November – December

 

 

 

 

 


November

1 November

The Great White Silence (Dir. Herbert G. Ponting, UK, 1924) (Screening format – not known, 107 mins)  This documentary captured the story of the British Antarctic Expedition, led by Captain Scott, to reach the South Pole. With extraordinary footage of many stages of the exploration: on board the Terra Nova ship; life in the base camp; crew preparations and scientific research; and the local penguins, whales and seals. Still images, maps, miniature model shots, diary entries and recreations illustrate the rest of the journey across the ice. “The alien beauty of the landscape is brought dramatically to life and the world of the expedition revealed in brilliant detail.” – BFI. Find out more at bfi.org.uk.  With live musical accompaniment by Jonny Best and the Frame Ensemble. York Concerts at University of York Link

Nosferatu (Dir. F W Murnau, 1922) (Screening format – not known, 96mins) A German Expressionist horror masterpiece starring Max Shreck as the vampire Count Orlok.  The film was an unauthorised adaption of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ with names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel.  Stoker’s heirs sued over the adaption and a court ruling ordered that all copies of the film be destroyed.  However, a few prints survived and the film came to be regarded as an inspirational masterwork of the cinema. In the film, Count Orlok travels 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.org With live musical accompaniment by Minima.  Appleby Public Hall, Appleby in Westmorland  Link

2 November

Nosferatu (Dir. F W Murnau, 1922) (Screening format – not known, 96mins) A German Expressionist horror masterpiece starring Max Shreck as the vampire Count Orlok.  The film was an unauthorised adaption of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ with names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel.  Stoker’s heirs sued over the adaption and a court ruling ordered that all copies of the film be destroyed.  However, a few prints survived and the film came to be regarded as an inspirational masterwork of the cinema. In the film, Count Orlok travels 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.org With live musical accompaniment by Minima.  Burgh-By-Sands, Cumbria  Link

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Groβtadt) (Dir. Walter Ruttman, Ger, 1927) (Screening format – not known,   65mins)  This is a visual symphony in five movements celebrating the Berlin of 1927: the people, the place, the everyday details of life on the streets. Director Walter Ruttman, an experimental filmmaker, approached cinema in similar ways to his Russian contemporary Dziga Vertoz, mixing documentary, abstract, and expressionist modes for a nonnarrative style that captured the life of his countrymen. But where Vertov mixed his observations with examples of the communist dream in action, Ruttman re-creates documentary as, in his own words, “a melody of pictures.” Within the loose structure of a day in the life of the city (with a prologue that travels from the country into the city on a barreling train), the film takes us from dawn to dusk, observing the silent city as it awakens with a bustle of activity, then the action builds and calms until the city settles back into sleep. But the city is as much the architecture, the streets, and the machinery of industry as it is people, and Ruttman weaves all these elements together to create a portrait in montage, the poetic document of a great European city captured in action. Held together by rhythm, movement, and theme, Ruttman creates a documentary that is both involving and beautiful to behold. Find out more at sensesofcinema.com .  With live musical accompaniment by Paul Robinson’s HarmonieBand. Square Chapel, Halifax Link

3 November

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.org  With live musical accompaniment by Minima,  Village Hall, Lazonby, Cumbria Link

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Groβtadt) (Dir. Walter Ruttman, Ger, 1927) (Screening format – not known,   65mins)  This is a visual symphony in five movements celebrating the Berlin of 1927: the people, the place, the everyday details of life on the streets. Director Walter Ruttman, an experimental filmmaker, approached cinema in similar ways to his Russian contemporary Dziga Vertoz, mixing documentary, abstract, and expressionist modes for a nonnarrative style that captured the life of his countrymen. But where Vertov mixed his observations with examples of the communist dream in action, Ruttman re-creates documentary as, in his own words, “a melody of pictures.” Within the loose structure of a day in the life of the city (with a prologue that travels from the country into the city on a barreling train), the film takes us from dawn to dusk, observing the silent city as it awakens with a bustle of activity, then the action builds and calms until the city settles back into sleep. But the city is as much the architecture, the streets, and the machinery of industry as it is people, and Ruttman weaves all these elements together to create a portrait in montage, the poetic document of a great European city captured in action. Held together by rhythm, movement, and theme, Ruttman creates a documentary that is both involving and beautiful to behold. Find out more at sensesofcinema.com .  With live musical accompaniment by Paul Robinson’s HarmonieBand.  Storyhouse, Chester.  Link

6 November

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 With live musical accompaniment by David Allison.  Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre, Dunfries Link

