May – December

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

NB.  With the closure of all public venues due to the continuing Corona Virus pandemic all silent film events are at present either cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future. 

 

May

2 May

The Navigator (Dir. Donald Crisp/Buster Keaton, US, 1924) + Sherlock Jnr (Dir. Buster Keaton, 1924) (Screening format – not known, 59/45 mins)  In The Navigator, wealthy and impulsive Rollo Treadway (Buster Keaton) decides to propose to his beautiful socialite neighbor, Betsy O’Brien (Kathryn McGuire), but things don’t go as planned. Although Betsy turns Rollo down, he still opts to go on the cruise that he intended as their honeymoon. When circumstances find both Rollo and Betsy on the wrong ship, with no one else on board, they end up with some hilarious high adventures on the high seas, which allows Keaton plenty of opportunities to display his trademark agility. Find out more at busterkeaton.comIn 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. With live piano accompaniment from David Windle.  Regent Cinema, Blackpool. Link

5 May

Variety (Dir. E A Dupont, Ger, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 94mins) An International smash hit in 1925, Variety is a gripping tale of passion and revenge under the Big Top. Its star, Emil Jannings was one of the most esteemed actors of this time, working with directors such as F.W. Murnau and Josef von Sternberg, before moving to America to become the first winner of the Oscar for Best Actor, and ending his career in disgrace after appearing in Nazi propaganda films. In this steamy melodrama, he plays Boss Huller, a former trapeze artist who abandons his family for a younger colleague (Lya De Putti). When the couple becomes a professional trio, a love  triangle is formed, and tragedy ensues. The film features some of the most inventive camerawork of the period, its ‘unchained’ approach making for breathtaking performance scenes.  For female lead Lya De Putti, a German ‘vamp’ of the Weimar era, Variety was probably the peak of her film career.  Shortly after its release she departed for Hollywood but had only limited success especially with the advent of the sound era when her strong German accent held her back.  Tragically, after having to have a chicken bone surgically removed from her throat she developed pleurisy from which she died in 1931 aged just 34.   Find out more at moviessilently.com .  Presented as part of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.  With live musical accompaniment from Irine Røsnes (violin), Trevor Bartlett (percussion), Jonny Best (piano), and further musician to be announced.  Harrogate Theatre, Harrogate  Link

7 May

Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (Dir. John S. Robertson ,US, 1920) (Screening format – not known, 79mins) Not the first cinematic version of Stevenson’s famous story but one of the most memorable with John Barrymore’s classic transformation scenes, a mixture of facial and bodily contortions as well as makeup. He tends to be hammy as the leering beast of a thug but brings a tortured struggle to the repressed doctor, horrified at the demon he’s unleashed, guilty that he enjoys Hyde’s unrestrained life of drinking and whoring and terrified that he can no longer control the transformations. Martha Mansfield co-stars as his pure and innocent sweetheart, and Nita Naldi (the vamp of Blood and Sand) has a small but memorable role as the world-weary dance-hall darling who first “wakens” Jekyll’s “baser nature”. The film uses elements from a 1887 stage version of Stevenson’s original novella by Thomas Russell Sullivan. A huge box office success on its release.  Find out more at moviessilently.com  Introduced by silent film programmer Miranda Gower-Qian.  With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne and Meg Morley.  St Philip’s Cathedral, Birmingham Link

8 May

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 Minima. Northwick Arms Hall, Ketton, Rutland Link

9 May

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 Minima. Village Hall, Twyford, Leicestershire Link

10 May

The Woman That Men Yearn For (aka Die Frau Nach der Man Sich Sehnt  ) (Dir, Curtis Bernhard, Ger, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 78mins) The dreamy Charles Leblanc (Oskar Sima), about to marry into a wealthy steel-making family, glimpses Stascha (Marlene Dietrich) and her companion Karoff (Fritz Kortner) as they pause for a drink at a bar in his small southern France town. They meet again on the train taking him and his wife on their honeymoon. Overwhelmed by Stascha’s sexuality, and ignoring his distraught new wife, Leblanc agrees to help her escape from the domineering Karoff, setting in motion a chain of obsessive, destructive events.  Long before von Sternberg brought us Dietrich as Lola Lola in The Blue Angel, the actress had already created her femme fatale persona with this, her first starring role.  Although made on something of a shoestring budget and wholly studio shot, the film benefits from excellent direction from Bernhardt, Dietrich smoulders superbly and the rest of the cast are excellent.  Unfortunately the film was released just as audiences were clamouring for sound films and as a result it was not particularly successful. But this is a welcome opportunity to see this rarely screened classic which marked an important milestone in Dietrich’s career development Find out more at silentfilm.org .   Presented as part of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.  With live musical accompaniment from Irine Røsnes (violin) and Jonny Best (piano).  National Centre For Early Music, York Link

