Silent film season at Barts Pathology Museum, January 2014


A drink, a snack and a temptingly toothsome silent movie? Perhaps with some live music too? And all in one of the coolest venues in London? I am super-excited to announce that Barts Pathology Museum (as promised, here on these very pages) is hosting a short silent film season in January. The films have been chosen because we think they are fabulous, and because they also have some relation to the research and study that goes on at Barts.


First, a recap. If you don’t know Barts Pathology Museum, that is because it is one of the capital’s best-kept secrets – a stunning Grade II listed 19th-century hall where quirky medical specimens are displayed. The hall has a glass roof, because once upon a time medical students would dissect cadavers there. You can read more about the history of the museum and its many fascinating artefacts on the museum blog, here. Entry to the museum is by appointment only, but the doors are open on selected evenings for a series of lectures and events on subjects ranging from film noir to taxidermy to dentistry. Your humble scribe was there last November, giving an illustrated talk on silent cinema.

The January screenings are supported by Hendrick’s Gin, and entry to each film includes a G&T and some delicious, freshly popped popcorn as well as the film. I will be there to introduce the screenings and the the first movie in the series features live musical accompaniment, too. Here’s what’s coming up in the new year.

The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera, 8 January 2014

Lon Chaney haunts the Paris Opera, and the silent screen, in this baroque melodrama, as disfigured, lovelorn Erik who falls for a young soprano with catastrophic consequences. Featuring a stellar lead performance from Chaney and sumptuous set design, highlighted by an astonishing two-strip Technicolor scene, this is a true classic of Hollywood silent cinema. As a special treat, the very talented Elizabeth-Jane Baldry will accompany the film with a specially composed harp score.

Doors open at 6.30pm: you can book tickets here.

The Hands of Orlac (1924)
The Hands of Orlac (1924)

The Hands of Orlac, 15 January 2014

This film, by the director of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a deliciously twisted thriller that blends ‘Grand Guinol’ thrills with German Expressionism. Based on a novel by the medical-horror novelist Maurice Renard, it charts the mental disintegration of a concert pianist (Conrad Veidt) whose hands are amputated after a train crash, and replaced with the hands of an executed murderer … Produced in Vienna (the hotbed of psycho-analysis) The Hands of Orlac is writhing with sexual innuendo and Freudian imagery. It’s not to be missed!

Doors open at 6.30pm: you can book tickets here.

The Lost World (1925)
The Lost World (1925)

The Lost World, 22 January 2014

Barts Hospital has a special place in the heart of Sherlock Holmes fans – Dr Watson is an alumnus, and it is in the hospital lab that he first meets Holmes. Therefore, we thought it was fitting to screen a film based on another of Arthur Conan-Doyle’s classic stories: stop-motion dinosaur romp The Lost World.

Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, could barely have imagined that his script would be the inspiration for King Kong and Jurassic Park. In this film Professor Challenger and Edward Malone go on an expedition deep in the Brazilian Jungle to show mocking disbelievers that dinosaurs DO exist after all…

Doors open at 6.30pm: you can book tickets here.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1920)
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1920)

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 29 January 2014

John Barrymore’s performance in this classic 1920 adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel caused many critics at the time to acclaim him the greatest screen actor yet. With virtually no make-up and minimal camera trickery, Barrymore relied on his considerable acting skills and his ability to controlo his features (to the extent of dislocating his jaw) in order to make the transformation from the handsome, respectable Dr Jekyll to the hideous, debased Mr Hyde.

Doors open at 6.30pm: you can book tickets here.

Barts Pathology Museum is at West Smithfield, London EC1A 7BE. More details here. Tickets will go on sale at 9am on on 9 December 2013.


One thought on “Silent film season at Barts Pathology Museum, January 2014”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s