Category Archives: Film

Paris

My favourite street in Paris is the Rue Christine. This evening we had dinner at the remarkable Christine restaurant (excellent confit of veal followed by an extraordinary mojito baba) and then crossed the road to the Action cinema for John Ford’s The Lost Patrol (about a group of British soldiers stranded in Mesopotamia after their […]

‘Dawn’: Edith Cavell and the censors

On Saturday, at the splendid Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds, we had a rare chance to see the 1929 film Dawn, about Edith Cavell. It’s a remarkable film, and it was made more enjoyable by the four short talks that preceded it.

‘Loyalties’

John Galsworthy’s 1922 play Loyalties includes one of the more interesting twenties portrayals of an ex-soldier. Captain Ronald Dancey has most of the military virtues – dash, courage, resolution – but has not done well in the peacetime world. The play brings him into conflict with Ferdinand de Levis, rich and successful in everything he […]

‘Barbed Wire’ and Hall Caine

This is just a quick note to recommend the film Barbed Wire (1927), available from Grapevine Video. Pola Negri plays a Frenchwoman whose family’s farm is commandeered by the authorities as a prison camp for captured Germans. At first she is prejudiced against them, because her brother has been reported killed in action. Gradually, though, […]

1864

Over the past few Saturday nights I’ve been watching 1864, the latest BBC4 serial imported from Denmark. And the  more I have seen of it, the greater my sense of déjà vu. The sadistic schoolmaster preaching mindless patriotism; the unpleasant and corrupt members of the upper classes; the utterly decent lower classes; the admirable gipsies; […]

Ernie Lotinga in ‘Josser in the Army’

In June 1927, T. S. Eliot wrote to Virginia Woolf: Have just been to see Ernie Lotinga in his new Play at the Islington Empire. Magnificent. He is the greatest living British histrionic artist, in the purest tradition of British Obscenity. Until recently I thought that almost all Lotinga’s film work had been lost, apart […]

The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands

This is the latest DVD release from the BFI, and it’s very good indeed. The Battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands were the first sea battles of the Great War. At Coronel in November 1914, Admiral Graf von Spee’s German force, led by armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, picked off the smaller British cruisers […]

Poppies, adverts, libraries

Next spring, Sainsbury’s will doubtless be celebrating Easter with a feelgood mini-movie about the crucifixion, so that they can sell more chocolate eggs. A good-looking young Roman soldier could cheer up the Virgin Mary by handing her a Kinder Surprise… It’s been a funny old fortnight for Remembrance-watchers. I didn’t get to see the poppies […]

Shell-Shock and magic: ‘The Enchanted Cottage’ (1924)

When I first heard of the 1924 film The Enchanted Cottage I was told it belonged to the vast legion of the many, many lost silent movies. Then I learned from the useful Silent Era website that a print did exist in the Library of Congress archive. And now a DVD is on sale from […]

War through the eyes of a child? Up to a point…

There was a nice story in the Mail about a Bradford boy who drew his own filmstrips during WW1. The frames – which created by drawing scenes on to long strips of paper and shown to an audience by pulling them through slits in a cardboard box – were made by a young Charles Harold […]