Live Screenings – January 2023


 

11 January

Siegfried  (Dir. Fritz Lang, Ger, 1924) (Screening format – 16mm, 143mins)   Siegfried is the first part of Lang’s Die Nibelungen saga, scripted by his then wife Thea von Harbau and based upon the The Song of the  Nibelungs, an epic Germanic poem dating back to the 12th century.  The film follows Siegfried (Paul Richter), dragon slaying son of King Siegmund of Xanten, as he travels to Worms, capital of the Burgundian kingdom, to ask King Gunter for the hand of his sister, the beautiful Kriemhild (Margarete Schön).   The film has been praised for Carl Hoffman and Gunter Rittau’s ground-breaking cinematography, Otto Hunte’s spectacular set designs, Paul Gerd Guderian’s extraordinary costumes and Lang’s exceptional sense of framing and composition.  The film received its UK premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in London, where it played for 40 performances between 29 April and 20 June 1924.  Die Nibelungen could be considered something of a fantasy genre trendsetter since it was released thirteen years before Tolkien published The Hobbit. It’s also no secret that Tolkien took a lot of inspiration from Germanic myth when creating the world of Middle-Earth. Find out more at moriareviews.com  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live piano accompaniment by Costos FotopoulosCinema Museum, London Link

 

13 January

Modern Times (Dir, Charlie Chaplin, US, 1936) (Screening format – digital, 87mins)  Regarded as the last great silent film and made almost a decade into the sound era, Modern Times is Charlie Chaplin’s last outing as the Little Tramp.  Here, he puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who fails to cope with the modern equipment he must operate and suffers a breakdown. After being institutionalized, he is freed, only to be mistaken for a communist agitator. He is arrested but eventually released after which he  falls in love with a gorgeous gamine (Paulette Goddard).  Chaplin had not been seen on a theatre screen for five years when Modern Times premiered to great acclaim in 1936. Still stubbornly resisting work in “talkies,” he stood alone in his insistence upon preserving the silent film although his voice is heard on the soundtrack he himself composed.  Find out more at www.charliechaplin.com  With recorded Charles Chaplin score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

 

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    With live musical accompaniment by Minima.  Assembly Rooms, Melbourne  Link

 

14 January

Blinking Buzzards   Quarterly meeting of the the UK Buster Keaton Society.society, dedicated to the appreciation of the great silent comedian. After a selection of Keaton shorts and a break, the second half will be a screening of The General (Dir. Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman, 1926)    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 recorded sound.  Cinema Museum, London 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 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  With live musical accompaniment by Minima.   Contemporary, Nottingham   Link

 

15 January

Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927) (Screening format –Digital , 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  Introduced by BFI Curator of Silent Film, Bryony DixonWith live piano accompaniment  by Costas FotopoulosBFI Southbank, London  Link

 

17 January

Germinal (Dir. Albert Capellani, Fr, 1913) (Screening format – not known, 140mins) Very ambitious for 1913  (two full years before Griffith’s Birth of a Nation), an almost two and a half hour adaptation of heavyweight literature from Émile Zola with this story of unrest in a coal mining society .  The year is 1863,  Étienne Lantier gets work as a mineworker after having been fired from his job on the railroad for revolutionary behavior. Disheartened by the conditions in the mines, he returns to his revolutionary ideas and leads a strike of the workers.  With great performances and production design, it’s a masterpiece of composition, with a cast if not of thousands but certainly hundreds.  Find out more at  frenchfilms.org  Without any accompanying soundtrack.  Sands Films, Rotherhithe    Link   (Also available to watch on-line)

 

20 January

The Kid (Dir. Charles Chaplin, US, 1921) + Chess Fever  (Dir. Vsevolod Pudovkin and Nikolai Shpikovsky, USSR,1925) + The Cameraman’s Revenge (Dir. Ladislaw Starewicz, Russia, 1912)  (Screening format – not known, 68/28/13mins) Chaplin’s first full-length feature The Kid 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 .  In 1925 Soviet citizens were transfixed by the International Chess Tournament being held at Moscow’s Hotel Metropol in November 1925 and the then up-and-coming director Pudovkin was asked to make a topical comedy about the ‘chess fever’ sweeping the nation. , simply titled Chess Fever.  Find out more at moviessilently.com  Ladislaw Starewicz was a pioneer of stop-motion animation, often using dried insect specimens and The Cameraman’s Revenge features a cast of beetles, dragonfly and grasshopper acting out a marital drama.  Find out more at  wcsu.edu  With live musical accompaniment by WurlitzaLiskerrett Centre, LiskeardLink

