The Silent London End of Year Poll was never going to rival the ones you read in Sight & Sound and the broadsheets, I suppose. But I was heartened that so many of you did respond to my call for the best silent film show of 2010 – and fascinated by your choices, too. The big surprise was that no one mentioned Metropolis. There were a few votes for freshly restored Chaplin films, one for Natalie Clein’s sensitive cello score for The Temptress at Kings Place in May, a tantalising description of Stephen Horne’s soundtrack to La Princess Mandane as “genius” from Pam Cook on Twitter, a shout-out for the witty The Golden Butterfly (both shown as part of the Fashion in Film festival) and a “riotous” village-hall screening of Seven Chances (1925). Luke McKernan picked two films, both of which he described as “wildly obscure”: an anthropological documentary called Rituals and Festivals of the Borôro that screened at Pordenone and another vote for Stephen Horne, with his reconstruction of the score for The Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanks (1917). Not seen those? Never mind – I’m sure you’ll sympathise with McKernan’s conclusion that the first film: “reminded me of why film is the most compelling medium, and silent film especially so”. But finally, with a whopping two votes (one on Twitter and another by email), the winner is the East End Film Festival’s screening of Hitchcock’s The Lodger, soundtracked by Minima. Congratulations – I was there as well and I thought it was a marvellous evening.
And this, from Chris Edwards, is hands-down the screening I most wished I had seen:
The Toronto International Film Festival’s October screening of GREED was terrifying. Accompaniment was provided by an instrumental post-rock band, Do Make Say Think, who used Noise alongside traditional arrangements and even old standards to keep things unsettled. You all know how the characters look in that movie – well, that’s how the band sounded. It was Hell, and it was great.
Now that’s what I call a silent movie show.
I fully intend to repeat this exercise at the end of 2011. Many, many thanks to all of you who responded – and I hope you see even more great shows this year that you will want to vote for in December. Meanwhile, if you see something that you really enjoy, drop me a line on Twitter or share your enthusiasm in the comments boxes on the website.