There’s a cinematic event taking place this weekend that is aiming to prove that silence is golden.
On Saturday night Heaton Park will host its annual silent film night which this year will pay tribute to Buster Keaton with an evening of the movie legend’s films.
Silent film accompanist, composer and broadcaster [the inestimably clever] Neil Brand (NFT, BBC4 Sound of Cinema and Radio 4 Film Programme regular) has been playing Keaton’s films on piano for 30 years and considers him ‘the greatest manipulator of the film camera and what can be done in front of it’.
He will start the evening with clips from Busters best stunts, his funniest gags, wilder moments and the background to his life’s story.
He'll then take to the keys to breathe life and sound into the 1928 silent feature Steamboat Bill, Jr. – now regarded as a masterpiece of its era and featuring stone-faced Keaton (minus his famous port pie hat) in his single most famous stunt with THAT house falling down around him.
The film follows Bill Junior who returns to his home town to help his father - a cantankerous captain of a tired, Mississippi paddle steamer who’s business is threatened by town rival J.J. King. But to his father’s dismay, Bill Jnr falls for Kitty – his rival’s daughter. When a fierce storm hits, Bill Jnr saves the day – as well as Kitty and both fathers.
The classic film delivers 70 minutes of gags and death-defying stunts - planned and performed by Buster himself - that will literally bring the house down. Now, nearly nine decades after its release, the film is brought to life with live music from Brand, who is considered one of the finest exponents of improvised silent film accompaniment in the world.
The film starts at 8pm. In case of wet weather, the event will move to St Gabriel’s on Heaton Road.
Tickets are £5 and available from Ticket Source.