Shh...The Hippodrome Bo’ness Silent Film Festival is starting

The Hippodrome's Festival of Silent Cinema runs from March 12-16
The Hippodrome's Festival of Silent Cinema runs from March 12-16
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The fourth Hippodrome Festival of Silent Film showcases the work of greats such as Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy alongside lesser known gems.

Combining film, music history and heritage, the event kicked off yesterday and runs until Sunday.

The programme for 2014 includes some of silent films most noted stars, a few hidden gems and a plethora of talented musicians.

Festival producer Shona Thomson said the team have worked hard all year to put together their best festival yet.

“This is the fourth year of running the Silent Film Festival and we know what works.

“We know that stars like Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton pulls in the audiences and we’ve combined that with films that maybe the audience wouldn’t have heard of.

“I absolutely love Charley Chase, just looking at his face leaves me in stitches, so it was important to me to get him on the bill.”

Charley will appear alongside Buster Keaton and Charles Bowers in a trio of slapstick films on Saturday from 10.30 a.m. This is a Jeely Jar screening although there is now a waiting list as it has sold out.

While Shona loves slapstick, she says her top pick for the festival combines a timeless silent film with the modern art of beat boxing – creating the sounds of musical instruments with just your mouth.

Highly-regarded beat boxer and sound artist Jason Singh will accompany the entire ‘Drifters’ track with his mouth and a looping machine.

‘Drifters’, directed by Stirlingshire-born John Grierson, focuses on a herring drifter’s journey with Singh providing the sounds of the sea and boat.

Shona said: “Jason is immensely talented so I can’t wait to see what he has done with the piece.

“The movie is being shown as a double bill with ‘Rien Que Les Heures’ or ‘Nothing But Time’ a French film accompanied by Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra.

“They make up the music as they go along, with fantastic results. It’s like no orchestra you’ll have ever seen.”

Other festival picks are the spooky ‘Ghost Train’, a much-loved play about a group of travellers stranded at a train station who are left terrified by tales of a haunted locomotive manned by the undead. The 1927 movie will be accompanied by musicians Stephen Horne and Hazel Morrison and shows on Saturday afternoon.

German master-piece ‘Der Letzte Mann (The Last Laugh) on Saturday at 4.30 p.m. is directed by the man behind the legendary ‘Nosferatu’ and uses the talents of violinist Sabrina Zimmerman and pianist Mark Pogolski to bring the film to life.

The tale of a proud elderly doorman who loses his place in society when he is stripped of his fine uniform, it uses only two inter-titles in the entire 90 minute production.

As well as bringing silent film to Bo’ness, the festival also includes heritage walks led by archeologist Geoff Bailey on Sunday, a special effects make up workshop on Sunday at Bo’ness Town Hall and historic Kinneil House will be open.

Shona added: “The Hippodrome is a stunning venue and well suited to showing silent films.

“The festival is a wonderful way to enjoy an old favourite or introduce youngsters to movies from a bygone era.”

For more information, or to book tickets (some events are selling out quickly) visit
 www.hippfest.co.uk, visit the Steeple Box Office on Falkirk High Street or call (01324) 506850.