Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Lancaster Silent Movie & Classic Film Cub 2017 Film Screenings Announced

The Blot, a 1921 film, launches the 2017 screenings from Lancaster Silent Movie & Classic Film Club

The Lancaster Silent Movie & Classic Film Cub has announced its screenings for 2017, which will all take place at the Gregson Centre on Moorgate.

Their 2017 screenings begin on Tuesday 17th January with The Blot, an American silent drama film directed by Lois Weber with her husband Phillips Smalley in 1921. Weber also co-wrote and produced the film. 

The film tackles the social problem of genteel poverty, focusing on a struggling family and stars Philip Hubbard, Margaret McWade, Claire Windsor and Louis Calhern.

Weber filmed in real locations, using as much natural lighting as possible. Scenes were filmed on location around Los Angeles, particularly at the old University of Los Angeles campus, now Los Angeles City College. Many supporting roles were given to non-professionals.

The Blot was restored by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill for British television. Brownlow singles out the film for praise in his book Behind the Mask of Innocence, published in 1990. 

The 2017 Lancaster Silent Movie & Classic Film Cub screenings continue with:

Tuesday 21st February 2017: The Last Laugh

Tuesday 21st March 2017: The Student Prince

Tuesday 18th April 2017:  Buster Keaton night (films to be decided)

Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton was an American actor, director, producer, writer, and stunt performer, best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression, earning him the nickname "The Great Stone Face." 

Critic Roger Ebert wrote of Keaton's "extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929, [when] he worked without interruption on a series of films that make him, arguably, the greatest actor–director in the history of the movies". 

His career declined afterward with a dispiriting loss of his artistic independence when he was hired by MGM, which resulted in a crippling alcoholism that ruined his family life. He recovered in the 1940s, remarried, and revived his career to a degree as an honoured comic performer for the rest of his life, earning an Academy Honorary Award in 1959.

Many of Keaton's films from the 1920s, such as Sherlock Jr. (1924), The General (1926), and The Cameraman (1928), remain highly regarded, with the second of these three widely viewed as his masterpiece. Among its strongest admirers was Orson Welles, who stated that The General was cinema's highest achievement in comedy, and perhaps the greatest film ever made. 

Tuesday 9th May 2017: Die Nibelungen (The Ring Cycle) Part One (Siegfried)

Tuesday 16th May 2017: Die Nibelungen (The Ring Cycle) Part Two (Kriemhild's Revenge)

Tuesday 20th June 2017: It

Starring Clara Bow, the 1927 film It is a 1927 silent romantic comedy film telling the story of a shop girl who sets her sights on the handsome and wealthy boss of the department store where she works. It's based on a novella by Elinor Glyn that was originally serialised in Cosmopolitan magazine.

This film turned actress Clara Bow into a major star, and led people to label her the "It girl".

The picture was considered lost for many years, but a nitrate-copy was found in Prague in the 1960s. In 2001, It was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Tuesday 11th July 2017: Noah's Ark

Tuesday 15th August 2017: The Chessplayer

The Chess Player (Le Joueur d'échecs) is a 1927 French silent film directed by Raymond Bernard and based on a novel by Henry Dupuy-Mazuel. It is a historical drama set in the late 18th century during the Russian domination of Polish Lithuania, and elements of the plot are drawn from the story of the chess-playing automaton known as The Turk.

Tuesday 19th September 2017: Blood And Sand

Blood and Sand is a 1922 American silent drama film produced by Paramount Pictures, directed by Fred Niblo and starring Rudolph Valentino, Lila Lee and Nita Naldi. It was based on the 1909 Spanish novel Sangre y arena  by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez and the play version of the book by Thomas Cushing.

Tuesday 17th October 2017: Häxan

Häxan is a 1922 Swedish-Danish documentary-style silent horror film (known as The Witches or Witchcraft Through the Ages in English) written and directed by Benjamin Christensen. 

Based partly on Christensen's study of the Malleus Maleficarum, a 15th-century German guide for inquisitors, Häxan is a study of how superstition and the misunderstanding of diseases and mental illness could lead to the hysteria of the witch-hunts. The film was made as a documentary but contains dramatised sequences that are comparable to horror films.

With Christensen's meticulous recreation of medieval scenes and the lengthy production period, the film was the most expensive Scandinavian silent film ever made, costing nearly two million Swedish kronor. But although it won acclaim in Denmark and Sweden, the film was banned in the United States and heavily censored in other countries for what were considered at that time graphic depictions of torture, nudity, and sexual perversion.

Tuesday 21st November 2017: Madame DuBarry

Tuesday19th December 2017: A Collection of Short Comedies

• All Lancaster Silent Movie & Classic Film Cub screenings start at 7.30pm The Gregson Centre, 33 Moorgate, Moor Lane, Lancaster, LA1 3PY. Admission is free but donations towards running costs of the Club are welcome on the door. 

• Club page on Facebook: facebook.com/groups/1480997082154381

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