiria but also the work of Griffith and de Mille in Hollywood, with estimates of a cast and crew of up to 14,000 people and a main set towering 230feet high.  Then there was the pyrotechnician, missing fingers from both hands and part of his nose due to earlier accidents, but who still handled explosives with an air of casualness….and with a lighted cigar in his mouth.  In charge of all this, director Curtiz apparently had little regard for the money he was spending or the well being of cast and crew.  The end result was a three hour monster, eventually cut down as a result of marketing and censorship issues to little more than 90 minutes. Long thought to have survived in just fragments, a restored version of the film now runs to around 140 minutes.  To find out more go to encyclopedia.com.  With live musical accompaniment.  Austrian Cultural Forum, London SW7 Link

3 April

Another evening of 9.5mm films from Kevin Brownlow’s collection.  As regular attendees will know, 9.5mm was the pioneering amateur film gauge that enabled film enthusiasts to make and project their own films and also screen commercial popular films of the day in their own homes. The 9.5mm gauge preserved many subjects that are now either lost or difficult to obtain in 35mm. 9.5mm has a frame size similar to 16mm and was usually copied from the original 35mm elements, thus providing superb quality images. Highlights tonight will include the German mountain drama The White Hell of Piz Palu (1929), directed by Arnold Fanck and G. W. Pabst, starring Leni Riefenstahi, Gustav Diessl, Ernst Petersen, and World War 1 flying ace Ernst Udet; and the 1927 French drama La Glu, directed by Henri Fescourt (Les Miserables (1925)), with Germaine Rouer and Francois Rozet in the lead roles.  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live piano accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

7 April

Laurel & Hardy + Charlie Chaplin  An afternoon of silent film slapstick. The films include Easy Street and Angora Love.  In Easy Street  (Dir, Charles Chaplin, US, 1917) Chaplin is a down-and-out derelict, sleeping at the steps of the religious mission .  He is entranced by the beautiful mission worker and organist, Edna Purviance.  Passing a police recruiting notice he decides to join but his ‘beat’ is Easy Street, terrorised by giant bully Eric Campbell!   Upon its release, Easy Street was hailed as a watershed moment in Chaplin’s career. Find out more at silentsaregolden.com In Angora Love (Dir. Lewis R Foster, US, 1929) Laurel and Hardy are adopted by a runaway goat, whose noise and aroma in turn get the goat of their suspicious landlord. Attempts to bathe the smelly animal result in a waterlogged free-for-all.  Find out more at laurelandhardycentral.com.  With live piano accompaniment by Jonny Best.  National Centre for Early Music, York. Link

Palais de Danse (Dir. Maurice Elvey, UK, 1928) (Screening format – 35mm, 94mins) Cinderella is at the wrong kind of Ball in this romance of a night-watchman’s daughter who takes a job as ‘No.16’ in a sleazy London dance hall. Maurice Elvey is at his best in this lively drama with nice Mabel Poulton and naughty Chilli Bouchier. Contributions of note are script by John Longden who plays the cad, a young David Lean helping with camera and the great Andrew Mazzei on décor.  Find ut more at imdb.com.  With live musical accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link.     (  NB  This screening replaces the originally sheduled Squibs Wins the Calcutta Sweep (1922) )

9 April

Shiraz (Dir. Franz Osten, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 118mins) Based on a play by Indian author Niranjan Pal, Shiraz tells the fictionalised love story of the 17th-century princess who inspired the construction of the Taj Mahal.  It was directed by Germany’s Franz Osten, one of at least 17 films he made in India between 1925 and 1939, best known of which are The Light of Asia (1925) and A Throw of Dice (1929).  Shot entirely on location in India with an all-Indian cast, it features lavish costumes and gorgeous settings – all the more impressive in this restoration by the BFI National Archive with specially-commisioned score. The film was the brainchild of producer Himansu Rai, who also stars as humble potter Shiraz, who follows his childhood sweetheart (Enakshi Rama Rau) when she’s sold by slave traders to the future emperor (Charu Roy).Upon its release Shiraz was a considerable critical and popular success and received rave reviews when the restored version was screened at the 2017 London Film Festival.  Find out more at silentfilm.org  With live musical accompaniment by renowned sitarist and composer Anoushka Shankar and  her ensemble.  Royal Festival Hall, London Link

