Arts and Entertainment Theda Bara in 1917’s silent movie ‘Cleopatra’

With more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain

first encounters: When Greta Garbo met John Barrymore

Illustration by Edward Sorel Text by Nancy Caldwell Sorel Next week: Lenin and Trotsky

Theatre Mack and Mabel Piccadilly Theatre, London

`For all that its neglect has become a cause celebre, Mack and Mabel administers only intermittent pleasure jabs'

TICKET OFFER: NANA

Nana, Emile Zola's classic tale of the Second Empire courtesan of the same name, was one of Jean Renoir's first films. Made in 1926, the silent film starred Renoir's then wife, Catherine Hessling, and the director, known as "Le Patron", went on to make such classics as La Grande Illusion, La Bete Humaine and La Regle du Jeu. This one-off screening at the Institut Francais, 17 Queensberry Place, SW7 will be accompanied by a specially composed score.

Letter: Scene of triumph

From Mr Don Honeyman

Silents are golden

Silents are golden

And the strand plays on

Gregor Fisher lost his shirt as a drunken Glaswegian philosopher and now he's been Rab'd of his hair in The Baldy Man.

Emily's list: a quick Pepys

Radio

Things they said in silent movies

When I was a boy of 10 or 11 we had a French teacher called Joe Richardson who used to lure some of us into his study and close the door and draw the curtains and show us silent films.

Silent films and Soviet spaceships

THE INDEPENDENT FOREIGN FICTION AWARD

Classical music: A heart-felt tribute to whom?

LSO / Boulez- Barbican, London

OPERA / Renaissance man: Della Couling on a pair of Goldschmidt premieres

At 91, Berthold Goldschmidt's career seems to have gone into fast forward, with recordings, live performances and now, within days of one another, a splendid new production in Berlin of his first opera, Der gewaltige Hahnrei (premiered in Mannheim in 1932), and the first ever staging of his second opera, Beatrice Cenci (composed in 1951), in Magdeburg.

Edinburgh Festival: Lano and Woodley

The word on this Australian double act has been gathering momentum all Festival, culminating this week in a deserved Perrier nomination. Essentially traditional knockabout variety, the show blends song, mime and silent movie chases with more modern deconstructionist elements of stand-up comedy. Chaplinesque clowning and Stan 'n' Ollie slapstick are held together by effortless ad-libbing and impromptu script rewriting. Lano (fall guy) and Woodley (straight man) hold all the timeless hallmarks of the male double act (they live together and know nothing about girls). If anything, at 75 minutes, this show is not long enough.

Garbo lines sold

Nine letters written by Greta Garbo were sold for pounds 7,188 at Christie's, London.

Obituary: Gilbert Roland

Luis Antonio Damaso de Alonso (Gilbert Roland), actor: born Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico 11 December 1903; married first Constance Bennett (died 1965; two daughters; marriage dissolved); secondly Guillermina Cantu; died Los Angeles 15 May 1994.

THEATRE / Further on up the road: Paul Taylor on a revitalised production of Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard

And this time will be bigger / And brighter than we knew it,' warbles the faded silent screen star, Norma Desmond, when (in the deluded belief that she can make a comeback) she pays a return visit to Paramount Studios. With the revamped version of Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard that has just opened, it's more a case of this time being darker and tauter than we knew it, and, by virtue of that, a great deal better.
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