Archived Live Screenings 2021

 


20 August

The Eagle (Dir. Clarence Brown, US, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 80mins) Based on the novel Dubrovsky by Alexander Pushkin, Rudolph Valentino stars as the title character, a young Russian Cossack officer who rejects the Czarina’s (Louise Dresser) amorous attention and is promptly branded a deserter in this silent tale of love and revenge. On the eve of his dismissal he learns of his father’s ruin–his father had sent a letter pleading for the Czarina’s aid against Kyrilla (James Marcus), a gluttonous and treacherous neighbor who has stolen the family’s estate. Sentenced to death with a reward on his head for shunning the lusty Czarina, Vladimir escapes into the countryside and becomes the Black Eagle, a dashing masked vigilante who seeks to avenge the death of his father. But things get complicated when he falls in love with Mascha Troekouroff (Vilma Banky), Kyrilla’s daughter.  Escaping for once his ‘Latin Lover’ persona, Valentino delivers a charismatic and seductive performance in this full-scale romantic adventure that shines with early Hollywood’s technical advancements and stylish production values.  Find out more at iamhist.net. Presented by South West Silents.  With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.  Arnolfini, Bristol  Link

15 August

The Wit And Wisdom Of A A Milne. Most of us know the stories and poems of A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh. Here is a rare chance to experience more of his unique humour in two silent comedies made a century ago, playing alongside the first film Lotte Reiniger made in England, illustrating Milne’s poem ‘The King’s Breakfast’.   Films are; The Bump (Dir,  Adrian Brunel. UK, 1920 28min).  A famous explorer gets lost in London; plus Bookworms(Dir. Adrian Brunel. UK, 1920 27min). A young man leaves a love letter in a zealously guarded girl’s library book; plus The King’s Breakfast(Dir Lotte Reiniger, UK, 1937,11min)  A king demands butter for his royal slice of bread.  Introduced by Bryony Dixon, curator of silent film at BFI.  With live musical accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

13 August

nosferatu 3Nosferatu (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 master work 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 as part of the Putney Festival.  With live organ accompaniment by Nick Miller.  St Margaret’s Church, Putney   Link

12 August

Diary Of A Lost Girl (Dir. G W Pabst, Ger, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 106mins) A masterpiece of the German silent era, Diary of a Lost Girl was the second and final collaboration of actress Louise Brooks and director G.W. Pabst a mere months after their first collaboration in the now-legendary Pandora’s Box (1929). Brooks plays Thymian Henning, a beautiful young woman raped by an unscrupulous character employed at her father’s pharmacy (played with gusto by Fritz Rasp, the degenerate villain of such Fritz Lang classics as Metropolis, Spione, and Frau im Mond). After Thymian gives birth to his child and rejects her family’s expectations of marriage, the baby is torn from her care, and Thymian enters a purgatorial reform school that seems less an institute of learning than a conduit for fulfilling the headmistress’s sadistic sexual fantasies. Find out more at rogerebert.com With live musical accompaniment by Wurlitza.  Acorn Theatre, Penzance Link

 

11 August

nosferatu 2Nosferatu (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 master work 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 Picturehouse.  With live piano accompaniment by Sam Watts.  Wilton’s Music Hall, London Link

10 August

nosferatu 3Nosferatu (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 master work 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 Picturehouse.  With live piano accompaniment by Sam Watts.  Wilton’s Music Hall, London Link

1 August

Who Was William Friese-Greene.  As we mark the centenary of his death, it’s time to reassess the place of William Friese-Greene – Bristol-born photographer, inventor and pioneer of cinematography – in cinema history. For much of the twentieth-century, the contribution of William Friese-Greene to cinema was disputed. Having famously died at a meeting of cinema exhibitors with only the price of a cinema ticket in his pocket, cinemas around the country shut down their projectors to mark his funeral. The film The Magic Box – made for the Festival of Britain and released just before it closed in 1951 – told the story of Friese-Greene and his pioneering work and claimed him to be one of the inventors of moving images. But by the time a plaque was unveiled at his birthplace in Bristol to mark the centenary of his birth in 1955, Friese-Greene’s reputation had begun to decline and some film historians said he was overrated, his inventions failed to move the technology forward, and he took ideas from others to claim as his own. Find out more at theguardian.com  A discussion between film director, historian and Friese-Greene expert Peter Domankiewicz and writer and commentator Sir Christopher Frayling, one of Britain’s leading writers on cinema, chaired by Bryony Dixon the BFI’s curator of silent film.  Arnolfini, Bristol Link

