Scotland


 

 

 

 


 

2 March

Assunta Spina (Dir. Gustavo Serena and Francesca Bertini, It, 1915)  (Screening format – not known, 70 mins) Assunta Spina is one of the great films of Italian silent cinema. Shot in fall 1914 in Naples the picture shows the city’s soul, scrutinizes its every aspect, realistically portraying the serenity and beauty of its most colorful areas, the chaotic frenzy of its neighborhoods and markets, as well as the run-down state of the working class suburbs. The film tells the dramatic  story of laundress Assunta Spina (Francesca Bertini) engaged to a violent butcher Michele (Gustavo Serena) but courted by the handsome Raffaele (Luciano Albertini).  When, in a jealous rage, Michele slashes Assunta’s face with a knife the scene is set for high drama and tragedy.   The film reveals the spirit of Neapolitans, emphasizing their exuberance and passion but also their vengefulness and unrestrained reactions that often degenerate into violence.But Bertini and Serena are not the film’s only main characters: the unlucky laundress’s shawl, in Bertini’s skilled hands, comes to life and acts as a kind of metronome marking the various stages of the tragedy as it unfolds. When approached by the studio to star in the film, Bertini only accepted as long as she was also the film’s writer and director.  But Bertini demonstrated skill and sensitivity in this, her directorial debut.  Find out more at medium.com/cuny-fashion/film-review-assunta-spina . Presented as part of the Glasgow Film Festival.  With live musical accompaniment by seven-piece band The Badwills.  St Andrew’s In The Square, Glasgow  Link

 9 March

Shiraz (Dir. Franz Osten, 1928) (Screening format – DCP, 97mins)  Based on a play by Indian author Niranjan Pal, Shiraz tells the fictionalised love story of the 17th-century princess who inspired the construction of the Taj Mahal.  It was directed by Germany’s Franz Osten, one of at least 17 films he made in India between 1925 and 1939, best known of which are The Light of Asia (1925) and A Throw of Dice (1929).  Shot entirely on location in India with an all-Indian cast, it features lavish costumes and gorgeous settings – all the more impressive in this restoration by the BFI National Archive with specially-commisioned score. The film was the brainchild of producer Himansu Rai, who also stars as humble potter Shiraz, who follows his childhood sweetheart (Enakshi Rama Rau) when she’s sold by slave traders to the future emperor (Charu Roy).Upon its release Shiraz was a considerable critical and popular success and received rave reviews when the restored version was screened at last year’s London Film Festival.  Find out more at silentfilm.org.  With Anoushka Shankar recorded score. Eden Court, Inverness.  Link                                                 This film also screens at this venue on 11th and 15th March

15 March

Margaret Tait at 100  An evening of silent film, spoken word and live music from some of Scotland’s finest performers as they celebrate the remarkable work of Orcadian filmmaker and poet, Margaret Tait.    Including screenings of three of Tait’s most enthralling silent films (One Is One (1951), My Room Via Ancona 21 (1951) and Three Portrait Sketches (1951)) alongside spoken word sets and  a new composition inspired by Tait’s film poems. Behind The Wall, Falkirk Link

17 March

Grass: A Nation’s Battle For Life (Dir. Merian C. Cooper/Ernest B. Schoedsack, US, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 71 mins)  Before they went on to make King Kong, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack told the jaw-dropping true story of a tribe of nomads in Iran known as the Bakhtiari and their epic annual  48 day trek across inhospitable terrain from Turkey to Iran to their flock’s summer pastures.  Venturing through deserts, mountains, rivers and snowy wastelands in search of the life-sustaining grasslands, the Bakhtiari’s 50,000 strong caravan – complete with 500,000 cattle and goats – becomes the sole focus of the camera’s gaze.  A spectacular ethnographic record, this film was intended for the lecture circuit but was snapped up by Paramount for theatrical distribution on the strength of its powerful dramatic punch. It’s easy to see how the character of Denham in King Kong was modelled after the adventurer Cooper, whose daredevil real-life exploits were the stuff of Hollywood adventure films. Find out more at wikipedia.org .  With live piano accompaniment from Mike Nolan.  Barony Theatre, Bo’Ness, Scotland Link

