100-year-old film given a rare screening

MOVIE fans are to be given the chance to see Scotland’s oldest-surviving fiction film at a festival in Bo’ness this week.

Mairi: The Romance of a Highland Maiden – a tale about a smuggler’s daughter who is in love with revenue officer – features a cast of unknowns and some questionable acting. Far from making a Hollywood fortune, the man who was its director and writer gave up movie-making afterwards, sold his film camera and returned to his original profession as a portrait photographer.

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Now, 100 years after its premiere at the Central Hall Picture House in Inverness, cinema-goers are being given a rare chance to see it at the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Film in Bo’ness town on Friday.

The Artist – which picked up five Oscars last month – has shown how the silent movie genre can still be successful. However, not all of its predecessors were quite as well made.

“It is very hammy,” said a spokeswoman for the Scottish Screen Archive, which owns the 17m 18sec Scottish film.