DORSET’S oldest cinema is gearing up to celebrate silent film by showing a series of films – 100 years after they were first screened at the venue.
The Rex Cinema, in Wareham, will run its first Silent Film Weekend from December 1 to 3, giving film lovers the chance to celebrate a century of cinema in the town.
The weekend highlights two key figures in the early history of Hollywood; Mary Pickford (1892-1979) and Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939), who ended up becoming Hollywood’s first major couple and both become powerhouses in their own right.
Thanks to the Mary Pickford Foundation, exclusive access to restored rare footage has been given, including six UK premieres.
The weekend features 11 films, many accompanied by a live pianist, and is supported by the BFI Film Audience Network and South West Silents.
David Evans, chair of the Rex Cinema, said: “We look forward to being ‘spellbound in darkness’ as we experience silent films in the very same venue that hosted them 100 years ago.”
The Rex opened as the Empire Cinema, in the Oddfellows Hall, Wareham, in 1920 and showed silent films throughout the decade.
‘Talkies’ arrived in the early 1930s and the cinema was renamed the Rex in 1963.
It was taken over by a charity in 2009 and is now run by some 40 trained volunteers and a small staff.
Tickets for individual films during the Silent Film Weekend – and weekend passes – are available online at www.therex.co.uk, or on the door from 45 minutes before any screening.