There’s nothing like seeing a film with a live orchestra – it’s far more exciting than surround sound. That’s why at Silent London we’re so excited about the world premiere of Neil Brand’s score for Anthony Asquith’s Underground (1928), which will be performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra on 5 October.
Undergound is set in London, among what Asquith called “everyday” people, but that doesn’t mean that this is an unsophisticated film. Far from it. The director’s appreciation of European and Russian cinema (he was a co-founder of the London Film Society) is betrayed by his use of Expressionist shadows, subjective camerawork and montage editing. This is 1920s London, but not like you may have seen before.
Underground tells the story of four young working people making their way in 1920s London. The parallels with life in the metropolis today are poignant and it is fascinating to see location footage of the Underground network, old London pubs, department stores and of course the climactic chase through the Lots Road Power Station in Chelsea … Asquith had a remarkable ability to portray the lighter and darker aspects of life through staging and cinematography. He was aided by the superb and unusually good-looking cast of Brian Aherne and Elissa Landi as the nice young couple, with Norah Baring and Cyril McLaglen as the unluckier, troubled duo.
The print of Underground that will be shown at the Barbican is the product of many hours of restoration work by the BFI, using new, cutting-edge techniques. The BBC Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Timothy Brock.
To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets to watch Underground at the Barbican Concert Hall, just answer this simple question:
- Cyril McLaglen, who plays Bert in Underground, had an older brother who was also a film actor. What was his name?
Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on Monday 26 September. The winner will be picked at random from the correct entries and emailed with the good news. Best of luck!
To find out more, and to book tickets, visit the Barbican website.