August

 

 

 

 

 


 

4 August

NB   Event cancelled.  To be rescheduled in September    Speedy (Dir. Ted Wilde, US, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 86mins) Harold Lloyd’s final silent film sees him reprise his ‘glasses character’ as a baseball-obsessed New Yorker (the film features a cameo from the legendary Babe Ruth) who becomes determined to save the city’s last horse-drawn streetcar, motivated in no small part by its owner being the grandfather of his love interest. Filled with Lloyd’s trademark rapid-fire visual humour and elaborate set-ups, it’s a fine example of his innovative approach to comedy. Find out more at allmovie.com.  With live piano accompaniment by Lillian Henley.  Palace Cinema, Broadstairs, Kent  Link

Different from the Others (aka Anders als die Andern) (Dir. Richard Oswald, Ger, 1919) (Screening format – DCP, 50mins)  Released in 1919, and banned in 1920, Different From The Others explores a doomed relationship between a master violinist (Conrad Veidt) and his male student (Fritz Schulz) as their relationship is uncovered and they become a target for blackmailers.    One of the first gay-themed films in the history of cinema, this powerful plea for the decriminalisation of homosexuality, co-written by pioneering sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, sparked riots and censorship. With a fearless performance from Veidt, it packs an emotional and intellectual punch – revealing both Weimar Berlin’s flourishing gay subculture and the devastating consequences of mainstream intolerance.  Banned by Weimar and burned by the Nazis, only an incomplete version of  the original film survives.  Find out more at nytimes.com .  With live improvised accompaniment by Morgan Cooke.  Irish Film Institute, Dublin Link

Tonka of the Gallows (Dir. Karel Anton, Cz, 1930) (Screening format – not known, 83mins) A rarely seen gem from the archives of the Czech Republic, Tonka of the Gallows fuses German chiaroscuro aesthetics with the Soviet flare for surprising angles for this affective parable of the cruelty that comes from small-mindedness.  At the center of an international cast is the Slovenian ingénue with the haunting eyes, Ita Rina, who seems to channel Garbo’s Anna Christie in her portrayal of a prostitute whose selfless act of spending the night with a condemned man makes her a pariah throughout all Prague.  Made as sound was taking over the industry, Tonka of the Gallows is a tour-de-force of silent-era filmmaking from Czechoslovakian director Karel Anton, who here has made his best work, always tempering style to serve the larger story. Find out more at filmcomment.com  With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne. Phoenix Cinema, East Finchley  Link

5 August

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 . Presented by the Lucky Dog Picture House.  With live musical accompaniment by Peter Coldham (piano).  Wilton’s Music Hall, London E1 Link

6 August

The 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 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 . Presented by the Lucky Dog Picture House.  With live musical accompaniment with an original score composed by Emily O’Hara and performed by the Picturehouse quartet.   Wilton’s Music Hall, London E1 Link

7 August

Piccadilly (Dir E A Dupont, UK, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 92 mins)  A film noir before the term was in use, uncredited German director E.A. Dupont’s Piccadilly is one of the true greats of British silent films, on a par with the best of Anthony Asquith or Alfred Hitchcock during this period. Valentine Wilmot (Jameson Thomas) owns a nightclub featuring dancers Mabel (Gilda Gray) and Vic (Cyril Ritchard). After a confrontation with Wilmot, Vic quits performing at the club. When the joint starts losing business, a desperate Wilmot hires former dishwasher Shosho (Anna May Wong) as a dancer. She is an instant hit and forms a rapport with Wilmot, which makes both Mabel and Shosho’s friend (King Ho Chang) jealous, leading to a mysterious murder.  A stylish evocation of Jazz Age London, with dazzlingly fluid cinematography and scenes ranging from the opulent West End to the seediness of Limehouse. One of the pinnacles of British silent cinema, Piccadilly is a sumptuous show business melodrama seething with sexual and racial tension – with an original screenplay by Arnold Bennett.  Find out more at screenonline.org.uk . Presented by the Lucky Dog Picture House.  With live musical accompaniment with an original score composed  and performed by Andrew Ollver and Nicholas D. Ball (piano and percussion).   Wilton’s Music Hall, London E1 Link

8 August

Speedy (Dir. Ted Wilde, US, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 86mins) Harold Lloyd’s final silent film sees him reprise his ‘glasses character’ as a baseball-obsessed New Yorker (the film features a cameo from the legendary Babe Ruth) who becomes determined to save the city’s last horse-drawn streetcar, motivated in no small part by its owner being the grandfather of his love interest. Filled with Lloyd’s trademark rapid-fire visual humour and elaborate set-ups, it’s a fine example of his innovative approach to comedy. Find out more at allmovie.com.  Presented by the Lucky Dog Picture House.  With live musical accompaniment with an original score composed and performed by Christopher Eldred (piano).   Wilton’s Music Hall, London E1 Link

16 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 un-authorised 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 Green Man Festival.  With live musical accompaniment by Minima. Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales Link