 21 March

In Search of the Modern Marriage: Chinese Silent Cinema in the 1920s (Dir. Various) By the 1920s the custom of arranged marriage was under assault in China. Young urbanites insisted modern citizens should find their own marriage partners, free of parental control. New European ideas about modern romance were intoxicating but no-one knew exactly what modern marriage was, leaving anxious youngsters to experiment!  In this lively talk Prof. Pickowicz will show how the Shanghai-based, silent film industry engaged passionately with the debate, using fascinating clips of controversial 1920s Chinese films that tackled the marriage issue head on.  Prof. Paul Pickowicz (University of California, San Diego) is a true interdisciplinary scholar and one of the country’s leading historians of modern China with fifteen books to his credit.  Presented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live piano accompaniment by Forrester Pyke.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland Link

Last of the Mohicans (Dir. Maurice Tourneur/Clarence Brown, US, 1920) (Screening format – not known, 73mins)   This is the second film adaption of James Fenimore Cooper’s classic adventure novel,  the story of two English sisters (Barbara Bedford and Lillian Hall) meeting danger on the frontier of the American colonies, in and around the fort commanded by their father.  Help comes in the form of hunter and scout Hawkeye (Harry Lorraine) together with  Chingachgook (Theodore Lorch) and his son Uncas (Alan Roscoe), the last of the Mohicans.  Wallace Beery is suitably menacing as the evil Magua.  Oh, and look out for Boris Karloff (supposedly) in an un-credited bit-part as an Indian. Find out more at  imdb.com .  Presented as the opening night premier of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest18).  With live musical accompaniment from David Allison.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland Link

22 March

Lost Girls and Goddesses Austrian director GW Pabst worked with many of the most talented, glamorous and notorious women of silent cinema. They included Louise Brooks, Greta Garbo, Brigitte Helm, Asta Nielsen, Lucie Mannheim and Leni Riefenstahl. This talk will introduce some of the most fascinating actresses who starred in Pabst’s silent films, and also explore the stories that he told about female lives, from tales of fallen women to encounters with dazzling seductresses.  Pamela Hutchinson is a freelance writer, critic and film historian, specialising in silent and classic cinema. She is the founder and editor of SilentLondon.co.uk and the author of the BFI Film Classic Pandora’s Box (1929).  Presented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live piano accompaniment by Mike Nolan.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland Link

Call Of The North A celebration of the work of the amazing Isobel Wylie Hutchison (1889–1982) – a Scottish filmmaker, botanist and writer, as well as an intrepid Arctic explorer. Hutchison travelled to Alaska and Greenland, filming the things she saw around her, the landscape and the wildflowers growing there, uniquely dwelling on domestic details and the daily lives of the indigenous people she met. Multi-talented Scottish singer-songwriter Gerda Stevenson will introduce the life of this extraordinary and pioneering woman, and perform song settings of Hutchison’s own poetry. For the second part of the evening Scotland-based Japanese composer Atzi Muramatsu will perform his powerful contemporary composition, inspired by three Hutchison films Kayak Rolling,  The Great Jakobshavn Iceberg Bank and Flowers and Coffee Party at Umanak (score commissioned by Yasmin Al-Hadithi for Highlight Arts) Presented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).    Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland Link

23 March

Billie Ritchie: The Man Who Made the World Laugh  Silent comedian Billie Ritchie, born in Glasgow, entered the movies in late 1914, making some 70 films in Hollywood, and was, for a time during WW1, recognised as a star with international box-office appeal, appearing on the front page of ‘Variety’ and billed as “The Man Who Makes the World Laugh”. Using a range of illustrative materials, Trevor Griffiths traces the little-known story of this world-wide Scottish star.  Trevor Griffiths is based at the University of Edinburgh. He has published widely on aspects of Scottish cinema history and was co-investigator on the recently completed AHRC-funded project on ‘Early Cinema in Scotland’, the book of which is out shortly.  Presented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live piano accompaniment by Forrester Pyke.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland Link

The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (Dir. Ernst Lubitsch/John M. Stahl, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 105mins)  Crown Prince Karl Heinrich (Phillippe de Lacy/Ramon Navorro) , nephew of the king of a small domain, has a joyless existence in the pretentious formalism of the moribund court until his tutor, Dr. Juttner (Jean Hersholt) , arrives. After several years, Juttner takes Karl Heinrich to Heidelberg to study at the university. Here the prince falls in love with Kathi (Norma Shearer) , the niece of the owner of an inn where the tutor and the prince have taken rooms. But when the King dies and Karl is called home will things ever be the same? An utterly delightful romantic drama directed by the maestro of subtlety and wit – Ernst Lubitsch. The film is pure movie magic – Novarro’s performance as the young prince is thoroughly charming and he wins our hearts from his first moments on screen. Shearer is his perfect match as the gutsy gal who can down a stein of beer as well as any man but whose heart is liable to be broken by loving unwisely.  Find out more at silentfilm.org  Presented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland Link

