April

 

 

 

 


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.

 

1 April

— NB  EVENT CANCELLED — 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 recorded score.  Garden Cinema, Covent Garden, London Link

— NB  EVENT CANCELLED —    Poor Little Rich Girl (Dir. Maurice Tourneur, US, 1917) (Screening format – not known, 65 mins) Gwen’s family is rich, but her parents ignore her and most of the servants push her around, so she is lonely and unhappy. Her father is concerned only with making money, and her mother cares only about her social position. But one day a servant’s irresponsibility creates a crisis that causes everyone to rethink what is important to them.  Already a major star, 25 year old Mary Pickford was becoming too old for these ‘little girl’ roles.  But clever lighting, some oversize sets and fellow actors standing on boxes helped to maintain the fiction for a remarkably long time and Poor Little Rich Girl became one of her biggest hits.  Find out more at silentfilm.org  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live musical accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

3 April

— NB  EVENT CANCELLED  — 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 recorded score.  Garden Cinema, Covent Garden, London Link

5 April

Forbidden Paridise (Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, US, 1924) (Screening format – DCP, 75mins) Young military officer Alexei (Rod La Rocque) rescues Catherine (Pola Negri), the Czarina of a small kingdom in Eastern Europe, from a group of revolutionaries who are plotting against her. The Czarina ‘rewards’ him in the bedroom, causing Alexei to fall head over heels in love with her, only to find out that he is far from the only royal consort. Stung, Alexei joins a rebellion against the monarchy, vowing that no harm will come to Catherine. But the rakish Chancellor (Adolphe Menjou) has plans to quash this new threat… Made during the golden era of Hollywood silent cinema, Forbidden Paradise is a wonderful comic drama adapted from a 1922 Broadway play, starring the much-loved Polish performer Pola Negri, alongside an early cameo from Clark Gable.  This will be the most complete version of Forbidden Paradise in almost 100 years, thanks to a new digital restoration by the Museum of Modern Art and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.  Find out more at  imdb.com.   Presented as part of the Kinoteka Polish Film Festival. With live musical accompaniment from Marcin PukalukBFI Southbank, London Link

13 April

Seven Chances (Dir.  Buster Keaton, US, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 56mins)  One of Buster Keaton’s funniest comedies, the film features Keaton as Jimmy Shannon, a junior partner in the brokerage firm of Meekin and Shannon, which is on the brink of financial ruin. A lawyer (whom they dodged, mistakenly believing he was trying to add to their woes) finally manages to inform Jimmy of the terms of his grandfather’s will. He will inherit seven million dollars if he is married by 7:00 p.m. on his 27th birthday, which happens to be that same day. Shannon immediately seeks out his sweetheart, Mary Jones, who readily accepts his proposal. However, when he clumsily explains why they have to get married that day, she breaks up with him. The race is then on to find Jimmy a bride, any bride, but he hardly expects hundreds to turn up!!  From this leisurely start, the film takes off into a fantastically elaborate, gloriously inventive chase sequence, in which Buster escapes the mob of pursuing harridans only to find an escalating avalanche of rocks taking over at his heels as he hurtles downhill. Added only after an initial preview, the rocks make for one of the great Keaton action gags. Find out more at  film.avclub.com   With live organ accompaniment by Donald McKenzie   Regent Street Cinema, London Link

15 April

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.  With recorded Carl Davis score.  Introduced by BFI Programmer-At-Large Geoff Andrew.  BFI Southbank, London Link

18 April

— NB. SCREENING CANCELLED. FESTIVAL POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER —   The Patsy  (Dir. King Vidor, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 88mins)  Legendary Hollywood director King Vidor recognised Davies’ hitherto underused talent for comedy, hailing her as a “darn good comedienne” and casting her as the gloriously impudent Patricia.  Patsy by name and Patsy by nature she is the black sheep of the family, in thrall to her glamorous and favoured older sister Grace and hopelessly in love with her sister’s beau.  Davies will win your heart with her hilarious clowning and impersonations and the effortless charm of her performance.  Find out more at silentfilm.org .  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.  With live musical accompaniment.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

— NB. SCREENING CANCELLED. FESTIVAL POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER —   Laurel, Hardy – And Jean Harlow  Three of the funniest L&H silents, all of which include an appearance by the soon-to-be-legendary Jean Harlow. Bacon Grabbers (1929,  L&H try to reclaim a radio from Edgar Kennedy), Liberty (1929,  convicts L&H end up on a half –completed skyscraper) and Double Whoopee (1929, L&H as hotel doormen lose Harlow’s dress and a foreign dignitary’s good will.) Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.  With live musical accompaniment.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

— NB. SCREENING CANCELLED. FESTIVAL POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER — Surreal Sennett Slapstick A selection of iconic Mack Sennett comedies from the 1920’s , seen for years only in brief clips but now being shown in all their restored glory.  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.  Introduced by film collector, historian and restorer Dave Glass  With live musical accompaniment.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link.