The Open Road (Dir. Claude Friese-Greene, UK, 1924) (Digital, 65 mins)  In the summer of 1924 pioneer cinematographer Claude Friese-Greene (son of Bristol-born William Friese-Greene) set out from Cornwall with the aim of recording life on the road between Land’s End and John O’Groats with a unique colour film technique. Originally Friese-Greene’s The Open Road was intended to be shown weekly in cinemas. The 26 short episodes combine to form a unique social document of life in Britain between the wars.  Friese-Greene takes us on a journey that encompasses Plymouth, a hunt on Exmoor, the docks of Cardiff, the pleasure beach at Blackpool and more. In Scotland, he records shipbuilding on the Clyde, the banks of Loch Lomond and the castles of Stirling and Edinburgh before concluding on the busy streets of London.  The film has undergone a revolutionary restoration by the British Film Institute that was generously supported by the Eric Anker-Petersen Charity. Find out more at wikipedia.org  With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand.  Arnolfini, Bristol Link

31 July

The Kid (Dir. Charles Chaplin, US, 1921) (Screening format – not known, 53 min 1972 re-edited version) Chaplin’s first full-length feature is a silent masterpiece about a little tramp who discovers a little orphan and brings him up but is left desolate when the orphanage reclaims him. Beneath the comedy, there are definitely some more serious thematic elements at work and and the film is noted for its pathos. In that regard, the opening inter-title proves to be true: “A picture with a smile — and perhaps, a tear.”Chaplin directed, produced and starred in the film, as well as composed the score.  Find out more at wikipedia.org .  With recorded score. Prince Charles Cinema, London Link

24 July

battleship potemkin 1Battleship Potemkin (Dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) (Screening format – digital, 74mins) 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 battleship potemkin 2the 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 battleship potemkin 3historical 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  With recorded Edmund Meisel score.  BFI Southbank, London Link

23 July

The Kid (Dir. Charles Chaplin, US, 1921) (Screening format – not known, 53 min Chaplin re-edited version) Chaplin’s first full-length feature is a silent masterpiece about a little tramp who discovers a little orphan and brings him up but is left desolate when the orphanage reclaims him. Beneath the comedy, there are definitely some more serious thematic elements at work and and the film is noted for its pathos. In that regard, the opening inter-title proves to be true: “A picture with a smile — and perhaps, a tear.”Chaplin directed, produced and starred in the film, as well as composed the score.  Find out more at wikipedia.org .  With recorded Chaplin composed score.  Arnolfini, Bristol Link

18 July

Filibus_1915 airship_posterFilibus (Dir. Mario Roncoroni, It, 1915) + The High Sign (Dir. Edward F Cline/Buster Keaton, US, 1921) (Screening format – not known, 76/21 mins) Filibus (the first of thirty films directed by Roncoroni) featured as a protagonist a roguish female lead character, the Baroness Troixmonde, who is a respectable member of society by day, but by night in the guise of filibus 7“Filibus” she terrorizes Sicily from her zeppelin, which is full of technologically-advanced equipment and weaponry. The zeppelin is manned by a staff of mask-wearing, black-skin-suit-clad male assistants who obey the Baroness’ commands instantly. The airship is her headquarters and her home, and she descends to land only to rob or to hobnob with the socialites and dance with women as the tuxedo-wearing High-Sign-1921dandy Count de la Brieve ( a full 15 years before Dietrich’s famous cross-dressing scene in Morocco).  But has Filibus met her match with the renowned Detective Hardy on her trail…..  Find out more at  silentsplease.wordpress.comIn The High Sign, Buster Keaton plays a drifter who gets a job in a amusement park shooting gallery. Believing Buster is an expert marksman, both the murderous gang the Blinking Buzzards and the man they want to kill end up hiring him. The film ends with a wild chase through a house filled with secret passages. Find out more at sensesofcinema.com   Presented by the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.  With live piano accompaniment by Jonny Best.  Abbeydale Picturehouse, Sheffield. Link

