Date: Saturday 22 September
Films: 3.5 – Not-So-Silent Movies; The Birds; The Ring; Thundercrack!
Beverages: 2 teas, 1 water, 1 peppermint tea, 1 Guinness
Verdict: Today started brilliantly with the Not-So-Silent Movies session led by Neil Brand, introducing families and kids to the world of silent cinema. So we had clips from shorts like The (?) Motorist, The Fatal Sneeze, The Great Train Robbery, and Laurel and Hardy. The latter went down brilliantly with the children, who squealed with laughter as they hit each other and ripped people’s trousers off. Joyous.
Then it was straight in to The Birds, Hitchcock’s freaky horror from 1963. It was a revelation on the big screen, with surprising levels of tension and feathery violence. The fact there is no musical soundtrack only amplifies the suspense. Another Hitch classic.
It was the big man again later on with The Ring, his 1927 silent drama about a love triangle between two boxers and a girl who can’t choose between them. Surprisingly long – almost two hours – yet the time flew by. Neil Brand on the piano again no doubt was instrumental in this. Lightweight compared to his later works it might be, but well worth revisiting.
Finally I tried to make it through Thundercrack!, a bizarre cult item showing in the Scala Beyond strand, but despite some unintentionally hilarious dialogue and performances, I had to bail. Sleep beckoned, and there’s only so much sleaze a guy can take.