— NB. SCREENING CANCELLED. FESTIVAL POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER — The Marriage Circle (Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, US, 1924) (Screening format – not known, 85mins)  A newly-married man (Monte Blue) loves his wife (Florence Vidor), but finds himself lured into the web of her best friend, Mizzi (Marie Prevost). When Mizzi’s husband (Adolphe Menjou) finds out what is happening, he views this indiscretion as an opportunity to get out of his marriage.  And when the newly married man’s lecherous colleague also makes a play for his wife, things really get complicated.   The first of Lubitsch’s sophisticated sex farces, The Marriage Circle was reportedly his favorite film.  Find out more at  brightlightsfilm.com  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.  Introduced by Michelle Facey.  With live musical accompaniment.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

— NB. SCREENING CANCELLED. FESTIVAL POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER — Hal Roach Rarities A collection of Hal Roach short comedies starring Charley Chase and others, unlikely to have been seen since their first release.  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend. Introduced by special guest Rob Stone, film curator from the US Library of Congress; author of ‘Laurel or Hardy’ and a forthcoming book on Vim Studios comedies. With live musical accompaniment.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

— NB. SCREENING CANCELLED. FESTIVAL POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER — 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 as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.   With live musical accompaniment.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

19 April

— NB. SCREENING CANCELLED. FESTIVAL POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER — Special Delivery (Dir.  William Goodrich (aka Roscoe Arbuckle) , US, 1927) The second and last of Eddie Cantor’s silent features (the first was Kid Boots (1926) with Clara Bow, shown previously at Ken Bio) , Special Delivery casts the wide-eyed comedian as a hapless mailman. While going through his swiftly appointed rounds, Eddie stumbles upon a gang of crooks led by Harold Jones (William Powell) who are planning a large-scale confidence scam. He sets out to expose the villains and win the love of heroine Madge (Jobyna Ralston), who also happens to be the bosses daughter. Though Cantor was a fine physical comic, he didn’t truly score in films until the arrival of talkies allowed his fans to hear as well as see him.  Find out more at  imdb.com  Plus the chase climax from Larry Semon (the uncredited writer on Special Delivery) directed long lost Stop Look and Listen! (1926),  the first showing anywhere in the world of this clip since its discovery in Japan!  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.   With live musical accompaniment.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

— NB. SCREENING CANCELLED. FESTIVAL POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER — Lupino Lane – Restored! Some of British star Lupino Lane’s top short comedies from the 1920’s. Included should be the very rare two-reelers Fisticuffs (1928), Fireproof (1929) and, best of all, Joyland (1929) – a dream of toys come to life featuring Lane’s brilliant acrobatic pantomime routine  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.   Introduced by Dave Glass.  With live musical accompaniment.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

— NB. SCREENING CANCELLED. FESTIVAL POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER — Roscoe RediscoveredSilent comedy buff Steve Massa hosts a presentation on Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, based on his recent book of the same name. Once as acclaimed as Chaplin, Arbuckle rose to fame at Keystone with Mabel Normand, starred in and directed short films and features, helping Buster Keaton and Bob Hope en route, but is sadly remembered today mainly for the scandal which destroyed his career. Plus The Waiter’s Ball  (1916) – one of Arbuckle’s best shorts, with Al St.John.  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.   Introduced by Steve Massa.  With live musical accompaniment.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

— NB. SCREENING CANCELLED. FESTIVAL POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER — Would You Believe It (Dir, Walter Forde, UK,1929) (Screening format – not known, 57mins)  British silent star Walter Forde plays Walter, a would-be inventor. After trials and failures he comes up with a remote-control system with military potential. At this point the invention and Walter become the target of foreign spies. Whilst this is going on Walter, who fills in his time working in a toy shop,  is also trying to win the affections of Pauline (Pauline Johnson), who happens to work for the Ministry of War.  A chase in the London Underground is one of the film’s highlights.   Would You Believe It! was Forde’s final comedy feature and it was subsequently re-released as a talkie.  Find out more at  screenonline.org.uk  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.   With live musical accompaniment.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

— NB. SCREENING CANCELLED. FESTIVAL POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER — The Strong Man (Dir. Frank Capra, US, 1926) (Screening format – not known, 75mins)  A meek Belgian soldier (Harry Langdon) fighting in World War I receives pen-pal letters and a photo from “Mary Brown”, an American girl he has never met. He becomes infatuated with her by long distance. After the war, the young Belgian journeys to America as assistant to a theatrical “strong man”, Zandow the Great (Arthur Thalasso). While in America, he searches for Mary Brown… and he finds her, just as word comes that Zandow is incapacitated and he must go on stage in his place……  Langdon didn’t make his screen debut until he was 40.  After two successful years with Mack Sennett he moved to First National Pictures.   His first feature Tramp, Tramp, Tramp (1926), featuring Joan Crawford in an early role, was followed by The Strong Man (1926) and Long Pants (1927), both directed by Frank Capra. The success of these films earned Langdon a reputation as one of the best comedians in Hollywood.  But after he split with Capra, Langdon’s career went into decline and he still remains the least recognised of the ‘big four’ comedians of the silent era. Find out more at  moviessilently.com      Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.   Introduced by Matthew Ross – editor of ‘The Lost Laugh’ , the online vintage comedy magazine,   With live musical accompaniment.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link 

