Early & Silent Film

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Reel Silent Film Screenings

This page is a listing of silent film screenings offering 35mm prints, or occasionally 16mm prints, across Britain: that is England, Scotland and Wales: and also some Film Festivals abroad. This is to help people who suffer the same frustrations of myself; rarely seeing early films in their original format and as intended. If you know of such screenings please send details to; keith1942@mail.com


The Love Expert 1920

Directed by David Kirkland. 35mm BFI print. Starring Constance Talmadge, John Halliday, Natalie Talmadge, Arnold Lucy and written by John Emerson and Anita Loos. The film’s production company was Constance Talmadge Film Co.; a John Emerson-Anita Loos Production.

At The Kennington Bioscope on Wednesday March 29th 2023 at 7.30 p.m. with live piano accompaniments and accompanying shrt titles.

The Afterlight 2021

This is a compilation film of 35mm fragments in black and white and academy ratio. There are hundreds of brief sequences: some repeated: some silent: some with sound: in fourteen or so different languages: mostly with English subtitles: and featuring stars from nearly all the substantive cinemas. This is the only 35mm print, so it will gradually acquire the scars of projection.

A fascinating journey of cinematic pleasure. This screening at the Showroom on March 2nd at 6 p.m. 


Oliver Twist, USA 1922

Lon Chaney plays Fagin in this silent version. Jackie Coogan plays Oliver and the film came from Jackie Coogan productions. It runs just under ninety minutes and is presented from a 16mm print with live musical accompaniment. March 1st at 7.30 p.m.



Siegfried, Germany 1924 plus Sunkissed

Julia Vogl has produced her latest opus Sunkissed using her own developed method of silkscreen printing on to clear 35mm film. She will introduce her short film and on this occasion we will be screening the original 35mm film.

Siegfried (1924). 16mm print, German with English titles. Produced by Erich Pommer for Decla-Bioscop and UFA. Directed by Fritz Lang. Written by Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou. Cinematography by Carl Hoffmann, Günther Rittau, and Walter Ruttmann. This is a print of the USA release version. Piano accompaniment for both films will be performed by Costas Fotopoulos.

Wednesday 11th January 2023 at 19:30

Kennington Bioscope Sixth Silent Weekend

BFI 35mm Silents From Bologna – A recent BFI presentation at Bologna headed by Zigomar, peau d’anguille (France 1913) directed by Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset. Léon Sazie’s adventure serial Zigomar appeared in Paris-based newspaper Le Matin from 7 December 1909 to 22 May 1910. After this daily publication, it was also published as a brochure by the publisher Ferenczi, with catchy cover art drawn by Georges Vallée. Appearing every Wednesday at the newsstand, Sazie’s Zigomar became one of the most popular serials of this period and this popularity caused the appearance of the similar picaresque serials such as Fantômas by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre. Preceding Zigomar will be The Ingenious Soubrette (France 1902) and Ali Baba et les Quarante Voleurs (France 1902), transferred from hand-coloured nitrate, both directed by Ferdinand Zecca. Piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.

The Wedding March (1928) – Photoplay 35mm print – A bittersweet look back at pre-World War I Vienna, made by its native son, Erich Von Stroheim. The Wedding March is a tour-de-force in its modern acting, engaging story and sure direction from the top director-screenwriter of the 20th century. Von Stroheim, who later acted in Sunset Boulevard, La Grand Illusion and other classics, took acting roles in only three of his own films, of which this is one. Prince Nikki, of The Wedding March is his most complete and complex character, a man caught between cynicism and romance, between true love and physical desire. Fay Wray, as Mitzi, gives the best performance of her career, five years before her best-remembered role in King Kong. The story – a member of royalty in love with a poor commoner – had been tried before but has such twists, insights, and realism that the Russian film school, at the time, used The Wedding March as the template screenplay for its students as a model of perfection. The original release suffered commercially from the emerging competition of talking pictures but it has since gained appreciation as not just a superb example of silent cinema but one of the best films of all time. Piano accompaniment by Cyrus Garbysch.

Both titles screen on the Saturday.

The Lure of Crooning Water (1920) – BFI 35mm print – This 1920 British comedy, one of several rural romances directed by Arthur Rooke, features Guy Newall, Ivy Duke and Hugh Buckler and was adapted from a novel by Marion Hill. Georgette Verlaine (Duke) is a favourite stage actress whom Dr. John Longden (Buckler) persuades to recuperate in the country because her lifestyle is ruining her health. He is in love with her and selects a pretty place called `Crooning Water’ where she stays with Horace Dornblazer (Newall), his wife Rachel (Dibley), and their three children. The fact that there is one man who does not fall for her smiles drives Georgette to try and win the admiration of Horace. Piano accompaniment by Colin Sell.