11 April

The Maid of Cefn Ydfa (Dir. William Haggar, UK, 1914) +  Jessica’s First Prayer (Dir. Bert Wynn, UK, 1921) (Screening format – Digital/35mm, 40/38 mins)  The Maid of Cefn Ydfa is a traditional Welsh folk tale of the thwarted romance between a thatcher and an heiress in 17th-century Cefn Ydfa.  Long believed lost, an incomplete nitrate print in poor condition was discovered in 1984. The print was found in the stairwell of a house near Swansea and was donated to the BFI National Archive by a descendant of the filmmaker’s family.  Jessica’s First Prayer is an unknown  drama starring Warrick Ward. Presented as part of the British Silent Film Festival Symposium.  With live musical accompaniment.  King’s College, London  Link

King of Kings (Dir. Cecil B DeMille, US, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 155mins) It was the biggest silent-era blockbuster of its time. The film blended spectacle and reverence, with text taken directly from the Bible and featuring a cast of thousands. The film cost at least $1,265,000 (inflated by press agents to $2,300,000), with sets and crowd scenes rivaling D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance (1916) in scale and ornateness. The King of Kings is the height of cinematic and photographic sophistication in 1920s Hollywood.  This brand new restoration from Lobster Films, Paris, is scanned in 4K direct from the tinted nitrate, as well as surviving two-colour Technicolor footage from UCLA Film & Television Archive, with a few brief shots from other sources. This new restoration also features a digital recreation of the hand-coloured effects from Gustav Brock, which have likewise not been seen since 1927.  When it comes to Cecil B. DeMille’s King of Kings, seeing is believing!  Find out more at  criterion.com..   With live organ accompaniment by David Bednall.  Bristol Cathedral, Bristol Link

12 April

The City Without Jews (aka Die Stadt ohne Juden) (Dir. Hans Karl Breslauer, Aus, 1924) (Screening format – not known, 80mins) A dystopian prophecy of intolerance, Die Stadt ohne Juden is ominous, portentous, and completely unforgettable. H K Breslauer’s satirical dystopia shows the cultural and economic impoverishment of a city that expels its Jewish population, and is disturbingly prophetic in its depiction of the murderous anti-semitism in Vienna in the wake of the First World War.  And the story of the film is almost as remarkable as its content. Lost during the Second World War, this version was only rediscovered in a Paris flea market in 2015. The political message is more sharply articulated in this newly restored version, with a hitherto lost ending and other sequences. For anyone interested in 20th-century history, this Austrian expressionist film is essential viewing.Find out more at theguardian.com. Presented by South West Silents.  With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.  Cube Cinema, Bristol Link

19 April

The Freshman (Dir. Fred C Newmeyer/Sam Taylor, US, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 76mins) Harold Lloyd’s biggest box-office hit was this silent comedy gem, featuring the befuddled everyman at his eager best as a new college student. Though he dreams of being a big man on campus, the freshman’s careful plans inevitably go hilariously awry, be it on the football field or at the Fall Frolic. But he gets a climactic chance to prove his mettle—and impress the sweet girl he loves—in one of the most famous sports sequences ever filmed. This crowd-pleaser is a gleeful showcase for Lloyd’s slapstick brilliance.  Find out more at wikipedia.org.  With live musical accompaniment by the Lucky Dog Picture House.  Wilton’s Music Hall, London Link

