A documentary about the early years of silent films made in Britain. Showing that it wasn't just a few, easily dismissed comedies, but many high quality films including some very popular ... See full summary »

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Matthew Sweet ...
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Ian Christie ...
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Bryony Dixon ...
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Michael Eaton ...
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Frank Gray ...
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Joan Morgan ...
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George Pearson ...
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Mabel Poulton ...
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Chrissie White ...
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A documentary about the early years of silent films made in Britain. Showing that it wasn't just a few, easily dismissed comedies, but many high quality films including some very popular comedies and some fine dramas. Matthew Sweet shows through examples how the art and even the language of film was developed by some of these pioneers working in Britain. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

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31 May 2006 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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A simply splendid documentary
5 August 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

My interest in this docu came about as I've been all my life a fan of Ivor Novello's music and persona even though I didn't know a great deal about his movie period until his centenary when he became briefly fashionable again and I picked up some 2nd hand books about him and read those of his major musicals for which I could get hold of libretti. I was stunned to discover just how much a superstar he was on film and after seeing The Lodger and reading a really excellent BFI book called Ivor Novello : Screen Idol, I realised just how he accomplished this and just how amazingly good he was. I've since managed to obtain The Phantom Fiend (unfortunately the cut down American version but it's still vg. up to the abrupt ending) and Return of the Rat (well, better than nothing about the Rat but clearly not as good as his earlier Rat movies).

So I bought this DVD sight unseen and was delighted to discover a whole chapter on Novello and a single still right at the end of the docu of his famous Apache Dance. But I was also surprised at just how dynamic and interesting British film making was in the silent period. It was very exciting to discover so much about our movies and infuriating to learn just how stupidly reticent we've been about that golden era. What is wrong with the British that we denigrate our own terrific history in film and we allow our oh-so-clever and sarcastic movie critics to carry on this calumny as though praising anything British is both incompetent and even disgracefully silly whilst it's an absolute necessity to rave about the movie past of the USA and France?


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