Peter Pan and the fairy harp


Elizabeth-Jane Baldry, from

If you were puzzled by the mention in a recent post of the screening of Peter Pan (1924) as part of the Barbican Silent season being accompanied by the fairy harp, be puzzled no more. There is a short piece on the Music from the Movies site, which introduces up to Elizabeth-Jane Baldry, who plays the instrument:

The fascination with recreating music for silent film goes ever on; Carl Davis is perhaps the best known composer doing this in the UK today, while Michael Nyman has of course dabbled with projects like his re-scoring of Dziga Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera. The Pet Shop Boys famously applied their musical stylings to Sergei Eisenstein’s legendary Battleship Potemkin a couple of years ago and, as we reported last week, John Scott has written new music for the 1922 film Robin Hood.

Peter Pan is another such character that was of course given ‘the silent treatment’ and the 1924 Hollywood film directed by Herbert Brenon is probably the first celluloid outing for the pesky Neverlander. While the film was given a new score by composer Philip Carli in 1999, the film will receive an interesting musical accompaniment in Bristol in November. Playing live to the film at the City’s delightful ‘St. George’s Bristol’ concert venue, ‘Fairy Harpist’ Elizabeth-Jane Baldry will improvise a score on the Harp. Baldry, whose performances have appeared in numerous stage and screen guises, is well known for her exploration of what has become known as ‘Victorian Fairy Harp Music’ and applies those enchanting refrains to Peter Pan, a fitting accompaniment indeed!

You can find out more about the Victorian fairy harp – indeed hear sound samples, from Baldry’s personal site, She accompanies Peter Pan at St George’s Bristol on 25 November, and at the Barbican in London on 16 December.

The Film Industry

British film studio

Unidentified British film studio, from The Film Industry

Just arrived in The Bioscope Library is The Film Industry (1921), by Davidson Boughey. This British publication is a relatively short but knowledgeable and helpful account of film production techonology and techniques, from a British perspective. It was much used by Rachael Low in her classic work, The History of the British Film 1918-1929. Boughey covers the history of film production (with an emphasis on British legislation), the manufacture and use of cinematograph film, the cinematograph camera, developing film, printing, tinting and toning, titling, the set-up of a motion-picture studio (particularly useful for the picture of British conditions, which were somewhat behind Hollywood), the production of films (again very informative on British practice), fiction films, travel, topical and scientific films, distribution, publicity, projection and exhibition. Boughey also provides useful figures on cinema attendance, the numbers employed by the cinema industry, and investment in film. It’s available from the Internet Archive in DjVu (3.5MB), PDF (11MB) and TXT (179KB) formats.