The 4th Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema – 12-16 March 2014

Lucky Star (1929)
Don’t go to Bo’ness without me, darling!

Scotland’s only silent film festival returns to the glorious Hippodrome cinema in Bo’ness with another impressively wide-ranging programme. There are some real treasures to be unearthed here: rare screenings of little-seen but highly valued films, and innovative ways to share the magic of silent cinema with younger audiences. Gala screenings include the Dodge Brothers‘ Scottish debut, accompanying the Hollywood classic Beggars of Life, starring Louise Brooks; Jacques Feyder’s heartstopping Visages d’Enfants closes the festival, with music from Stephen Horne; Frank Borzage’s wartime weepy Lucky Star plays on the Friday night, with Neil Brand on the piano; and Jane Gardner will perform a specially commissioned new score for Ozu’s gangster drama Dragnet Girl. German group The Aljoscha Zimmermann Ensemble will provide a score for Murnau’s timeless The Last Laugh; Jason Singh will create his magical vocal soundscapes for Grierson’s landmark documentary Drifters, live at the Hippodrome.

Drifters (1929)
Drifters (1929)

The Hippodrome Festival (AKA #hippfest) promises a little cinematic time travel also – not only will audiences enjoy the movies in a gorgeous vintage cinema (the Hippodrome dates from 1912) but there will be events designed to job the collective memory. Professor John Caughie (University of Glasgow), María Vélez (University of Glasgow) and Dr Mike Hammond (University of Southampton) will be talking about cinemagoing during the Great War over tea and cake. The popular “jeely jar” screenings will return and there will be heritage walks and exhibitions, as well as educational events for schoolchildren and even a “make your own zoetrope” workshop.

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

The festival opens with a very special event celebrating a giant of silent cinema, presented by, well, another giant of silent cinema. Kevin Brownlow will be at the Hippodrome to introduce his wonderful documentary Lon Chaney: Man of a Thousand Faces. Not to be missed.

In 2013 over 2,000 people attended the Festival and anticipation is keen for 2014. Ian Scott, Chair of Falkirk Community Trust, says of the 2014 Festival “As all those who have experienced the beautiful space of the Bo’ness Hippodrome know it is the perfect setting for the classic films of the silent era and this year the Festival team have arranged yet another feast for your entertainment. There is something for all ages and tastes in the five day programme and each screening will be accompanied by fine musicians whose special skill is to help recreate the atmosphere first experienced in the Edwardian Era. I have no doubt that once you have sampled the magic of the Hippodrome during this particular Festival it will become a fixture on your calendar.”

Check out the full schedule below:

HippFest 2014 Schedule

  • The Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema runs from 12-16 March 2014. Call 01324 506850, or visit the Steeple Box Office, High Street, Falkirk FK1 1NW for tickets. To read more and to book online, visit
  • And if you’re coming from a distance away, take advantage of special accommodation rates available for festivalgoers at the Richmond Park Hotel in Bo’ness: £60 for a double/twin room and £45 for a single room, inclusive of full Scottish breakfast. Rooms can be booked directly on 01506 823213 by quoting reference RPH1216.
  • Further reading: 11 great silent movie dance sequences
  • Don’t miss that Beggars of Life screening – fab film, great music, and programme notes by yours truly.

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