Silent Films on the Big Screen.

I recently saw the 1928 film Underground with a live musical score by HarmonieBand at HOME.  The film explores a love triangle that forms on the London Underground when two men are attracted to the same woman. I really enjoyed this film with its live musical accompaniment, it was pretty impressive to see the band as 2 of the members were constantly switching instruments. The film itself was directed by Anthony Asquith and whilst telling a love story it documented the London Underground system in the late 1920s.


I absolutely loved Underground, It did the usual love triangle plot device of the rejected man framing the chosen man and making him look unfaithful but rather than doing what I expected and the chosen man trying to seek redemption and win back the protagonist she believed him, trusted him and took it upon herself to seek out what really happened. The cinematography of the escalators and underground trains was brilliant and very familiar despite being shot in 1929.

Earlier in the year there was a special screening of The Son of The Sheik (1926), as part of the season of films exploring sex and sexuality. Valentino, one of the first cinematic sex symbols stars in this film sequel about the son of a sheik and a dancing girl falling in love, he then seeks revenge due to believing she has betrayed him.


Now, The Son of The Sheik was a film I didn’t quite like as much as Underground. It was a massive cliche of the silent film era, dashing hero, helpless love interest, lots of riding around on horses, that kind of thing. I did enjoy it simply because it was such a cliche film meaning it was hilarious in places and was exactly what you would expect a film like this to be.

I think it’s brilliant that I have been able to see silent films at the cinema, especially with live musical accompaniment, it really brings the films to life and showcases work that isn’t always accessible. I know I for one would love to see more films from that era so I hope cinemas continue to do events like this!


Make More Noise! Suffragettes in Silent Film Review.

On the 29th of October there was a special screening at HOME in Manchester of the BFI’s Make More Noise! Suffragettes in Silent Film with a live piano accompaniment by Lillian Henley as part of Britain on Film.
morenoiseMake More Noise! inspired by the words of Emmeline Pankhurst featured 20 short silent films that were a mix of newsreel footage (Including the death of Emily Wilding Davison at the 1913 Derby) and comedic shorts from the time period. There was a brief description of the clip before it played giving some context and history to what we were about to view, the newsreel footage playing chronologically depicting suffragettes meeting in 1910 right through to women munition workers in 1917.

Although, not always picturing suffragettes explicitly the funny short silent films broke up what could have been a long series of factual information. My personal favourites were the funny Tilly shorts which pictured two mischievous sisters and were released between 1910-1915 (One of which can be partly seen below).

I really enjoyed this event! Lillian Henley’s live piano soundtrack was great, and if you get the chance to see this whilst it is touring you should check it out.