March – December

 

 

 

 

 


March

7 March

The General  (Dir. Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman, 1926) + The Goat  (Screening format – not known, 75mins)  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 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 .  With live piano accompaniment by Costas Fotopoulos.  Billericay Community Cinema, Billericay Link

13 March

The Cat And The Canary (Dir. Paul Leni, US, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 82mins) The Cat and the Canary, originally a stage play, weaves a tale now very familiar to lovers of the horror genre. Cyrus West, a millionaire, died a presumed madman. His will is only to be read 20 years following his death. The heir? A 20-something girl by the name of Annabelle West. However, the will has an odd condition – since the greed of West’s family drove him to madness (like cats surrounding a canary), Annabelle must be deemed psychologically sound, or the money turns over to a secret heir named in an envelope held by Mr. Crosby, the lawyer overseeing the will reading. Mr. Crosby soon goes missing, with Annabelle the only witness to his disappearance. Is Annabelle spiraling into insanity? Or is the mystery heir pushing her there? The film takes us on a twisty whodunit, one of the very first of the genre, and indubitably one of the few that withstands the test of time. Directed by German expressionist film-maker Paul Leni, his first Hollywood film after having been recruited by producer Carl Laemmle for Universal, and remade three times in the sound era, this silent version is considered the definitive rendering.  Find out more at silentfilm.orgPresented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live piano accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

14 March

Women Amateur Film-makers in the Silent Era  Since 2015, the Women Amateur Filmmakers in Britain project has uncovered and digitised over 100 films made by women amateurs between 1928 and 1988, to identify and celebrate the historical role that such women pioneers played in the British amateur film movement. Tonight, the WAF project presents three of the earliest silent films in its collection –  Sally Sallies Forth (1928), directed by Frances Lascot : heralded as the first amateur film produced entirely by women. Chaos ensues when Sally (Sadie Andrews) becomes a maid for a day at an upper class garden party; The Polite Burglar (1929), directed by Sadie Andrews : a comedy produced as a competition for the London Amateur Cinematographers Association – can you spot the 30 deliberate errors in the film? Doomsday (1932), directed by Ruth Stuart : an early amateur science fiction film about the end of the world, strongly influenced by European art cinema.  With newly recorded  soundtracks composed by Laura Rossi. Followed by a Q&A session with members of the WAF project.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London  Link

15 March

Cottage on Dartmoor (Dir. Anthony Asquith, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 84mins)  Joe (Uno Henning) works as a barber in a shop in a Devon town, alongside a manicurist called Sally (Norah Baring). He becomes infatuated with her and asks her out but  it is clear that Sally does not reciprocate Joe’s feelings.  Joe’s infatuation with her develops into obsession. Meanwhile a young  farmer Harry (Hans Schlettow), begins to woo Sally and the couple begin seeing each other which leaves Joe in despair. After a fight with Harry, Joe is jailed but swears revenge on Harry and Sally.  A Cottage on Dartmoor is a tale of love and revenge set in the bleak landscape of Dartmoor and a thoughtful distillation of the best of European silent film techniques from a director steeped in the work of the Soviet avant-garde and German expressionism. One of the last films of the silent era and a virtuoso piece of film-making, A Cottage on Dartmoor was a final passionate cry in defence of an art form soon to be obsolete. Find out more at    silentfilm.org. With live musical accompaniment by Wurlitza. Plymouth University, Plymouth  Link

17 March

Beggars of Life (Dir. William Wellman, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 100 mins) Nancy (Louise Brooks), is a young woman on a farm who kills her foster father when he attempts to rape her. She is assisted in escaping from the farm by Jim (Richard Arlen), a young hobo who has stopped to ask for food. By dressing in rough men’s clothing, Nancy, with the assistance of Jim, eludes the police. They hop a freight train and, when thrown off by the brakeman, they wander into a hobo camp. The  hobo camp is run by Oklahoma Red (Wallace Beery), a villain….or maybe not! Beggars of Life is based on the 1924 novelistic memoir of the same name by Jim Tully, a celebrated “hobo author”. Directed by William Wellman the year after he made Wings (the first film to win an Academy Award), the location shooting for Beggars of Life was awash with hair-raising stunts, hard-drinking nights and countless fights, apparently the norm for a William Wellman picture, and nicely detailed in Louise Brooks’ own words in her book ‘Lulu In Hollywood’.   Find out more at silentfilm.org  With live musical accompaniment by The Dodge Brothers and Neil Brand.  Broadway Cinema, Nottingham Link

18 March

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 Technicolor, 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  With live orchestral accompaniment by the Docklands Sinfonia Orchestra conducted by Spencer Down performing for only the second time a score specially composed for the film by renowned jazz musician and composer Roy Budd.  Budd composed scores for films such as Soldier Blue (1970), Get Carter (1971), Man at the Top (1973), Wild Geese (1978) and many more but died suddenly in 1993 before his score for Phantom of the Opera could ever be performed.    Barbican, London   Link

20 March

Rob Roy (Dir. William Kellino, UK, 1922) (Screening format – not known, 80mins) Rarely screened, this impressive biopic of one of Scotland’s best-known outlaws stars David Hawthorne in full tartan kilt and tammy and tells the story of the MacGregors in the early 18th century.  Shot entirely on location in the Trossachs and nearby Stirling Castle, whilst the 10th Duke of Argyll gave permission to the production to film on his estates, the film makes liberal use of Scots for the intertitles (“dinnae fash yersel”) and includes epic fight scenes, with over 800 men of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders enlisted as extras in a dramatic battle.  Find out more at imdb.com The opening night premier of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival 2019.  Accompanied live by a world premiere of a new commission from composer and musician David Allison.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness  Link

22 March

The Ancient Law (aka Das Alte Gesetz) (Dir. E A Dupont, Ger, 1923) (Screening format – DCP, 135 mins) In the mid 1800s in Galicia, Baruch Mayer (Ernst Deutsch), yearns to become an actor. Despite the expectation to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an orthodox rabbi, he breaks from tradition and leaves the shtetl in pursuit of his dream. Whilst performing in a traveling theatre troupe he meets the Austrian archduchess, Elisabeth Theresia (Henny Porten), who falls in love with the young man. With her support he joins the renowned Vienna’s Burg Theatre company where he soon rises to fame.  “With its complex portrayal of orthodoxy and emancipation, E. A. Dupont’s period film marks a highpoint of Jewish filmmaking in Germany. This new restoration marks the first time that a version corresponding to the lost 1920s German theatrical release will be shown, both in its original length, and with the colourisation digitally restored.” – Berlinale 68.   Find out more at silentfilm.org Presented by South West Silents.  With live musical accompaniment by Meg Morley.  Cube Cinema, Bristol Link 

April

3 April

Another evening of 9.5mm films from Kevin Brownlow’s collectionScreening details to be confirmed.  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live piano accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

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

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

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.

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

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