Die Heimkehr des Odysseus/The Death Cheat  (Germany 1922) – BFI 35mm print – Directed by Max Obal with Luciano Albertini, Claire Lotto, Heinrich Schroth. The film’s sets were designed by the art director Hans Sohnle. The muscular, buoyant Luciano Albertini had first been a circus artist before turning to films as an actor, producer and director, first in Italy then in Germany where his Latin appeal made German ladies swoon. By 1920, Albertini’s feats of strength and circus acrobatics were already an established factory brand. The public knew exactly what they were getting when they entered the cinema: breathless action. The plots constructed around this basic principle were always of secondary importance to what was a winning formula. Piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.

These two titles screen on the Sunday.

Adam Bede, Britain 1918

A few years ago, Sheffield collector Christopher Wibberley came across a 16mm copy of Maurice Elvey’s 1918 adaptation of Adam Bede. The film had been presumed lost, except for one ten-minute reel in the National Film Archive.

Elvey was a prolific director, making nearly two hundred films, including Hindle Wakes, Palais de Danse, and High Treason. Adam Bede is one of his earliest films. It survives in a tinted 16mm copy which has been digitally preserved in the National Film Archive. Christopher will project the film in 16mm for this screening – the first public showing for more than half a century.

Sunday, 23 October 2022      14:30 15:30

Yellow Arch Studios 30-36 Burton Road Sheffield, England, S3 8BX

Apparently the only actual film screening in the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.

Le Giornate de Cinema Muto

This years silent film festival runs from October 1st until October 8th; screening in the new Verdi Theatre in Pordenone. There will be 36 feature titles with nine of these being on 35mm. And there will be 153 short titles with seventeen of these being on 35mm. There are an increasing number of early films presented in digital transfer but still an amount of early films presented on 35mm safety film stock. And all of the titles in the programme are presented with live musical accompaniment.

The complete programme is now available on the Giornate webpages.



Wed 28 Sep 2022 @ 19:30 · Events

Thin Ice / Bergenstoget plyndret i natt (1928). This is screened from a BFI 35mm print.

Bergenstoget plyndret i natt translates as The Bergen Train Looted Last Night and was adapted by Alf Rød from the 1923 novel of that name written by Nordahl Grieg and Nils Lie under the joint pseudonym `Jonathan Jerv’. Directed by Uwe Jens Krafft and with German actors Aud Egede-Nissen and Paul Richter in the leading roles, Thin Ice is the story of a student embarking on a daring raid on a train passing through the mountain scenery from Oslo to Bergen. His motivation: having obtained a job as advertising executive with the railway company and seeking the hand of the boss’s daughter, he hopes to confirm his chances with both by staging the robbery – but is this merely a publicity stunt, or something more? The extensive Norwegian outdoor scenes were photographed by Paul Berge and Johannes Bentzen; interiors were shot by Günther Krampf in the EFA and UFA studios in Berlin. Thin Ice was Norway’s first true attempt at an international film success and fulfilled its promise; even without promotion over 100,000 Norwegian cinemagoers saw the film, which was subsequently exported to 11 countries.

The first part of the evening will feature a screening of Ménilmontant (1925), an avant-garde French film directed by Dimitri Kirsanoff. Its narrative develops solely through images and montage, without the support of sound or title cards. Ménilmontant tells the story of two young sisters who leave their country home in the wake of their parents’ brutal murder, and settle in the eponymous working-class Parisian neighbourhood where they fall prey to the ruthless seduction of a young man. The film is notable for its use of double exposure, the depiction of disorienting urban landscapes via very rapid cutting, as well as for the brutality of the opening and closing scenes. This will be screened from a 16mm print from The Cinema Museum’s collection.

Colin Sell will be providing live piano accompaniment for Ménilmontant and John Sweeney will be playing for Thin Ice.

Saturday June 25th at 7.30 p.m.

Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna, Italy.

Coincidentally June 25th is the opening day of this fine week-long archive festival, a definite treat for those able to travel. The Festival offers a wide variety of films and titles from both the silent and sound eras. There are several cinemas,  a programme of over 300 titles, and usually a fair number of films presented in 35mm prints. The silent titles nearly always have musical accompaniment. There is even a screening using a traditional carbon arc projector.

There are sessions which offer presentations and discussion on titles screened at the Festival. Many of these can be foun d on YouTube under Il Cinema Ritrovato.

From June 25th until July 3rd.

Phil-for-Short, USA 1919.

Director Oscar Apfel with Evelyn Greeley, Hugh Thompson, Charles Walcott, 81min. Oscar Apfel’s Phil-for-Short was described in the 2021 Pordenone festival catalogue as ‘a rollicking burlesque about an improbable romance between a cross-dressing spitfire and an avowed “woman-hater,” who are both Greek professors at a co-ed college in New Jersey’. Our cheeky heroine’s name, Damophilia (hence Phil for short – ‘better than Damn’), is from a poem by Sappho, who is the muse for this gender-bending farce scripted by Clara Beranger. 35mm print courtesy of The Library of Congress, with live piano accompaniment.

National Film Theatre 1 on Sunday 17th July at 1.10 p.m.


%d bloggers like this: