Nosferatu (1922): Blu-Ray & DVD review

Fresh from a theatrical release and a flurry of Halloween shows, Nosferatu springs into life on Blu-Ray, courtesy of Eureka’s Masters of Cinema label. This new release is an update of the label’s previous DVD, but features the Symphony of Horror in gleaming 1080p glory, with a handful of new features as a bonus prize. This is a precious object then, … Continue reading Nosferatu (1922): Blu-Ray & DVD review

Nosferatu: the love story

This is a guest post for Silent London by Neil Brand In 1925, Bram Stoker’s widow, Florence, won a plagiarism case against film producer Albin Grau over the latter’s 1922 chiller, Nosferatu. To be frank, Grau didn’t have a leg to stand on – he had applied for a licence to film Dracula, been refused … Continue reading Nosferatu: the love story

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror at the East End film festival, 7 July 2012

The outdoor silent film screenings at the East End film festival are always a highlight of the year. Held in the centre of Spitalfields market, the screenings are accompanied by live music from Minima – guaranteed to send a shiver down the spine. But this year Minima, and the festival, have come up with something … Continue reading Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror at the East End film festival, 7 July 2012

Nosferatu with Minima and organ, Halloween 2011

Murnau’s acclaimed Dracula adaptation, Nosferatu (1922) is still one of the most chilling horror movies ever made – and probably the most influential. So if you’re looking for a cool halloween night out, you can’t beat watching Max Schreck’s shadow creeping up those stairs with Minima’s heavy rock soundtrack. Luckily, then, there will be a few … Continue reading Nosferatu with Minima and organ, Halloween 2011

Nosferatu at the Ritzy Cinema, 29 April 2011

Twilight, this is not. We could argue for hours about which is the greatest vampire film ever made, but Nosferatu is probably the most visually distinctive of the lot, definitely one of the scariest and a fairly faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula to boot. If you haven’t seen Nosferatu before, no doubt you will … Continue reading Nosferatu at the Ritzy Cinema, 29 April 2011

Toute la Mémoire du Monde: the experiment of silent cinema

I said something a little flippant in a Q&A once. OK, more than once, but let’s just talk about this one time. The occasion was a screening of A Page of Madness (1926) as part of the Japanese Avant-Garde and Experimental Film Festival, and I was responding to a comment about experimental silent film, and … Continue reading Toute la Mémoire du Monde: the experiment of silent cinema

The Parson’s Widow (1920): Dreyer’s humanism and humour

This is an extended version of the screening notes I wrote for the screening of The Parson’s Widow at the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival 2019. That screening was accompanied brilliantly by John Sweeney – who will be playing live for the film in Bristol soon. See details below. Don’t let the forbidding reputation of Carl … Continue reading The Parson’s Widow (1920): Dreyer’s humanism and humour

Wonderstruck review: a storm of sorrow, nostalgia and silence

Two just-teenage runaways arrive in New York City, one in monochrome 1927 and the other in the notorious, sultry summer of 1977. That’s the simple premise of Todd Haynes’s latest, Wonderstruck, a film that is as rich as it is gentle. The film is based, as Martin Scorsese’s Hugo was, on a graphic novel by … Continue reading Wonderstruck review: a storm of sorrow, nostalgia and silence

Silent Cinema: Before the Pictures Got Small review – revisiting the canon

There are a handful of silent films that most cinephiles see first. Battleship Potemkin, Metropolis, Sunrise, The General and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari perhaps, give or take Nosferatu, a Hitchcock and a couple more Hollywood favourites. There is nothing dismaying about the establishment of these films as classics of the silent era, widely available … Continue reading Silent Cinema: Before the Pictures Got Small review – revisiting the canon

