Make More Noise! The Suffragettes in Silent Film review: ‘More jaunty than you might expect’

PUBLISHED: 14:18 27 October 2015

Make More Noise. Picture: Courtesy of BFI

Make More Noise. Picture: Courtesy of BFI

Archant

This BFI-funded film is a comprehensive reflection of the changing position of women in society during the suffragette movement, says Michael Joyce.

With Suffragettemania sweeping the nation – the film, civil disobedience on the streets (spittle and egg yolk, still the only language the Tories understand) – the BFI is bandwagoning with this compilation of silent film footage recording or reflecting the suffragette struggle that is a bit more jaunty than you might expect.

The ironic title comes from a speech by Emmeline Pankhurst, but it’s not all Pankhursts, window smashing and mailbox arson. Indeed there’s very little direct footage of the suffragettes and what there is brief and often incidental. So you get to see the newsreel footage of the 1913 Derby but Emily Davison throwing herself beneath the King’s horse is only a passing incident in the coverage of the event. In the following clip, we get to see the masses attending her funeral.

Programmers Dixon and Deriaz spent 13 years in the dungeons of the BFI going through the thousands of hours of surviving footage looking for anything connected with the Suffragettes but it seems to have been a thankless task. There’s not much there and it isn’t that interesting.

What makes the project work is the material only tangentially linked with the movement, footage reflecting the position of women at the time. Towards the end there are two longish clips about women working in a munitions factory in Nottingham and a hospital in France funded and run by a women’s union during World War One. There are also quite a lot of comedy skits: some involve male comics caricaturing the movement, but others, such as the Tilly and Sally sequences, showcase women with an anarchic disregard for social convention. It all builds up into a comprehensive reflection of the changing position of women in society at the time.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

Yesterday, 23:41

Young Arsenal starlet Dominic Thompson says the experience he gained from playing against battle-hardened older players from Southern League Premier side Hitchin Town on Wednesday evening will stand him in good stead as he aims to progress his career.

Yesterday, 22:50

Arsenal Under 18 coach Kwame Ampadu has been pleased with the experience his young players gained during their 2-1 defeat by Hitchin Town at Top Field on Wednesday evening.

Yesterday, 18:31

The Ham & High have teamed up with the Arsenal to offer a lucky reader a pair of VIP tickets to the first day of the tournament, in Club Level at Emirates Stadium.

Yesterday, 18:31

Two moped muggers described by a judge as “personal crime waves” have been sentenced to more than three years detention.

Yesterday, 17:44

Neighbours in Primrose Hill are urging people to oppose plans for a new “mega basement”, at the former home of Hollywood stars Aaron and Sam Taylor-Johnson.

Yesterday, 17:30

Women’s team beaten by eventual champions in semi-finals

Yesterday, 16:51

East Finchley schoolchildren descended on Whitehall to protest against their loss of access to libraries in Barnet borough.

Yesterday, 16:00

Home of the French poets and lovers who inspired Leonardo di Caprio and Bob Dylan singled out to mark 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now