24 March

Saving Sister Susie (Dir. Scott Sidney, US, 1921) + The Kid Reporter (Dir. Alfred J Goulding, US, 1923) (Screening format – not known)  The family friendly jeely jar double-bill begins with a rare find produced by the Christie Film Company who launched the careers of dozens of comedy greats including Harold Lloyd and Fatty Arbuckle. In Saving Sister Susie Dorothy Devore is reluctantly forced to pose as a child to leave the field clear for her older sister who is trying to catch a fiance. Cue a comedy of errors as little sis refuses to play the game and confounds everyone in her path, including children looking for a play-mate. Then, in The Kid Reporter, lovable child superstar Baby Peggy plays the secretary in a busy newsroom who steps up to crack the case of a stolen pearl necklace. Presented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand.  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland Link

Striving (Fen Dou) (NB  Chinese title may better translate as Struggling) (Dir.  Shi Dongshan, China, 1932) (Screening format – not known, 85mins)  A first opportunity to see this new restoration from the China Film Archive, directed by one of pre-Communist China’s most notable filmmakers and never before screened in the UK.  The popular Chinese film star Chen Yanyan plays Swallow – a young woman living unhappily with her bullying ‘adoptive father’. Next door are two brothers – bookish and sensitive Xiao Zheng and belligerent and unruly Xiao Yuan. The pair attempt a rescue of their beautiful neighbour but soon quarrel over her affections.  This is a film which clearly signals its moral messages about standing up for what is right and the perils of indifference but rises gloriously above a proselytising attitude thanks to charming performances, striking set pieces and remarkably fresh camerawork.  Find out more at  imdb.com.  Presented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne (piano, accordion, flute) & Frank Bockius (percussion).  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland Link

The Treasure (Der Schatz) (Dir. G W Pabst, Ger, 1923)  (Screening format – not known, 79mins) An expressionistic and deeply symbolic tale about the corrupting power of greed, The Treasure was the first film by one of Germany’s greatest directors – G.W. Pabst.  A bell-founder lives with his wife and daughter in a solitary house with Svetelenz – a grotesque figure portrayed by Werner Krauss (famed for his role three years earlier as Dr Caligari). The trio are joined by young Arno and the two men soon become rivals… for the heart of Beate and for the unearthing of treasure supposedly buried for a hundred years. Thanks to stylish cinematography and production design the crushing interior of the house seems to have its own part to play in this darkly poetic fantasy.  Find out more at acinemahistory.com.  Presented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live musical accompaniment by Alois Kott performing a world premier of a new score commissioned by HippFest.    Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland Link

The Great K&A Train Robbery (Dir. Lewis Seiler, US, 1926) (Screening format – not known, 53mins)   Saddle up for a thrilling western in the company of “the king of cowboys”: Tom Mix. Tom has been hired by the Railroad President to put a stop to a series of train robberies. With his trusty steed Tony the Wonder Horse, our hero goes undercover to bring the criminal gang to justice and unmask the dastardly double-crossing company secretary. Along the way he performs some death-defying, train-top stunts and captures the heart of the beautiful gal Madge (Dorothy Dwan). This is a thrill-a-minute cowboy pic starring one of the silent era’s biggest box office draws who made a staggering 291 movies of which only a fraction survive today. Find out more at  wikipedia.orgPresented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live musical accompaniment by John Sweeney.  Bo’Ness Railway Station, Bo’Ness, Scotland Link

The Penalty  (Dir. Wallace Worsley, US, 1920) (Screening format – not known, 89mins) The great American actor Lon Chaney demonstrates his unparalleled flair for on-screen transformation with his macabre characterisation of ‘Blizzard’ – a tortured, criminal mastermind. A young boy has both his legs needlessly amputated by an inexperienced surgeon and grows up to become “master of the underworld”, driven to terrible deeds by his passion for sadistic revenge. The film is considered Chaney’s break-out role, cementing his reputation as master of the gruesome and grotesque, ahead of his defining performance as the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The actor famously refused the use of trick camera angles to simulate his ‘deformity’, forcing his legs into leather stumps in a tightly bent position that was so painful he could only wear them for ten minutes at a time. The effect is astounding, as is Chaney’s nimble manoeuvring across the set of ropes, ladders and poles showing a technical ability that makes his character utterly believable.  Find out more at silentfilm.org.  Presented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live musical accompaniment by Graeme Stephen performing a world premier of a new score commissioned by HippFest.    Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland Link

