October

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

3 October

‘Keeping Up with the Talmadges’ A presentation by film editor and  PhD candidate Polly Rose as part of the Bill Douglas Memorial Lecture.  Polly’s talk looks at how a film competition in Britain involved the hugely popular Talmadge sisters, Norma and Constance, and their sister Natalie’s then husband Buster Keaton, presenting a fascinating tale of how Hollywood’s search for a star in 1920s Britain took an unexpected twist thanks to Buster Keaton’s famous in-laws.  Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, University of Exeter, Exeter. Link

The Lost World (Dir. Harry Hoyt, US, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 106mins) Arthur Conan Doyle’s dinosaur adventure is brought to the big screen for the first time in an adventure across continents to the land that time forgot, featuring swooping beasts, the terrifying ‘apeman’ and the odd volcano too! This film used pioneering techniques in stop motion by Willis O’Brien (a forerunner of his work on the original King Kong film) and was one of the first to use a tinting technique that brought colour to film. It also features an introduction from the author himself.  This screening is of a new restoration of The Lost World (1925), one that is more complete than ever before. Find out more at  moviessilently.com.  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  Introduced by film historian Kevin Brownlow who will also discuss Willis O’Brien’s later work in particular his next film Creation (1931),which featured Bessie Love who Kevin got to knew.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

5 October

Sunrise; A Song of Two Humans (Dir. F W Murnau, US, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 94mins) F W Murnau’s debut American film, made at the technical zenith of the silent era  but already heralding the arrival of the talkies being one of the first silents made with synchronized musical score and sound effects soundtrack.  The simple story of a husband’s betrayal of his wife with a treacherous city girl, Sunrise moves from a fairytale-like depiction of rural life to a dynamic portrait of the bustling modern American city. Explored in elaborate tracking shots by Charles Rocher and Karl Struss’s pioneering camerawork, the city set was one of the most costly yet produced.  The result was a commercial flop, though the achievement did not go unheralded: Sunrise was awarded a special Oscar for unique and artistic production at the first ever Academy Awards and Janet Gaynor won the first Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.  The film’s legacy has endured, and it is now widely considered a masterpiece with many calling it the greatest film of the silent era. Find out more at theguardian.com  With live musical accompaniment by Wurlitza.  The Old Bakery Studios, Truro  Link

6 October

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 by Wurlitza. Lostwithiel Link

Sherlock Jnr (Dir. Buster Keaton, 1924) (Screening format – not known, 45 mins) In Sherlock Jr, a kindly movie projectionist (Buster 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. Presented as part of the Herts Jazz Film Festival.  With live musical accompaniment by Gareth Williams.  Broadway Cinema, Letchworth. Link

7 October

Trip to the Moon/ Le Voyage Dans la Lune  (Dir. Georges Melies, Fr, 1902), (Screening format – not known, 13 mins).     A Trip to the Moon  is a 1902 French adventure film inspired by a wide range of sources, including the works of novelist Jules Verne The film follows a group of astronomers who travel to the moon in a cannon-propelled capsule, explore its surface, escape from an underground city of  lunar inhabitants and return to Earth.  Filmed in the overtly theatrical style which marked out Méliès work, the film remains the best-known of the hundreds of films made by Méliès, and is widely regarded as the earliest example of the  science fiction film genre and, more generally, as one of the most influential films in cinema history.  Find out more at filmsite.org With recorded soundtrack.  Being screened with Moon (Dir. Duncan Jones, US, 2009) Picturehouse at Science and media Museum, Bradford Link

10 October

Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927)(Screening format –DVD, Jan ’05 pre-restored version, 118mins)  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.  Find out more at silentfilm.org With live piano accompaniment by Dmytro Morykit.  Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall, London  Link

11 October

Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanks (Dir. Geoffrey Malins, UK, 1917) (Screening format – not known, 67mins)  The Battle of the Ancre is the official record of the British Army’s winter campaign on the Somme in 1916.  It is the sequel to “The Battle of the Somme” (1916), which covered the opening phase of the campaign (Battle of Albert) and the infantry offensive on 1 July 1916, but “The Battle of the Ancre” should not be dismissed as Somme II. Although less well known than Battle of the Somme, which did record business at the box office, Battle of the Ancre also drew big audiences and was a critical success. Many consider “The Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanks” as the better film cinematically and it contains haunting images of trench warfare, notably of the mud that beset the battlefields, the waves of troops advancing into no man’s land, the use of horses and the first views of the ‘Tank’; the secret weapon which it was hoped would break the military deadlock on the Western Front.. Find out more at  imdb.com .  With recorded Laura Rossi score. John Gray Centre, Haddington, East Lothian  Link

