Les Misérables (*pg) Sun 23 April 2.00pm Barbican Cinema 1

UK premiere with live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand


We welcome pianist Neil Brand, one of the world’s leading accompanists for silent film, to Barbican Cinema 1 for what will without doubt become one of the landmark events of the 2017 UK film year. Neil will accompany Henri Fescourt’s seven hour adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. Never before screened in the UK, and known until now only in a black & white version, it will be presented in a new restoration with all the riches of the various colour techniques employed by Fescourt in 1925 (tinting, toning, and mordanting).  With its 365 chapters divided into 48 books and 5 volumes, Victor Hugo’s 1862 masterwork is perhaps the world’s most adapted novel, with upwards of 50 film adaptations since 1909, as well as innumerable stage productions, animation films, video games, and radio adaptations (including Orson Welles’ 1937 series in which he played the role of Jean Valjean). Among all these, however, it is not too much to surmise that Henri Fescourt’s 1925 version is the most faithful in every sense – to the narrative, the philosophy, the humanity, and the morality. Join us for this epic, landmark event.
France 1925-26 Dir. Henri Fescourt 397 min
For info:
·        It’s never before been screened in the UK – it’s a UK premiere
·        Only previously existed in a black & white version – now presented in a ravishing new restoration with all the original colour tints!
·        Neil Brand will be playing for 397 minutes – an epic undertaking!
·        Will be screened in 4 parts as director Henri Fescourt intended – with 3 refreshment breaks, including a one-hour dinner break between Parts 2 & 3
Barbican Cinema 1
Silk Street
Tubes: Barbican / Moorgate



King’s College London, Strand Campus, The Arthur and Paula Lucas Lecture Theatre (S-2.18)

Registration for the BSFFS 2017 is now open. Registration is £20 for one day [please specify which day], £30 for both days.

Please register at:  LINK

Tea and coffee provided morning and afternoon.


 The British Silent Film Festival affords scholars, archivists and enthusiasts the opportunity to re-asses film-making in Britain between 1895 and 1930. By bringing forgotten films out of the archive, and encouraging scholarly activity that can place those films in appropriate production and reception contexts, the festival has been the driving force behind a complete re-appraisal of what was previously an almost unknown cinema.

This two-day symposium is intended to complement the festival itself – an opportunity to consider the achievements and the key debates brought to light by the festival, and to discuss the new directions that future research may take. Highlights of the programme this year include screenings of A Lowland Cinderella (Sidney Morgan, 1921) starring Joan Morgan, in a romance set in Scotland but filmed on the English south coast, and two films not seen publically since their release – The Unsleeping Eye (Alexander Macdonald, 1928) and Empire adventure shot by a Scottish production company, and A Light Woman (Adrian Brunel, 1928) which was previously thought lost, but has now been discovered in a truncated home-market version.

The full programme of screenings and presentations is below

 THURSDAY 6th April


Welcome & Housekeeping (10 mins)

09.10: Tony Fletcher – Screening and Talk: The Transition to Sound 1925-7 (60 mins)

10.10: Rebecca Harrison – Class and the Train’s Effect: Reinvestigating the ‘Panicking Audience’

10.30: Bryony Dixon & Steve Foxon – Trainspotting Too: Reporting from the BFI’s Victorian Project

10.50: Questions

11.00-11.30 TEA BREAK


11.30: Stephen Morgan – Seismic Sturnutations: That Fatal Sneeze (1907) as Earthquake Film

11.50: Andrew Shail – The Series Character on UK Screens before the First World War

12.10: Stephen Bottomore – Caravans and Kinematographs: the origins of the public health film

12.30: SCREENING – The Fly Pest (1909) 35mm 6 min

  1. 40: Questions

13.00-14.00 LUNCH BREAK


14.00: Gerry Turvey – ‘A New Palace of Pleasure’: The Bohemia Cinema Pleasure Garden at Finchley, North London, 1912-18

14.20: Lucie Dutton MA – Maurice Elvey and Hindle Wakes: “It’s really about something – it’s about people”

14.40: Jo Botting – Adrian Brunel and the ‘missing’ film A Light Woman

15.00: SCREENING – A Light Woman (1928) DVD 25 mins [9.5mm cut-down version]

15.30-16.00 TEA BREAK


18.00: Ellen Cheshire – Making progress in re-assessing Progress Films

18.20: SCREENINGA Lowland Cinderella (1921) 35mm


FRIDAY 7th April


09.20: Jude Cowan Montague – The many voices of Gracie Fields: Sally in Our Alley (1931)

09.40: *John Ritchie – Silent Hollywood Scotland: Seeing Ourselves As Others See Us

10.00: *Sarah Neely – Tantalizing fragments: Scots language, dialect and song in the early talkies

10.20: Questions

10.30-11.00 TEA BREAK


11.00: Caroline Merz – Scotland and Empire: The Seven Seas Screen Productions

11.20: SCREENINGThe Unsleeping Eye (MacDonald, 1928) 35mm 68 mins

12.30-14.00 LUNCH BREAK


14.00: *Nyasha Sibanda – “Almost, If Not Quite, As Good as the W.E.”: On Sound Apparatus 1929-1930

14.20: *Geoff Brown – How To Lose Money In British Films: A SHAREHOLDER’S GUIDE

14.40: *Laraine Porter – ‘Avoiding a disaster attaching to a stampede’; the CEA and the reluctance of British cinemas to wire for sound

15.00: *John Izod – The Empowering of British Cinema Operators, 1927-33

15.20: Questions

15.30-16.00 TEA BREAK


16.00: Christina Hink – Machine Aesthetics in The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands (1927)

16.20: Pamela Hutchinson – Pandora’s Box (1929) Lulu’s ‘misadventures’ in London

16.40: Chris O’ Rourke: ‘The Worst Kind of American Sensationalism’: Selling Stardom in the 1922 Daily Sketch Contest

17.00: Bryony Dixon, Laraine Porter – plenary and final discussion

*indicates that speakers are part of the ‘British Silent Cinema and the Transition to Sound 1927-1932’ research project co-ordinated at De Montfort University, Leicester and the Univeristy of Stirling, and funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.




