The Silent London Poll of 2018: The Winners

January is a time for looking forwards, not back, right? That’s just not the Silent London way. With immense thanks to all of you for voting and sharing in the 2018 poll, I am delighted to announce your silent film highlights of the past year.

PFWF spread

  1. Best DVD/Blu-ray of 2018

It arrived late in the year, but hotly anticipated and was everything we wanted it to be. Kino Lorber’s magnificent Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers box set is your favourite release of the year. And mine too. Check out selected highlights from the set on UK Netflix now.


  1. Best Theatrical Release of 2018

Never let it be said that there is any kind of bias in this list – but the BFI’s release of Pandora’s Box, in a gorgeous new restoration topped your choices this year. And of course I wholeheartedly agree.

  1. Best Modern Silent of 2018

Slim pickings in this category, but an overwhelming number of you got creative and chose John Krasinski’s held-breath horror A Quiet Place in this category. I see what you did there and I like the way you think.

Captain Salvation

  1. Best Orchestral Screening of 2018

Another popular winner here. The Giornate Del Cinema Muto 2018 Opening Gala brought us Captain Salvation (1927) with a stunning orchestral score composed and conducted by Philip Carli – and you voted it the best of the year. Great choice here and I hope we get the chance to enjoy this again soon.


  1. Best Screening with a Small Ensemble or Duo of 2018

The most unusual silent film screening of the year? Maybe. But the BFI’s Great Victorian Moving Picture Show benefited not just from the giant IMAX screen but from the superb score written by John Sweeney and played by his Biograph Band. A phenomenal piece of work that rose to the challenge beautifully.

Vem Dömer (1922)
Vem Dömer (1922)
  1. Best Screening with a Single Accompanist of 2018

Stephen Horne continues his prize-winning run in this poll. You voted his accompaniment of Victor Sjöstrom’s Vem Dömer (1922) at the BFI Southbank your favourite screening with a solo musician of the year. Congratulations, Stephen!


  1. Best Silent Film Book of 2018

It gives me great pleasure to say that Maggie Hennefeld’s Specters of Slapstick and Silent Film Comediennes tops your list as the best silent film book of 2018. It’s a fantastic, thought-provoking read – I hope a few more of you found it under the Christmas tree this year.


  1. Best Festival for Silent Film of 2018

The very definition of a hard act to beat – this year you once again voted Le Giornate del Cinema Muto the best festival for silent film of 2018. Well done Jay Weissberg and the rest of his incredible Pordenone team!

Kevin Brownlow introduces La Roue at the Kennington Bioscope in the Cinema Museum
Kevin Brownlow introduces La Roue at the Kennington Bioscope in the Cinema Museum
  1. Best Venue for Silent Film of 2018

I got the message loud and clear from your votes in this category. You all love the Cinema Museum, but especially the way that the Kennington Bioscope has transformed it into a leading venue for silent cinema in the capital – including regular screenings and special events. This prize goes to the CM and the KB together. Long may they prosper.

James Harrison, Rosie Taylor and Peter Walsh of South West Silents
James Harrison, Rosie Taylor and Peter Walsh of South West Silents
  1. Silent Film Hero of 2018

So many votes for worthy winners in this category, but the victors soon emerged. After a powerhouse year of creative and tireless curation and presentation around the west country and beyond, the South West Silents team carry home your prize for silent film heroes of 2018!

Mabel Normand
Mabel Normand
  1. Best Silent Film Discovery of 2018

I love this category – great to see what you are all watching. Lots of votes for John M Stahl’s silents, which I was glad to see, but I am even more delighted with the winner. The marvellous Mabel Normand! Watch out for more from her in 2019!

  1. Read: my piece on Mabel Normand and the undersung heroines of slapstick in Drugstore Culture


The Great Victorian Moving Picture Show

12. Best Silent Film Restoration of 2018

A double win for the London Film Festival Archive Gala! You voted the BFI’s restoration of these incredible large-format Victorian gems as your best restoration of the year. And quite right too.


13. Intertitles of the Year

No one winner here, as you’d expect, but here are a clatter of your favourites. As ever, thanks for voting!

  • “Be reasonable dear. German naval gunnery is far more important than our happiness together.” From When Fleet Meets Fleet (aka Wrath of the Sea (Die Versnkene Flotte) (1926) screened at Kennington Bioscope Silent Guns day.
  • “A gentleman’s boudoir is no place for jazz!” From The Midnight Girl (1919)
  • “His business always took him to the ‘Gay Dragonfly’. The dancer there understood him.” From The Cameraman’s Revenge (1911)
  • “Don’t twiddle when you can twaddle” Film unknown
  • “I don’t care how she votes – I’m going to marry her.” From The Scarecrow (1920)
  • “It’s strange how you can get booze on credit but not bread.” From Pandora’s Box (1929)
  • “I’ll slip y’ another two-bits to lemme see y’r tattoo!” From A Woman of the World (1925)
  • “You little fool! – A real man loves you – – and you’d toss his love away for a pack of hollerin’ gospel wolves.” Captain Salvation (1927)
  • “Begad it’s epic! Ye begin to perceive the breadth and depth of my genius.” From Captain Blood (1924)
The Cameraman's Revenge (1911)
The Cameraman’s Revenge (1911)
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5 thoughts on “The Silent London Poll of 2018: The Winners”

  1. I would like to see the poll actually addressing silent prints and files, i.e. the theatrical level.
    How about ‘the best digital transfer’ – I would nominate ‘The Parson’s Widow’ / ‘ Prästänkan’ (1920) by the Swedish Film Archive.
    Or also the best presentation of an important silent category – I would nominate Le Giornate Programme on film adaptations of Honore de Balzac.

    And what happened to ‘silent film heroines’? Or do ‘me-too’ object. I thought Elizabeth Bergner as ‘Madame de Langeais’ in ‘Liebe’ at Le Giornate was a terrific character and a great performance.

    1. Hello Keith. You should be able to see the winner of the Best Restoration category there now – it went wandering for some reason.

      I’ll definitely be looking at changing up the categories for next year – the format has been tweaked quite a lot over the years.

      Absolutely no idea what you mean about “me-too” but I agree that Bergner was fantastic in Liebe.

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