man with movie cameraMan With a Movie Camera (Dir. Dziga Vertov, USSR, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 68mins) Part documentary and part cinematic art, this film follows a city in the 1920s Soviet Union throughout the day, from morning to night. Directed by Vertov, with a variety of complex and innovative camera shots (filmed by Vertov’s equally talented and innovative brother Mikhail Kaufman), the film depicts scenes of ordinary daily life in Russia. Vertov celebrates the modernity of the city, with its vast buildings, dense population and bustling industries. While there are no titles or narration, director and cameraman excell in conveying the marvels of the modern city.  Find out more at rogerebert.com .  With live musical accompaniment by renowned Sheffield-based musicians In The Nursery.  Abbeydale Picturehouse, Sheffield   Link

Strike BStrike (Dir. Sergei Eisenstein, USSR, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 82mins) Eisenstein’s landmark first film tells the story of a workers’ revolt in a factory in Czarist Russia. Featuring historic experiments in the art of montage, Eisenstein used editing to Strike Cjuxtapose complementary images to create rapid and dynamic shifts in rhythm. Exploring themes of collectivism versus individualism, with an explicit  revolutionary agenda and laden with visual metaphors; indeed, the emotive sequence towards the end in which the violent suppression of the strike is cross-cut with footage of cattle being slaughtered, has been compulsory viewing for film students ever since. An exemplary film of Russian revolutionary cinema. Find out more at classicartfilms.com. With live musical accompaniment by Frame Ensemble comprising Irine Rosnes (violin), Liz Hanks (cello), Trevor Bartlett (percussion) and Jonny Best (piano). Abbeydale Picturehouse, Sheffield Link

Nell Gwyn, 1926 4Nell Gwyn (Dir. Herbert Wilcox, 1926) (Screening format – 35mm, 93mins)  Herbert Wilcox’s first effort at bringing the story of Nell Gwyn to the screen starred Dorothy Nell Gwyn, 1926 6Gish as Nell Gwyn and Randle Ayrton as Charles II.  Based on the 1926 novel Mistress Nell Gwyn by Marjorie Bowen it follows the life of Nell Gwyn, the mistress of Charles II.  Contemporary reviews were pretty positive, even in the US.  For example, the New York Times reviewer said, “Whatever may be the shortcomings of English motion picture producers, if they can put together other pictures as simply and with as much dramatic effect as this story of Nell Gwyn, they should have no difficulty obtaining a showing for them anywhere. The story moves quickly and surely. With nothing to strain one’s credulity, and the acting of Miss Gish and Randle Ayrton, who takes the part of Charles, is excellent. So is that of Juliette Nell Gwyn, 1926 9Compton as Lady Castlemaine. The immorality of the period is suggested without being offensive, and for the second time this summer a good picture has not been spoiled by prudery. The titles are unusually good and frequently amusing, that deal of gossip Pepys being restored to for purposes of verisimilitude.”  Wilcox later had a second go at making Nell Gwyn in 1934, starring Anna Neagle and Sir Cedric Hardwicke.  Find out more at silentsaregolden.com   Introduced by Bryony Dixon, the BFI’s curator of silent film.  With live musical accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

16 July

laurel_hardy_420_228Neil Brand Presents Laurel And Hardy From their earliest days on opposite sides of the Atlantic in Music Hall and on the stage, to their individual comedy films, acclaimed silent film composer/pianist and TV presenter Neil Brand will tell the Liberty_1929touching story of the world’s greatest comedy team, who could not have been two more different men! Fully illustrated with stills, clips (both silent and sound) and Neil’s superlative piano accompaniment and culminating in two of the Boys’ best silent short films, Big Business and Liberty, this is a show that promises gales of laughter throughout, as well as getting under the skin of two warm, funny men who continue to make the world laugh when it needs it most. Presented as part of the Budleigh Music Festival.  Narration and live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand.  St Peter’s Church, Budleigh Salterton. Link