Silence is Golden (Dir. Rene Clair, Fr, 1947) + Entr’acte (Dir. Rene Clair, Fr, 1924) (Screening format – not known, 98/22 mins) Silence is Golden may not be a silent but it is of interest in that it is set in a 1906 Parisian silent film studio and stars Maurice Chevalier (superb) as silent-movie director Émile, who teaches the art of seduction to his timid assistant, unaware the lad’s honing his skills on a girl to whom Émile has taken an unfortunate shine. Both this problematic triangle and the early filmmaking milieu make for much affectionate humour, but the film, ironic yet serious, also excels in its wise depiction both of the practised deceits of romantic pursuit and of the transient niceties of life.  Entr’acte is a classic of avant-garde cinema, it was made as an intermission piece for a Dada theater work that premiered in Paris  The individual shots and the connections between them resulted in what Clair described as “visual babblings.” Key figures of the contemporary Parisian art  appear in the film in absurd comic cameos, including Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp.  Find out more at openculture.com .  Presented as part of the London Film Festival.  Entr’acte is accompanied by Erik Satie’s original recorded score.  BFI Southbank, London Link

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache (Dir. Pamela B Green, USA, 2018) (Screening format – DCP, 120mins)  There remains so much history to mine in the early years of cinema. Alice Guy-Blaché is missing from most film histories and continues to be a little-known name outside academic circles. To rescue her from oblivion, first-time director Pamela B Green has embarked on a passionate mission to research Guy-Blaché’s life in order to highlight her importance as a cinematic pioneer. From her directing debut in 1896 at Parisian-based Gaumont studio and her role as head of production there, to the opening of her own studio and subsequent career in the US, Guy-Blaché worked as a director, producer or writer on more than 1000 films. A visionary who mastered technique, pushed the boundaries of genres and wrote progressive narratives, her influence is such that she cannot be overlooked. This is a captivating, must-see profile of the mother of cinema.  Narrated by Jodie Foster Presented as part of the London Film Festival.  BFI Southbank, London Link

12 October

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 labelling 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. With live musical accompaniment by acclaimed musicians Minima. Minster Church, King’s Lynn  Link

13 October

The Blinking Buzzards The UK Buster Keaton Society. Quarterly meeting of the society dedicated to the appreciation of the silent comedian. The last meeting of the year is a request session, so expect to see beloved gems chosen by Society members.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

Silent Film Night with live organ accompaniment from Donald MacKenzie.  Films TBC. St Aiden and St George Church, Bristol Link

14 October

Silence is Golden (Dir. Rene Clair, Fr, 1947) + Entr’acte (Dir. Rene Clair, Fr, 1924) (Screening format – not known, 98/22 mins) Silence is Golden may not be a silent but it is of interest in that it is set in a 1906 Parisian silent film studio and stars Maurice Chevalier (superb) as silent-movie director Émile, who teaches the art of seduction to his timid assistant, unaware the lad’s honing his skills on a girl to whom Émile has taken an unfortunate shine. Both this problematic triangle and the early filmmaking milieu make for much affectionate humour, but the film, ironic yet serious, also excels in its wise depiction both of the practised deceits of romantic pursuit and of the transient niceties of life.  Entr’acte is a classic of avant-garde cinema, it was made as an intermission piece for a Dada theater work that premiered in Paris  The individual shots and the connections between them resulted in what Clair described as “visual babblings.” Key figures of the contemporary Parisian art  appear in the film in absurd comic cameos, including Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp.  Find out more at openculture.com .  Presented as part of the London Film Festival.  Entr’acte is accompanied by Erik Satie’s original recorded score.  Cine Lumiere, London Link

16 October

Lights Of Old Broadway (Dir. Monta Bell, USA, 1925) (Screening format – not known, 78mins) In this jolly romp through old New York, Marion Davies demonstrates her knack for light comedy and drama, in a dual role as twins separated at birth. One girl is raised in a wealthy Manhattan neighbourhood, while the other grows up a pugnacious free spirit in an Irish shanty town. The lights of the title refer to the new power source in the city, but also taps into the film’s crescendo, with its beautifully-coloured scenes that employ several different techniques: Technicolor, Handschiegl and tinting.  Find out more at catalog.afi.com.  Presented as part of the London Film Festival.  With live musical accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

They Shall Not Grow Old (Dir. Peter Jackson, UK, 2018) (Screening format – DCP. 64mins) On the centenary of the First World War, Academy Award®-winner Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) presents the world premiere of an extraordinary new work, revealing the Great War as never before seen it.  Employing state-of-the-art technology to transform audio and moving image archive footage more than a century old, Jackson brings to life the people who can best tell this story: the men who were there. Driven by a personal interest in the conflict, Jackson set out to explore the day-to-day experience of its combatants. Immersed for months in the BBC and Imperial War Museum archives, Jackson created narratives and strategies regarding how this story should be told. Using only the voices of those involved, the film explores the reality of war on the front line: their attitudes to the conflict; how they ate, rested and formed friendships in those moments between battles; as well as their hopes and dreams for the future. Each frame of the film has been hand-colourised by Jackson’s team, the footage 3D-digitised, transformed with modern post-production techniques, enabling these soldiers to walk and talk among us. Reaching into the mists of time, Jackson has aimed to give these men voices, investigate the hopes and fears of these veterans that survived and were able to tell their stories, and detail the humility and humanity of those who represented a generation forever changed by the destruction of a global war. Presented as part of the London Film Festival.  BFI Southbank, London Link