Seven Footprints to Satan  (Dir. Benjamin Christensen, US, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 70mins) In this long-lost scare flick, debonair man of leisure James Kirkham (Creighton Hale) is keen to travel the world before settling down with his fiancée Eve (Thelma Todd). On the eve of his departure the couple are kidnapped from a society ball and taken to a mansion populated by strange freaks and monsters, held prisoner by the mysterious master of the house… none other than Satan himself! This riotous – and on occasion salacious – movie is bags of fun. Think Carry On Devil Worship crossed with The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ and you get the general idea. The film’s subject matter was clearly a favourite of the director Benjamin Christensen who was already a veteran of the genre having achieved great success and notoriety with Haxan (1922), an unsettling and unique history of witchcraft and demonology.  Find out more at aycyas.com .  Presented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live musical accompaniment by Jane Gardner (piano) and Roddy Long (violin)  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland Link

25 March

New Found Sound This unique schools initiative invites talented young people to respond musically to silent film. The 2018 project has been mentored by Colin Broom (Composer, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), and leading folk musician John Somerville alongside Marc Duff (Capercaillie co-founder) and Laura Beth Salter (The Shee), tutors with Falkirk Schools’ Traditional Music Groups.  Students from St Mungo’s High School compose and conduct the premiere of their new score to Holidays, Hurrah, directed by prolific Scottish amateur filmmaker Frank Marshall. The new score will be performed by Falkirk Schools Senior Orchestra. This will be followed by two shorts from the NLS Moving Image Archive, Winter In Scotland (Templar Film Studios) and How Not to Bath A Baby (directed by Dr. Iain Dunnachie), accompanied by the Traditional bands.  The event concludes with a new silent film created by local young filmmakers who have worked with Screen Education Edinburgh.  Presented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).      Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland  Link

Laurel & Hardy Triple Bill    Beginning with Flying Elephants’(Dir. Frank Butler, US, 1927) in which the boys are transplanted to pre-historic times and their bowler hats are substituted for Hollywood-issue caveman outfits. Next up is their final silent Unaccustomed as We Are (Dir. Lewis Foster, US, 1929, re-made as their first talkie) in which Ollie brings Stan home for dinner, much to the disgust of Mrs. Hardy who storms out leaving the coast clear for the pair to try their charms on beautiful neighbour Mrs. Kennedy (Thelma Todd). Finally,  one of Laurel and Hardy’s best-loved shorts: Big Business (Dir. James Horne, US, 1928) which sees the duo gain-lessly occupied as door-to-door Christmas tree salesmen falling foul of short-tempered James Finlayson (Larbert-born local celebrity) with predictably but oh-so-satisfyingly destructive results.  Presented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live musical accompaniment by Jane Gardner (piano) and Hazel Morrison (percussion).  Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland Link

Shiraz (Dir. Franz Osten, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 97mins) Based on a play by Indian author Niranjan Pal, Shiraz tells the fictionalised love story of the 17th-century princess who inspired the construction of the Taj Mahal.  It was directed by Germany’s Franz Osten, one of at least 17 films he made in India between 1925 and 1939, best known of which are The Light of Asia (1925) and A Throw of Dice (1929).  Shot entirely on location in India with an all-Indian cast, it features lavish costumes and gorgeous settings – all the more impressive in this restoration by the BFI National Archive with specially-commisioned score. The film was the brainchild of producer Himansu Rai, who also stars as humble potter Shiraz, who follows his childhood sweetheart (Enakshi Rama Rau) when she’s sold by slave traders to the future emperor (Charu Roy).Upon its release Shiraz was a considerable critical and popular success and received rave reviews when the restored version was screened at last year’s London Film Festival.  Find out more at silentfilm.org   Presented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live musical accompaniment by  John Sweeney (piano) Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland  Link

Underground (Dir. Anthony Asquith, GB, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 84 mins) In 1920s London, during a normal hectic day on the Underground, mild mannered Northern Line porter Bill (Brian Aherne) falls for shop worker Nell (Elissa Lndi). But their relationship is threatened by power station worker Burt (Cyril McLaglan) who also has eyes for Nell.  Consumed by jealousy, Burt plots to discredit Bill with a plan that results in a daring chase through London’s underground and across rooftops of the city.  Although Underground was only Asquith‘s second film  he handles the melodramatic story with confidence and great sophistication.  Underground is a rare study of 1920s working-class London, and offers a fascinating and historically interesting glimpse of its public transport system.  Find out more at screenonline.org.uk   Presented as part of the 2018 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest).  With live musical accompaniment by  Stephen Horne (piano, accordion, flute) & Frank Bockius (percussion) Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’Ness, Scotland 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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