15 July

Women Pioneers Of Silent Film  Discover the films of Alice Guy-Blaché, the first person to have directed a fiction film, together with other works that show how the torch was picked up and carried by other women directors working in the early decades of cinema. Films comprise; Alice Guy tourne une phonoscène
(Dir. Alice Guy-Blaché, Fr 1907).  One of the earliest films composed of behind-the-scenes footage of the making of a film in a studio;  Les Résultats du féminisme (Dir. Alice Guy-Blaché, Fr, 1906) This comedy depicts a society where the roles of men and women have been inverted;  The Strike (Dir. Alice Guy-Blaché, US, 1912)  The laborers employed in a large factory are disgruntled with the treatment accorded them. They decide to go on strike; Suspense (Dir. Lois Weber & Phillips Smalley, US, 1913) Directed by one of the most important filmmakers of silent cinema and the first woman to direct a feature-length film in the US, Suspense features early examples of a split screen shot and a car chase.  La Souriante Madame Beudet (Smiling Madame Beudet) (Dir. Germaine Dulac, Fr, 1923) Directed by pioneering avant-garde filmmaker Germaine Dulac, Smiling Madame Beudet is often considered one of the first truly feminist film telling of Madame Beudet’s ways to remedy her unhappiness with her husband.  Find out more at theatlantic.com  Introduced by Bryony Dixon, Curator of Silent Film at the British Film Institute and accompanied on the piano by John Sweeney.  Institut Francais, London Link

battleship potemkin 1Battleship Potemkin (Dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) (Screening format – digital, 74mins) 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 battleship potemkin 2the 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 battleship potemkin 3historical 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  With recorded Edmund Meisel score.  BFI Southbank, London Link

11 July

Maciste Alpino (Dir. Luigi Romano Borgnetto, Luigi Maggi, Giovanni Pastrone, It, 1916) (Screening format – digital, 85mins) After the international success of Cabiria (1914), Italian superstar Bartolomeo Pagano and his screen persona Maciste the Strongman returned in a series of highly popular Maciste films.  Maciste Alpino (1916) sees Maciste and his troupe busy making a film in a small town on the border with Austria. Maciste and his men are imprisoned by the Austrian guards, irritated by the enthusiasm with which they greet the news of Italy’s entry into the war. For Maciste it is an invitation to place his legendary strength at the service of the weak. Maciste frees his companions, defeats the Austrians and enrols in the Alpine troops to fight in the mountains. Maciste Alpino is a fantastic, action-packed wartime adventure.  A rare chance to see a wonderful restoration by the Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Turin .  Find out more at wikipedia.org.  Presented by South West Silents.  Introduced by Dr Carol O’Sullivan Associate Professor in Translation Studies, Bristol University and James Harrison, co-director of South West Silents.  With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.  Watershed, Bristol Link

10 July

Cabiria (Dir. Giovanni Pastrone, It, 1914) (Screening format – digital, 170mins) Set during the conflicts between Rome and Carthage in the third century BC, this classic of early Italian cinema tells the story of Cabiria (Lidia Quaranta), a Roman girl who is separated from her parents during the Second Punic War. Helped along the way by two heroes of the war, Fulvio (Umberto Mozzato) and Maciste (Bartolomeo Pagano), Cabiria’s odyssey includes eye-opening set pieces including the eruption of Mount Etna, sea battles with Mediterranean pirates, human sacrifices and Hannibal crossing the Alps. Cabiria’s tremendous international success not only established a template for epic films, but also shot actor Bartolomeo Pagano and his screen persona, Maciste,  to international stardom and launched one of cinema’s first major franchises, the highly successful Maciste series.  A truly monumental film for its time, Cabiria can now be seen on the big screen thanks to this new restoration by the Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Turin.  Find out more at rogerebert.com   Presented by South West Silents.  Introduced by Dr Carol O’Sullivan Associate Professor in Translation Studies, Bristol University and James Harrison, co-director of South West Silents.  With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.  Watershed, Bristol Link

7 July

The Kid (Dir. Charles Chaplin, US, 1921) (Screening format – not known, 53 min Chaplin re-edited version) Chaplin’s first full-length feature is a silent masterpiece about a little tramp who discovers a little orphan and brings him up but is left desolate when the orphanage reclaims him. Beneath the comedy, there are definitely some more serious thematic elements at work and and the film is noted for its pathos. In that regard, the opening inter-title proves to be true: “A picture with a smile — and perhaps, a tear.”Chaplin directed, produced and starred in the film, as well as composed the score.  Find out more at wikipedia.org .  With live musical accompaniment from Dutch composer and pianist Maud Nelissen performing the music composed by Chaplin himself for the film.  Wilton’s Music Hall, London Link