17 October

Lars Hanson Silent Film Night  Born in Gothenburg, Sweden on July 26th 1886 into a seafaring family, Lars Mauritz Hanson, was initially a gold engraver until he won a free scholarship to the Stockholm Dramatic theatre. Due to his dashing good looks Hanson’ s acting talents took him to Hollywood where he became one of the key stars of the later part of the silent era. As well as highlighting Hanson’s work there will be a special screening of one of his less well known silent films.  Presented by South West Silents.  Introduced by Dr Peter Walsh.  Lansdown Public House, Clifton, Bristol Link

18 October

Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927)(Screening format – not known, ? 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.  Find out more at silentfilm.org With live piano accompaniment by Tony Judge. Tusk Baltic, Liverpool  Link

A Night At The Cinema in 1914 This glorious miscellany of 14 comedies, adventure films, travelogues and newsreels recreates a typical night out at the cinema in 1914.  Cinema a century ago was a new, exciting and highly democratic form of entertainment. Picture houses across Britain offered a sociable, lively environment in which to relax and escape from the daily grind. With feature films still rare, the programme was an entertaining, ever-changing roster of short items with live musical accompaniment.  Among the highlights of this programme of 14 shorts films are a quirky comic short about a face-pulling competition, a sensational episode of the American film serial The Perils of Pauline, an early aviation display, scenes of suffragettes protesting at Buckingham Palace and Allied troops celebrating Christmas at the Front. There is also an anti-German animation film and an early sighting of one of cinema’s greatest icons...  Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge Link

The Great Victorian Moving Picture Show (Dir. Various, UK, 1897-1901) (Screening format – DCP, 80mins)  You won’t believe your eyes at the sheer spectacle of these rare surviving fragments of our first films, back to their best after being superbly restored from the 68mm original nitrate prints by the BFI National Archive. You are transported to a London at the end of Victoria’s long reign, when competing showmen were projecting their moving pictures in the capital’s great West End theatres. Among the front runners was the peerless WKL Dickson, whose British Mutoscope and Biograph Company enjoyed a long residency at the Palace Theatre of Varieties (now the Palace Theatre on Cambridge Circus and home to another magician – Harry Potter). Dickson arrived in London in 1897 with his secret weapon: large-format films – the IMAX films of their day – whose high-quality pictures he hoped would outgun his rivals. At only a minute or so in duration, these films serve up an eclectic array of subjects, from gorgeous panoramic vistas to dizzying ‘phantom rides’, music hall turns to the pomp of royal pageantry, and the bustle of the Victorian street to dramatic dispatches from the Boer War.  Presented as part of the London Film Festival.  Introduced by the BFI’s Bryony Dixon.  With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.  BFI Imax, Waterloo, London Link

Dawson City – Frozen Time (Dir. Bill Morrison, US, 2016) This documentary pieces together the bizarre true story of a collection of some 500 films dating from 1910s – 1920s, which were lost for over 50 years until discovered buried in a sub-arctic swimming pool deep in the Yukon Territory, in Dawson City, located about 350 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Using these permafrost protected, rare silent films and newsreels, archival footage, interviews and historical photographs to tell the story, and accompanied by an enigmatic score by Sigur Rós collaborator and composer Alex Somers (Captain Fantastic), Dawson City: Frozen Time depicts a unique history of a Canadian gold rush town by chronicling the life cycle of a singular film collection through its exile, burial, rediscovery, and salvation – and through that collection, how a First Nation hunting camp was transformed and displaced. Find out more at picturepalacepictures.com  .  Followed by post-film discussion with director Bill Morrison and film historian Kevin Brownlow.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London  Link

19 October

The Great White Silence (Dir. Herbert G. Ponting, UK, 1924) (Screening format – Blu-ray, 107 mins)  This documentary captured the story of the British Antarctic Expedition, led by Captain Scott, to reach the South Pole. With extraordinary footage of many stages of the exploration: on board the Terra Nova ship; life in the base camp; crew preparations and scientific research; and the local penguins, whales and seals. Still images, maps, miniature model shots, diary entries and recreations illustrate the rest of the journey across the ice. “The alien beauty of the landscape is brought dramatically to life and the world of the expedition revealed in brilliant detail.” – BFI. Find out more at bfi.org.uk.  Presented by The Classic Cinema Club.  With the recorded score by Simon Fisher Turner.  Town Hall. Ealing, London Link