27 April

Running Wild(Dir. Gregory La Cava, US, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 65mins) One of W.C.Fields’ few surviving silent features, and the most successful, with Fields as his usual downtrodden, henpecked anti-hero – Elmer Finch is a very timid man who is bossed around by his harridan of a second wife, and her fat, lazy son. Even his stepson’s dog attacks him. The only love he gets is from his young daughter from his first marriage. He is also a put-upon, poorly paid clerk in an office. But stumbling into a vaudeville house where a hypnosis act is going on, Elmer is hypnotized into being fearlessly confrontational. And then the fun starts.  Find out more at  wikipedia.org.  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.  With live musical accompaniment. Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London    Link

Chaplin Unrestored!  Award winning film editor and director Christopher Bird reveals why ‘restored’ Chaplin comedies on DVD aren’t always the best versions, and shows vintage prints of The Vagabond (1916) and The Immigrant (1917) to prove it. Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.  With live musical accompaniment. Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London    Link

The Real Stan & Ollie  A rare chance to see Laurel & Hardy’s Battle of the Century (1927), with its now complete “pie battle to end all pie battles”; We Faw Down (1928), in which they escape their wives (or do they?), now with its original Vitaphone soundtrack, plus two of their long lost solo appearances.  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.  With live musical accompaniment by guest pianist Vincent Byrne – possibly Britain’s youngest film accompanist.. Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London    Link

Grandma’s Boy (Dir. Fred Neweyer, US, 1922) This is Harold Lloyd’s first full length feature with flashback stories of his Civil War ancestor (also Lloyd) inspiring him to win his girl (Mildred Davis) in the present. Showing on the 97th anniversary of its original release (brilliant programming or what?). Preceded by two of Lloyd’s rarest shorts co starring Bebe Daniels – Over the Fence (1917) his first wearing the famous glasses, and That’s Him (1918) – a recent discovery by Christopher Bird. Find out more at decentfilms.com.   Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.  With live musical accompaniment. Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London    Link

So This Is Paris (Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, US, 1926) (Screening format – not known, 80mins) Paul and Suzanna are a happily married couple in Paris, when new neighbors across the street start causing trouble. When Paul goes to complain to Georgette and Maurice, he realizes that she is an old flame. Thus begins a series of marital mishaps that try the fidelity of both couples. When Ernst Lubitsch joined Warner Brothers in 1923 with a three-year, six-picture deal, he moved away from the kind of historical epics he had produced previously in Germany and began a remarkable series of marital comedies that earned him the reputation of Hollywood’s most elegant and sophisticated director, encapsulated in “the Lubitsch touch.”  Like Cecil B. DeMille before him, Lubitsch became the foremost commentator of gender relations in the Jazz Age. So This is Paris, the last film on his Warners contract, is a trifle, but light as a feather and twice as funny.  Credited as the first film to feature a choreographed dance scene, as one couple (Patsy Ruth Miller and Monte Blue) enter a Charleston contest. Voted one of the ten best films of 1926 by the New York Times. Find out more at sensesofcinema.com.  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.    Introduced by Michelle Facey. With live musical accompaniment. Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London    Link

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 .   Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.  The restored original 1925 version with a newly recorded adaption of Chaplin’s score, as composed for his 1942 re-issue. Introduced by Chaplin’s biographer David Robinson . Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London    Link

.Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927)(Screening format –DVD, Jan ’05 pre-restored version, 118mins)  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 silentfilm.org With live piano accompaniment by Dmytro Morykit.  Wilton’s Music Hall. London Link

28 April

Pandora’s Box (Dir. G W Pabst, Ger, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 135mins)  Based on two plays by the German author Frank Wedekind, Erdgeist (Earth Spirit, 1895), which Pabst himself had directed for the stage, and Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box, 1904), the silent drama follows Pthe tumultuous life of the showgirl Lulu whose unselfconscious sexuality brings about the ruin of all those that fall for her and eventually her own.  In a daring move, Pabst chose a little known American actress over the more experienced Marlene Dietrich for the part of Lulu, a decision that made the young Louise Brooks an international star. Her innocent looks paired with her natural erotic allure and sense of movement – Brooks was also a dancer – perfectly matched Pabst’s idea of his heroine as unwitting seductress. Subjected to cuts to eliminate some of its “scandalous” content and unfavourably reviewed by critics at the time, it is now considered one of the boldest and most modern films of the Weimar era highlighting Pabst’s command of camera language and montage.  Find out more at silentlondon.co.uk With live piano accompaniment from Jonny Best.  National Centre for Early Music, York. Link