6 July

The Kid (Dir. Charles Chaplin, US, 1921) (Screening format – not known, 53 min Chaplin re-edited version) Chaplin’s first full-length feature is a silent masterpiece about a little tramp who discovers a little orphan and brings him up but is left desolate when the orphanage reclaims him. Beneath the comedy, there are definitely some more serious thematic elements at work and and the film is noted for its pathos. In that regard, the opening inter-title proves to be true: “A picture with a smile — and perhaps, a tear.”Chaplin directed, produced and starred in the film, as well as composed the score.  Find out more at wikipedia.org .  With recorded score.  Sands Film Club, Rotherhithe Link

1 July

battleship potemkin 1Battleship Potemkin (Dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) (Screening format – digital, 74mins) 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 battleship potemkin 2the 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 battleship potemkin 3historical 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  With recorded Edmund Meisel score.  BFI Southbank, London Link

24 June

The Mark Of Zorro (Dir. Fred Niblo, US, 1920) (Screening format – digital,  85mins)  Classed as the world’s first action-adventure film, Fred Niblo’s The Mark of Zorro (1920) not only gave birth to a genre but established a new persona for star Douglas Fairbanks. Just like Fairbank’s masked hero the film catapulted him from standard film actor to one of Hollywood’s first super stars. Elements of the film and Fairbanks’ portrayal would later inspire Bob Kane’s most famous of heroes, Batman.  Set in Spanish California Fairbanks portrays Don Diego Vega, a comically effete young nobleman with a taste for tasselled sombreros and juvenile silk-hanky magic tricks. But when danger calls, Diego swathes himself in black, straps on a well-honed sword and storms the countryside as the mysterious Zorro. Slicing his initial into the faces of the “sentinels of oppression” and pausing only to boldly romance the woman (Marguerite De La Motte) to whom his shy alter-ego can hardly summon the courage to speak.  The Mark of Zorro is an uplifting escape adventure with the thrills which would be copied the world over throughout the rest of the history of cinema.  Find out more at  silentfilm.org   Co-produced with South West Silents and with live musical accompaniment from musician and broadcaster Neil Brand.  Curzon, Clevedon. Link

 22 June

steamboat bill jr 1Steamboat Bill Jr  (Dir. Buster Keaton/Charles Reisner, US, 1928)   (Screening format – digital 4k,  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 live piano accompaniment by Costas Fotopoulos.  BFI Southbank, London Link

20 June

laurel and hardy 2Funny Business  An hour of classic silent film comedy featuring Laurel and Hardy and Charlie Chaplin. Film titles to be confirmed.  An event to commemorate the centenary of Sheffield’s Abbeydale Picture House.  Presented by the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.  With live piano accompaniment by Jonny Best.  Abbeydale Picture House, Sheffield. Link

brilliant biographThe Brilliant Biograph – Earliest Moving Images of Europe 1897-1902  Immerse yourself in the sights and sensations of Europe a hundred and twenty years ago. These fifty one-minute films each record a minute of real life from over a century ago. Filmed across Europe from Vatican City, Venice, Amsterdam, and Berlin, to Newcastle, Windsor, and Southampton, each film is a time-capsule from the vanished world of Victorian Europe. Shot on extra-large  68mm film in the unique Mutoscope camera, the images have an eye-popping sharpness and dazzling detail. These fifty films are from the unique collections of 68mm Mutoscope and Biograph films in the collections at Eye Filmmuseum (Netherlands) and the British Film Institute.  An event to commemorate the centenary of Sheffield’s Abbeydale Picture House.  Presented by the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.  With live musical accompaniment by Frame Ensemble  bringing this extraordinary series of films alive with an improvised score performed by Irine Røsnes (violin), Liz Hanks (cello), Trevor Bartlett (percussion) and Jonny Best (piano).   Abbeydale Picture House, Sheffield. Link