Fragment of an Empire (Dir. Fridrikh Ermler, USSR, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 109mins) Arriving home after 10 years, an amnesiac soldier gives out an agonized cry, “Where is Petersburg?”, as he stands lost in the new cityscape of Soviet Leningrad. Fridrikh Ermler’s Fragment of an Empire has been referred to as the most important film in Soviet Cinema. It’s a bold claim, but justified by the synthesis of a powerful personal story and the critique it allows of the revolution as seen by a soldier stuck in a Tsarist past. The film opens in the chaos of a bloody battle in 1914 and follows with an extraordinary evocation of the main protagonist’s returning memory. As played by regular Ermler lead Fiodor Nikitin, his response to the social changes he sees is both moving and politically astute. Find out more at silentfilm.org  Presented as part of the London Film Festival. With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne and Frank Bokius.  BFI Southbank, London Link

Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927)(Screening format –not known, Jan ’05 pre-restored version, 118mins)  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.  Find out more at silentfilm.org With live piano accompaniment by Dmytro Morykit. College of Music, Leeds Link

20 October

Wings (Dir. William Wellman, USA, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 144mins) In 1917, in a small American town, Jack Powell (Charles Rogers) tinkers on a car, while daydreaming about airplanes. When the car is roadworthy, Jack names it “Shooting Star” and Mary Preston (Clara Bow), the girl next door who helped him, paints a star on the side of the vehicle. Oblivious to the infatuated Mary’s feelings for him, Jack invites a more sophisticated city girl, Sylvia Lewis, to accompany him on the first drive. Sylvia rides with Jack, but she is in love with David Armstrong (Richard Arlen), the son of the town’s wealthiest family. Later, when the United States enters World War I, Jack and David enlist and apply to aviation school. Before they leave, Sylvia signs a picture of herself and puts it in a locket for David, but when Jack sees it and thinks it is meant for him, she does not have the heart to contradict him. David, who returns Sylvia’s affection, is hurt, but she takes him aside and explains that, although Jack has her picture, David has her heart…. But will friendship and relationships survive the tragedy and drama of the war years.  Made only nine years after the end of the First World War, the film was written by John Monk Saunders, a veteran pilot who who also wrote Howard Hawks’ classic The Dawn Patrol, filmed three years later. Saunders hadn’t actually served in France, a matter of bitter regret to him himself, but he was a flight instructor in the First World War and a member of the Lost Generation who eventually killed himself.  Wellman himself did serve in France and was mentally and physically scarred for life – so they knew their stuff. For example, Wellman insisted on waiting a month for the “right cloud formations”, much to the fury of the bosses at Paramount – but  the power of the flight sequences, with all the piles of cloud glimpsed from and around the planes, shows he was right.  On August 12, 1927, the curtain rose on the grand premiere of Wings, by now Wellman’s two-million-dollar epic. Boasting thrills and adventure, star power, and unparalleled aerial photography, the film was an immediate smash, running at New York’s Criterion Theater for sixty-three consecutive weeks and capturing the top honor for Outstanding Production at the inaugural Academy Awards ceremony.  Find out more at theguardian.com.  With live orchestral accompaniment performed by the Orchestra of Opera North, composed and conducted by Carl Davies.  Town Hall, Leeds  Link

Buster Keaton and American Silent Cinema  Buster Keaton is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest comedians of all time, a hugely accomplished performer as well as a filmmaker with a distinctive style. Already at the age of five (!) he became a major star on the vaudeville stage, and he then worked in films from 1917 until shortly before his death in 1966. Today he is best known for the nineteen shorts and ten features he made at his own studio from 1920 to 1928. This all-day seminar examines several of these films, with a particular focus on his greatest masterpiece The General (1926). It also explores the conditions under which these films were made as well as their marketing and commercial success (or failure), and situates Keaton’s work in the wider context of American cinema in the 1920s.  The day school is taught by Peter Krämer, author of the BFI Film Classics volumes on The GeneralArts Picturehouse, Cambridge Link

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 by Wurlitza. Cinema by the Sea, Looe Link

Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema (Dir. Mark Cousins, UK, 2018) (Screening Format – DCP, 240mins) The first four one hour episodes of Mark Cousins’ new cinematic documentary series on he role played by women in the cinema.  Although precise details of the series are not known, the silent film era is likely to feature significantly given the extensive role played by women in the film industry of that period. Presented as part of the London Film Festival.  ICA Cinema, London  Link

NB.  SCREENING CANCELLED…. 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.  With live organ accompaniment from Donald MacKenzie.   St John’s Notting Hill, London  Link

