A Taste of Silents

The team behind the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest), Scotland’s only silent cinema festival, are celebrating a successful fundraising campaign by launching an additional, brand new silent movie season this autumn.

A Taste of Silents will introduce the rich, immersive and captivating world of silent film, with live music, presented in Scotland’s oldest cinema, the Hippodrome in Bo’ness, where HippFest takes place each year.

A Taste of Silents opens on 2 September with Fritz Lang’s iconic 1927 film Metropolis, reinvigorated with a dynamic accompaniment by DJ Vangelis. On 21 October, the 1923 Harold Lloyd classic Safety Last! Is accompanied by acclaimed composer Mike Nolan. On 28 October, FW Murnau’s extraordinary romantic drama Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) will screen with a live accompaniment of Graeme Stephen’s acclaimed score (winner of the Scottish Jazz Awards’ Innovation Prize, 2012). A Taste of Silents will conclude on 11 November with the Alfred Hitchcock favourite Blackmail (1929) with music by Stephen Horne, one of the world’s best silent film musicians, performing on piano, flute and accordion.

The season will celebrate a landmark event for the Hippodrome Cinema in Bo’ness – the purchase of its own piano for the first time, following a successful £4k fundraising campaign which included donations from individual HippFest fans together with larger donations from the Geraldine Kirkpatrick Charitable Trust, the Bo’ness Real Ale Appreciation Society and John Wood (Charities Aid Foundation).  

Alison Strauss, Arts Development Officer (Film and Media) and HippFest Director for Falkirk Community Trust, said: “At HippFest we pride ourselves in the warm, inclusive atmosphere which has meant that the cinema swells with people who simply enjoy great film experiences, rather than an exclusive niche audience of silent ‘experts’. We do know though that there are film fans out there, and music lovers, who aren’t sure if silent film is for them, imagining some kind of dull ‘geekery’.  These film choices – early Hitchcock, a gorgeous love story, the most iconic sci-fi ever and, one of the funniest films ever made – are chosen to encourage any first-timers to dip their toe in the water and find out for themselves the delights of silent film and live music.

“We’re over the moon that our announcement about the Taste of Silents season coincides with reaching our piano fundraising target as this means that we can put our lovely new instrument to use straight away.  We no longer need to pay for hire and transport freeing up budget to invest in great film prints and musicians. Plus the piano up on stage will be a tangible expression, for all to appreciate, of the good-feeling of our audiences towards HippFest.”



Metropolis (1927) with live DJ set/soundtrack accompaniment by DJ Vangelis.  
Sat 2 Sep 7.30pm (2h 30m)
One of the most influential films ever made:  Fritz Lang’s sci-fi classic  with dynamic live DJ set/soundtrack accompaniment by DJ Vangelis.  
Experience this landmark of cinematic science fiction re-imagined with a soundscape drawn from the vaults of kraut-electronica, industrial, minimalist electronics & post-rock.  More info & online booking here

Safety Last! (1923) with piano accompaniment by Mike Nolan
Sat 21st October 2.30pm (1h 7m)
The famous ‘thrill’ comedy starring ultimate daredevil Harold Lloyd with live accompaniment by acclaimed composer and performer Mike Nolan.
“One of the best films of the era.” Empire Magazine. More info & online booking here
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) with music by Graeme Stephen 

Sat 28th October 7.30pm  (1h 46m)
F.W. Murnau’s extraordinary romantic drama ‘with a live accompaniment of Graeme Stephen's acclaimed score (winner of the Scottish Jazz Awards, Innovation prize 2012).
Written for guitar, cello, tenor saxophone and drums, the piece will be performed by Graeme (guitar), Tom Bancroft (drums), Phil Bancroft (tenor sax) and Pete Harvey (cello). More info & online booking here

Blackmail (1929) with music by Stephen Horne
Sat 11 November 7.30pm (1h 25m plus intro)
Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal thriller with accompaniment by one of the world’s best silent film musicians on piano, flute and accordion. Introduced by Laraine Porter (De Montfort University).  Presented as part of 'British Silent Cinema and the Transition to Sound' an AHRC research project. More info & online booking here

All films will take place at the Hippodrome, 10 Hope Street, Bo’ness EH51 0AA. Tickets can be booked via the Hippodrome box office on 01324 506850 and are priced £12 (£10). Ticket deal: 10% off when you buy for more than one screening in the Taste of Silents Season.



Published on Tuesday, 29th August 2017


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