general 3The General  (Dir. Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman, 1926)  (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 Generalhighlight Keaton’s boundless, innovative wit and joyful, lighthearted dexterity, to reclaim the train and thereby save the South. Find out more at  busterkeaton.com .  An event to commemorate the centenary of Sheffield’s Abbeydale Picture House.  Presented by the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.  With live musical accompaniment by Trevor Bartlett (percussion) and Jonny Best (piano).   Abbeydale Picture House, Sheffield. Link

woman one longs for 3The 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. woman men long for tOverwhelmed 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  An event to commemorate the centenary of Sheffield’s Abbeydale Picture House.  Presented by the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.  With live musical accompaniment by Frame Ensemble featuring an improvised score performed by Irine Røsnes (violin), Liz Hanks (cello), Trevor Bartlett (percussion) and Jonny Best (piano).   Abbeydale Picture House, Sheffield. Link

17 June

metropolis 11Metropolis (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 metropolis poster 2wealthy 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 Metropoliswas 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 by Yorkshire Silent Film Festival, Harrogate Theatre and Harrogate Film Society.  With live musical accompaniment by Frame Ensemble featuring Irine Røsnes (violin), Liz Hanks (cello), Trevor Bartlett (percussion) and Jonny Best (piano).  Odeon Harrogate  Link

5 June

siren of the tropics 1927 1Siren of the Tropics (Les Siren des Tropiques) (Dir. Mario Nalpas and Henri Étiévant, Fr, 1927)  (Screening format – video, 86mins) Josephine Baker was an American-born dancer and entertainer who later became a French citizen, World War II resistance agent and a civil rights activist. In 1926 she caused a sensation at the Folies Bergère in Paris with her improvised fusion of ballet, Broadway kicks, tap and African dance styles. She was also the first black woman to star in a major motion picture, making her debut in the 1927 silent film Siren Of The Tropics (1927). In the film, Baker plays a native girl named Papitou, who falls in love with a young engineer. When he returns to Paris and his fiancée,  Papitou follows. The film is now best remembered for Baker’s exceptional dance performances, but it has much more to offer. Find out more at silentlondon.co.uk  With recorded score.  BFI Southbank, London Link

3 June

steamboat bill jr 3Steamboat Bill Jr  (Dir. Buster Keaton/Charles Reisner, US, 1928)   (Screening format – digital 4k,  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 live piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne.  BFI Southbank, London Link

May

29 May

GeneralThe General (Dir. Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman, 1926)  (Screening format – DCP, 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 Neil Brand.  BFI Southbank, London Link 

22 May

Laurel & Hardy In Concert  Stane Street Sinfonietta are joined by Neil Brand (celebrated film composer and presenter of the BBC series Sound of Cinema and Sound of Television) for an exploration of the lives and career of the world’s greatest comedy duo, culminating in a screening of 1928 short You’re Darn Tootin’ with Neil Brand’s wonderful original score played live by Stane Street Sinfonietta conducted by Steve Dummer. St Mary’s Church Horsham Link

steamboat bill jr 6Steamboat Bill Jr  (Dir. Buster Keaton/Charles Reisner, US, 1928)   (Screening format – digital 4k,  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 live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.  BFI Southbank, London Link

19 May

siren of the tropics 6Siren of the Tropics (Les Siren des Tropiques) (Dir. Mario Nalpas and Henri Étiévant, Fr, 1927)  (Screening format – video, 86mins) Josephine Baker was an American-born dancer and entertainer who later became a French citizen, World War II resistance agent and a civil rights activist. In 1926 she caused a sensation at the Folies Bergère in Paris with her improvised fusion of ballet, Broadway kicks, tap and African dance styles. She was also the first black woman to star in a major motion picture, making her debut in the 1927 silent film Siren Of The Tropics (1927). In the film, Baker plays a native girl named Papitou, who falls in love with a young engineer. When he returns to Paris and his fiancée,  Papitou follows. The film is now best remembered for Baker’s exceptional dance performances, but it has much more to offer. Find out more at silentlondon.co.uk  With recorded score.  BFI Southbank, London Link

18 May

general 1The General (Dir. Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman, 1926)  (Screening format – DCP, 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 Neil Brand.  BFI Southbank, London Link