21 October

Wings (Dir. William Wellman, USA, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 144mins) Wings is one of the finest American silent war films set during the First World War. Released by Paramount Pictures, it stars Clara Bow, Charles “Buddy” Rogers and Richard Arlen. Gary Cooper appears in a small role which helped launch his Hollywood career. Hundreds of extras and some 300 pilots were involved in the filming, including pilots and planes of the United States Army Air Corps. Acclaimed for its technical prowess and realism upon release, the film became the yardstick against which future aviation films were measured, mainly because of its realistic air-combat sequences. Find out more at silentfilm.org.    With live organ accompaniment by Donald MacKenzie.  Musical Museum, Brentford, London Link

Seventh Heaven (Dir. Frank Borzage, 1927) (Screening format – not known, 117mins) Chico (Charles Farrell) is a poor Parisian sewer cleaner who aspires to work his way out of his dead-end job and into the middle class. When he meets Diane (Janet Gaynor), an abused prostitute, he sympathizes with her plight and tells the police she’s his wife to prevent them from arresting her. To keep up the appearances of marriage, he invites Diane to live with him, and a real romance blossoms until Chico is drafted in the army at the start of World War I. Janet Gaynor won the Best Actress award at the very first Academy Awards for her role in this gorgeously romantic drama of star-crossed Parisian lovers. With beautiful sets, stunning camerawork and a live harp score, Seventh Heaven is silent-era Hollywood at its most powerful. Find out more at silentfilm.org .  Presented as part of the London Film Festival.  With live musical accompaniment by Costas Fotopoulos.  BFI Southbank, London Link

Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema (Dir. Mark Cousins, UK, 2018) (Screening Format – DCP, 240mins) The first four one hour episodes of Mark Cousins’ new cinematic documentary series on he role played by women in the cinema.  Although precise details of the series are not known, the silent film era is likely to feature significantly given the extensive role played by women in the film industry of that period. Presented as part of the London Film Festival. Vue, Leicester Square, London Link

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache (Dir. Pamela B Green, USA, 2018) (Screening format – DCP, 120mins)  There remains so much history to mine in the early years of cinema. Alice Guy-Blaché is missing from most film histories and continues to be a little-known name outside academic circles. To rescue her from oblivion, first-time director Pamela B Green has embarked on a passionate mission to research Guy-Blaché’s life in order to highlight her importance as a cinematic pioneer. From her directing debut in 1896 at Parisian-based Gaumont studio and her role as head of production there, to the opening of her own studio and subsequent career in the US, Guy-Blaché worked as a director, producer or writer on more than 1000 films. A visionary who mastered technique, pushed the boundaries of genres and wrote progressive narratives, her influence is such that she cannot be overlooked. This is a captivating, must-see profile of the mother of cinema.  Narrated by Jodie Foster.  Presented as part of the London Film Festival.  Cine Luminaire, London Link

Stan and Ollie (Dir. Jon S Baird, UK, 2018) (Screening format – not known, 97mins) A newly made biopic of two of the silent (and sound) era’s greatest comedians, Stan laurel and Oliver Hardy.  The film follows the pair in the late stages of their careers, on a farewell tour of Britain in the 1950s.  Starting out in a string of third rate theaters and musty B&Bs, as almost forgotten stars, a gradual resurgence of popular interest in the boy’s leads up to a grand London finale.  And the word is that stars  Steve Coogan and John C Reilly absolutely nail the characters of Stan and Ollie.  Find out more at wikipedia.org.  Presented as the Closing Night Gala of the London Film Festival.  Cineworld Leicester Square, Curzon Mayfair and Embankment Gardens Cinema 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 at silentfilm.org Presented by Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.  With live musical acompaniment.   Abbeydale Picture House, Sheffield.  Link

The Passion of Joan 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 . Presented as part of the Wooburn Festival and the FishEye Film Festival.  With premiere of a new original score composed by Marisa Cornford and performed live with acoustic and electronic instruments and choir.  St Paul’s Church, Wooburn Green, Bucks.  Link 

22 October

Mabel Normand Shorts  Mabel Normand was the irrepressible spirit of early Hollywood, an extraordinary performer from the anarchic days of Mack Sennett’s Keystone company to the refined comedies of the 1920s. She directed her own films, ran her own production company and worked with the best: in this selection of short films we see her with Mack Sennett, Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle and a young Oliver Hardy – but make no mistake, Normand’s the star here.  Find out more at  wfpp.cdrs.columbia.edu.  With live musical accompaniment featuring a brand new score  performed by the Meg Morley Trio.  BFI Southbank, London Link