13 May

Damsels and Divas:  European Stardom in Silent Hollywood  In this presentation Agata Frymus, Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Ghent, introduces her new book, Damsels and Divas, which investigates the meanings of Europeanness in Hollywood during the 1920s by charting professional trajectories of three movie stars: Pola Negri, Vilma Bánky and Jetta Goudal. It combines the investigation of American fan magazines with the analysis of studio documents, and the examination of the narratives of their films, to develop a thorough understanding of the ways in which Negri, Bánky and Goudal were understood within the realm of their contemporary American culture. This discussion places their star personae in the context of whiteness, femininity and Americanization. Every age has its heroines, and they reveal a lot about prevailing attitudes towards women in their respective eras. In the United States, where the stories of rags-to-riches were especially potent, stars could offer models of successful cultural integration  Arnolfini, Bristol  Link

15 May

The Farmer’s Wife (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, Br, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 107mins) The Farmer’s Wife is a touching and funny romantic comedy directed by the young Alfred Hitchcock, who would go on to be the world famous master of suspense and creator of films such as Psycho, The Birds, and North by Northwest. This is a rare opportunity to see one of Hitchcock’s early films made in a far lighter vein.  Samuel Sweetland (Jameson Thomas), a Devonshire farmer, is alone; his beloved wife Tibby has just died and his daughter has married and left home. He lives in the old farmhouse with his loyal housekeeper, Minta. Just before she died, Tibby told Samuel that he must look for love and marry again once she is gone. So one day Samuel decides to do just that, confident that women will be fighting each other off to marry him. Samuel is brought down to earth quickly however, as the women he have very different ideas – it turns out that finding a wife is more complicated than he first thought. Find out more at ithankyouarthur.blogspot.com Presented as part of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.  With live musical accompaniment from Neil Brand.  Plaza Cinema, Skipton Link

June

20 June

The Gold Rush (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 .  Introduced by Simon Callow.  With live orchestral accompaniment conducted by Guenter Buchwald.  The Forum, Bath  Link

24 June

The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dir. Carl Theodore Dreyer, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 82 mins)  In 1926 Danish film director Dreyer was invited to make a film in France by the Societe Generale des Films and chose to direct a film about Joan of Arc, due to her renewed popularity in France (having been canonised as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in 1920 and subsequently adopted as one of the patron saints of France).  Apparently discarding a script provided by the Societe, Dreyer spent over a year researching Joan of Arc including study of the actual transcripts of her trial before producing a script of his own.  In the title role Dreyer cast the little-known stage actress Renee Jeanne Falconnetti who had previously acted in just two previous, inconsequential films, both back in 1917.  The film focuses upon the trial and eventual execution of Joan of Arc after she is captured by the English.  Although not a popular success at the time, the film attracted immediate critical praise.  The New York Times critic wrote “…as a film work of art, this takes precedence over anything so far produced.  It makes worthy pictures of the past look like tinsel shams.  It fills one with such intense admiration that other pictures appear but trivial in comparison.” Falconnetti’s performance has been widely lauded with critic Pauline Kael writing in 1982 that her portrayal “…may be the finest performance ever recorded on film.”  The film was subsequently re-edited against Dreyer’s wishes and his original version was long thought lost.  But in 1981 a near perfect copy was found in the attic of a psychiatric hospital in Oslo.  The Passion of Joan of Arc now regularly appears in ‘Top Ten’ lists not just of silent films but best films of all time.  Find out more at rogerebert.com .  Presented by Opera North.  Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, composer and producer Julia Holter performs her new soundtrack live,  scored for the 36-strong Chorus of Opera North, plus her own band.  Town Hall, Leeds Link

27 June

The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dir. Carl Theodore Dreyer, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 82 mins)  In 1926 Danish film director Dreyer was invited to make a film in France by the Societe Generale des Films and chose to direct a film about Joan of Arc, due to her renewed popularity in France (having been canonised as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in 1920 and subsequently adopted as one of the patron saints of France).  Apparently discarding a script provided by the Societe, Dreyer spent over a year researching Joan of Arc including study of the actual transcripts of her trial before producing a script of his own.  In the title role Dreyer cast the little-known stage actress Renee Jeanne Falconnetti who had previously acted in just two previous, inconsequential films, both back in 1917.  The film focuses upon the trial and eventual execution of Joan of Arc after she is captured by the English.  Although not a popular success at the time, the film attracted immediate critical praise.  The New York Times critic wrote “…as a film work of art, this takes precedence over anything so far produced.  It makes worthy pictures of the past look like tinsel shams.  It fills one with such intense admiration that other pictures appear but trivial in comparison.” Falconnetti’s performance has been widely lauded with critic Pauline Kael writing in 1982 that her portrayal “…may be the finest performance ever recorded on film.”  The film was subsequently re-edited against Dreyer’s wishes and his original version was long thought lost.  But in 1981 a near perfect copy was found in the attic of a psychiatric hospital in Oslo.  The Passion of Joan of Arc now regularly appears in ‘Top Ten’ lists not just of silent films but best films of all time.  Find out more at rogerebert.com .  Presented by Opera North.  Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, composer and producer Julia Holter performs her new soundtrack live,  scored for the 36-strong Chorus of Opera North, plus her own band.  Barbican, London  Link

29 June

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 Minima. Deal Festival of Arts and Music  Link

30 June

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Dir. Lotte Reiniger , Ger, 1926) (Screening format – not known, 65mins) The first feature-length animation in film history, masterminded by Lotte Reiniger and hand-tinted frame by frame. Based on ‘The Arabian Nights’, the film tells the epic tale of Prince Achmed, who is tricked into mounting a magical flying horse by a wicked sorcerer. The horse carries Achmed off on a series of adventures, over the course of which he joins forces with young Aladdin, battles ogres and monsters and romances the beautiful Princess Peri Banu.Find out more at wikipedia.org .   With live musical accompaniment by Minima. Deal Festival of Arts and Music  Link

August

10 August

Steamboat Bill Jr   (Dir. Buster Keaton/Charles Reisner, US, 1928)   (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   Presented by the Lucky Dog Picture House   With live musical accompaniment by Tom Marlow.  Wilton’s Music Hall, London E1 Link

11 August

Battleship Potemkin (Dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 75mins) Considered one of the most important films in the history of silent pictures, as well as possibly Eisenstein’s greatest work, Battleship Potemkin brought Eisenstein’s theories of cinema art to the world in a powerful showcase; his emphasis on montage, his stress of intellectual contact, and his treatment of the mass instead of the individual as the protagonist. The film tells the story of the mutiny on the Russian ship Prince Potemkin during the 1905 uprising.Their mutiny was short-lived, however, as during their attempts to get the population of Odessa to join the uprising, soldiers arrived and laid waste to the insurgents.  Battleship Potemkin is a work of extraordinary pictorial beauty and great elegance of form. It is symmetrically broken into five movements or acts. In the first of these, “Men and Maggots,” the flagrant mistreatment of the sailors at the hands of their officers is demonstrated, while the second, “Drama on the Quarterdeck,” presents the actual mutiny and the ship’s arrival in Odessa. “Appeal from the Dead” establishes the solidarity of the citizens of Odessa with the mutineers. It is the fourth sequence, “The Odessa Steps,” which depicts the massacre of the citizens, that thrust Eisenstein and his film into the historical eminence that both occupy today. It is unquestionably the most famous sequence of its kind in film history, and Eisenstein displays his legendary ability to convey large-scale action scenes. The shot of the baby carriage tumbling down the long staircase has been re-created in many films. The sequence’s power is such that the film’s conclusion, “Meeting the Squadron,” in which the Potemkin in a show of brotherhood is allowed to pass through the squadron unharmed, is anticlimactic.  Find out more at classicartfilms.com  Presented by the Lucky Dog Picture House   With live musical accompaniment by Christopher Eldred.  Wilton’s Music Hall, London E1 Link

12 August

Safety Last (Dir. Fred C Newmeyer/Sam Taylor, US, 1923) (Screening format – not known, 73mins) A boy (Harold Lloyd) moves to New York City to make enough money to support his loving girlfriend (Mildred Davis), but soon discovers that making it in the big city is harder than it looks. When he hears that a store manager will pay $1,000 to anyone who can draw people to his store, he convinces his friend, the “human fly,” (Bill Strother) to climb the building and split the profit with him. But when his pal gets in trouble with the law, he must complete the crazy stunt on his own. The image of Harold Lloyd hanging desperately from the hands of a skyscraper clock during Safety Last!  is one of the great icons of film history (although it was achieved with a certain amount of film trickery) and this remains one of the best and best loved comedies of the silent era.  Find out more at rogerebert.com.  Presented by the Lucky Dog Picture House   With live musical accompaniment by Tom Marlow.  Wilton’s Music Hall, London E1 Link

13 August

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 Presented by the Lucky Dog Picture House   With live musical accompaniment by Sam Watts.  Wilton’s Music Hall, London E1 Link

September

27 September

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 atsilentfilm.org Featuring the London premier of a new score by Neil Brand, played live by the Covent Garden Sinfonia.  Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London Link

November

12 November

Last of the Mohicans (Dir. Maurice Tourneur/Clarence Brown, US, 1920) (Screening format – not known, 73mins)   Based on James Fenimore Cooper’s 1826 best-selling novel and set during the French and Indian War, when France and Great Britain battled for control of North America, this the second film adaptation of The Last of the Mohicans, initially directed by the great Maurice Tourneur and completed thanks to his assistant (another soon to be great director) Clarence Brown, is one of the great masterpieces of America cinema of the early 1920s.  Telling the story of two English sisters (Barbara Bedford and Lillian Hall) meeting danger on the frontier of the American colonies, in and around the fort commanded by their father, the sisters’ only hope of survival against the French forces and a menacing Huron Indian called Magua is with the son of the last chief of the Mohican tribe, the hunky yet majestic Uncas (Albert Roscoe) and the hunter and scout Hawkeye (Harry Lorraine). What ensues is an epic battle of survival, betrayal, murder and love all of which are set within the incredible forests and mountainous landscapes of North America..    Wallace Beery is suitably menacing as the evil Magua.  Oh, and look out for Boris Karloff in an uncredited bit-part as an Indian. Find out more at  imdb.com .   With live piano accompaniment from Meg Morley.  Bristol Cathedral, Bristol Link