The King On Main Street  (Dir. Monta Bell, US, 1925) (Screening format – not known,  60 mins)  Adolphe Menjou stars as King Serge IV of Molvania, ruler of a rather small and impoverished European country. He comes to New York to help secure a contract to develop his country’s oil, but then sneaks away from his hotel for some fun in Coney Island where he meets and falls for Bessie Love.  A charming and rather bittersweet love story of the silent era.  Find out more at wikipedia.org.  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live musical accompaniment.    Cinema Museum, Lambeth  Link

7 November

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 With live musical accompaniment by David Allison.  Stirling Castle Link

La Souriante Madame Beudet (aka The Smiling Madame Beudet) (Dir.  Germaine Dulac, Fr, 1923) +  Menilmontant  (Dir. Dimitri Kirsanoff, 1926) (Screening format – not known, 38/38mins)  One of the first feminist movies, The Smiling Madame Beudet is the story of an intelligent woman trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband is used to playing a stupid practical joke in which he puts an empty revolver to his head and threatens to shoot himself. One day, while the husband is away, she puts bullets in the revolver……..Find out more at houseofmirthandmovies.wordpress.com   In Menilmontant, a couple are brutally murdered in the working-class district of Paris. Later on, the narrative follows the lives of their two daughters (Nadia Sibirskaïa and Yolande Beaulieu), both in love with a Parisian thug (Guy Belmont) and leading them to separate ways.   Kirsanoff’s second film, Menilmontant is also his best known.  It has been described as “une oevre presque parfaite” (“a nearly perfect work”) . Its story is told entirely in images, without the use of explanatory intertitles; Kirsanoff was among the very rare filmmakers of the silent era to attempt this. The film makes use of techniques such as montage, hand-held camera, ultra-rapid montage, and superposition.  For more info see seul-le-cinema.blogspot.co.uk .   With live music by Jonny Best and Irene Rosnes.   University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield Link

8 November

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 With live musical accompaniment by David Allison. Dunoon Film Festival, Dunoon  Link

9 November

Silent Movie Comedy Matinee  An afternoon of silent comedy classics including; Call of the Cuckoo – (Max Davidson, 1927), Never Weaken – (Harold Lloyd, 1921), Mighty like a Moose – (Charley Chase, 1926) and Two Tars – (Laurel & Hardy, 1928).  With live organ accompaniment from Donald MacKenzie.  Caird Hall, DundeeLink

10 November

Alraune ( aka Unholy Love, Mandrake, or A Daughter of Destiny) (Dir. Henrik Galeen, Ger, 1928) (Screening format – 35mm, 108mins)  With an amazingly prescient subject matter of genetic engineering, artificial insemination and test-tube babies, Alraune is a little known and very rarely screened slice of Weimar Cinema.  A scientist (Paul Wegener) embarks on an experiment to answer the question of whether an individual’s humanity is a product of nature or nurture. His plan: to inseminate a prostitute with the semen of a hanged murderer, and to make of the child a model citizen.  But things don’t quite work out that way.  The child, who grows to be a beautiful woman (Brigitte Helm) is incapable of feeling any real emotions – least of all guilt or regret. Eloping from the convent school where she has caused mayhem, Alraune sets about to seduce and destroy every male who crosses her path.  And tragedy looms when the scientist begins to fall in love with his own ‘creation’.   Amongst a top-notch cast and crew, director Galeen was a key figure in German expressionist cinema, as screenwriter for Nosferatu (1922) and Waxworks (1924)  and as writer and director of The Golem (1915) and The Student of Prague (1926).  Wegener is probably best known for his portrayal of The Golem in both 1915 and 1920 while Brigitte Helm really needs no introduction having played Maria and her robot double in Metropolis (1927).  A heavily edited version of Alraune has been in circulation for some years but this afternoon’s screening looks to be the recently restored Munich Filmmuseum’s version.  Find out more at moriareviews.com   With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne & Martin PyneBarbican, London  Link

12 November

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 With live musical accompaniment by David Allison. Eden Court, Inverness   Link

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.orgWith live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.  The Assembly House, Norwich Link

13 November

Steamboat Bill Jr   (Dir. Buster Keaton/Charles Reisner, US, 1928) + The Balloonatic (Dir. Buster Keaton/ Edward F Cline, US, 1923)   (Screening format – not known,  71/22  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.  In The Balloonatic, Buster  plays an amusement park attendent who finds himself on a runaway balloon that floats into the wilderness.  When the balloon eventually lands he encounters a young outdoorswoman (Phylis Haver) who seems to be far more cut out for life in the wild than our hero. But while romance blossoms, there are still a lot of misadventures to endure.  Find out more at busterkeaton.org.   With live musical accompaniment by Andy Quin.  Keele University  Link