23 October

Paris qui dort  (Dir.Rene Clair, Fr, 1924) + Le Voyage imaginaire (Dir. Rene Clair, Fr, 1926) (Screening format – DCP, 72/71 mins) In Paris qui dort  René Clair deploys the full bag of cinematic tricks in this tale of a scientist who invents a ray that freezes the people of Paris – all except a fortunate handful, who take gleeful advantage of their surreal new cityscape. This UK premiere of the restored version returns the film to its original length. Find out more at imdb.comLe Voyage imaginaire sees a shy bank clerk daydream he is being led by a fairy into a subterranean world where people transform into animals and waxworks come to life. Lucie, his office crush, follows him – but a bad fairy is intent on keeping them apart. Find out more at  filmsdefrance.com.  With live piano accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London  Link

24 October

Stereoscopy: A Wonder of Victorian Entertainment  Denis Pellerin of the London Stereoscopic Company will guide you through the wonders of this early photographic and film process. Fascinating stereoscopic images will accompany his talk about the history and development of this form of pre-cinema entertainment. It will surprise, delight and shock in equal measure, and leave a lasting impression of how imaginative and sublimely inventive the early pioneers of the photographic image wereBFI Southbank, London  Link

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 by Wurlitza. Assembly Rooms, Ludlow Link

Another Evening of 9.5mm Films From Kevin Brownlow’s Collection 9.5mm films were edited versions of cinema releases aimed at the home market.  Among the films to be screened tonight are two starring German film actress Lil Dagover:  The Maelstrom of Paris (Le Tourbillon de Paris) directed by Julien Duvivier in 1928, and starring Lil Dagover, Léon Bary and Gaston Jacquet. Based on the novel La Sarrazine by Germaine Acrement, adapted by Duvivier, this is the story of the troubled marriage between Lord Meredith (Jacquet) and his wife, Amiscia Negeste (Dagover), a famous opera singer, and; The Chronicles of the Gray House (Zur Chronik von Grieshuus) (1925), directed by Arthur von Gerlach, produced by Erich Pommer and starring Arthur Kraußneck, Paul Hartmann, Rudolf Forster and Lil Dagover. It is also known as At the Grey House. Set in the 17th century it follows the intrigues of the son of a feudal landowner who falls in love with the daughter of one of the serfs, causing his younger brother to see an opportunity for himself. The screenplay by Thea von Harbou is based on Theodor Storm’s novella A Chapter in the History of Grieshuus. Kevin says that this was a great influence on his own film Winstanley (1975).  Presented by the Kennington Bioscope.  With live musical accompaniment.  Cinema Museum, Lambeth.  Link

25 October

Fall Of The House Of Usher  (Dir. Jean Epstein, Fr, 1928) + The Merry Frolics of Satan (Dir. Georges Méliès, Fr, 1906) (Screening format – 35mm, 62/17 mins)  Summoned by a letter, a man arrives at the isolated castle of his old friend Sir Roderick Usher only to find him in the grip of madness, obsessively painting a portrait of his ailing wife as everything around him disintegrates. With its dazzling use of impressionist camera techniques, Epstein’s entrancing Poe adaptation creates an all-consuming atmosphere of morbidity and creeping dread. Find out more at www.rogerebert.com. In  The Merry Frolics of Satan, a Faustian parable, an inventor unwittingly sells his soul to the devil and departs on a fantastical train ride that takes him from the far reaches of outer space to the infernal depths of hell itself. Find out more at silentology.wordpress.com.  With live musical accompaniment.  BFI Southbank, London Link

Saving Brinton  (Dir. Tommy Haines & Andrew Sherburne, US, 2017) (Screening format – not known, 87 Mins) Retired Iowa Teacher-of-the-Year Michael Zahs makes a remarkable discovery — the century-old films that introduced middle America to the movies. These treasures from Georges Méliés, Thomas Edison and the Lumiere Brothers have somehow survived the ravages of time, and Mike quickly realizes their value, not just to cinephiles, but to his rural community, who rally to put on a show celebrating the legacy of America’s greatest barnstorming movieman, Frank Brinton.  Michael  travels around to show his films and talk about their origins. A silent Georges Méliès classic film, long believed lost, about a woman with three heads was found among the collection. Film restorer Serge Bromberg views the film with excitement, and ensures the discovery is revealed at the silent film festival Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna. A sort of Dawson City: Frozen Time, but with less ice, this film is hailed as “a cinephile’s delight”.  Find out more at northlandfilms.com.  A fund raising event for the Cinema Museum.  The Cinema Museum, Lambeth, London Link

Neil Brand – Sound of Silents Neil Brand is Britain’s leading silent film accompanist, and he is back by popular demand for his second appearance at Battle Festival. This show is one that should not be missed whether you are a ‘film buff’, or just love music. A show about movie history, music, comedy and passion as Neil Brand charts 30 years of working with silent cinema and piano to create magic for an audience – rare clips of great pre-sound movies plus Neil’s superb playing and wry observation, make for a fascinating and hugely entertaining eveningBattle Memorial Hall, Battle Link

