December


 

 

 

 

2 December

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 .  With live musical accompaniment by Darius Battiwalla.  Hebden Bridge Picture House, Hebden Bridge, Yorks Link

3 December

The Four Just Men (George Ridgwell, UK, 1921) (Screening format – 35mm, 73mins) The Four Just Men is a gripping adaptation of Edgar Wallace’s first major screenwriting success, featuring international political terrorists, ingenious murders and a ticking clock…Wallace’s works spawned some 200 films and TV programmes. A Londoner of humble origins, he overcame a modest education to become a journalist and then an astonishingly prolific writer of ingenious thrillers, plays and film scripts – most famously King Kong (1933).  Find out more at wikipedia.org.  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

Pandora’s Box (Dir. G W Pabst, Ger, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 135mins)  Based on two plays by the German author Frank Wedekind, Erdgeist (Earth Spirit, 1895), which Pabst himself had directed for the stage, and Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box, 1904), the silent drama follows the tumultuous life of the showgirl Lulu whose unselfconscious sexuality brings about the ruin of all those that fall for her and eventually her own.  In a daring move, Pabst chose a little known American actress over the more experienced Marlene Dietrich for the part of Lulu, a decision that made the young Louise Brooks an international star. Her innocent looks paired with her natural erotic allure and sense of movement – Brooks was also a dancer – perfectly matched Pabst’s idea of his heroine as unwitting seductress. Subjected to cuts to eliminate some of its “scandalous” content and unfavourably reviewed by critics at the time, it is now considered one of the boldest and most modern films of the Weimar era highlighting Pabst’s command of camera language and montage.  Find out more at silentlondon.co.uk .  With live piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne and an introduction by Silent London’s Pamela Hutchinson, author of a forthcoming BFI Film Classics book on Pandora’s Box. Phoenix Cinema, Finchley, London.   Link

By the Law (Po Zakonu)   (Dir . Lev Kuleshov, 1926) (Screening format – not known, 80mins )    Legendary director Lev Kuleshov adapted a short story by Jack London, fashioning a tense, existential study of moral pressure…in effect a pared-back Soviet Western.    Three gold prospectors are holed up in a cabin – one driven to murder by greed, the other two wrestling with whether to wait for the snow and ice to thaw and go for the authorities or to take the Law into their own hands.  The stage is set for a claustrophobic drama of raw power, combining naturalism and the grotesque, realism and melodrama…   Find out more at silentsaregolden.com . With live musical accompaniment by multi-award-winning Scottish musician, singer and song-writer R.M. Hubbert (aka Hubby) performing his brand new guitar score, commissioned by the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival.  Filmhouse, Edinburgh  Link

5 December

A Story of Floating Weeds ( Ukikusa monogatari) (Dir. Yasujiro Ozu, Jap, 1934) (Screening format – not known, 86 mins)  An itinerant kabuki troupe, led by aging actor Kihachi, arrives in a small town. He frequents the local cafe owner, who is an old flame, and with whom he fathered a son, Shinkinchi, who remains ignorant as to who his father is. Kihachi’s jealous mistress, Otaka, pays a young actress in the troupe to seduce Shinkichi, but the young pair fall in love. But events are not destined to run smoothly.  The film was remade by Ozu in 1959, called simply Floating Weeds. Find out more at tcm.com .  With recorded soundtrack.  Sands Film Club, Rotherhithe, London   Link

6 December

Pavement Butterfly (Dir.  Richard Eichberg, Ger/UK, 1929) (Screening format – 35mm, 90mins) In Paris, beautiful Chinese dancer Mah (Anna May Wong) is on the run from the brutal clown Coco (Alexander Granach).  She finds refuge with an immigrant Russian painter Kusmin (Fred Louis Lerch), becoming his muse.  But Coco is not done with Mah yet and tragedy  looms.  Find out more at imdb.com   The shorts programme will include Blue Bottles (1928) – a British short comedy film starring Elsa Lanchester, directed by Ivor Montagu & written by Frank & H.G. Wells. There is also a brief appearance by Charles Laughton in the film which will be screened in 35mm format from BFI.   A presentation by the Kennington Bioscope. Introduced by Michelle Facey.  With live musical accompaniment from Stephen Horne.   Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London. Link

7 December

Rapsodia Satanica  (Dir. Nino Oxilia, It, 1917)+ selection of Kinemacolor shorts from Cineteca di Bologna (Screening format – DCP, 45/25mins)  A Faustian tale about an old woman who makes a pact with Mephisto to regain her youth. This presentation, from Cecilia Cenciarelli of the Cineteca di Bologna, is a special 4K digital restoration by the Cineteca and Cinémathèque Suisse, produced from a tinted, toned and hand-painted original print. The result is visually ravishing.  Rapsodia Satanica (1915) was the last film directed by Nino Oxilia and is undoubtedly one of the finest achievements of the early Italian cinema.  Find out more at  silentsplease.wordpress.com .   With original Pietro Mascagni recorded score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

