Croydon cinema goes all silent (with piano accompaniment)

Buster Keaton in Sherlock Jr, coming to a screen in the Clocktower next week

Buster Keaton in Sherlock Jr, coming to a screen in the Clocktower next week

The David Lean Cinema Campaign will host its first ever evening of silent films next Tuesday, presented by The Lucky Dog Picturehouse, who specialise in recreating the cinema experience of the 1920s and earlier – the era when Croydon-born David Lean himself would have first discovered his fascination with the cinema in one of the picture houses on Surrey Street or on the high street.

Lucky Dog has been praised by Bryony Dixon, the head of silent film at the British Film Institute, for the “very appealing way” in which they bring silent films to new audiences.

The feature being presented at the David Lean Cinema will be Buster Keaton’s 1924 classic Sherlock Jr, but the supporting items will include a rare 35mm screening of a Croydon comedy from 1909, A Glass of Goat’s Milk.

The film is not believed to be connected in any way to the local legend that was the Goat Man of Waddon, who could be seen grazing his goats on any corner of parkland near the town centre until recently.

Lucky Dog Director Emily O’Hara said: “A Glass of Goat’s Milk was filmed in Croydon and, as a local myself I am extremely proud and excited to be able show such films just as they would have been seen in the Edwardian era, with live musical accompaniment.”

New banners, with the old logos and names, outside the Clocktower arts complex this week

New banners, with the old logos and names, outside the Clocktower arts complex this week

Tom Marlow will play the piano in the David Lean Cinema on Tuesday, recreating some of the experience of cinema-goers from 100 years ago.

The show will also include a short cartoon from 1923 featuring Felix the Cat, and a travelogue film from the Wonderful London series which captured some of the most evocative images of the capital in the mid-1920s.

Campaign chairman Adrian Winchester said: “We’re always eager to offer patrons new and memorable opportunities, so we’re delighted that The Lucky Dog Picturehouse will illustrate how enjoyable silent era cinema could be.”

Tickets for Tuesday, December 15 are £7.50 (£6 concessions) and can be booked online via

  • The David Lean Cinema is, once again, officially the … David Lean Cinema. Re-opened in 2014 after two years of costly closures, the Philistines who were in charge of the then Tory-run council tried to disguise their error of judgement by calling the 60-seater venue the “David Lean Cinema and Auditorium”, as if something had changed during the closure. That bit of nonsense has now been discarded from the council-owned venue in the Clocktower, which also has the pavement outside adorned with flags displaying the attractions inside, together with the Clocktower’s recognisable logo.

For the full December programme at the David Lean Cinema, click here

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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