The Sunday Intertitle: Cherry Read


This drunkard and his family are so poor they can only afford a painting of plates (top left). And a painting of a street outside the window. But at least the plates are painted anamorphically so you can look at them from an angle and feel prosperous.

The Film Explainer Returns was an event at last week’s Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema. Storyteller Andy Cannon harks back to the early days of movies by accompanying movies with a live voice-over, narrating, commenting on and supplying historical background to a wide selection of super-obscure short features, from a turn-of-the-century religious flick to a hilarious amateur dramatics version of Rob Roy made by the Bearsden Film Club. The titular Highland rogue wears dress kilt and plimsolls, and can be enjoyed here, at the  Scottish Screen Archive. A highly recommended site for historic trawling.

Jean L Gray’s Edinburgh travelogue, NORTHERN CAPITAL (viewable here) offers scenic views of the city in the 30s. Gray won an amateur movie prize in a contest judged by none other than Alfred Hitchcock.

Mr Cannon was accompanied by musicians Stewart Hardy and Frank McLaughlin (who was nice enough to give me a lift home), and the whole event was funny, beautiful and informative — a fresh way to enjoy old movies.

RW Paul’s temperance film, with the inexplicable yet poetic title BUY YOUR OWN CHERRIES, was a special treat. Interested parties can check out Mr Paul’s enthusiastic, sometimes amateurish, but always engaging work on this BFI disc —

R. W. Paul – The Collected Films 1895-1908 [DVD]


2 Responses to “The Sunday Intertitle: Cherry Read”

  1. David Boxwell Says:

    The “explainers” in Japan were so beloved (and culturally powerful), talkies didn’t get made until the mid-30s.

    And now there is “real time” fan-based commentary via social media as cultfaveTV shows are broadcast.

  2. And then there’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax. The pleasure of talking over movies is an eternal one.

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