Unique ‘Loves of Mary’ movie will be the silent star of Hippfest

The latest movie about Mary Queen of Scots featured key scenes at Blackness Castle, and now a remastered 1923 epic about the luckless Stuart monarch will premiere at nearby Bo’ness.

By Roy Beers
Saturday, 29th February 2020, 4:05 pm
Updated Saturday, 29th February 2020, 4:48 pm

The story of Queen Mary’s road to ruin continues to fascinate from one generation to the next - matched only by the obsession down south with usually highly glamourised tales of Tudor sovereigns - but the movie to be screened at Hippfest next month is unique.

Called the Loves off Mary, Queen of Scots, it will be the world premiere for the new restoration of this extremely rare British feature film, and a highlight of this year’s Hippodrome Silent Film Festival - Hippfest, as it’s better known - which is delivered by Falkirk Community Trust.

The March 19 screening will be accompanied by live music from Wendy Weatherby, Frank McLaughlin and David Trouton, and further “elaborated” with a performance by acclaimed professional storyteller Andy Cannon providing live narration and historical context during reel changeovers.

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There's Darnley, Rizzio, Bothwell and the rest ... all the gang are there for a story that continues to fascinate audiences everywhere.

Andy says: “As a regular movie-goer it is thanks to the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival that I have now seen many films from the early days of cinema as they were intended - as creative pieces of visual storytelling and not historical curiosities.

“I found ‘The Loves of Mary, Queen of Scots’ to be a fascinating and very watchable telling of Mary’s adult life - concentrating as the title suggests on her three marriages.

“There’s lots to commend and to be fascinated with in this – and , like lots of filmgoers , I have seen many adaptations and tellings of this tragic tale, but in my opinion the lingering shot of Queen Elizabeth I as the film closes is as powerful a comment on the human tragedy of the story as any that have followed in the last 100 years.”

Alison Strauss, director of the Hippfest, said: “I am always keen to seek out titles with a Scottish resonance - several major stars of the era hailed from Scotland, and in previous years we have presented adaptations of Scottish stories including ‘Annie Laurie’ and ‘Rob Roy’ or from Scottish authors like Conan Doyle (‘Hound of the Baskervilles’). To have the chance to screen a film version of the life of Mary Stuart was a dream come true.

Mary Queen of Scots , aka Val Ferguson OBE, a trustee of Bo'ness Community Bus Association, boards the HippFest Community Bus (or more properly coach, given the context) at Linlithgow Palace, with the assistance of Andy Cannon - who will narrate the film at Hippfest.

“The tragic Scottish Queen has a strong connection with the area.

“Mary was born at Linlithgow Palace and the marriage agreement between Mary and the French heir to the throne was signed just a few miles down the road at Callendar House in Falkirk.

“How fitting that when people travel on the HippFest Community Bus between Linlithgow and the Hippodrome they will be treated to wonderful views of the magnificent ruins of the Palace sitting above Linlithgow Loch - a great way to start their Festival experience.”

The Bo’ness Community Bus will operate throughout the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival, with extra services on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening.

Tickets cost £3 per journey and are available to book through the HippFest Box Office.

Meanwhile Linlithgow Distillery will host a sampling of its Four Marys gin series at the Hippodrome after the screening of The Loves of Mary, Queen of Scots.

For full details of Hippfest visit https://www.hippodromecinema.co.uk/silent-film-festival/