To mark the centenary of the beginning of World War I, the IFI will exclusively screen A Night at the Cinema in 1914. Compiled from the BFI archives, this collection of short silent films allows us a glimpse of what life was like before we were knee-deep in The X-Factor and Ant and Dec.
Highlights from the selection of newsreel, travelogue, comedy and serial drama are footage of Emmeline Pankhurst’s arrest at Buckingham Palace, and Allied troops celebrating Christmas on the front line. The quality of material blows hot and cold, from the genius of Charlie Chaplin in one of his first films for Keystone Studios, to the abysmally amateur slapstick of Fred Evans’ Lt. Pimple (The Fast Show’s Arthur Atkinson springs to mind).
Stephen Horne’s largely improvised score cleverly references the music of this period, and reflects the spirit in which these films were made.
A Night at the Cinema in 1914 opens at the IFI this Friday 1st August.