16 November

De Mille Day A celebration of legendary film-maker Cecil B. DeMille Film titles to be confirmed but provisionally include;  Why Change Your Wife? (1920), a classic romantic comedy in which a bored husband (Thomas Meighan) seeks to divorce his staid wife (Gloria Swanson) in favour of a jazz-age girl (Bebe Daniels); Let ‘Er Go Gallagher (1928), starring Frank Coghlan Jr. and Harrison Ford (the original one!) in an adaptation of Richard Harding Davis’s 1891 story about a newspaper copy boy who turns detective; The Affairs of Anatol (1921), starring Wallace Reid as a serial philanderer, Gloria Swanson as his wife and Bebe Daniels among his paramours; The Volga Boatman (1926), starring William Boyd and Elinor Fair in a romantic adventure set against the background of the Russian Revolutio, and ; Male and Female (1919), a version of J. M. Barrie’s play The Admirable Crichton, starring Gloria Swanson and Thomas Meighan among the desert island castaways who find the established social order changes in their new setting.  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  Curated by Kevin Brownlow.  With live piano accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

17 November

The 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 organ accompaniment by Donald MacKenzie.  Musical Museum, Brentford Link

20 November

South West Silents Club Night – featuring Anna Ondra  For this evening SWS promise you a fascinating film that you are unlikely to have seen before, an early time-shifting horror/drama starring the immortal Anny Ondra.  Polish born (but very much classed as a Czech actress) Ondra’s career would take her all over Europe starring in Czech, Austrian, and German comedies in the 1920s; and in some British dramas, most notably Alfred Hitchcock’s The Manxman and Blackmail (both 1929). Later on Ondra made some 40 more films in the sound era, the last in 1957.  Presented by South West Silents.  With recorded score. The Lansdown Public House, Clifton, Bristol   Link

22 November

Moulin Rouge (Dir. E.A. Dupont, Br, 1928)  (Screening format – not known, 122 mins)  Directed by the great E. A. Dupont (Varieté, Piccadilly) and one of the most lavish British films of the silent era in both budget and scope, Moulin Rouge stars Jean Bradin, Eve Gray and Russian-German screen sensation Olga Tschechowa in the story of a young aristocrat driven to a suicide attempt after falling in love with a young dancer and her elegant, ravishingly beautiful mother.  Set in and around the famous dance-halls of Paris, Moulin Rouge showcased British International Pictures’ engagement of leading Continental film-makers during the late 1920s. The first British film directed by expressionist pioneer Ewald Andre Dupont, it also features Werner Brandes’ stylish, distinctively European cinematography and art direction by Oscar winner Alfred Junge.  Filmed at Elstree through the winter of 1927, Moulin Rouge is an incredibly entertaining, energetic and sexy film which pulls you right back into 1920s Parisian life and society, an era, in which, anything goes.  Find out more at thespinningimage.co.ukPresented by South Wst Silents.  With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.  Cube Cinema, Bristol  Link

27 November

Claire (Dir. Robert Dinesen, Ger, 1924) (Screening format – not known, ? mins)  Nothing further is known of this film other than it stars Lya De Putti (Variety (1925), The Informer (1929) ), Theodor Loos ( Metropolis (1927) ) and Eduard von Winterstein.  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live piano accompaniment.    Cinema Museum, Lambeth  Link

28 November

Steampipes Silent Film ConcertSupporting the historic Festiniog, Talyllyn and Welshpool & Llanfair narrow gauge railways of Wales, rare and classic archive films from the golden age of steam railways are introduced by compere Rob Foxon, with Len Rawle on the Mighty Wurlitzer accompanying the silent films.  Enjoy newly discovered footage being screened for the first time, including  railways on the Isle of Wight in the 1930’s, a day in the life of an engine driver (Nine Elms locomotive depot) in 1949, Welsh narrow-gauge railways and much more.  Screened as the original film-makers intended; using real film projected on the big screen!  Musical Museum, Brentford Link

December

11 December

Moulin Rouge (Dir. E.A. Dupont, Br, 1928)  (Screening format – not known, 122 mins)  Directed by the great E. A. Dupont (Varieté, Piccadilly) and one of the most lavish British films of the silent era in both budget and scope, Moulin Rouge stars Jean Bradin, Eve Gray and Russian-German screen sensation Olga Tschechowa in the story of a young aristocrat driven to a suicide attempt after falling in love with a young dancer and her elegant, ravishingly beautiful mother.  Set in and around the famous dance-halls of Paris, Moulin Rouge showcased British International Pictures’ engagement of leading Continental film-makers during the late 1920s. The first British film directed by expressionist pioneer Ewald Andre Dupont, it also features Werner Brandes’ stylish, distinctively European cinematography and art direction by Oscar winner Alfred Junge.  Filmed at Elstree through the winter of 1927, Moulin Rouge is an incredibly entertaining, energetic and sexy film which pulls you right back into 1920s Parisian life and society, an era, in which, anything goes.  Find out more at thespinningimage.co.ukPresented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live piano accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth  Link