West of England






13 January

Cottage on Dartmoor (Dir. Anthony Asquith, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 84mins)  Joe (Uno Henning) works as a barber in a shop in a Devon town, alongside a manicurist called Sally (Norah Baring). He becomes infatuated with her and asks her out but  it is clear that Sally does not reciprocate Joe’s feelings.  Joe’s infatuation with her develops into obsession. Meanwhile a young  farmer Harry (Hans Schlettow), begins to woo Sally and the couple begin seeing each other which leaves Joe in despair. After a fight with Harry, Joe is jailed but swears revenge on Harry and Sally.  A Cottage on Dartmoor is a tale of love and revenge set in the bleak landscape of Dartmoor and a thoughtful distillation of the best of European silent film techniques from a director steeped in the work of the Soviet avant-garde and German expressionism. One of the last films of the silent era and a virtuoso piece of film-making, A Cottage on Dartmoor was a final passionate cry in defence of an art form soon to be obsolete. Find out more at    silentfilm.org. With live musical accompaniment from Wurlitza.  Calstock Arts, Calstock, Cornwall.  Link

18 January

London Symphony (Dir.  Alex Barrett, UK, 2017) (Screening format – not known)  London Symphony  is a brand new silent film – a city symphony – which offers a poetic journey through London, a cosmopolitan city facing a challenge to its identity in the current political climate.  It is an artistic portrait of the city as it stands today, and a celebration of its culture and diversity. Find out more at londonsymphfilm.com . With recorded James McWilliam soundtrack. The Poly, Falmouth, Cornwall Link

24 January

Hobart Bosworth Night   Hobart Bosworth (1867 – 1943) is most certainly not the first name which springs to mind when thinking of American silent film stars. But after you’ve joined South West Silents for their first free Club Screening of 2018  you will most certainly know and remember Hobart Bosworth!  The evening will showcase one of the key titles in Bosworth’s film career and provide a good introduction to the man who stars in one of the most incredible and shocking films ever to be made in Hollywood, Behind the Door (1919)(which will be screened by SWS on 9 Feb at Bristol’s Cube Cinema) Introduced by Mark Fuller.  Lansdown Public House, Clifton, Bristol Link

 25 January

Her Night of Romance (Dir.  Sidney Franklin, UK, 1924) (Screening format – not known, 70 mins) American Dorothy Adams (Constance Talmadge) is the sole heiress to her father’s scrub brush fortune but she has no intention of being romanced for her money after she arrives in London. An impoverished British Lord (Paul Menford) impersonates a doctor to woo the heiress. The Lord is in love but his business associate (Joe Diamond) is only interested in the money. A funny, charming film with the unforgettable Constance Talmadge, an actor whose comic timing is impeccable but who is now almost completely forgotten.  Find out more at  tcm.com .  Presented as part of Bristol’s Slapstick Festival.  Introduced by stand-up comedian Lucy Porter and with live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.  Watershed, Bristol Link

Buster’s Greatest Movie (and Biggest Flop)  On its initial release, Buster Keaton’s ‘The General’ (1927) was not a financial or critical success, but is now considered as his finest onscreen achievement. Slapstick Festival is delighted to re-examine the classic comedy more than ninety years after its premiere, and to welcome Peter Kramer, Senior Fellow in the School of Art, Media and American Studies at the University of East Anglia, and author of the BFI classic on ‘The General’. Using illustrative clips from the film, Peter Kramer explores how Keaton chose and realised his most ambitious project.  Presented as part of Bristol’s Slapstick Festival.    Watershed, Bristol Link

Skinner’s Dress Suit (Dir. William A. Seiter,  USA, 1926) (Screening format – not known, 70 mins)  Excited by her husband’s career prospects, Honey (Laura La Plante) starts making plans for spending the extra salary. But plans fall through, and Honey’s husband fails to tell her. A suit is bought and a tailor must be paid. This film stars Laura La Plante, Reginald Denny, and Hedda Hopper. La Plante, a well-known star at the time, almost always received top billing. Hedda Hopper later made her name as one of the entertainment industry’s most famous gossip columnists.  Find out more at moviessilently.com .   Presented as part of Bristol’s Slapstick Festival.   Introduced by film Historian and Academy Award winner Kevin Brownlow. With live piano accompaniment by Daan van den Hurk  Watershed, Bristol Link

