Midweek Matinee

MetropolisFestival News

If you’re passing through Colorado this month, perhaps unveiling a statue to Denver natives Myrtle and Lincoln Stedman, you should spend some time in Estes Park. In the first and third weekends of August, the beautiful Park Theatre will host films by Chaplin, Keaton, Arbuckle and other heroes of the silent era. Music will be provided by the improvising pianist Jordan McBeen.

 Park Theatre Colorado

The Park Theatre itself is no stranger to silent films. It opened in 1913, and will have shown some of these comic gems the first time around. Its distinctive tower, added in 1926, is a beloved local landmark. So if you’re curious to find out more about the theatre, and the festival, follow the link here: http://www.historicparktheatre.com

 Old Irish Cinema

Can any cinema in Ireland claim over a century of unbroken use?

Stedman & Myrtle Myrtle and Lincoln Stedman

Interested in Myrtle and Lincoln Stedman and knowing a bit more? Well then follow the link below:

www.earlysilentfilm.blogspot.ie

Posted by Kevin McGee

 

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Midweek Matinee

Silent But Deadly: The Dawn of the Martial Arts Film

Greed

Ask a film buff for the longest silent movie ever made. Chances are, you’ll get the answer Greed. Erich Von Stroheim’s self-proclaimed master-work was the nine-hour tale of a young California miner who turns to dentistry, marries, wins the lottery, and ends up handcuffed to a dead man in the Nevada desert.

Erich von Stroheim

It was an extraordinary piece of work, as far as we can tell. Stroheim‘s script survives, as does the novel it was based on. Much of the footage has been lost, however. The best that can be seen now is a heavily-chopped copy. Even at two hours, it is occasionally a punishing experience. But how many works of narrative art could survive so well the loss of three-quarters of their length?

The Burning of the Red Lotus

It was nowhere near the longest silent, however. That honour may go to 1928’s The Burning of the Red Lotus. At 27 hours, it is better thought of as a series than as a single movie. Though it was entirely lost by 1940, it’s impact as the first major martial arts movie continued to be felt with a series of remakes extending through to the 1950s.

Enter the Dragon

To feel its impact today, we have to look at the works it influenced, even at second hand. So do yourself a favour. If you haven’t seen Enter The Dragon, or haven’t watched it since your misspent youth, dig out a copy this week. It is forty years old on Friday, and it hasn’t aged a day.

Posted by Kevin McGee

MIDWEEK MATINEE

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Silent movie news – is there even such a thing? Surprisingly the answer is yes.
 
New silent films are still being made, particularly by young and experimental film-makers. Every modern phone comes with a perfectly decent camera, but good sound equipment is still the preserve of the specialist. Some film-makers choose to learn their craft by starting with silent narrative, and attitude fostered by educators at filmbase.ie and elsewhere.

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Old silent films are still being presented, often with live accompaniment by the likes of our friends 3EPKANO and Eoin Mac Ionmhain. Modern soundtracks for silents are all about impact. Rinky-dink piano is out. Drums, guitar, glockenspiel and home-made instruments are in. When you see someone get off a bus with a tuba in one hand and a large saw in the other, you know there’s a film on.

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Poster of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis

Most surprisingly of all, old silent films are still being discovered. Fritz Lang’s Metropolis is now all but complete, after generations of film-goers made do with half a movie. Who knows what other classics are lurking in the attics and barns of Yukon, Copenhagen and Cloughjordan?

 Rex Directing Rudolph
Rex Ingram Directing Rudolph Valentino on the set of Four Horsemen of the Appocalpse

Well, you’ll know. Every Wednesday the Nenagh Silent Film Festival blog will feature news and opinion from the world of silent film. Expect new shorts, old classics and everything in between. We’ll begin next week with a look at our local idol Rex Ingram. Till then, send any requests, suggestions, anecdotes or advice to the usual address.

— Kevin McGee, Programme Director

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