Tag Archives: film archives

Silent cinema and the web: resources

Geddit? L’Araigné d’Or (1909)

You have probably noticed that Sight & Sound magazine features a regular column called Primal Screen, devoted to “The world of silent cinema”. This is undoubtedly a Good Thing, although it doesn’t appear online, which in some ways, is a Bad Thing. With absolutely no respect for this position, when I was asked to write the Primal Screen column in the January 2013 edition of Sight & Sound, I devoted my wordcount to the relationship between early cinema and the web.

Hyperlinks don’t work on the printed page, or even on the digital version of the magazine, so I thought I would help out by posting some of the links to the sites I mention in the piece here, on Silent London. In fact, Silent London is one of the sites I mention, but you already have that one bookmarked, right?

Here goes:

Do buy the magazine, there’s lots of silent cinema in it this month, from Neil Brand on Beggars of Life, to Nick Pinkerton on Fritz Lang, and even myself popping up again to talk about the Battleship Potemkin/Drifters box set.

Search Your Film Archives

This nifty little video is advertising a BFI project that some of you may want to try out – Screen Heritage UK. The idea is that you can search for archive film from your area, and locate the relevant footage, some of which will be available to view online.

Thanks to over £22.8 million in funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), this major collaboration between the BFI and regional film archives across the UK represents a historic moment for film archives, encompassing digital innovation and pioneering new methods of film archiving.

SHUK will also ensure everyone in Britain will be able to find out about their film heritage for free via a new cataloguing and online access drive – Search Your Film Archives. The national and regional film archives have created this resource to give the public online access to information about film archives across the UK.

I had a very quick root around, and found this footage of the Ripon Highland Games in Yorkshire in 1916, featuring bagpipers, wrestling on horseback and a rather incongruous Charlie Chaplin lookalike. I was also quite taken with a phantom ride taken from a tram in Glossop, Derbyshire in 1912. Fascinating glimpses of a world that bears only small resemblances to modern Britain.

Have a look for yourself, here, at the Screen Heritage UK search portal.