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.

5 responses

  1. I *love* the idea of this festival! I will so enjoy attending.

    My date and I will dress up in Jazz Age evening wear, whether the ensembles exist or not.

  2. That’s getting into the spirit of things! I shall of course be wearing my virtual cinema commissionaire’s uniform, ensuring good behaviour and checking beneath the seats to see that no children have crept in without paying.

  3. Luke: I’m looking forward to it. I hope you’ve got a good projectionist. I hate it when the films get out of focus. Will there be a virtual concession stand?

    Joe Thompson ;0)

  4. There will be attendants passing along the aisles selling period chocolates and ice creams, naturally. All of the participating cinemas assure me that their projectionists are of the highest calibre, but it is so hard to tell. With all of the films being lost, there is naturally a great deal of uncertainty as to what the correct projection speeds should be. I hope audience members will alert me if things do not look right, so we will know better for next time.

  5. Oh FABULOUS. I didn’t know this would be a family-friendly festival. I’ll bring my virtual children. They are remarkably well-behaved.

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