Stage Struck (Dir. Allan Dwan, US, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 87mins) One of the last lighthearted collaborations between Gloria Swanson and Allan Dwan, Stage Struck (1925) is a sweetly funny account of a small-town girl with dreams of fame. Swanson plays Jenny Hagen, a diner waitress who fantasizes about a life on stage. Her heart belongs to Orme Wilson (Lawrence Gray), an expert pancake flipper, who only has eyes for the women in movie magazines. So when a river showboat comes to town, he only has eyes for the star, Lillian Lyons (Gertrude Astor). Inflamed with jealousy, Jenny is determined to get on stage herself, by any means necessary.! One of Paramount’s first features to use Technicolor. Find out more at  wikipedia.org   Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.    Introduced by Michelle Facey. With live musical accompaniment. Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London   Link

Recent Discoveries Lost silent comedies, recently rescued. Included will be Maud’s Bachelors starring the forgotten Amedee Compton from Brighton, amazingly a one time stage and film star in France; a long lost British Hepworth comedy, a 1919 Harold Lloyd uncovered at the Cinema Museum itself and a previously missing Mack Sennett classic, now (almost) restored.  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.    With live musical accompaniment. Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London   Link

Chaplinitis   David Glass presents a programme looking at the fallout from the Little Tramp’s incredible popularity – his huge influence and many imitators. Don’t miss Chinese Chaplin Chai Hong and Phil Dunham’s very funny revamp of Chaplin’s One A.M.(1916) as Cut Loose(1924).  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.    With live musical accompaniment. Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London   Link

A Little Bit of Fluff (Dir. Wheeler Dryden/Jesse Robbins, UK, 1928) (Screening format – not known, Syd Chaplin, Charlie’s brother, made what turned out to be his last comedy at British International’s Elstree studios. Together with British star Betty Balfour, this highly praised farce, the misadventures of an effete and completely mother-in-law-dominated newly-wed man (Chaplin) and an exotic dancer (Balfour), the titular “little bit of fluff” with Chaplin becoming unwittingly involved in a boxer’s  plot to wrest his girlfriend’s (Balfour) $5000 necklace from her in order to pay his gambling debts, included an expensive recreation of London’s Kit Kat Club with on – stage dance troupe the Tiller Girls. . Plus Caught in a Park – a 1915 Keystone comedy starring Syd Chaplin. Find out more at  Wikipedia.org   Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.  Introduced by David Robinson.  With live musical accompaniment. Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London   Link

Charley Chase – By Popular Demand A trio of Charley Chase’s very best 1920’s comedies – as requested by the KenBio’s ‘Silent Laughter’ audience last year. They are His Wooden Wedding (1925) and Dog Shy (1926), both directed by Leo McCarey, and Snappy Sneezer (1929), directed by Warren Doane.  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.  Introduced by Matthew Ross,  editor of the on–line vintage comedy magazine thelostlaugh.com. With live musical accompaniment. Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London   Link

Show People (Dir. King Vidor, US, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 79mins) This delightful King Vidor comedy  features Marion Davies (also the film’s producer) as Peggy Pepper, an aspiring young actress fascinated by the allure of Hollywood. After meeting Billy Boone, the slapstick comedy actor played by William Haines, Peggy begins her journey through the strange world of the dream factory.  Davies is a knockout as the aspiring actress, but will her emerging ego destroy her career or will she realize who her real friends are? Look out for cameo appearances by Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, William S. Hart and King Vidor himself… as well as the real Marion Davies!! Find out more at moviessilently.com Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend. Introduced by Michelle Facey.  With live musical accompaniment. Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London   Link

