SILENT LAUGHTER WEEKEND 2018 - MARCH 10th & 11th
PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME, SUBJECT TO ALTERATION :
10am THE NIGHT CLUB (1925)
A silent feature-length comedy starring Raymond Griffith, whose surviving films are few but which delight audiences at festivals around the world (as with his Paths to Paradise and Hands Up! at previous KB screenings). Contemporary critics made such comments as `Comedy along all lines from subtle wit, through burlesque to slapstick, and in every style he gets the laughs’ and `The picture is crammed with gags, most of them new’ ... and with more than a nod towards Harold Lloyd’s Why Worry? (shown at our comedy weekend last year). We defy anyone to see a connection between the title and the film! Introduced by Kevin Brownlow - who perhaps will explain!
11.30am THE BRITISH ARE COMING!
Tony Fletcher introduces a selection of 1920s British comedies, including Adrian Brunel’s glorious spoof travelogue CROSSING THE GREAT SAGRADA, A.A. Milne’s BOOKWORMS starring Leslie Howard, also Variety legend Leslie Sarony singing a comic song or two in a rare DeForest Phonofilm, one of the pioneering British-made talkies that predate Hitchcock’s Blackmail.
2pm CHARLEY CHASE
Matthew Ross highlights the career of Charley Chase, a brilliant, influential and – at least until relatively recent years - overlooked comedian and director of the 1920s and 1930s. A master of both the sight gag and situational humour, this selection of prime Chase comedies will conclude with one of his funniest silent shorts.
3.35pm A PERFECT GENTLEMAN (1928)
Monty Banks is perhaps best remembered today for having married (and directed) Gracie Fields, something which has unjustly eclipsed his career as a star comedian in shorts and features (his 1927 film Flying Luck opened our comedy day last November). In this, one of his best starring roles, Banks gets involved in tracking down a stolen fortune, his adventures culminating in a whirlwind, gag-filled climax at sea.
5.15pm KEATON CLASSICS
Following our 100th anniversary celebration of Buster Keaton’s film career in last November’s comedy day, we are delighted to present a programme of classic Keaton material. Noted Keaton authors David Robinson, Kevin Brownlow and David Macleod reveal their favourites and researcher Polly Rose illustrates some of her new discoveries about Buster’s 1924 feature Sherlock Jr.
8pm EXIT SMILING (1926)
Renowned stage comedienne Beatrice Lillie – a Canadian-born British star whose reputation spanned both continents - made regrettably few films. Fortunately one of these is the 1926 MGM feature Exit Smiling, produced and directed by one of Harold Lloyd’s key associates, Sam Taylor. `Bea’ Lillie – as she was often known – plays Violet, the dogsbody for a travelling theatrical troupe who harbours ambitions to act – or, as a title card informs us, has played `Nothing’ in Much Ado About Nothing! A true classic, introduced by Michelle Facey.
10am LAME BRAINS AND LUNATICS
Our thanks to American author Steve Massa, who has selected some of the `good, the bad and the forgotten’ silent clowns from his book bearing the same title as this programme. Assisting his presentation from this side of the pond will be Dave Glass, to whom we also offer thanks. Can you afford to miss Al St.John, Toto, Marcel Perez or Lige Conley? (Don’t answer that!)
11.35am SEVEN YEARS BAD LUCK (1921)
After his early successes as a star of Pathé comedies in his native France, Max Linder made two forays into American film-making. Our recent Silent Laughter Saturday included examples from both visits, Max Wants a Divorce (1917) and Be My Wife (1921), the latter representing part of a series of features produced and directed personally by Linder. In Seven Years Bad Luck, perhaps the best of these, the fun starts when Max’s butler breaks a full-length mirror. Bad luck seemingly ensues as Max escapes the police, unwittingly hiding in a lion’s cage. In addition to Seven Years Bad Luck, the programme will include a recently discovered Max Linder short from 1910, Les Effects des Pilules. Introduced by David Robinson.
2pm WE'RE IN THE NAVY NOW (1926)
As immediate memories of the Great War began to fade, Hollywood began to tackle the subject with dramas – notably 1925’s The Big Parade – and service comedies, usually – though not necessarily always - set during that war. One of the comedy hits of 1926 was Paramount’s Behind the Front, directed by A. Edward Sutherland, with Wallace Beery and Raymond Hatton unwittingly joining the Army; so successful was it that the same trio swiftly embarked on a perhaps superior sequel, We’re In the Navy Now, which in turn sparked a further film in 1927, Now We’re in the Air. The last of these survives in a version running less than half of its original running time; the first two seem to be around only in the slightly abridged 16mm Kodascope versions, one of which is the source for today’s print. Presented by Kevin Brownlow.
3.35pm SO YOU WON’T TALK (1935)
Continuing from yesterday’s screening of A Perfect Gentleman, here’s a chance to see silent comedian Monty Banks in a rarely-shown British talkie - except he doesn’t talk (mostly!). In what may have been a means of translating his silent comedy methods into the talkie era, the plot sees Banks becoming weary of all the chatter surrounding him and, in order to win a bet, guaranteeing not to talk. Cue lots of silent comedy as complications ensue ...
ALTERNATIVE 3.35pm PROGRAMME: WE’RE IN THE NAVY NOW (1926) introduced by Kevin Brownlow
5.15pm NOISY SILENTS
Some silent comedies have always looked as though they were intended to have soundtracks, even though none were provided at the time; these examples, including films starring Harry Langdon, Our Gang and Laurel and Hardy will be provided with the extra sound accompaniment we feel they need - in the final case, we hope, by the audience. Hosted by musician and composer Neil Brand.
8.00pm ROY HUDD
We are delighted to welcome comedian, actor and writer Roy Hudd, who will be in conversation with former News Huddlines writer – and Kennington Bioscope regular – Glenn Mitchell. As with their previous shows at the Cinema Museum, Roy and Glenn will be discussing and screening clips of great comedians from film, theatre and television. This time the emphasis is expected to be on essentially visual humour ... but we’ll wait and see what they come up with!
9.45pm Roy Hudd talk concludes with THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY
10.00pm Approx. CLOSE