17 August

Phantom Of The Opera (Dir. Rupert Julian, 1925)  (Screening format – not known, 103mins)  A title that needs no introduction, The Phantom of the Opera has spawned many remakes, remasters and sequels. This original film version, produced with moments of early Technicolour, sees Lon Chaney, the ‘Man of a Thousand Faces’ perform one of his most iconic roles. His ghastly make-up and outrageous performance made this title a benchmark in the American silent film era. The film was a critical and commercial success upon release, and still stands as an important film in cinematic history to this day, with press quotes from the time labeling the film an ‘ultra-fantastic melodrama’ (New York Times), ‘produced on a stupendous scale’ (Moving Picture World) and ‘probably the greatest inducement to nightmare that has yet been screened’ (Variety).  The mysterious phantom (Lon Chaney) is a vengeful composer living in the catacombs under the Paris Opera House, determined to promote the career of  the singer he loves (Mary Philbin).  Famed for the phantom’s shock unmasking, incredible set designs and the masked ball sequence, it still packs a punch. Find out more at wikipedia.org.  Presented by Collective Cinema.  With recorded soundtrack.  St Margaret’s Church, Lee, London SE13 Link

18 August

Silent Cinema Comedy Special  (Screening format – not known, 80mins)Young Programmer Lyra Sweeney introduces her selection of silent films that delight in physical comedy. The programme includes: The Adventurer (1917), with Charlie Chaplin as an escaped prisoner on the run; super bendy Lupino Lane in Bending Hur (aka Roaming Romeo, 1928); and the excellent Florence Turner making silly faces in Daisy Doodad’s Dial (1914). It all ends with the fantastic final chase scene in Buster Keaton’s Seven Chances (1925).  With live musical accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

20 August

Passion of Jon 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 .  With live musical accompaniment from Sarah Gabriel, Mark Lockheart, Joanna Macgregor, Jon Scott and Matthew Fairclough.   Dartington Hall, Totness, Devon  Link

22 August

Oliver Twist (Dir. Frank Lloyd, US, 1922) (Screening format – not known, 74mins) Thought lost for decades, Frank Lloyd’s adaptation of Charles Dicken’s classic tale of the boy who asked for more has an all-star cast. Starring the man of a thousand faces, Lon Chaney, as Fagin and the wunderkind of 1920s Hollywood, Jackie Coogan (straight after his heartrending debut in Chaplin’s The Kid) in the title role, this spectacular silent film gem was rediscovered in Yugoslavia in the 1970s. Find out more at editoreric.com.  With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand.  Dartington Hall, Totness, Devon  Link

23 August

The Cat And The Canary (Dir. Paul Leni, US, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 82mins) The Cat and the Canary, originally a stage play, weaves a tale now very familiar to lovers of the horror genre. Cyrus West, a millionaire, died a presumed madman. His will is only to be read 20 years following his death. The heir? A 20-something girl by the name of Annabelle West. However, the will has an odd condition – since the greed of West’s family drove him to madness (like cats surrounding a canary), Annabelle must be deemed psychologically sound, or the money turns over to a secret heir named in an envelope held by Mr. Crosby, the lawyer overseeing the will reading. Mr. Crosby soon goes missing, with Annabelle the only witness to his disappearance. Is Annabelle spiraling into insanity? Or is the mystery heir pushing her there? The film takes us on a twisty whodunit, one of the very first of the genre, and indubitably one of the few that withstands the test of time. Directed by German expressionist film-maker Paul Leni, his first Hollywood film after having been recruited by producer Carl Laemmle for Universal, and remade three times in the sound era, this silent version is considered the definitive rendering.  Find out more at silentfilm.org. Presented as part of the Chichester International Film Festival.  With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne.  St John’s Chapel, Chichester Link

26 August

Broken Blossoms (Dir. D W Griffiths, 1919) (Screening format – DCP, 90mins)  Cheng Huan leaves his native China because he “dreams to spread the gentle message of Buddha to the Anglo-Saxon lands”, but his idealism fades as he is faced with the brutal reality of London’s gritty inner-city. When he becomes involved in protecting a young girl from her violent and xenophobic father he falls in love with her, but there is trouble when the father discovers that his daughter is staying with a foreigner… In contrast to Griffiths’ earlier epic scale films such as Birth of a Nation (1916) and Intolerence (1916), Broken Blossoms is a much smaller and intimate scale project and perhaps the first Hollywood film to feature an inter-racial love story (albeit completely platonic).  However, it remains a film very much of its era, right down to its sub-title The Yellow Man and the Girl (from the novel The Chink and the Child!) and one in which the Chinese character would be portrayed by white actor Richard Barthelmess.  But Lillian Gish as Lucy is the real star, her false smile the epitome of pathos while her performance in the closet sequence still produces shivers.  Find out more at  rogerebert.comWith live organ accompaniment by Donald MacKenzie.  Regent Street Cinema, London Link

29 August

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 at silentfilm.org Presented by the Lucky Dog Picturehouse.  With live musical accompaniment from Christopher Eldred.  Brunel Museum, Rotherhithe Link