Scotland’s first silent film festival comes to Bo’ness

Jonathan Melville 1 February, 2011 0

Sherlock Jr

Buster Keaton in Sherlock Jr

It may have been first hinted at last July, but today saw the official programme launch of the Bo’ness Hippodrome’s Festival of Silent Cinema, a weekend of rare and classic films, workshops and live musical performances coming this March.

Running from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 March, the Festival will feature movies from stars of the early 20th century such as Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy and Clara Bow.

Harold Lloyd

Harold Lloyd

The Opening Night Gala will be a screening of It starring Clara Bow, with the evening’s dress code to be 1920s glamour. The Closing Night Gala will be 1922’s Nosferatu, complete with musical accompaniment from David Allison.

Leading silent film pianist Neil Brand will bring his critically acclaimed live show, The Silent Pianist Speaks, to the Hippodrome, and he’ll also be accompanying a number of other films, including Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr, Harold Lloyd’s Never Weaken and a series of Laurel and Hardy shorts.

Other highlights of the Festival include: a selection of comedy gems from the Scottish Screen Archive; Scottish theatre company Plutôt la Vie’s Slapstick Workshop for everyone over the age of 12; and New Found Sound “ the world première of a specially commissioned soundtrack composed and performed by secondary school pupils from the Falkirk Council area.

Festival Director Alison Strauss said: ˜The whole event is designed to celebrate the magic, glamour and pure entertainment of films from the silent era.

“Our programme and the supporting events include something for all ages and we’ve made sure that the wide appeal will involve a broad range of tastes, from cinephiles to anyone discovering early film for the first time.”

The full programme and tickets for the Festival are available now via the Hippodrome website, with a variety of ticket packages available including a weekend-long Festival pass.

Read our interview with Neil Brand from August 2010, where he discusses Buster Keaton and the need for properly funded regional art house cinemas.