Bioscope Newsreel no. 21

The Odessa Steps sequence from Battleship Potemkin (perhaps the Michael Bay widescreen version?). From Obsessed with Film

Returning from their Easter break, the Bioscope editorial team has been scouring the wires for the latest news on all things silent. Here’s what they have dredged up.

Defending D.W.
Peter Bogdanovich, who maintains a rather good blog with the uncomplicated name of Bogdanovich, writes in eloquent defence of D.W. Griffith in particular and against revisionist history in general. His argument is that the racist nature of The Birth of a Nation should not be allowed to blind us to Griffith’s status as an humane artist overall and as an influence on so many great filmmakers. Read more.

Potemkin sails again
The British Film Institute is releasing a newly-restored copy of Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (with Edmund Meisel’s original score) in some UK cinemas from today. Obsessed with Film enthuses about the film’s popular appeal: “The 71-minute silent film has found itself tagged uncomfortably as an art picture, forever doomed as a source of study and academia. In actuality, it’s a roaring epic, the kind of film that Michael Bay might lay awake at night thinking about, pondering the possibility of a full-on remake”. Hmm, slightly worrying food for thought. Read more.

The political power of Francis X. Bushman
An article from the National Journal on the political power of celebrities comes up with the surprise information that where Bono treads today, silent star Francis X. Bushman once trod before. Bushman was apparently told by President William Howard Taft that he envied the love of people that Bushman enjoyed. Bushman doesn’t make the NJ’s list of the twenty most politically-influential celebrities, however – the only person to have appeared in silents who does is John Wayne. Read more.

Dreyer on Blu-Ray
It’s high time the Bioscope updated its list of silents on Blu-Ray, but it’s getting difficult to keep up. Just announced by the Danish Film Institute is a Blu-Ray release of Carl Th. Dreyer’s Love One Another (Die Gezeichneten) (1922) and The Bride of Glomdal (Glomdalsbruden) (1926), with piano scores by Ronen Thalmay. Intertitles are in Danish and English, and the films are being made available on DVD as well. Read more.

The dying Keaton
How many dance pieces have been produced about silent film stars who weren’t Charlie Chaplin? Not many I think, but this week Chicago Dance Crash and Culture Shock Chicago have come up with The Trials of Busta Keaton (now there’s a bold re-spelling to bring a star of yesteryear to a new audience), which documents the fading of Keaton’s career and his sad attempts to recapture his past. Read more.

‘Til next time!

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