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2007

NFSA announces Laughing ’Til It Hurts – a silent slapstick extravaganza

22 November 2007

The National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) announced today a special film program to be screened in Canberra on Friday 30 November. Laughing 'Til It Hurts celebrates the best of silent cinema comedy with live piano accompaniment.

"Laughing 'Til It Hurts will be a great night out for all ages", said Head of the NFSA's Access and Outreach Branch David Boden. "It will be fantastic fun for families, but I'd love to think that people with all sorts of interests will enjoy this unique one-night treat. We'll begin the night with lots of pre-show entertainment in our beautiful Art Deco courtyard. Then it's into the Arc cinema for an irresistible program of short silent films with live musical accompaniment. We are looking forward to people of all ages rediscovering the joys of silent cinema."

Laughing 'Til It Hurts will showcase four very different and extremely funny slapstick comedies made between 1907 and 1929. The NFSA is delighted to present the Australian premiere of its recently restored The Man-Bull Fight, a 1907 French farce which takes us on a crazy chase through Paris. Oliver Hardy (of Laurel and Hardy) features in Should Men Walk Home? (Leo McCarey, 1927), a madcap romp of crooks and cops written by Australian Alf Goulding and also starring Mabel Normand. There It Is (Charley Bowers and Harold L Muller, 1928) is a hilarious spoof on Scotland Yard, with Bowers as a private investigator accompanied by his trusty offsider, the kilted 'fly' detective. The program's grand finale is Pass the Gravy (Fred Guiol, 1929), featuring Max Davidson in this Jewish comedy of errors. This film was a smash hit when it screened at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival in Italy, with Davidson hailed as a rediscovered comic genius, a true precursor to Woody Allen.

Acclaimed pianist Mauro Colombis, who has accompanied silent films for over 15 years at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival and other international venues, will provide musical accompaniment to all the films. "Mauro woos and wows with thrilling improvisation - I only wish Elton John could join us because I think he'd love our show, but I know he's got something else on the same night," David Boden said.

The night begins with fun entertainment in the NFSA's courtyard from 6:30pm. Then the laughter really begins with the screening at 7:30pm in the state-of-the-art cinema, Arc. Screening runs for approximately 80 minutes.

Tickets are $14 adults / $10 concession (including youth, under 17 years, seniors and disabled). As the films are unclassified all children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

This event is sure to sell out, so reserve your ticket now by calling the National Film and Sound Archive on (02) 6248 2000.

Media Enquiries:
Aja Shanahan, Avviso PR for the AFC
ph (02) 9368 7277 / 0424 780 439.
Email: ajas@avviso.com.au

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There It Is (1928) a 1920s spoof on Scotland Yard played as part of the NFSA's Laughing Till It Hurts.