Metropolis (1927)

Wednesday 22 March at 7pm
St Mary de Castro Church, 
Castle Street, Leicester,  LE1 5WN

With live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne
All tickets £6 including a free drink


To marks its 90th anniversary year, we are holding a candlelit screening of Fritz Lang’s epic science-fiction drama in the unique Gothic setting of Leicester’s beautiful, medieval St Mary de Castro church. Enjoy this fully-restored version with live musical accompaniment from world-class musician Stephen Horne. The ticket price includes a complimentary drink, but you will need to bring your own cushion!
Screening in conjunction with DMU Local
All profits from the evening will go towards much-needed renovations at St Mary de Castro Church and the reinstatement of its iconic spire!

Tickets from Phoenix Cinema 0116 2422800

The Battle of the Somme (1916)

Saturday 1 Oct at 7.30pm – Leicester Cathedral

Silent film with live music by Laura Rossi. Performed by Leicester Symphony Orchestra

Tickets £10/£7 concs. available from Leicester Cathedral Shop, www.phoenix.org.uk, Leicesterso@hotmail.co.uk



Presented by DMU Local in association with the British Silent Film Festival as part of Somme100.

Film courtesy of Imperial War Museum.  All proceeds to LOROS and DMU Square Mile India Charities



For more information on Somme1000 see: www.Somme100film.com

Silent Cinema and the Transition to Sound

Dates of EventImageServerup
23rd May 2016 – 24th May 2016
Last Booking Date for this Event
24th May 2016
Two-day colloquium.


The transition from silent to synchronised sound cinema in Britain between 1927 and 1933 was a period which changed British cinema as both industry and art form forever, but which has largely been overlooked by cinema historians.

This colloquium will examine the arrival of sound across the industry in terms of economics, employment, technology and infrastructure, as well as the shift in film form and style including its impact on production, distribution, exhibition, reception and critique. We invite papers from a range of disciplines that help to advance our understanding of the film industry during this tumultuous period when studios and cinemas were forced to re-equip and reinvest, when stars and creative personnel faced considerable turmoil and when British cinema’s relationship with non-Anglophone countries, particularly in Europe, was to change forever.

To Book:https://shop.stir.ac.uk/myaccount/?modid=2&compid=1



On 28-29th April 2016, at Kings College London


The British Silent Filunnamedm Festival affords scholars, archivists and enthusiasts the opportunity to re-asses film-making in Britain between 1895 and 1930. By bringing forgotten films out of the archive, and encouraging scholarly activity that can place those films in appropriate production and reception contexts, the festival has been the driving force behind a complete re-appraisal of what was previously an almost unknown cinema.

This one-day symposium is intended to complement the festival itself – an opportunity to consider the achievements and the key debates brought to light by the festival, and to discuss the new directions that future research may take.

200 word proposals for 15 minute papers are invited on any aspect of film-making and film-going in Britain from 1895-1930. We encourage submissions from early career researchers and independent scholars, and this year especially welcome papers which respond to the themes of the most recent festival, and the current AHRB project on ‘British Silent Cinema and the Transition to Sound’.

Proposals should be submitted by March 29th to Lawrence.1.Napper@kcl.ac.uk

A big thank-you and a little light reading…

Thanks to all for coming to the 18th British Silent Film Festival a fantastic event with near flawless organisation – see Silent London for excellent coverage of films, events and general goings-on


We will be bringing you more British silents news when we have a mo but in the meantime news from our good friends David Cleveland and Brian Pritchard whose magnum opus is newly available – a colossal (literally) labour of love How Films Were Made, which no self respective silent film fan should be without.

see here

How Films Were Made


The 18th British Silent Film Festival Brochure

18th British Silent Film Festival_PRINT-0

The 18th British Silent Film Festival brochure is now ready. If you would like a copy in advance of the Festival please email lporter@dmu.ac.uk with your mailing details and we will post a copy out.

Or see link below for a pdf copy:


Highlights of 2015 British Silent Film Festival -Sept 10-13


The Guns of Loos (1928)

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)


Michel Strogoff (1926)

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.

The W Plan

The W Plan (1930)

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


Dark Red Roses (1929)

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.

British Silent Film Festival 10-13 September 2015


Jane Shore (1915)

The British Silent Film Festival returns to Leicester with classic silent cinema. We’ll be looking at heroes, from thrilling swashbuckling adventurers, to early astronauts, from heroes of the football pitch, to the quiet heroes of the War a hundred years ago. We’ll also be looking at British silent cinema in transition with some of the last of the silent and first sound films produced. Richard III, (hero or anti-hero) makes an appearance in early British feature Jane Shore , and a programme filled with rarities, new discoveries, funny, serious, sad or just plain interesting accompanied by the world’s leading silent cinema musicians.

This years festival will take place at the Phoenix, Leicester.

Bookings available from 1 August


%d bloggers like this: