Countdown to the festival

Bioscope Festival of Lost Films

Just eight days remain until we start The Bioscope Festival of Lost Films – a world first, I believe. The festival runs 14-18 January, and all of the films to be shown (one feature and one short per day) will be guaranteed not to exist. Once they did, and one reason why the titles are not being announced in advance, is that exhaustive researches are being undertaken in archives around the world to ensure that the selected films do not still exist somewhere.

However, we can give you some incidental details. The festival will of course be taking place in lost venues. Those selected – a different one each night, all in London – are:

The West End Cinema Theatre, Coventry Street
The Court Electric Theatre, Tottenham Court Road
The Casino de Paris, Oxford Street
The Cambridge Circus Cinematograph Theatre, Charing Cross Road
The Circle in the Square, Leicester Square

All are no longer cinemas. The West End Cinema Theatre, which opened in 1913, later became the Rialto and closed in 1982. It is a Grade II listed building but remains disused. The Court Electric Theatre, which closed in 1928, does not exist as a building, but the space it occupied is now the foyer of the Dominion Theatre. The Casino de Paris (opened 1909) is now a McDonald’s. The Cambridge Circus Cinematograph Theatre (opened 1911) is now the Montagu Pyke bar. And the Circle in the Square (originally called the Bioscopic Tea Rooms, opened 1909) is now an Angus Steak House. But we can dream.

And we have musicians. We have gone for the best, and can promise three names once renowned for their accompaniment of silents at the National Film Theatre: Arthur Dulay, Ena Baga and her sister Florence de Jong playing the organ. You will be transported. Book now!

The Bioscope Festival of Lost Films is dedicated to the anonymous person who visited this blog using the search term “lost films download”. We must all continue to live with such hope.

Projection Box essay competition

Just a reminder for anyone with an unpublished essay on early cinema tucked in the desk or on the hard drive somewhere that the deadline for the Projection Box essay award is January 18th. The aims of the award are to encourage new research and new thinking into any historical, artistic or technical aspect of projected and moving images up to 1915; and to promote engaging, accessible, and imaginative work. The first prize of £250 is for an essay of between 5000 and 8000 words (including notes).See the earlier post on the award (which is being awarded for the first time) for details of how to enter, or visit the Award site.

Bach releases DeMille

Bach Films

Cecil B. DeMille DVDs, from

My thanks to Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien for the information that the French company Bach Films have released ten Cecil B. DeMille silents on DVD. The titles are:

The Cheat (1915) – with Sessue Hayakawa, Fannie Ward
Carmen (1915) – with Geraldine Farrar, Wallace Reid
Joan the Woman (1917) – Geraldine Farrar and Raymond Hatton
The Whispering Chorus (1918) – with Raymond Hatton and Kathlyn Williams
Old Wives for New (1918) – with Elliott Dexter and Florence Vidor
Don’t Change Your Husband (1919) – with Elliott Dexter and Gloria Swanson
Male and Female (1919) – with Thomas Meighan and Gloria Swanson
Why Change Your Wife (1920) – with Thomas Meighan and Gloria Swanson
The Affairs of Anatol (1921) – Gloria Swanson and Wallace Reid
Manslaughter (1922) – with Leatrice Joy and Thomas Meighan

All are retailing at 7.00€. All are Region 2, and appear to have French titles only. I can’t find any information about the music. At any rate, it’s a remarkable selection, with perhaps Joan the Woman, starring the opera singer Geraldine Farrar (who enjoyed a surprisingly successful career in silent films, given that her chief asset – her voice – was absent), the outstanding classic if you had to go for just one.

I’d not heard of Bach Films before now. Other silent DVDs on their list are D.W. Griffith’s Way Down East (1920), Orphans of the Storm (1922), Broken Blossoms (1919), Intolerance (1916) and Sally of the Sawdust (1925), all of them accompanied by assorted Griffith Biograph shorts; Douglas Fairbanks in The Three Musketeers (1921), Robin Hood (1922), Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925), The Black Pirate (1926) and The Iron Mask (1929); and Tod Browning’s Shadows (1922).

I don’t attempt to keep up with all silent film DVD releases here on The Bioscope, because there are other well-established sources that provide such a service very well. Check out the Silent Films on DVD section on Silent Era, or the impressively-extensive Silent Films on DVD site.