The 18th British Silent Film Festival features some stunning highlights, re-discoveries and rareties gleaned from the BFI Archive and international collections. Highlights include the British premiere of Stephen Horne’s new musical score for The Guns of Loos (1928) and Laura Rossi performing her new score to British cinema’s first epic Jane Shore (1915) at Leicester Cathedral which recently saw the reinternment of Richard III who features in the film as a key protagonist.
A missing-believed-lost early Hitchcock collaboration, the comedic Three Live Ghosts (1922) will be featured after recently being re-discovered in the Russian film archive. We’ll also have the British premiere of a brilliant new score by Bronnt Industries Kapital for the Soviet classic Arsenal (1929)
Our theme of ‘heroes and villains’ will be explored in stunning masterpieces of European cinema including Michel Strogoff, (1926) featuring the charismatic Russian star, Ivan Mosjoukine and the gorgeous Swedish films The Kingdom of Rye (Rågens Rike, 1929) and The Strongest (Den Starkaste) from Sweden. Other highlights include a rare Russian sci fi featuring early astronauts in The Cosmic Voyage (1936), a centennial look at the World in 1915 including the sinking of the Lusitania, the Gallipoli campaign and some fascinating new discoveries from the Imperial War Museum collection including the mystery of the death of Lord Kitchener. The W Plan (1930) features a star-studded cast in a tense spy-drama in which Brian Aherne, is parachuted into enemy territory.
A major theme are British films made during the transition to sound with presentations and screenings of fascinating examples of early sound: Dark Red Roses (1929) is about a mother who tries to protect her son after he’s accused of murder and features a rare performance by dancer and choreographer George Balanchine; Splinters (1929), lightens the mood, offering a fascinating insight into WWI concert parties with an amazing chorus-in-drag, and
the rediscovered sound version of the classic British sci-fi High Treason (1929) predicts many things about a future Britain including the building of the Channel Tunnel. Other early sound highlights include the beautiful Windjammer (1930), a drama-documentary about the last of the big sailing boats travelling around Cape Horn from Australia to Britain in which the cameraman tragically died en route and whose burial-at-sea forms part of the narrative.