The Sunday Intertitle: In Check

The Hippodrome Silent Film Festival starts this week, on the 17th. I’ve contributed programme notes for CHESS FEVER and A KISS FROM MARY PICKFORD, two genuinely riotous Russian comedies. Said notes are part of you get when you buy a ticket — £20 for the whole festival, a fantastic bargain when you look at what’s on offer.

It’s an online festival this year for obvious reasons — I do hope you’ll join me in viewing.

CHESS FEVER obviously ties in nicely with the smash success of Scott Frank’s superb Walter Tevis adaptation, The Queen’s Gambit — and both Soviet silent and Netflix miniseries have costume designs which call to mind the chessboard and its pieces. Pudovkin & Shpikovsky and their uncredited costumer have also worked out that, under the right circumstances, stripes = checks. Particularly the hero’s scarf, which is so broadly striped that the different-toned sections become squares.

His stripey jumper, on the other hand, only suggests black-and-white checks when his jacket is partially closed just so, a delicious peekaboo effect.

You can buy a pass here, and I hope you do. True, it won’t be quite the same as attending in person, but maybe you can find a fish & chip shop near you that closes at an insanely early hour, and thus simulate the Bo’ness experience.

2 Responses to “The Sunday Intertitle: In Check”

  1. Judy Dean Says:

    Let’s hear it for an online Hippfest. Your mention of the chippie reminded me of my first visit several years ago when I arrived in Bo’ness in the early evening nursing the belief that I would find somewhere to have dinner before the screening. I ended up eating a supermarket sandwich in the car with the doors locked.

  2. Oh, if you have a car, your dining possibilities in Bo’ness of an evening multiply radically! There’s a supermarket… there’s the possibility of a fish shop being open in the next town… or the next…

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