Tag Archives: Stars in Scotland

Silent Stars in Scotland

12 Feb

Anna May Wong, Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen in October 1933 (c) Herald and Times Group

Stars in Scotland is back with a new exhibition for the 2015 Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema, in Bo’ness, near Falkirk. Silent Stars in Scotland comprises photos – from The Herald’s photo archive – of some of the biggest stars of the silent era.

The advent of talkies hit Hollywood like an earthquake. So said sultry silent star Pola Negri in a Scottish newspaper in 1931 – and she certainly knew what she was talking about. One of the biggest screen stars of her day, she was now treading the boards on the British variety circuit – paving the way, it turned out, for her fellow “silent” players who would follow her to Scotland’s theatres.

During the 1930s, stars who had only existed on celluloid for movie fans here in Scotland materialised on their very door steps – with voices. In a five-year period, Lillian Gish, Pola Negri and Anna May Wong could all be seen in the flesh in Scotland’s theatres – and photographers from the Glasgow Herald’s sister newspapers, the Evening Times and The Bulletin, were there to record their visits.

Some stars tried to make a gradual transition into talkies but many had to rethink their careers – and in numerous cases this meant returning to the stage or taking to it for the first time, either to keep themselves in the public consciousness while they pondered their next move, or to try to make a living while their name and celebrity still had currency.

Silent Stars in Scotland features photographs of silent era legends mostly taken during the years and decades following the talkies “earthquake”. The visits in the 1930s – when these stars were still big news – were well-documented, but by the late 1940s and early 1950s, even a silent era giant like “The Great Stone Face”, Buster Keaton himself, couldn’t excite a picture editor…

The exhibition runs in the Forth Valley Royal Hospital from February 17 – March 15, at Bo’ness Library from March 19 – April 14, then tours community venues in the Falkirk area.

(c) Alison Kerr

Stars in Scotland @ the Dunoon Film Festival

15 May

Dunoon Film Festival launch - programme & fizzI’m absolutely thrilled about the fact that the very first exhibition of Stars in Scotland (featuring photos of movie stars in locations all over the country) is now up and running  in the town of Dunoon, in its lovely Burgh Hall.

The exhibition was commissioned to tie in with the inaugural Dunoon Film Festival, which will run from June 14-16. The launch of its terrific programme, last Thursday evening, also marked the opening of the exhibition which will run through to the end of the festival weekend.

The cast of stars who have sailed “doon the watter” to Dunoon includes some photos which have not been seen for over half a century. Film buffs might be tickled by the fact that we”ve got three Hitchcock movies’ worth of stars in the shape of James Stewart, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly and James Mason.

Not only do we have the trio of stars from The Philadelphia Story (Stewart, Grant plus Katharine Hepburn) but we also have the stars of its musical remake, High Society (Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby & Grace Kelly). You can also see two great Hollywood couples – Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton and Elsa Lanchester & Charles Laughton. Among the other stars featured are Judy Garland, Mae West, Sophia Loren and Deborah Kerr. All snapped in Scotland, by photographers from the sister papers the Evening Times, the Bulletin and The Herald.

Here are some photos taken at the opening. Stars in Scotland @ Dunoon - gallery

Stars in Scotland @ Dunoon - Hepburn, Burton

Stars in Scotland @ Dunoon  - James Mason

Stars in Scotland @ Dunoon launch - Bing visibleAll photos (c) Jean Donaldson, Powan Media.

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