Read "Silent no longer,"
a "Weekend" feature by Bill Blankenship in the Fri., Oct. 26, 2012, Topeka Capitol-Journal.
Bill includes a video clip from our feature film, Blackmail. 10/26/2012
Silents in the
701 SW 8th St. - Topeka, KS
Friday, Oct. 26th, 2012
Topeka/Shawnee County Public Library
with the cooperation
Kansas Silent Film Festival, Inc.
Free to the Public
Music by Dr. Marvin Faulwell
playing the mighty Cathedral organ
with Bob Keckeisen/Percussion
Introductions by Denise Morrison
(1913 / Director: Emile Cohl) animated, 10 min
An old witch causes a smoker’s matches to go through a bewildering variety of maneuvers, forming many curious shapes such as a windmill, a skeleton, a tightrope walker and others. From a French pioneer animator.
Eve’s Love Letters
(1927 / Director: Leo McCarey), starring Stan Laurel and Agnes Ayres, 20 min
We started with a fairly standard plot about a woman who is being blackmailed with love letters from before her marriage, but they get destroyed fairly quickly and when she is almost caught by her husband at the blackmailer's house the comedy turns into a fast-paced, wonderfully choreographed, inventive and funny farce in which Ayres and Laurel collaborate on a series of escalating tricks to confuse and humiliate the tipsy husband.
(1929 / Director:Alfred Hitchock), starring Anny Ondra, Sara Allgood and Cyril Ritchard, 80 min
Our feature film for the 15th annual "Silents in the Cathedral" this year was the silent version of the 1929 Alfred Hitchcock classic, BLACKMAIL. According to reports, Hitchcock shot this entire film as a silent feature first, then was asked to incorporate some 'talking' scenes in it to make it a 'part-talkie', Hitch went overboard.
He re-shot most of the movie with sound, making it Great Britain's first feature-length ‘all-talking’ motion picture. The silent version was still shown in some cinemas that were unequipped for sound films. Over the decades, the silent version has all but disappeared until it was recently uncovered.
Ondra plays Alice White, the daughter of a shopkeeper in 1920's London. Her boyfriend, Frank Webber (John Longden) is a Scotland Yard detective who seems to be more interested in police work than he is in her. Frank takes Alice out one night, but she has secretly arranged to meet another man, an artist (Cyril Ritchard). Later that night, Alice agrees to go back to visit the artist's studio flat. The artist has other ideas and as he tries to rape Alice, she defends herself with a bread knife.
When the artist's body is discovered, Frank is assigned to the case and he quickly determines that Alice is the killer, but so has someone else and this mysterious man threatens her with blackmail. When Frank becomes aware of this, he arrests the man and an incredible chase around, inside and on top of the British Museum follows. This is one of Hitchcock's groundbreaking suspense thrillers and includes many of the plot elements that would reappear throughout his work and Ms. Ondra is also considered the first Hitchcock's famous blonde heroines.
—There was a brief intermission during the feature presentation. Popcorn and bottled water were sold as a fundraiser for the for the Cathedral Youth Group.