Friday, 14 August 2009

Shooting Stars

1927 - Dir.: Anthony Asquith & A.E.Bramble
Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 26th February, 2005
Live piano accompaniment by Peter Smith

Although late in the silent era (the all talking "Jazz Singer" was released in the same year), "Shooting Stars" is thought of as the movie that marked the coming of age of the British film industry. It's a fully fledged feature film with a strong story and excellent acting. It established Anthony Asquith as one of our most distinguished directors and it made the American studios realise that films could be made outside California. Despite its jolly start it's a real tearjerker - tissues available from the bar!
Brian Aherne, who plays Julian, was a local lad from Kings Norton. He survived the transition to the talkies and went to Hollywood in 1933, starred alongside such deities as Katherine Hepburn and married Joan Fontaine (briefly).
Little is known of the fate of co-star Annette Benson. She stayed in films until 1931 and, after the rather grim sounding "Deadlock" disappeared completely from the limelight.
The remarkably named Chili Bouchier (real name Dorothy Hill) worked continuously in films, on the stage and in television from 1927 until her death in 1999 at the age of 100. The name came from her theme song 'I Love My Chili Bom-Bom'. Billed as "Britain's IT Girl", she possessed a knack for self publicity and was seldom out of the public eye. In her later years she dined (and most definitely supped) out on her reputation as "The Last of The Silent Film Stars". Despite her fame (or perhaps notoriety) she died alone in her council flat off the Edgware Road

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