The return of The Dodge Brothers, a newly commissioned soundtrack for Ozu’s Japanese gangster noir Dragnet Girl and Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Brownlow introducing his documentary on legendary star Lon Chaney are just some of the highlights of the fourth annual Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema, taking place from Wednesday 12 to Sunday 16 March.
With 13 events across five days, the Festival boasts everything from glamorous gala screenings to hands-on workshops. The only silent film festival in the country, the screenings are bought to life with a stunning range of live soundtracks, performed by a variety of renowned musicians from across Europe.
The Festival opens on Wednesday 12 March with the Oscar-winning filmmaker, author and historian Kevin Brownlow, who will be introducing his documentary, Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces, on the big screen. Famed for his pioneering make-up techniques and the physical contortions he deployed in his performances, Chaney was once celebrated as cinema’s most versatile and accomplished character actor.
World-famous improvising pianist, composer and broadcaster Neil Brand accompanies a rare screening of the 1929 romantic drama, Lucky Star (Friday 14 March), while the Jeely Jar Saturday morning screening (Saturday 15 March) features Buster Keaton’s The Blacksmith, including a recently discovered alternate final reel, alongside two unsung comedy heroes of the silent screen- the anarchic and inventive Charley Bowers and master of the comedy-of-embarrassment Charley Chase.
The Dodge Brothers (featuring film critic Mark Kermode) are back, using their toe-tapping blend of rockabilly and skiffle as a dream soundtrack to the Louise Brooks romantic caper, 1928’s Beggars of Life (Thursday 13 March).
Other events include the first Scottish performance by The Aljoscha Zimmermann Ensemble with 1924’s Der Letzte Mann (The Last Laugh) on Saturday 15 March; composer Jane Gardner creating and performing an exclusive new score for Yasujirô Ozu’s take on the American gangster genre Dragnet Girl (Hijôsen No Onna) (Saturday 15 March); and Stirlingshire-born John Grierson’s groundbreaking interpretation of a herring drifter’s journey Drifters, features a live vocal soundtrack from top UK beatboxer, Jason Singh.
Tickets for all events are on sale now from www.hippfest.co.uk or by calling the Hippodrome Box Office on 01324 506850.