9 December

An evening with Buster Keaton and Neil Brand Composer, musician and broadcaster Neil Brand presents an evening of Buster Keaton, playing live piano accompaniment alongside clips of his funniest moments plus a screening of the Keaton classic Steamboat Bill Jr   (Dir. Buster Keaton/Charles Reisner, US, 1928)   (Screening format – not known,  71  mins)  in which 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 Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee Link

10 December

Pandora’s Box (Dir. G W Pabst, Ger, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 135mins)  Based on two plays by the German author Frank Wedekind, Erdgeist (Earth Spirit, 1895), which Pabst himself had directed for the stage, and Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box, 1904), the silent drama follows the tumultuous life of the showgirl Lulu whose unselfconscious sexuality brings about the ruin of all those that fall for her and eventually her own.  In a daring move, Pabst chose a little known American actress over the more experienced Marlene Dietrich for the part of Lulu, a decision that made the young Louise Brooks an international star. Her innocent looks paired with her natural erotic allure and sense of movement – Brooks was also a dancer – perfectly matched Pabst’s idea of his heroine as unwitting seductress. Subjected to cuts to eliminate some of its “scandalous” content and unfavourably reviewed by critics at the time, it is now considered one of the boldest and most modern films of the Weimar era highlighting Pabst’s command of camera language and montage.  Find out more at silentlondon.co.uk . With live musical accompaniment from Stephen Horne.  Eden Court, Inverness Link

An evening with Buster Keaton and Neil Brand Composer, musician and broadcaster Neil Brand presents an evening of Buster Keaton, playing live piano accompaniment alongside clips of his funniest moments plus a screening of the Keaton classic Steamboat Bill Jr   (Dir. Buster Keaton/Charles Reisner, US, 1928)   (Screening format – not known,  71  mins)  in which 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 Filmhouse, Edinburgh  Link

11 Decmber

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. Andover Film Club, Hampshire Link

16 December

Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927) (Screening format –not known , 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 soundtrack.   ICA, London   Link

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 Rochester Kino.  With recorded soundtrack.  Nucleus Arts, Rochester Link

17 December

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 .  The first event in a new monthly screening of silent films with live musical accompaniment by Lillian Henley.  Palace Cinema, Broadstairs, Kent  Link

 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. HOME, Manchester Link

19 December

Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927) (Screening format –not known , 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 soundtrack.   ICA, London   Link

20 December

Miss Bluebeard (Dir. Frank Tuttle, US, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 62 mins) In order to escape the demands of his female admirers, Larry Charters (Robert Frazer) , a writer of popular songs, arranges to have his friend Bob Hawley (Kenneth MacKenna) impersonate him. Traveling on the Continent, Bob meets a French actress, Colette (Bebe Daniels), and when the two are accidentally married by a tipsy  mayor the confusion is just about to start.   Find out more at  imdb.com   A presentation by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live musical accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London. Link

The Cameraman (Dir. Edward Sedgwick/Buster Keaton, US, 1928) + Christmas shorts.  (Screening format – not known, 67mins) Buster (Buster Keaton) meets Sally (Marceline Day), who works as a secretary for the newsreel department at MGM, and falls hard. Trying to win her attention, Buster abandons photography in order to become a news cameraman. In spite of his early failures with a motion camera, Sally takes to him as well. However, veteran cameraman Stagg (Harold Goodwin) also fancies Sally, meaning Buster will need to learn how to film quickly before he loses his job.  Find out more at slantmagazine.com . Presented as part of the Silent Night Christmas tour from the Flatpack Festival.   With live piano accompaniment from John Sweeney.   St John’s Church, Wolverhampton   Link

21 December

Laurel & Hardy – Silent Magic including  Two Tars (Dir. James Parrot, 1928) + You’re Darn Tooting (Dir. E L Kennedy, 1928) + Putting Pants on Philip (Dir. Clyde Bruckman, 1927) + Big Business (James W Hormer/Leo McCarey, 1929)  (Screening format – not known, 21/20/19/19 mins)  Two Tars sees L&H as sailors on leave, who pick up two girls and spend the afternoon driving in the country. But when they find themselves in the middle of a huge traffic jam tempers boil over and soon the street is a mess of mangled cars and car parts.    In You’re Darn Tooting L&H are sacked from their orchestral jobs so they try their luck at being street musicians, but the tiffs they get into with each other soon spread to passers by in general, until the street is filled with men pulling each other’s pants off.  In Putting Pants on Philip, Stan is a sex-mad Scot newly arrived in America while Ollie plays his uncle, desperate to get him out of a kilt and into some trousers. In Big Business L&H are selling christmas trees in mid-summer.  When customer James Finlayson doesn’t want to buy mayhem ensues.  With live organ accompaniment by Donald McKenzie.  Regent Street Cinema, London  Link

