Tag Archives: archive film

Next Event: Silent Horror Shorts III

Wednesday, 26 October 2016, 7:30 pm

Commissioned by Abertoir, this collection of silent horror shorts celebrates the inventive and imaginative in early cinema with a selection of rarely seen films on the lighter side of horror and, forming the programme’s centrepiece, one of the truly dark but little known masterpieces of the avant-garde in silent cinema.

All the films will be introduced and accompanied on the piano by Paul Shallcross, presenting his own brand new scores.

Those Awful Hats

1909, USA, 3 minutes, (NR)
Director – D.W. Griffith

Possibly the earliest example of a public announcement film and from none other than the director later famous for Birth of a Nation, a film which features some very unexpected happenings in a cinema audience.

IMDb – Those Awful Hats

The Invisible Thief (Le voleur invisible)

1909, France, 5 minutes, (NR)
Director – Segundo de Chomón

The darker undertones of H. G. Wells’ story are transformed into a delightful skit on crime with Chomón’s camera techniques exploring every possibility of stop-motion and double exposure photography. This is the earliest recorded film to make use of the renowned author as source material.

IMDb – The Invisible Thief (Le voleur invisible)

An Over-Incubated Baby

1901, UK, 1 minutes, (NR)
Director – Robert W. Paul

Robert W. Paul was a pioneering engineer of movie cameras and a filmmaker with a keen eye for the fantastic and the bizarre. His films, such as this one and Undressing Extraordinary, are often cited as being some of the earliest manifestations of horror in film. A cautionary tale of what happens if you leave a baby cooking for too long…..

IMDb – An Over-Incubated Baby

The Man with a Rubber Head

1901, France, 3 minutes, (NR)
Director – Georges Méliès

The inventor of inventive cinema applies his teeming imagination to his own remarkably distensible skull.

IMDb – The Man with a Rubber Head

The Fall of the House of Usher

1928, USA, 13 minutes, (NR)
Director – James Sibley Watson & Melville Webber

This is unusual in being the work of a group of amateur filmakers with both financial and artistic clout. The use of prism photography suffuses the whole film with an eeriness and claustrophobia which lead inexorably to the truly horrific catharsis. In many ways the definitive cinematic version of the Edgar Allan Poe short story.

IMDb – The Fall of the House of Usher

There It Is

1928, USA, 22 minutes, (Unrated)
Director – Charley Bowers

One of the now almost forgotten comedians of the silent era Charley Bowers is both actor, animator and inventor in this film. A thinly veiled ghost-house story is the vehicle for some extraordinarily surreal humour, for elaborate sequences of stunning camera effects rarely if ever seen in silent comedy, and for an eye-boggling array of Heath-Robinson-like contraptions which continually thwart the efforts of the two detectives (Charley and his midget assistant) to apprehend the malevolent spirit in the Daffydil Sanatorium.

IMDb – There It Is


And the comments as follows

  • Magical.  Perfect piano.  Timeless and delightful.  I felt delighted, amused and entertained
  • Another wonderful selection of silent era films
  • Loved the piano accompaniment
  • Fabulous
  • A rare treat excellently delivered.  Will be back next year.  Paul’s enthusiasm makes the evening
  • A real treat to see the films and to hear Paul play along in just magic
  • Very enjoyable.  Never knew that there were such interesting early films.  Excellently presented
  • Brilliant as usual
  • As always very entertaining, and also informative.  Music is inspired.  Paul is obviously very passionate about what he does
  • Charming, quirky and uniquely entertaining
  • The music suited the films very well.  Very entertaining
  • An atmospheric session of cinematic treats.  Live piano music extremely effective.
  • Entertaining Shallcross’s music great and his selection of knowledge of the films is rare
  • Erudite, informative and entertaining introductions.  Please let us have more of the genius that is Paul Shallcross
  • I really enjoyed the evening.  Info, films and music were fantastic.  I’m going home to read some Poe
  • Quirky as ever and very entertaining
  • Wonderfully entertaining and well presented
  • Very informative and some hilarious moments
  • Wonderful glimpse at history, and the music and talk were fantastic.  As a film novice and first timer at film club I was very impressed and will definitely be returning
  • Both educational and entertaining.  A most enjoyable evening
  • Really enjoyed The Fall of the House of Usher.  Inspirationally shot
  • Fabulous.  Great music, entertaining presentation, educational and interesting and fun.

Audience Reaction: ‘In a Lonely Place’ and ‘Trumbo’

Scores and comments from the Hollywood Film Festival this past weekend. Looks like you all had a really great time!

