Killruddery, down Wicklow way


Killruddery House

I’ve only just learned about the Killruddery Silent Film Festival, which is an event that has been building up over the past couple of years and is now a fully-fledged silent film festival, with an excellent programme. Killruddery (which I think goes straight to the top of the league of great names for silent film events) is in Co. Wicklow, Ireland, and the festival is organised by Killruddery Arts. The screenings take place 13-15 March at Killruddery House, Bray – a short journey south of Dublin, and a lovely place to be (as indeed I was a couple of years ago for the Bray Jazz Festival to see trumpeter Dave Douglas play his Fatty Arbuckle-inspired music). Keep up the good work, chaps, and I’ll be there next year.

Here’s the programme:

Friday 13 March

Down Wicklow Way
Programme of silent films made in and around Wicklow in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, presented by Sunniva O’Flynn of the Irish Film Archive. Live piano accompaniment by Joss Johnston.

Opening event – The Cat and the Canary (USA 1927 d. Paul Leni)
8.00pm 72mins
A fine parody of Gothic horror from Universal, set in an old stately home not unlike Killruddery House. Live piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne.

Saturday 14 March

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Germany 1926 d. Lotte Reiniger)
11.00am 60mins
Shadow animation used to tell a captivating story of kind ogres, magical flying horses and wicked magicians.

Visages d’Enfants (France 1925 d. Jacques Feyder)
1.00pm 109mins
This enormously moving film features some extraordinary performances and has been compared to Truffaut’s 400 Blows.

Grass (USA 1925 d. Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack)
3.00 pm 77mins
Magnificent early documentary tracing the incredible journey of a 50,000 member nomadic Persian tribe. Live piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne.

A Modern Musketeer (USA 1917 d. Allan Dwan)
4.00 pm 60mins
Hilarious swashbuckling adventure featuring Douglas Fairbanks.

Flesh and the Devil (USA 1926 d. Clarence Brown)
5.30pm 112mins
Passionate romance between Greta Garbo and John Gilbert. Live piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne.

Sunrise (USA 1927 d. F.W. Murnau)
8.15pm 96mins
Not only one of the masterpieces of the silent period but one of the most remarkable films ever produced.

Sunday 15 March

The Unknown (USA 1927 d. Tod Browning)
12.15pm 75mins
A macabre treat with Lon Chaney’s armless knife-thrower and his beautiful assistant, played by a young Joan Crawford.

The Unholy Three (USA 1925 d. Tod Browning)
2.20pm 72mins
Three escaped sideshow performers launch a spectacular crime wave, with Lon Chaney. Live piano accompaniment by Joss Johnston.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Germany 1926 d. Lotte Reiniger)
3.00pm 60mins
Repeat screening.

Talk – An introduction to the silent era
An illustrated talk by silent film historian Kevin Brownlow.

The Student Prince (USA 1927 d. Ernst Lubitsch)
6.00pm 103mins
Ramon Novarro, Norma Shearer and the famous ‘Lubitsch touch’.

Closing film – Redskin (USA 1929 d. Victor Schertzinger)
8.15pm 85mins
A westerns which courageously depicts corruption and racial prejudice. Live accompaniment by Justin Carroll (piano) and Kim Porcelli (cello).

Well, that’s an excellent introduction to silent film for anyone looking to discover the medium for the first time, or wanting to catch up on some of the cast-iron classics. One detects the influence of Kevin Brownlow in putting together the programme. The titles are a mixture of 16mm and digital video, it seems. There’s more information on the festival site, and if you could publish your programme as copyable text, chaps, and not an image, it would be so much quicker to reproduce…

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