26 October

Shoes (Dir. Lois Weber, US, 1916) + Suspense (Dir. Lois Weber and Phillips Smalley, US, 1913) (Screening format – not known, 60/10mins) Having directed several films in tandem with her husband Phillips Smalley, Lois Weber went solo with the 1916 production Shoes. The film was based on a Collier’s Magazine story by Stella Wynne Herron, which in turn was inspired by a quote from a book by 19th-century humanitarian Jane Addams. The heroine, working-girl Eve Meyer (Mary McLaren), is unable to afford a new pair of shoes on her meager wages. After several frustrating weeks of trying to scrimp and save, Eve is reduced to selling herself sexually for the sake of the shoes. She comes to regret this decision, bitterly ruminating over “what might have been” during the film’s somber closing scenes. Rarely seen, this forgotten classic has recently been beautifully restored by Eye Film Institute Netherlands and gives a sense of Weber’s talent behind the camera. Find out more at wikipedia.orgThe story of Suspense, a one-reel thriller, is a simple one—a tramp threatens a mother and child, while the father races home to their rescue—but the techniques used to tell it are complex. Weber and Smalley employ a dizzying array of formal devices. The approach of an automobile is shown reflected in another car’s side-view mirror. We catch our first glimpse of the menacing burglar from the same angle as the wife does—from directly over him while he glares straight up. Three simultaneous actions are shown, not sequentially but as a triptych within one frame.  Smalley and Weber began their film careers as a husband-and-wife team acting under the direction of Edwin S. Porter at the Rex Company, one of the many early independent film studios established to combat the power of the Motion Picture Patents Company, a conglomeration of the major producers and distributors in the United States. By the time Porter left Rex, in 1912, Smalley and Weber had graduated to directing and were fully responsible for the small studio’s output. Suspense is one of the very few films made at Rex that survives, and its staggering originality raises a tantalizing question: is it a fascinating anomaly or a representative sample of the studio’s overall production? Find out more at moviessilently.comPresented as part of the Cambridge Film Festival.  With live piano accompaniment from John SweeneyEmmanuel College, Queen’s Building, Cambridge Link

26 – 27 October

Lotte Eisner: Writer, Archivist, Curator.  Two day symposium on Lotte Eisner, focusing entirely on Eisner’s own outstanding contribution to film history, from her early days writing for the Film-Kurierin Berlin, through her books, The Haunted Screen, FW Murnau(1964) andFritz Lang(1976), to her extraordinary thirty-five year career collecting and archiving for the Cinémathèque Française. Includes a screening on 27 October of City Girl (Dir. F W Murnau, US, 1930) (Screening format – not known, 89mins).  Murnau made three silent movies for Fox in Hollywood. The first, Sunrise, is universally acclaimed; the second one, Four Devils, no longer exists; and the third, City Girl, was for years known only through a re-edited, semi-sound version which Murnau disowned. But the restored full silent City Girl is a lyrical masterwork of pastoral realism, in which Lem, a simple farm boy from Minnesota (Charles Farrell), in Chicago to sell the family’s wheat crop, meets and marries Kate (Mary Duncan), a waitress yearning for an idyllic life in the countryside. When they return to Minnesota, however, they’re met with hostility by coarse, lascivious harvesters and Lem’s overbearing father. It is a rural melodrama of great beauty and honesty, and in many ways was the inspiration for Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven (1978).  Find out more at sensesofcinema.comBirkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) and King’s College London Link

27 October

Comedy for Kids A selection of silent comedy shorts.  Presented as part of the Cambridge Film Festival.  With live piano accompaniment from Neil Brand.  Emmanuel College, Queen’s Building, Cambridge  Link

The Blot (Dir. Lois Weber, US, 1921) (Screening format – not known, 91 mins) In a time where women played a central role in creating the American cinema, Lois Weber (1881–1939) was the outstanding woman filmmaker, writer and producer of the silent era. She was also one of the highest paid directors — man or woman — of her time! Weber’s films were critically acclaimed financial successes that created huge controversies around the country. The Blot remains the most popular of the more than 100 films she directed. Weber’s two remarkable young discoveries, Claire Windsor and Louis Calhern, rose to stardom with this film, and remained popular Hollywood actors for years. The scholarly and underpaid Professor Griggs and his family live in genteel poverty in a small college town. To help out the family, beautiful young Amelia Griggs (Claire Windsor) works in the public library. Next-door to the Griggs are the Olsens, a large and lively family of immigrants living high on the hog, thanks to a thriving shoemaking business. Amelia attracts the attentions of Phil West, the son of a college trustee and her father’s laziest and naughtiest student. His rival for Amelia’s affection is Reverend Gates, a gentle, sincere and impecunious minister.  When Amelia falls ill from overwork, her mother tries to nurse her back to health. With the cupboards bare, the very proper Mrs. Griggs is sorely tempted to steal a chicken from her neighbor’s kitchen. The ensuing commotion turns out to be a blessing in disguise…Find out more at  silentfilm.org.  Presented as part of the Cambridge Film Festival.  With live piano accompaniment from Neil Brand. Emmanuel College, Queen’s Building, Cambridge Link