White Paradise (aka Bílý ráj)  (Dir. Karel Lamac, Cz, 1924) (Screening format – not known, 73mins) The heroine of this social melodrama, set in a desolate region “where people were born with solitude in their hearts”, is the naive orphan Nina (Anna Ondry), who stumbles upon an escaped prisoner intent on seeing his dying mother one last time. With its classic story and advanced technical quality, this low-budget picture was a hit with audiences both at home and abroad. Its success was due in part to the involvement of Der starke Vierer (the strong four), one of the most distinctive creative teams to come out of early Czechoslovak cinema: director and actor Karel Lamač, cameraman Otto Heller, actress Anny Ondra and, later on, scriptwriter Václav Wasserman. Find out more at ilcinemaritrovato.it.  With live musical accompaniment by Tomáš Vtípil. Barbican, London Link

Steamboat Bill Jr   (Dir. Buster Keaton/Charles Reisner, US, 1928) +  Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy shorts (Screening format – not known,  71  mins)  In Steamboat Bill Jr 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).     Featuring some of Buster’s finest and most dangerous stunts, it’s a health and safety nightmare maybe but it’s entertainment that will live forever.  The final storm sequence is still as breathtaking today as it was on first release. Not a commercial success at the time, this is now rightly regarded as a Keaton classic. Find out more at Wikipedia.  Accompanied live by The Bristol Ensemble, who will perform the London premiere of a new score composed and conducted by maestro Carl Davis.  Hosted by Barry Humphries with guests Barry Cryer and Bernie Clifton.  London Palladium  Link

30 April

A Page of Madness (aka Kurutta Ippēji) (Dir.Teinosuke Kinugasa, Jap, 1926) (Screening format – not known, 60mins)  A man (Masao Inoue) takes a job as a janitor at a mental asylum in order to be near his wife (Yoshie Nakagawa). Although his wife suffers genuine mental anguish, the man believes he can rescue her , but all is not quite as it seems….Considered lost for some 45 years, Kinugasa thankfully found the print in his garden shed in the early 1970s.  A Page of Madness is a visually stunning, and technically dazzling work of surrealismThe film contained no intertitles as it was intended to be exhibited with live narration delivered by a benshi who would stand to the side of the screen and introduce and relate the story to the audience.  Find out more at tcm.turner.com .  Presented as part of the Flatpack Festival.With the world premiere of a newly commissioned live score by Sinestro Home Video; composed by  Matt Eaton (Pram) and Gareth Jones (Misty’s Big Adventure, Grandmaster Gareth).   Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham Link

 

May

8 May

Hungarian Rhapsody (Dir. Hanns Schwarz, Ger, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 97mins)  A charming comedy of romantic intrigue among members of the upper and lower classes is set in 19th century Hungary. During the wheat harvest on the fertile Hungarian plains, a lordly estate holds a harvest festival. Impoverished officer Franz Graf v. Turoczy (Willy Fritsch) woos Marika (Dita Parlo), daughter of the estate’s foreman, but Franz’s financial circumstances mean that marriage is impossible.  Instead, he turns his attentions to the aristocratic Camilla (Lil Dagover), wife of General Hoffmann (Erich Kaiser-Titz).  But when the General hears rumours about his wife’s new interest tensions rise. Shot at the Babelsburg Studios in Berlin and on location in Hungary, this was one of the most popular German films of its year.  It was subsequently re-released in 1929 with an added soundtrack.  Find out more at imdb.comPresented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live piano accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link.