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 Bristol’s Slapstick Festival.   Accompanied live by Guenter A. Buchwald, Frank Bockius and Romano Todesco performing as The European Silent Screen Virtuosi.  Arnolfini, Bristol  Link

26 January

The Young Keaton (1895-1917)  David Robinson traces the making of the Buster we know and love, starting with Keaton’s childhood training in vaudeville, and his subsequent transformation of all that he had learned of comedy and stagecraft to the new and very different medium of film.   The talk will recall Keatons’ appearances in English music hall – a bumpy week at the Palace in 1909 and a nostalgic tour in 1951 – and is illustrated with rare early pictures of the Keatons in vaudeville, and examples of Buster’s first film essays, in happy partnership with Roscoe Arbuckle.  Presented as part of Bristol’s Slapstick Festival.     Watershed, Bristol Link

The Vagabond Queen (Dir. Géza von Bolváry, UK, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 62mins)  The Vagabond Queen is a 1929 British comedy film directed by Géza von Bolváry and starring Betty Balfour. It was the final film directed in Britain by Bolváry before he returned to Germany.  Balfour was referred to as “Britain’s Queen of Happiness.” She was a popular British screen actress most widely known for her Cockney flower girl character, ‘Squibs.’ Balfour also appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Champagne (1928). Balfour never made the move to Hollywood and her career was largely comprised of British and European films. In The Vagabond Queen she plays a young woman who takes the place of a Princess who is a target for an assassination with hilarious consequences. A rare opportunity to see Balfour at her finest. Find out more at imdb.com.  Presented as part of Bristol’s Slapstick Festival.     Introduced by comedian Lucy Porter.  Watershed, Bristol Link

Cocl & Seff: Austria’s Laurel & Hardy Chris Serle unearths one of the first slapstick duos of film history – Cocl & Seff, the character names played by Rudolf Walter and Josef Holub who performed together from 1913. The core element of their comedy was the play-off between a larger more intelligent character and one that was thinner and more stupid. Sound familiar? This was obviously seen more famously in Laurel & Hardy.  Only a few Cocl & Seff films have survived to this day. The Filmarchiv Austria has made a few discoveries in its search for Austrian productions in the world’s film archives.  This is a rare opportunity to see this pair in action. Presented as part of Bristol’s Slapstick Festival.  With live accompaniment from John Sweeney (piano) and Elizabeth-Jane Baldry (harp) and introduced by Chris Serle.  Watershed, Bristol Link

Lost and Found Slapstick is privileged to premiere an unprecedented group of star comedies just rediscovered after a century in limbo.  The Cinematheque Francaise offers a new Max Linder film. The collector Anthony Saffrey presents four films: two hitherto unknown titles by the cinema’s first comic star Andre Deed, along with THE LADY SKATER, a near prehistoric but hilarious British chase film, and LOVE AND LUNCH, an early film by William A.Seiter (later director of SKINNER’S DRESS SUIT) starring an unrecorded Chaplin imitator, Ray Hughes.  Also works by Spanish/Italian/US comic star Marcel Perez and German genius Karl Valentin. Presented as part of Bristol’s Slapstick Festival.  Introduced by Anthony Saffrey and historian David Robinson.  Accompanied live by Dan Van den Hurk on piano and Elizabeth-Jane Baldry on solo harp.  Watershed, Bristol Link

Keaton: The MGM Years  Kevin Brownlow presents a fascinating insight into this period of Keaton’s onscreen career in a presentation which includes a full screening of: So Funny it Hurt: Buster Keaton and MGM (2004). In this fascinating documentary from filmmaker Kevin Brownlow, we see Buster Keaton’s successes and struggles to achieve his Hollywood dream. It chronicles the comedian’s MGM period which lasted only five years but shows his artistic compromise with the studio, money and relationship troubles and his growing dependency on alcohol as he attempts to adjust to the arrival of the talkies. The film features fascinating rare footage, including interviews with Buster himself and is narrated by Keaton’s colleague and friend James Karen.  Presented as part of Bristol’s Slapstick Festival.  Kevin will be in discussion with film historian and author David Robinson.  Watershed, Bristol Link

