Bo’ness Hippodrome heads straight for Hell Unlimited

The auditorium of the Bo'ness Hippodrome
The auditorium of the Bo'ness Hippodrome
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A trio of rare anti-war films are being shown at the Hippodrome Bo’ness tonight as part of the venue’s ‘Hell Unlimited’ night.

The event includes an exclusive performance of music composed for the influential silent, anti-war film ‘Hell Unlimited’ (1936).

It was co-directed and produced by Glasgow-born artist Helen Biggar with renowned pioneering filmmaker Norman McLaren. The pair conceived their ideas for the film as civil war broke out in Spain.

The new music for ‘Hell Unlimited’ was commissioned by Glasgow Film and has been supported by the PRS for Music Foundation through Women Make Music. Composer and sound installation maker Kim Moore collaborated with film composer Gareth Griffiths (winner of BAFTA New Talent Award for Original Music, 2012) to create this new score which responds to the film’s dramatic content.

Taking up the theme of the damaging effects of war, the evening’s film line- up also includes more archive rarities: ‘March to Aldermaston’ (1959), a celebrated campaigning documentary about CND’s 1958 landmark march on the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, narrated in sonorous tones by Richard Burton, and Norman McLaren’s Academy Award-winning and ground-breaking animation ‘Neighbours’ (1952), made when he was well established and working in his adoptive Canada.

Film programmer at the Hippodrome, Alison Strauss, said: “The Hippodrome has a growing reputation for screening silent film with live music thanks to the successful Festival of Silent Cinema and we are extremely honoured to have been invited by Glasgow Film to host this exciting new commission in our venue.”

“The two other films during the evening make interesting companion pieces for the headlining scored film.

“Showing Biggar and McLaren’s ground-breaking work presented an opportunity to seek out and access a couple of rarely screened titles from the world’s film archives. The National Film Board of Canada gave us a special thumbs up for screening ‘Neighbours’ which probably hasn’t been seen on the big screen in this country for over 50 years.”

‘Hell Unlimited’, ‘March to Aldermaston’ and ‘Neighbours’ are on at the Hippodrome Bo’ness tonight (Thursday) at 7.30 p.m. Tickets, priced £6 (£4.50 conc) are available in person from the box office or by calling (01324) 506850.