The Cameraman (Dir. Edward Sedgwick/Buster Keaton, US, 1928) + Christmas shorts.  (Screening format – not known, 67mins) Buster (Buster Keaton) meets Sally (Marceline Day), who works as a secretary for the newsreel department at MGM, and falls hard. Trying to win her attention, Buster abandons photography in order to become a news cameraman. In spite of his early failures with a motion camera, Sally takes to him as well. However, veteran cameraman Stagg (Harold Goodwin) also fancies Sally, meaning Buster will need to learn how to film quickly before he loses his job.  Find out more at slantmagazine.com . Presented as part of the Silent Night Christmas tour from the Flatpack Festival. With live piano accompaniment from John Sweeney. St Phillip’s Cathedral, Birmingham    Link

22 December

Laurel & Hardy – Silent Magic including  Two Tars (Dir. James Parrot, 1928) + You’re Darn Tooting (Dir. E L Kennedy, 1928) + Putting Pants on Philip (Dir. Clyde Bruckman, 1927) + Big Business (James W Hormer/Leo McCarey, 1929)  (Screening format – not known, 21/20/19/19 mins)  Two Tars sees L&H as sailors on leave, who pick up two girls and spend the afternoon driving in the country. But when they find themselves in the middle of a huge traffic jam tempers boil over and soon the street is a mess of mangled cars and car parts.    In You’re Darn Tooting L&H are sacked from their orchestral jobs so they try their luck at being street musicians, but the tiffs they get into with each other soon spread to passers by in general, until the street is filled with men pulling each other’s pants off.  In Putting Pants on Philip, Stan is a sex-mad Scot newly arrived in America while Ollie plays his uncle, desperate to get him out of a kilt and into some trousers. In Big Business L&H are selling christmas trees in mid-summer.  When customer James Finlayson doesn’t want to buy mayhem ensues.  With live organ accompaniment by Donald McKenzie.  Regent Street Cinema, London  Link

The Cameraman (Dir. Edward Sedgwick/Buster Keaton, US, 1928) + Christmas shorts.  (Screening format – not known, 67mins) Buster (Buster Keaton) meets Sally (Marceline Day), who works as a secretary for the newsreel department at MGM, and falls hard. Trying to win her attention, Buster abandons photography in order to become a news cameraman. In spite of his early failures with a motion camera, Sally takes to him as well. However, veteran cameraman Stagg (Harold Goodwin) also fancies Sally, meaning Buster will need to learn how to film quickly before he loses his job.  Find out more at slantmagazine.com . Presented as part of the Silent Night Christmas tour from the Flatpack Festival. With live piano accompaniment from John Sweeney.   Coventry Cathedral, Coventry  Link

23 December

Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927) (Screening format –not known , 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 soundtrack.   ICA, London   Link

Napoleon (Dir. Abel Gance, 1927) (Screening format – DCP332 mins) Gance’s astounding biopic of Napoleon traces his career from his schooldays (where a snowball fight is staged like a military campaign), his flight from Corsica, through the French Revolution (where a real storm is intercut with a political storm) and the Terror, culminating in his triumphant invasion of Italy in 1797.  The film ends here because it was intended to be part one of six, but Gance was unable to raise the money to make further episodes. The film’s legendary reputation is due to the astonishing range of techniques that Gance uses to tell his story (including fast cutting, extensive close-ups, hand-held camera shots, location shooting, point of view shots, multiple camera set-ups, multiple exposure, superimposition and under water shots) culminating in the final twenty-minute triptych sequence, which alternates widescreen panoramas with complex multiple- image montages.  This is the most complete version of the film available, compiled by Academy Award-winning film-maker, archivist and historian Kevin Brownlow who spent over 50 years tracking down surviving prints from archives around the world since he first saw a 9.5mm version as a schoolboy in 1954.  Find out more at  BFI and  Wikipedia .   With recorded Carl Davis score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

29 December
Napoleon (Dir. Abel Gance, 1927) (Screening format – DCP332 mins) For details see 23 Dec above.    With recorded Carl Davis score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927) (Screening format –not known , 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 atsilentfilm.org .  With recorded soundtrack.  KinoKulture, Oswestry Link

30 December
Napoleon (Dir. Abel Gance, 1927) (Screening format – DCP332 mins) For details see 23 Dec above   With recorded Carl Davis score.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

 


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