The Hippodrome in Bo’ness is Scotland’s oldest purpose-built picture palace – and it’s a real beauty. This year, the cinema is celebrating its 100th birthday in grand style, with the return of the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema.
The centenary event builds on the success of last year’s festival, and tips its boater to a certain modern silent hit too. The opening night gala will be a screening of Show People, starring Marion Davies as a Hollywood wannabe whose dream comes true – shades of Peppy Miller, of course. It’s a real treat of a film, and it’s packed with cameos from silent Hollywood stars too: you’ll be able to spot Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, John Gilbert, William S Hart and Mae Murray, among many others. William Haines is Davies’s co-star and King Vidor directs. Neil Brand will be playing the piano. If you’re attending the gala, don’t forget the dress code: the theme is Hollywood film star, the more glamorous the better.
Other events at the festival include:
- The fantastic new restoration of British drama The First Born, starring and directed by Miles Mander, with a brand new score by Stephen Horne, performed by Horne and his band.
- A Jeely Jar Special family screening of Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last! Bring along a clean jam jar (and matching lid) for a 2-for-1 ticket deal on the Saturday morning. Piano accompaniment by Neil Brand.
- Two comedy shows: Another Fine Mess with Laurel and Hardy and The Keystone Connection, curated by David Wyatt, with Stephen Horne on the piano. You knew, of course, that Keystone Studios was founded in 1912, the same year that the Hippodrome was built.
- The Lost Art of the Film Explainer will revive the live film narrator tradition with renowned storyteller Andy Cannon and cellist Wendy Weatherby.
- Ozu’s poignant comedy I Was Born, But … with musical accompaniment by Forrester Pyke.
- Flashback thriller A Cottage on Dartmoor, directed by Anthony Asquith.
- Music and stunt workshops.
- The closing night gala will be the two-strip Technicolor restoration of The Black Pirate, featuring a swashbuckling lead performance by Douglas Fairbanks, with musical accompaniment by pianist Jane Gardner and percussionist Hazel Morrison.
Tickets are available from the Steeple Box Office, High Street, Falkirk FK1 1NW, the Hippodrome Box Office, by phone on 01324 506850, and online at www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org/silentcinemafest, where you can also read the full schedule for the festival.