Audience Score 84%

  • Very engaging – powerful emotions and great tension in the story with the seed of doubt sown. Enjoyed the strong performances and the costumes.
  • Great character development showing the breakdown of faith between the lovers
  • Enjoyed the suspense. Strong female character – one unlucky guy!
  • Very dramatic music – did he or did not he?
  • Good casting of actors
  • Full of tension
  • Good to have two films about screenwriters to compare. Look forward to Trumbo
  • One of my favourite films – great to see on the big screen. Bogart and Grahame are a spectacular paring – very emotionally intense
  • Loved the dialogues, retorts and quips. Something not in modern films. Bogart is fab actor. Loved the story, gripping. Like reading a good book you cannot put down – brilliant performance. Kept you on the edge of your seat. Totally credible. Well worth watching
  • Totally compelling
  • Loved it …so atmospheric without hi-tec special effects of today – wonderful acting, so much expression in faces and body language – fantastic script with humour – black and white film evokes so much tension and wonderful imagery – great high speed car journey
  • Great ending.
  • Very engaging, powerful emotions, great tension in the story with the
  • Enjoyed the strong performances and the costumes. Naked intensity.
  • Predictable but enjoyed
  • Interesting from the perspective of how an abusive relationship was viewed in the 50s as opposed to today. Predictable and result end result with issues unresolved.
  • Very tense gripping drama

Audience Score 93%

  • Very informative –showed warts and all – but what a dreadful episode in US history
  • Brilliantly portrayed of individual attempt to live up to b lists for
    An enjoyable slice of infamous American history well told. Could have done with a re-write to shorted it slightly
  • Use of black and white film with colour emphasized the time. Illustrated not only the madness of the time but the complexities of the characters and subversiveness of the fight back by the accused
  • Inspiring and moving. Interesting to see into the history and how it played out in individual lives. The toll it took
  • The film showed how paranoid the Americans were at that time. It showed how families were destroyed by the black list
  • Interesting period in USA history – could return if Donal Trump becomes president!
  • The film very effectively portrayed the strength of Trumbo and many others. It was extremely well written and performed brilliantly by Bryan Cranston. It was a joy to watch and extremely accurate historically also.
  • Brilliant film saw all sides of Trumbo’s character
  • Inspiring resistance to paranoia
  • Glad the good guys won in the end
  • Brilliant film – perfect casting, excellent cinematography – dreadful story – a bad time in America -= Helen Mirren as Hedda was great at the end as personification of right wing evil and bigotry – loved Billie Holiday at the end – just the right song!
  • Acting superb, the actors playing the ‘real’ actors were life like. Highly recommended I learned a lot in the film of what happed during those times.
  • Brilliantly acted – nice to know who were the good guys and who were the baddies

Audience Reaction: ‘Patagonia’

The audience gave the film ‘Patagonia‘ a score of 90.79%.

The screening was part of Menter Iaith Castell-nedd Port Talbot’s ‘Gwyl y Crinddail’​.

A collection was made for MacMillan (I’ll let you know how much was raised on Monday.)

Rhoddod y gynelleidfa sgor o 90.79% i’r ffilm ‘Patagonia’.

Roedd y dangosiad yn rhan o ‘Wyl y Crinddail’, Menter Iaith Castell-nedd PortTalbot​.

Casglwyd arian ar gyfer elusen MacMillan (wnai rhoi gwybod i chi beth oedd y cyfanswm a godwyd dydd Llun.)

Here are the audience comments:
Dyma sylwadau y cynelleidfa:

  • Anhygoel. Werth iw weld.
  • Charming, well-acted eccentric characters and beautiful scenery.
  • Magical. Even the mini breaks.
  • Yn dipyn far-fetched, y diwedd – ond mwynhauais i’r ffilm. Sobre todo la parte en Gales.
  • Scenery was excellent. A poignant story.
  • Yn hollol werth gweld! Roedd yr olygfa a’r actio yn fendigedig – a’r storiau hefyd. Diolch yn fawr am y cyfle!

Audience Reaction: Horror Shorts II

The audience gave ‘Horror Shorts II‘ with Paul Shallcross a score of 92.05%

Here are their comments:

  • Thoroughly enjoyable. Paul’s informed history of film & specific technique highly interesting. Films themselves so imaginative especially ‘Prelude’.
  • Ardderchog. Brilliant!
  • Different, enjoyable & entertaining. More like this please.
  • Unusual + interesting – a very original evening.
  • A very nice evening. Enjoyed very much.
  • Totally brilliant! And a nice tribute to Greig too! Please bring back this wonderfully talented man.
  • Very enjoyable and informative evening. Thanks


Audience Response: Minima & The Phantom of the Opera 1925

The audience gave the Minima presentation of the 1925 ‘Phantom of the Opera‘ a score of 94%

Here are their comments:

  • Music made the film.
  • Excellent music suited to the themes, however could perhaps have had a lighter approach to the more comedic scenes.
  • Minima’s music was excellent, though not always suited to the themes of the work. Audio quality suffered, something was rattling in the deepest bass in a very distracting fashion. For older works an accompanying info sheet would be helpful.
  • An interesting combination of instruments – hypnotic minimalism! What a pity that the level of volume was such that it was distorted and hit resonance with the floor, the furniture and my rib cage. A few decibels less would have enhanced the film instead of competing with it. An excellent attempt chaps; but far too loud. OK for a rave though.
  • A fantastic evening! Superb music + an excellent film.
  • Outstanding on all levels – The music complemented the film perfectly – the unmasking of the Phantom was particularly powerful as was the final sequence. Please bring Minima back!
  • Excellent performance by Minima. A shame that the music was too loud and that it caused a horrible and distracting rattle within the theatre.
  • Music was great!
  • Really enjoyed doing something different for the night!
  • Very good performance. Not what I expected.
  • What a brilliant (revived) idea! More please.
  • First time I’ve seen this cinema classic – greatly enhanced by the live music.
  • Amazing stamina of musicians. Brilliant score.