Sherlock Jr (Dir. Buster Keaton, US, 1924) + A Dog’s Life (Dir. Charles Chaplin, US, 1918) + Angora Love (Dir. Lewis R Foster, US, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 45/33/21 mins) In perhaps Buster Keaton’s best loved and most innovative film Sherlock Jr a kindly movie projectionist (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. Charlie Chaplin’s A Dog’s Life sees the little tramp along with his dog ‘Scraps’ unable to land a job. Things take a turn for the better when Charlie befriends down-and-out singer (Edna Purviance) and particularly when Scraps finds a money filled wallet.  But can Charlie keep hold of the wallet and the girl? Find out more at wikipedia.org .   In Angora Love, Laurel and Hardy are adopted by a runaway goat, whose noise and aroma in turn get the goat of their suspicious landlord. Attempts to bathe the smelly animal result in a waterlogged free-for-all.  Find out more at laurelandhardycentral.com .  Presented as part of Bristol’s Slapstick Comedy Festival.  Sherlock Jr is accompanied by the world premiere of a new, semi-improvised score composed by Guenter A. Buchwald and performed by the renowned European Silent Screen Virtuosi and members of Bristol Ensemble. A Dog’s Life features Chaplin’s own composition for the film and will be performed by a 15-piece Bristol Ensemble conducted by maestro Guenter A. Buchwald.  Colston Hall, Bristol  Link

27 January

Young Slapstick: Silent Comedy MayhemThis programme features a selection of the fastest and funniest silent comedies featuring Buster Keaton’s hilarious Neighbours (1920) and Charlie Chaplin’s classic The Adventurer (1917). Presented as part of Bristol’s Slapstick Festival.  Comedian Mark Olver hosts this special introductory event for young people and families with clips featuring fantastic prat falls, stunts and laugh out loud moments to remember.  With live piano accompaniment.  Colston Hall, Bristol  Link

Three Ages (Dir. Buster Keaton, US, 1923) (Screening format – not known, 63 mins) This is the first feature-length film to be directed by and star Buster Keaton – his previous films all being shorts. Set over three different historical eras; the Stone Age, Roman times and 1920s New York. In all of these periods Keaton stars as a young man, The Boy, striving for the attention of a beautiful lady, The Girl, (Margaret Leahy) against a bigger, stronger and richer suitor, The Villain (Wallace Beery). A parody of D.W. Griffith’s 1916 screen masterpiece Intolerance (1916), the comedy lies in watching the same story unfold again and again over different periods in history.  Find out more at tcm.com Presented as part of Bristol’s Slapstick Festival.  As Aardman Animation’s latest feature, the pre-historic Early Man (2018) hits cinema screens we are delighted to welcome their Director and co-founder Peter Lord who joins us to introduce the stone age Keaton in this rarely screened Keaton comedy. With live piano accompaniment by Daan Van den Hurk.  Watershed, Bristol Link

When You Fall Down  Inspired by the career of Buster Keaton, James Dangerfield has created a musical that explores the silent star’s life and career. The show follows Keaton’s life from his first filmmaking experiences in 1917 to his signing on with MGM 11 years later. When You Fall Down previewed this year in London, and received its premiere at the 2017 International Buster Keaton Festival in Michigan, USA. Featuring original music and songs, join us for this show celebrating “The Great Stone Face” and the magic of moviemaking.  Presented as part of Bristol’s Slapstick Festival. Colston Hall, Bristol  Link

Laurel & Hardy Classics Slapstick festival are delighted to welcome comedian and writer Lee Mack as he hosts this special one-off event celebrating two of his top comedy heroes; Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Best known for his standup comedy, writing and starring in the long running sitcom ‘Not Going Out’ and as a team captain in ‘Would I Lie to You?’ Lee hosts this unique evening of hilarious extracts, comedy and film.  Complete with full comedy shorts, clips and live music Lee brings the timeless Stan & Ollie back to the big screen where they belong, in front of a live audience.  Including a complete screening of the newly restored, long thought-to-be-lost Laurel and Hardy silent comedy, Battle of the Century (1927). Presented as part of Bristol’s Slapstick Festival.  With live musical accompaniment featuring the world premiere of a new semi-improvised score for Battle of the Century from composer Guenter A. Buchwald performed live by the European Silent Screen Virtuosi . Colston Hall, Bristol  Link


NB. Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure that the information contained in these listings is accurate, silentfilmcalendar.org can take no responsibility for any errors or inaccuracies. You are strongly advised to confirm with the venue that the event remains as detailed, particularly if traveling any distance to attend.

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