Le Giornate del Cinema Muto 2017: Pordenone post No 6

It was auteur day at Pordenone, with works by three silent master-directors scattered nonchalantly through the programme: Ozu, Murnau and Dreyer. But auteurism is anachronistic to silent cinema and anathema to many early film aficionados, so fittingly some of my favourite screenings today fell far from the canon. One of the best things I saw … Continue reading Le Giornate del Cinema Muto 2017: Pordenone post No 6

‘Pandora’s Box with the lid off!’: Lulu’s misadventures in London

This is an extended version of a paper that I gave at the British Silent Film Festival Symposium at King’s College London on 7 April 2017. My book on Pandora’s Box (1929) is forthcoming from BFI Palgrave. *** G. W. Pabst’s Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box, 1929) is an adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s Lulu … Continue reading ‘Pandora’s Box with the lid off!’: Lulu’s misadventures in London

Early Murnau review: a set for the silent cinephile to linger over

The concept of “Early Murnau” is a little bittersweet. The German director had such a short career that the films in this new collection from Masters of Cinema take us up to just six years before he died. And while his most famous film was made during the period (1921-25) covered by this box set, … Continue reading Early Murnau review: a set for the silent cinephile to linger over

Shaking up the silent canon: is The General the greatest silent film?

I like silent movies even more than I like chocolate. And I do really like chocolate. So when I saw Richard Osman, best known as the co-host of Pointless, holding the World Cup of Chocolate on Twitter a few years back, I pondered whether I could do the same for silent movies. It’s a simple … Continue reading Shaking up the silent canon: is The General the greatest silent film?

News: Slapstick, Hippodrome, Neil Brand, Nanook and more

It’s a busy time! Here’s a roundup of the silent movie news I really want to share with you. Bristol fashion The Slapstick festival, our favourite reason to visit Bristol, is back in 2016, running from 20-24 January with a fantastic lineup of events topped by a special gala screening of Chaplin’s The Kid. But there’s so … Continue reading News: Slapstick, Hippodrome, Neil Brand, Nanook and more

Gutterdämmerung: what is the ‘loudest silent movie on earth’ playing at?

The self-proclaimed “loudest silent movie on earth” may just sound like fingernails down a blackboard to more sensitive readers. Gutterdämmerung  (“It’s not like you know who fucking Wagner is, anyway”) is a heavy metal silent film of sorts, which has announced itself this week with an elaborate social media campaign. I say “of sorts”, because actually, … Continue reading Gutterdämmerung: what is the ‘loudest silent movie on earth’ playing at?

Review and competition – Neil Brand’s Out of the Dark: Silent Movie Themes

If you attend the occasional silent movie screening, like I do, you’ll have experienced a particular bittersweet feeling. As much as you enjoyed the show, you fear you could never quite recreate the magic. You know the film is out there waiting for you to watch again (somehow), but nine times out of 10, the improvised music … Continue reading Review and competition – Neil Brand’s Out of the Dark: Silent Movie Themes

London Film Festival 2014: the silent review

The Goddess | Why Be Good? | On With The Dance | The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands | Damn the War! | Experimental cinema | The Tribe Silent film screenings aren’t like other movie screenings. For one, there’s no shuffling out, or chatting during the credits. In fact, there is a distinct order … Continue reading London Film Festival 2014: the silent review

Faust: DVD and Blu-ray review

The news certainly caught my attention. Masters of Cinema has upgraded its DVD release of Murnau’s Faust: a German Folktale (1926) to a shiny new dual-format edition. All the beauty of Faust, but in high-definition Blu-ray glory: temptation itself. The even better news is that this is a very beautiful disc indeed. Faust has always been a feast … Continue reading Faust: DVD and Blu-ray review

Ten lost silent films

This is a guest post for Silent London by David Cairns, a film-maker and lecturer based in Edinburgh who writes the fantastic Shadowplay blog. The Silents by Numbers strand celebrates some very personal top 10s by silent film enthusiasts and experts. It’s impossible to tot up a list of “the greatest” or even “my favourite” lost films, since … Continue reading Ten lost silent films