Friday, 8 May 2009

Cambridge Film Guild 1929-30 Season

Lowry had a life-long love of cinema which began with his childhood visits to cinemas in the Wirral area.

Paul Tiessen in his essay A Canadian Film Critic In Lowry's Cambridge has given us an insight of how that love of cinema developed when Lowry attended Cambridge University. At Cambridge, Lowry met Gerald Noxon then a Trinity College undergraduate. Noxon was a Canadian film critic and writer who helped shape Lowry's enthusiasm for film in the early part of their friendship.

Noxon was one of the founders of the Cambridge Experiment magazine which published an early Lowry story called Port Swettenham in Issue 5 of the magazine. Noxon was also the founding president of the Cambridge Film Guild.

Noxon with his wife Betty Lane

You can read more about Lowry's friendship with Noxon in Noxon's memoir Malcolm Lowry 1930 available in Malcolm Lowry: Psalms And Songs in which Noxon details their shared passion for cinema and jazz. Lowry and Noxon also exchanged letters for many years which are available in The Letters of Malcolm Lowry and Gerald Noxon, 1940-1952.

Noxon exposed Cambridge University students to the some of the best European cinema of the period - "in order to afford people interested in the Cinema an opportunity of seeing films which are otherwise unavailable to them."

Tiessen in his essay details the following films which were shown:

The 1929-30 programme included:

Pabst's The Love Of Jeanne Ney 1927
Epstein's Finis Terrae 1929
Cavalcanti's En Rade 1927
Feyder's Therese Raquin 1928
Clair's Les Deux Timides 1928
Eisenstein's The General Line 1929
Kozintsev and Trauberg's CBD 1927
Turin's Turk-Sib 1929
Pudovkin's The End Of St Petersburg 1927
Pudovkin's Storm Over Asia 1928

1930-31 programme included:

Pudovkin's The End Of St Petersburg 1927
Vertov's Man With A Movie camera 1929
Dovzhenko's Earth 1930
Room's The Ghost That Never Returns 1930

Some of the above films are referenced in Lowry's letters and other writings.

Tiessen in several pieces and Kilgallin in his 1973 book Lowry have written about Lowry and cinema. However, there is still considerable scope for further research and a larger piece of work pulling together Lowry's visits to cinemas on the Wirral, his Cambridge days and a visit to Germany and his love of German Expressionist cinema, the time he spent in Hollywood as an abortive screen-writer, the fact he married a film actress Margerie Bonner, his film-script for Tender Is The Night (Tiessen did a fine job on the edition published in The Cinema Of Malcolm Lowry), the many references to films in all his work including his letters as well as the impact of cinema on his writing style.

In subsequent posts, I will offer up clips, posters, photographs detailing the films in the Cambridge Film Guild between 1929-31.

Vertov's Man With A Movie Camera 1930

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