rarities from the Archive Film Agency
Dir: Various, UK,
A selection of comedies and drama from the 1910s and early 1920s, recently digitised from nitrate originals by the Archive Film Agency and unseen in the UK for decades. A Merry Night is a drunken comedy with some disorientating special effects, The Nervous Curate and The Curate’s Double both feature hapless clergymen, always good for a joke as are henpecked husbands in Mr O’Kelly Takes His Missus to Southend. Part II of the programme changes tone and features H.B Parkinson’s 1922 A Tale of Two Cities with Clive Brook in an early role and Fred Paul’s 1921 The Oath made as part of the Grande Guignol series.
Below are just some of the films that we will be screening as part of the 20th British Silent Film Festival at the Phoenix in Leicester. We will post the final programme on the site once all films have been confirmed. More information to follow.
Comradeship (Maurice Elvey,UK, 1919)
One of the first British films made after the Armistice and the first produced by the Stoll Company. Comradeship covers the sweep of WWI on the home front and battlefield, on class relations, the role of women and the plight of wounded soldiers returning to civilian life. It was also one of the first films screen as part of the 1st BSFF in 1998. Starring Guy Newell, Gerald Ames and Lily Elsie. Introduced by Maurice Elvey expert Lucie Dutton.
Tell Me Tonight ( Anatole Litvak, UK/Ger, 1933)
An engaging musical comedy, starring Magda Schneider and Jan Kiepura, set in Switzerland and based around the popular song of the title. German star, Magda Schneider plays the local Mayor’s daughter and Kiepura , a famous Italian tenor who exchanges places with a fugitive in order to escape the limelight for a time. Tell Me Tonight was a German co-production, this time filmed in UFA’s Babelsberg Studios and directed by the talented Anatole Litvak. An engaging musical comedy set in Switzerland and based around the popular song of the title. German star, Magda Schneider plays the local Mayor’s daughter and Kiepura , a famous Italian tenor who exchanges places with a fugitive in order to escape the limelight for a time.
The Runaway Princess (Anthony Asquith and Fritz Wenhausen, UK/Ger, 1928)
A British –German co-production based on Elizabeth Russell’s 1905 riches-to-rags novel, Princess Priscilla’s Fortnight. Starring Mady Christians, Paul Cavanagh and Fred Rains . Christians stars as the lonely Ruritanian princess, betrothed to a man she has never met, who runs away to London with her professor (Rains) to escape her arranged marriage and meets the handsome detective sent in pursuit!
We have managed to negotiate the same prices as 2017 – see below for details.
TICKET INFORMATION Festival 5-day pass £110 / £90 concs / £90 Under 25 Festival 1-day pass £40 / £35 concs / £35 Under 25 5 Day Passes include tickets to all screenings and events, Single Day Passes include tickets to screenings and events on the chosen day. All passes include lunch and refreshments each day.
The 20th British Silent Film Festival will again take place at the Phoenix Cinema here in Leicester from 11-15 September. This year’s festival will celebrate the centenary of the birth of the Weimar Republic – specifically German Expressionist cinema and its global influence between 1919 and 1932, particularly on British film.
We are fortunate here in Leicester to have the foremost collection of Expressionist art outside Germany, held at the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, which where we’ll also be screening films to draw links between film and the other arts. See the website for more details of the exhibition.
Other highlights include Neil Brand presenting Laurel and Hardy, a programme of Victorian short films restored to their former breath-taking glory, early horror films like The Phantom of the Moulin Rouge, an early Anthony Asquith gem, The Runaway Princess, the stunning Battle for the Matterhorn (Der Kampf ums Matterhorn), based on the true story of Edward Whymper’s first ascent of the Matterhorn and Tell Me Tonight, a 1932 British musical comedy, which was co-production between Gainsborough Pictures and the German firm Cine-Allianz. We will also be screening the German comedy The Oyster Princess (Die Austernprinzessin), directed by Ernst Lubitsch.
Further details of films and the full programme will be posted later.
Festival tickets, day and full passes will shortly be available from Phoenix Cinema: 0116 2422800
As part of the centenary commemorations Neil Brand, composer, author, presenter (Radio 4’s Film Programme and BBC4’s ‘Sound of…’ series) and historian of early film and WW1 introduces and accompanies this fascinating programme of films, music, stories and readings from the pivotal year of 1918.
Joined onstage by readers, he invites us into a lost world of wartime activity on the Western and Home fronts – while the soldiers attempt to break the deadlock with the disastrous Battle of the Somme and the first appearance of “The Wonder Weapon”, The Tank, their wives and families at home are struggling to keep the home fires burning, ‘making do and mending’ and learning to create luxurious suet puddings from potatoes, as recommended by Henry Edwards and Chrissie White, the Brangelina of their day.
This is a free event organised as part of DMU Local, to book a ticket please email: firstname.lastname@example.org giving your name/s and stating ‘1918’ in the subject line
Organised in association with the British Silent Film Festival and Film Tramp
After five days of films, music, research, conversation, sandwiches and coffee, the 19th British Silent Film Festival has drawn to a close. We had a wonderful time and we’d like to thank the staff of the Phoenix Arts Centre in Leicester for their warm welcome and their awesome technical skills.
If you have been following the festival on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll have seen the that screenings prompted lots of discussion online. If you haven’t, or you’d like a recap, here’s a flavour of what people were saying about the festival:
Had a simply marvellous time in Leicester for the #bsff17. Good for the soul. Star of the show was undoubtedly Betty Balfour. Here's to her! pic.twitter.com/beAIXJ9rVi
Anders als die Andern (Different from the Others, 1919)
Silent cinema began in the Victorian era and faded away at the end of roaring twenties, just before the repeal of prohibition in America. So silent films were made in the context of around four decades of social change. It was a time in which women fought for the vote, workers campaigned for greater rights, the world went to war, the Russian empire fell, the aeroplane was invented, the motorcar drove horses off our streets, factories built assembly lines, radio waves circled the globe, and attitudes to sex, and censorship went through revolutions.
When we talk about early 1930s Hollywood cinema, we call that period pre-Code: the last few wild years before William Hays’s MPDDA regulations about sex, violence, religion, race, drugs and alcohol were rigorously enforced on screen. Effectively all silent cinema is pre-Code, but that doesn’t mean that “anything went”. Hollywood studios practised some severe self-censorship in the early 1920s, following a few lurid scandals, and while 19th-century morality was not quite as prudish as it has been painted, early cinema was generally more coy about sex than films of today. But that is not the full story …