28 October

Nosferatu (Dir. F W Murnau, 1922) (Screening format – DCP, 96mins) A German Expressionis 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 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  With live piano accompaniment by Lillian Henley.  Palace Cinema, Broadstairs, Kent  Link

The Dumb Girl of Portici (Dir. Lois Weber, US, US, 1915) (Screening format – not known, 115mins) Lois Weber directs ballet legend Anna Pavlova in this epic based on Auber’s opera, set against the backdrop of a 17th century Italian uprising. Pavlova plays Fenella, a mute fisher girl, caught up in the bloody revolt of the Italian peasantry against their oppressive Spanish overlords during the occupation of Naples. Lois Weber’s film tackles the scale of the grand opera settings with assurance, while allowing us to enjoy Pavlova’s exquisite physical performance, in her only feature film role. This previously unseen film is long overdue for recognition as one of Weber’s finest creations and a landmark in women’s cinema. Restored by the Library of Congress from elements held at the BFI National Archive and the New York Public Library. Find out more at www.filmcomment.com .  Presented as part of the Cambridge Film Festival.  With live piano accompaniment from John Sweeney.   Emmanuel College, Queen’s Building, Cambridge Link

The Fall of The House of Usher (Dir. Jean Epstein, Fr, 1928) (Screening format – not known, 63 mins) Director Jean Epstein and screenwriter Luis Buñuel studiously avoid cheap shocks and opt for a controlled, spookily subtle technique, in this tale of hereditary madness. The hero, having indirectly caused the death of his beloved, stubbornly tries to resurrect her spirit by devoting himself to painting and sculpture. Epstein conveys the twilight zone between life and death with lingering dissolves and brilliant utilization of slow motion. Find out more at rogerebert.com Presented as part of the Cambridge Film Festival.  With live piano accompaniment from Stephen Horne. Being screened with Jan Svankmajer’s The Pendulum, the Pit and Hope (1983) Emmanuel College, Queen’s Building, Cambridge   Link

St Wenceslas (Dir. Jan S Kolar, Cz, 1929) (Screening format – not known, 116mins) Recalling the work of Griffith and Fritz Lang, Jan S. Kolar’s vast, ambitious production tells the tenth century legend of Vaclav Duke of Bohemia (St Wenceslas), who successfully defeated his enemies but was murdered by his own brother. Vaclav became the patron saint of Czechoslovakia, his statue standing at the head of the square bearing his name in Prague. A landmark in Czech cinema, this historical epic is the only film to attempt to reveal the life of the country’s patron saint. It was the most expensive Czech film to date, with the largest set constructed in Europe to accommodate an all-star cast of over ahundred, together with 1,000 extras for the lavish battle scenes.  Its team of cinematographers included Jan Stallich (Ecstasy) and Otto Heller, who later worked with Max Ophuls and Laurence Olivier, as well as Michael Caine on The Ipcress File and Alfie.  Find out (lots) more at vlada.cz (all 109 pages!)  With live accompaniment by vocal artists and musicians from Capella Mariana.  Barbican, London Link

30 October

The Penalty  (Dir. Wallace Worsley, US, 1920) (Screening format – DCP, 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 by South West Silents.  A special screening with a new digital restoration by Lobster Films, Paris.  With live musical accompaniment (musician TBC).  Cube Microplex, Bristol Link

31 October

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Dir. John S Robertson, US, 1920) (Screening format – 16mm, 79mins) Respectable gentleman Dr Henry Jekyll only needs swallow a beaker of strange potion to become evil, murdering Edward Hyde. Robert Louis Stephenson’s gothic tale is brought to sinister life in this 1920 silent film version starring the greatest actor of his age, John Barrymore. Find out more at moviessilently.com With live piano accompaniment by Jonny Best.  Choppard’s Mission, Holmfirth, Yorks Link

Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927) (Screening format –Blu-Ray , 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. Presented by Pitshanger Pictures.  With live organ accompaniment by Henry Tozer.  St Barnabas Church, Pitshanger Lane, Ealing, London  Link

Nosferatu (Dir. F W Murnau, 1922) (Screening format – DCP, 96mins) A German Expressionis 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 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  With live piano accompaniment by Tony Judge.   Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal Link

Metropolis (Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927)(Screening format –DVD, Jan ’05 pre-restored version, 118mins)  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.  Find out more at silentfilm.org With live piano accompaniment by Dmytro Morykit.  Guild Hall, Leicester  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.orgWith live organ accompaniment from Donald MacKenzie.  City Hall, Hull  Link

 

 


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