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.
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
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
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
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