It’s the Silent London Poll of 2014 results – part two. Merry Christmas!
Yesterday I revealed what the poll results said about you – today we learn what the poll had to say about the films and performances that impressed you the most this year. You’re a discerning bunch, I already knew that, so I threw away the short lists and gave you free choice in all categories. The result is a picture that is tricky to summarise but fascinating all the same.
Disagree with these choices? May I direct you towards the comments section below?
Best DVD/Blu-ray release of 2014
So many to pick from – but there was a clear winner. Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari landed on DVD and Blu-ray (from Masters of Cinema) in its sparkling new restoration, on a beautifully presented disc. This was the release that many of us had awaited for this landmark movie. We reviewed the disc in the summer.
Runners-up: The BFI’s release of The Epic of Everest, wartime blockbuster Wings (Master of Cinema) and the tantalising, US-only Warner Archive release of Why Be Good? starring Colleen Moore.
Best theatrical re-release of 2014
Another runaway success for Caligari and his cabinet here. Congratulations to all concerned!
Runners-up: Two strong showings in the list: the BFI’s restoration and rescore of The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands and the re-release of The General. What a great year in the cinema.
Best orchestral film screening of 2014
Obviously, there’s a huge amount of variation in the responses when it comes to live shows. But clearly, you are seeing some fantastic live screenings around the world, and that is to be celebrated in itself!
We do have a winner though: the London Film Festival screening of The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands received the most nominations. This was truly a fantastic night, with the Royal Marines belting out Simon Dobson’s fantastic score. Great atmosphere too, with so many representatives of the Navy in attendance. I have never seen to many shiny brass buttons in one room.
Runner-up: The LFF came second too, with a clutch of nods for its spellbinding screening of The Goddess with the English Chamber Orchestra. Another very happy memory for me, that one.
Best film screening with a small ensemble of 2014
Possibly the most mixed category this one, but a winner does emerge from the stats: Dragnet Girl at the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema, with Jane Gardner and co presenting her new score for Ozu’s film. I’m so pleased – this was a personal favourite of mine too. And it is a truly fantastic festival. Which brings us on to …
Runner-up: Beggars of Life, accompanied by those marvelous Dodge Brothers, including Neil Brand and Mark Kermode. Venue? Where else but the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema.
Best film screening with a single accompanist of 2014
You won’t be surprised to learn that Bologna and Pordenone provided a few nominations for this one, but that overall the picture was so mixed that it was hard to pick out one screening. Stephen Horne’s name cropped up most often, though: with nods for his accompaniment to Visages d’Enfants at the Hippodrome and Maudite Soit Le Guerre at LFF.
Runner-up: Philip Carli, with mentions for his accompaniments to The Copperhead and Herr Arnes Pengar at Pordenone this year
Best silent film venue you visited in 2014
You lot get about don’t you? The winner here was clear though: London’s Cinema Museum, home of the Kennington Bioscope and this year’s BSFF. One respondent did point out that it is rather chilly. Fair point – but the coffee and cake on offer counteracts that I find. Congratulations to everyone involved.
Runners-up: A very London-centric list this: BFI Southbank, Queen Elizabeth Hall. Two votes for “Pordenone”, too, which made me smile.
Best festival for silent cinema in 2014
Speaking of which, the Giornate del Cinema Muto topped your list of favourite silent movie festivals too. Hard to argue with that, and it was another corking year, don’t you agree?
Runners-up: The London Film Festival, the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema and our California friends the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.
Your silent film hero of 2014
Could there be any doubt as to the winner of this one? Kevin Brownlow was your silent film hero of this year, and many preceding years I am sure. From Bologna to London; from film festivals to documentaries, Brownlow was as busy, knowledgeable, gracious, charming and witty as ever in 2014. I particularly enjoyed the screening of Rex Ingram’s Mare Nostrum that he introduced at the Cinema Museum this year – a wonderful night at a fantastic London venue.
Runner-up: Bryony Dixon, curator of silent film at the British Film Institute who had a spectacularly busy year from the British Silent Film Festival to the discovery of that lost Betty Balfour film in April, to The Battles of Coronel and Falkand Islands and A Night in the Cinema in 1914 hitting the movie houses, and curating and introducing a fabulous programme of Edwardian entertainment at Pordenone this year.
Close behind: I suspect that all of your favourite silent film accompanists and curators got a nod in this long list of silent-film movers and shakers. Even a certain blogger of your acquaintance received a couple of nods, for which I am suitably humbled and grateful. Nice to see a shoutout for Masters of Cinema in that list, too.
Your favourite silent film discovery of 2014
My favourite category, this one, won in some style by Colleen Moore and particularly her wonderful Vitaphone comedy Why Be Good? which played at several festivals this year. Congratulations to Colleen! And also to those of who have been busy this year, discovering great silent films and film-makers from Mack Sennett to Rin Tin Tin and Alice Guy-Blaché.
Colleen’s very honourable runners-up were Lionel Barrymore and Underground. One wag among you ventured The Artist. And my favourite response was undoubtedly the nomination for the automaton gag in The Circus. Enjoy (at one minute, 35 seconds):