It is with humble apologies that I have to report that tonight’s screening at the Bioscope Festival of Lost Films is not going ahead. There have been problems with the film chosen for our last screening, from the sudden likelihood that part of it had survived (which subsequently proved not to be the case), but more seriously that its sober subject matter did not quite suit the air of ironic whimsicality which is the hallmark (we think) of this Festival.
There was a film in reserve (there are many lost silent films, as we know), but your programmer is leading a busy life at the moment and both time and energy have run out. Thought was given to postponing the festival for a day, but the cinema manager has been awkward, and the organist we had hired (a certain Dr Sargent) was demanding ruinous expenses for being kept on for a second evening. All in all, the wiser course of action is to call it a day at four shows, and to return to lost films (perhaps as an occasional series) another time.
To all festivalgoers, you may of course obtain refunds from the festival office, and I hope that no one was put to too great an expense over costume hire. There is just enough left in the kitty (once the organist has been paid off) for us to have our promised end of festival soirée at the Cafe Royal (itself soon to be no more), where we may toast lost films and consider that not only is vita brevis, but sometimes ars is brevis too.
William Orpen, ‘Café Royal London 1912’