16 May

Helen of Four Gates (Dir. Cecil Hepworth, UK, 1922) (Screening format – not known, 90mins) Director Cecil Hepworth was a major pioneering figure in British Cinema. Like several of Hepworth’s later films, Helen of Four Gates was a ‘literary adaptation’ – in this case a novel by a former mill girl from Blackburn, Ethel Carnie, published in 1917 when Ethel was living near Hebden Bridge.  She was a socialist, feminist and a peace campaigner and now acknowledged as one of the most important working-class women writers in British literary history.  In the film, Helen (AlmaTaylor) marries a young man who has poisoned her mind against her other suitor Abel Mason (Carew) by convincing her that there is hereditary madness in the Mason family. Within two years Helen’s husband is dead and she is dying. She entrusts her baby daughter to Abel to bring up, as she has no family to call on. Abel agrees to take the baby, but Helen does not realise that it is out of desire to gain revenge on her for rejecting him.  The baby (also called Helen) grows up believing Abel to be her father, and is subjected to his bullying and cruelty. As a young woman Helen meets Martin Scott (George Dewhurst), a  seasonal labourer on a local farm. The pair fall in love, but Abel now tells Martin of the supposed madness in the Mason blood and Martin breaks off the engagement as a result.  Instead, Abel arranges for helen to marry the equally abusive Fielding Day (John MacAndrews).  Trapped in a violent marriage, will Helen ever find escape and happiness?  Helen (and her mother) is memorably played byAlma Taylor, one of the biggest British stars of the period who worked extensively with Hepworth.  Find out more at screenonline.org.uk.  With live piano accompaniment by Darius Battiwalla.  Square Chapel, Halifax   Link

17 May

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, UK, 1927)  (Screening format – not known, 91 mins ) In The Lodger, 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 musical accompaniment by acclaimed musicians Minima. Ombersley Memorial Hall, Ombersly, Worcs. Link

29 May

City Girl (Dir. F W Murnau, US, 1930) (Screening format – not known, 89mins).  Murnau made three silent movies for Fox in Hollywood. The first, Sunrise, is universally acclaimed; the second one, Four Devils, no longer exists; and the third, City Girl, was for years known only through a re-edited, semi-sound version which Murnau disowned. But the restored full silent City Girl is a lyrical masterwork of pastoral realism, in which Lem, a simple farm boy from Minnesota (Charles Farrell), in Chicago to sell the family’s wheat crop, meets and marries Kate (Mary Duncan), a waitress yearning for an idyllic life in the countryside. When they return to Minnesota, however, they’re met with hostility by coarse, lascivious harvesters and Lem’s overbearing father. It is a rural melodrama of great beauty and honesty, and in many ways was the inspiration for Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven (1978).  Find out more at  sensesofcinema.com.  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live piano accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

June

6 June

Phantom Of The Opera (Dir. Rupert Julian, 1925)  (Screening format – not known, 103mins)  A title that needs no introduction, The Phantom of the Opera has spawned many remakes, remasters and sequels. This original film version, produced with moments of early Technicolour, sees Lon Chaney, the ‘Man of a Thousand Faces’ perform one of his most iconic roles. His ghastly make-up and outrageous performance made this title a benchmark in the American silent film era. The film was a critical and commercial success upon release, and still stands as an important film in cinematic history to this day, with press quotes from the time labeling the film an ‘ultra-fantastic melodrama’ (New York Times), ‘produced on a stupendous scale’ (Moving Picture World) and ‘probably the greatest inducement to nightmare that has yet been screened’ (Variety).  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.org.  With live musical accompaniment from musicians of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival. Harrogate Theatre, Harrogate  Link

19 June

Lady Windermere’s Fan (Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, US, 1925) (Screening Format – not known, 89mins)    Ronald Colman has one of his first important screen roles as the slightly caddish Lord Darlington, who is in love with the very pretty–and very married–Lady Windermere (May McAvoy). The lady is rescued from disgrace at the hands of Darlington by the notorious Mrs. Erlynne (Irene Rich), who unbeknownst to everyone is Lady Windemere’s long-lost mother. Unable to rely upon Oscar Wilde’s epigrammatic dialogue to carry the day (this was, after all, the silent-film era), director Ernst Lubitsch substitutes visual wit for the verbal variety in his 1925 interpretation of Lady Windermere’s Fan.  The film was an enormous hit, and an instant candidate for the many “Ten Best” lists tabulated by the fan magazines of the era, and viewed nearly a hundred years later it remains a superb adaption. The characters and the story are Wilde’s, while the acting and the style are pure Lubitsch.  Find out more at sensesofcinema.com.  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live piano accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link