Letter: Silent epic reveals cinema's potential

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Sir: Your article stating that the British prefer to watch films in their own home is borne out by our own experience ('Britons prefer films at home to cinema visits', 25 May). As a tribute to Lillian Gish, who died earlier this year and whose career (1912-87) spanned almost the entire history of the cinema to date, we are staging a presentation of her greatest film, The Wind (1928), in London. This has always been one of the most popular films in the live cinema repertoire; when we last showed it in public in 1984, it packed out the theatre.

This time we have had to compete with television. Channel 4 recently presented The Wind as its own tribute to Lillian Gish. As a direct result, we presume, our bookings have slumped dramatically.

But while television can convey some of the impact of a silent film, it cannot reproduce the astonishing experience of a film like this, in a theatre with a live orchestra, the Carl Davis score filling the place like a tornado. We wish more people would take the risk and find out what cinema means.

Yours faithfully,

KEVIN BROWNLOW

DAVID GILL

Photoplay Productions

London, NW1

(Photograph omitted)

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