— NB. SCREENING CANCELLED. FESTIVAL POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER — Spite Marriage (Dir. Edward Sedgwick/Buster Keaton,  USA, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 76 mins)  Spite Marriage is Buster Keaton’s last silent film and one of his most underrated. Keaton plays a love-struck fan of an actress who agrees to marry him. What he does not know is that the actress is only using Keaton to make her old flame jealous. A famous scene from this film depicts Keaton trying to put his drunk wife to bed and was recreated by Keaton later in his career. Keaton intended for this film to be a talkie, but MGM made the ultimate decision to keep it as a silent.  Find out more at  whatwouldbusterkeatondo.com .  Presented as part of the Kennington Bioscope Silent Comedy Weekend.   Introduced by David Macleod of the ‘Blinking Buzzards’ – the Buster Keaton appreciation society (which meets quarterly at the Cinema Museum).  With live musical accompaniment.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

21 April

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.  With recorded Carl Davis score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

24 April

Feel My Pulse (Dir. Gregory La Cava, US, 1926) (Screening format -not known, 86mins) Barbara Manning (Bebe Daniels) visits an island sanitarium inherited from her Uncle. The cowardly caretaker has turned the place over to a gang of rum-runners, led by William Powell, to use as their headquarters but she mistakenly believes that the rum-runners and an undercover newspaper reporter (Richard Arlen) are patients!  This is one of Bebe Daniels’ best surviving comedies.  Find out more at moviessilently.com Introduced by comedienne, activist, singer, reminiscence, video artist and Edinburgh’s Queen of Queer Cabaret Miss Annabel Sings.  With live piano accompaniment by Forrester Pyke.  Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Link

25 April

Laurel & Hardy – Triple Bill (Encore)  An outstanding Laurel and Hardy triple bill beginning with the long lost, recently re-discovered and restored Duck Soup (later remade with sound as Another Fine Mess, and not to be confused with the 1933 Marx Brothers film of the same name). Stan and Ollie are a couple of vagrants who masquerade as owner and housemaid of a fancy mansion. Stan in a dress is always a joy!  Next up is Two Tars – a comedy classic in which The Boys play sailors on leave. The pair score a date with two girls but wind up stalled in a very long traffic jam… and a whole lot of trouble.  Finally, Liberty in which Laurel and Hardy are escaped convicts trying to reclaim their trousers… atop the girders of an unfinished skyscraper!   Presented as part of the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival.  With live piano accompaniment from Forrester Pyke.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness Link

28 April

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.  With recorded Carl Davis score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

29 April

House on Trubnaya (Dir. Boris Barnett, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 64mins)  Boris Barnet’s Dom na Trubnoi, Mezhrabpom-Rus (TheHouse on Trubnaya) is a masterpiece of Soviet silent cinema. It is a delightful comedy of manners that satirises contemporary life in Moscow during the height of the New Economic Policy (NEP, 1921-28). The film celebrates the changing character of Moscow while offering a sharp social commentary on the contradictions of the shifting Soviet state. Blending slapstick with the formalism of the Soviet avant-garde, the film achieves outstanding narrative dynamism and finely observed character portrayals.   This is the story of a city and the trials and tribulations of a young peasant girl, Parasha (Vera Maretskaya), who comes to Moscow with her pet duck in search of her uncle but discovers the injustices of the petite-bourgeoisie . When Mr. Golikov (Vladimir Fogel), owner of a hairdressing salon, looks for a housekeeper who is modest, hard-working and non-union, Parasha looks to be a suitable candidate but occupants of the house on Trubnaya are shocked when Parasha demonstrates her genuine revolutionary spirit  and affirms her proletarian rights by joining the domestic workers union! Another classic Russian comedy from Boris Barnett, a real delight.  Find out more at silentfilm.org  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live musical accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

30 April

Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927) (Screening format –not known , 149 mins ) 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. Following its world premiere in 1927, half an hour was cut from Fritz Lang’s masterpiece and lost to the world. Eighty years later a spectacular discovery was made when the footage was found in a small, dusty museum in Buenos Aires. The film was then painstakingly reconstructed and digitally restored so that at last audiences could see the iconic futuristic fairy tale as Lang had envisioned it. Find out more at silentfilm.org  Presented as part of the Mayfield Festival.  With live piano accompaniment by Darius Battiwalla.  St Dunstans, Mayfield, Sussex Link