Silent Film

Silent Film


Who would have thought that a black-and-white silent film could pick up major movie awards and make over $100 million last year? But that’s exactly what The Artist did in 2012.

The Oscar-winning composer of this unexpected hit, Ludovic Bource, is among the contributors, along with former child star Jean Darling, to this illuminating browse around the use of music during the silent-film era.

Moving seamlessly from the early days, when musicians would provide instant mood music, through to orchestras in cinemas and the arrival of the organ in the ornate picture palaces of the 1920s, it’s a programme that’s never less than interesting.

Critic Mark Kermode is on hand to marshal the history and copious anecdotes (including an amusing one about Paul McCartney’s dad).


Mark Kermode examines the music that accompanied movies in the silent era, when thousands of musicians were employed to provide a soundtrack to the films in cinemas. Featuring interviews with pianist Neil Brand and composer Carl Davis, as well as Timothy Brock, who restored Charlie Chaplin's scores, Ludovic Bource, who won an Oscar for The Artist, and Jean Darling, one of the few surviving child stars of the period.