Charles Ashton and British Silent Films

British Silent Film Star – Charles Ashton

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Aldeburgh Cinema’s Sounds and Silents festival 3-5 May 2013

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The Aldeburgh Cinema in Suffolk is one of the few surviving old cinemas from the 1920s and will be hosting the SOUNDS & SILENTS festival of film and live music on 3-5 May 2013. Most of the silent film programme has a sea-faring theme (bar one …) which tell stories of seamen, boats, lighthouses, and the beauty, pleasures and turbulences of small villages on the coast.

For those of you who missed the British Silent Film Festival in Cambridge last year, there is a chance to catch up with the film versions of W.W.Jacobs coastal stories on Saturday 4th May GOING COASTAL programme of five delightful, witty comedies about “men who go down to the sea in ships of moderate tonnage”. English filmmaker Manning Hayes made the films in the 1920s three of which starred Charles Ashton (Head of the Family, Sam’s Boy and A Will and a Way).  All will be shown with live musical accompaniment provided by Neil Brand and John Sweeney.

Neil Brand has been accompanying silent films for over 17 years, regularly at the NFT on London’s South Bank and throughout the UK and at special events around the world. He is currently working on a BBC 4 TV series on film music to be broadcast in Autumn 2013.  John Sweeney has played for silent films since 1990 at venues including Riverside Studios Cinema, National Film Theatre, Nottingham Broadway and the Barbican Centre.  He has also worked extensively in contemporary dance.

On Sunday 5th May there is a special matinee FOR THOSE IN PERIL ON THE SEA – THE LIFEBOAT MEN ON FILM, complete with the launch of the (real!) lifeboat, organised in partnership with the Aldeburgh Lifeboat Station.

Thomas Dolby’s award-winning THE INVISIBLE LIGHTHOUSE deals with things right around the corner such as the Orford Ness Lighthouse and the Rendlesham UFOs. On the final day, Mark Kermode and The Dodge Brothers will be playing live to William Wellman’s hobo western BEGGARS OF LIFE.


Thomas Dolby
THE INVISIBLE LIGHTHOUSE
Friday 3 May 2013 at 8.00pm

Saturday 4 May 2013 at 10.30am

COAST AND POETRY
NAPOLEON AND THE ENGLISH SAILOR
TERJE VIGEN  – A MAN THERE WAS

Saturday 4 May 2013 at 3.00pm
W W Jacobs Programme 1
THE BOATSWAIN’S MATE
THE SKIPPER’S WOOING

Saturday 4 May 2013 at 8.00pm
W W Jacobs Programme 2
A WILL AND A WAY

Sunday 5 May 2013 from 9.30am
THE LIFEBOAT MEN ON FILM
FOR THOSE IN PERIL
ON THE SEA

Sunday 5 May 2013 at 3.00pm
W W Jacobs  Programme 3
THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY

Sunday 5 May 2013 at 8.00pm
BEGGARS OF LIFE
Live Music from THE DODGE BROTHERS including MARK KERMODE
and featuring special guest NEIL BRAND

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Written by anneramsden

March 31, 2013 at 1:42 pm

The Monkey’s Paw (1923)

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The Cinema Museum near the Elephant and Castle is hosting the British Silent Film Festival (BSFF) silent film screening event on Saturday 20th April from 10 a.m. till 8 p.m. The highlight for me is the screening of the first film version of The Monkey’s Paw starring Charles Ashton, Moore Marriott, Marie Adult and Johnny Butt. Though the film is incomplete this has to be the first screening in many many years. The plot is based on the horror story written by popular author W.W. Jacobs – see previous post on the author. A magic monkey’s paw gives the holder, Mrs White, three wishes, but the subject of the last wish will always involve death. Other silent films on the BSFF’s programme include  The Yellow Claw (1920), White Cargo (1930), Cocaine (1922) and Hobson’s Choice (1920) plus some rare shorts.

For more information see the Cinema Museum’s Upcoming Events at www.cinema museum.org.uk

Tickets for the day are £20 (£18 for concessions) from WeGotTickets or direct from the Cinema Museum.

The Cinema Museum
2 Dugard Way (off Renfrew Road)
London SE11 4TH
Tel.: +44 (0)20 7840 2200
Email: info@cinemamuseum.org.uk

Written by anneramsden

March 31, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Five things we learned from the British Silent Film Festival

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Pamela Hutchinson, film blogger for Silent London, writes in the Guardian’s Film Blog of the five things she learned while immersed in some of the silent film industry’s gems screened at the British Silent Film Festival in Cambridge in April.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/apr/23/five-things-british-silent-film-festival

Written by anneramsden

June 15, 2012 at 9:40 pm

The Skipper’s Wooing (1922)

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Following last year’s British Silent Film Festival’s successful showing of Sam’s Boy, another Manning Haynes adaptation of a popular story The Skipper’s Wooing by writer W.W. Jacobs will be shown on 9th April 2011 at 13.30 at the Barbican Centre, Cinema 1. This silent film, like Sam’s Boy, is of ‘men who go down to the sea in ships of moderate tonnage,’ and was shot along Britain’s east coast.

UK 1922 Dir. Manning Haynes 70 min.
Cast: Gordon Hopkirk, Cynthia Murtagh, Charles Levy, J.T. Macmillan, Bobby Rudd, Tom Coventry, Johnny Butt, Moore Marriott

For more information or to book tickets go to the Barbican Centre website http://www.barbican.org.uk/film/event-detail.asp?ID=12073

The full text of W.W. Jacobs’ story is available online through the Gutenberg project at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21336/21336-h/21336-h.htm

The Skipper’s Wooing film synopsis from the British Film Institute Archive http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/30476?view=synopsis

Written by anneramsden

March 26, 2011 at 5:11 pm

The films which have survived

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Unfortunately, British silent films were considered worthless once sound was introduced, so many did not survive – storage costs were high, the nitrate stock was flammable and so many films were destroyed.  Of the twenty-two films described here, only seven films have survived.

Despite the highly flammable nitrate stock of which these films were made, six of Charles Ashton’s films are viewable in 35 mm format or transferred to VHS or DVD-R formats and can be viewed for a small fee at the BFI in Stephen Street, London.   These films are: Kitty (1929), We Women (1925 ), The Monkey’s Paw (1923), A Will and A Way (1922), Head of the Family (1922) and Sam’s Boy (1922). The American Prisoner (1929) is held in its original nitrate stock and is, therefore, not available for viewing by the public.

BFI’s Research Viewing Service http://www.bfi.org.uk/nftva/access/rvs.html

Written by anneramsden

February 24, 2010 at 1:14 pm