Silent screen classic is hoping to bag bumper box office to boost Hitchin church restoration projects

What a carry on: the 21st-century Heart of Hitchin bag, another project raising funds for church res

What a carry on: the 21st-century Heart of Hitchin bag, another project raising funds for church restoration, makes an appropriate addition to a still from the 1927 classic Metropolis. - Credit: Archant

Silent cinema is returning to an historic Hitchin church after a successful debut earlier this year.

Fritz Lang's Metropolis will be screened at Hitchin's St Mary's Church to raise funds to preserve th

Fritz Lang's Metropolis will be screened at Hitchin's St Mary's Church to raise funds to preserve the historic building - Credit: Archant

The team raising funds for continuing restoration work at St Mary’s in the town centre experimented with the cinema idea in January, with a showing of Lon Chaney’s 1925 chiller Phantom Of The Opera.

The pews were packed to enjoy the experience, enhanced by a live organ accompaniment by virtuoso Donald McKenzie, who specialises in putting music to movies from the silent era.

The event proved to be such a success that there’s another movie set to hit the screen.

Fritz Lang’s 1927 sci-fi epic Metropolis has been hugely influential in the worlds of film and fashion.

Fritz Lang's Metropolis will be screened at Hitchin's St Mary's Church to raise funds to preserve th

Fritz Lang's Metropolis will be screened at Hitchin's St Mary's Church to raise funds to preserve the historic building - Credit: Archant


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It was the most expensive movie ever made at the time, but it proved to be too advanced and avant-garde to the audiences of the time and flopped badly, practically bankrupting the German cinema industry.

Lang’s visionary storytelling, state of the art special effects and a cast of thousands add up to a memorable experience for any fan of the silver screen – yet it’s rare to get a chance to see the film at cinema dimensions.

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But now a newly-restored version of the original full-length version of Metropolis is cued up for the show on Saturday, November 28.

Nick Hunter of Ickleford-based Sundown Screens and Tim Ray of Hitchin Films have provided expert assistance to the church team, and the screening, supported by insurance giant LV= which has offices in the town, will start at 7.30pm with wine being served from 7pm.

The church’s Rachel Bagenal said: “We look forward to this screening being another popular success.

“With the experience and contacts we have developed, we hope to offer more films of this type in the darker months of the year.”

Tickets are £12 each and are available from the Hitchin Initiative offices in Churchyard and from David’s Bookshop in Letchworth’s Eastcheap, as well as online through www.hitchin.films.co.uk.

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