 

21 January

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 South West Silents.  With live piano accompaniment by Meg Morley.  Pound Arts, Corsham   Link

The Kid (Dir. Charles Chaplin, US, 1921) + Chess Fever  (Dir. Vsevolod Pudovkin and Nikolai Shpikovsky, USSR,1925) + The Cameraman’s Revenge (Dir. Ladislaw Starewicz, Russia, 1912)  (Screening format – not known, 68/28/13mins) Chaplin’s first full-length feature The Kid 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 .  In 1925 Soviet citizens were transfixed by the International Chess Tournament being held at Moscow’s Hotel Metropol in November 1925 and the then up-and-coming director Pudovkin was asked to make a topical comedy about the ‘chess fever’ sweeping the nation. , simply titled Chess Fever.  Find out more at moviessilently.com  Ladislaw Starewicz was a pioneer of stop-motion animation, often using dried insect specimens and The Cameraman’s Revenge features a cast of beetles, dragonfly and grasshopper acting out a marital drama.  Find out more at  wcsu.edu  With live musical accompaniment by WurlitzaCalstock Arts. Link

 

The Kid (Dir. Charles Chaplin, US, 1921) + short   (Screening format – not known, 68/? mins) 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 by Wurlitza.   Calstock Arts, Calstock  Link

 

22 January

Modern Times (Dir, Charlie Chaplin, US, 1936) (Screening format – digital, 87mins)  Regarded as the last great silent film and made almost a decade into the sound era, Modern Times is Charlie Chaplin’s last outing as the Little Tramp.  Here, he puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who fails to cope with the modern equipment he must operate and suffers a breakdown. After being institutionalized, he is freed, only to be mistaken for a communist agitator. He is arrested but eventually released after which he  falls in love with a gorgeous gamine (Paulette Goddard).  Chaplin had not been seen on a theatre screen for five years when Modern Times premiered to great acclaim in 1936. Still stubbornly resisting work in “talkies,” he stood alone in his insistence upon preserving the silent film although his voice is heard on the soundtrack he himself composed.  Find out more at www.charliechaplin.com  With recorded Charles Chaplin score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

 

27 January

Go And Get It (Dir. Marshall Niehan/Henry Roberts Symonds, US, 1920) (Screening format – digital, 70mins)  Go and Get It, is a  silent horror film long thought to be  ‘lost’.  However, a 35mm print, the original Italian 35mm nitrate release print,  turned up recently in the archives at Cineteca Milano.  The film itself is considered the fore-runner of the ‘killer gorilla’ horrors that would feature so heavily in the decades to come, with mad Dr. Ord putting a criminal’s brain into an ape. What could possibly go wrong?!  The film opens with publisher Gordon conspiring with a rival publisher to sabotage his newspaper in order to gain full control. Helen Allen, the owner, who inherited the newspaper from her father, has some suspicions and, wanting to investigate, she gets hired under a false name. She is helped by reporter Kirk Connelly, on the trail of a ferocious murderer.   Find out more at catalog-afi-com  Presented by the the Gothique Film Society.  With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney Cinema Museum, Lambeth  Link

 

29 January

The General  (Dir. Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman, 1926)  (Screening format – digital, 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 recorded Carl Davis score.  BFI Southbank, London   Link

 

The Unknown (Dir. Tod Browning, US, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 63 mins)  To escape the police, Alonzo (Lon Chaney) , who has two thumbs on one hand, poses in a sideshow as an armless wonder. He falls in love with Estrellita, and when detected by her father, he kills him. Then, discovering that the girl abhors the touch of a man’s hands, he has both his arms amputated. Returning, he finds to his dismay that she has fallen in love with Malabar, the strong-man.  Is all lost for Alonzo….The Unknown was the sixth of ten collaborations between Chaney and director Tod Browning. Its circus theme was a favorite of Browning’s, both on and off screen.  Chaney was already “The Man of a Thousand Faces” when he appeared in The Unknown but in this film Chaney didn’t need to rely on heavy make-up to transform himself for a role. For The Unknown, Chaney reported, “I contrived to make myself look like an armless man, not simply to shock and horrify you but merely to bring to the screen a dramatic story of an armless man.”  Find out more at moviessilently.com .  With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne and Martin PyneBarbican, London   Link

 

30 January

Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927) (Screening format –Digital , 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  With recorded score.  BFI Imax, London Link