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

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

21 minutes ago
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino gestures on the touchline during the Premier League match with Liverpool at Anfield (pic Peter Byrne/PA)

Spurs boss admits it’s impossible to recreate pressure of spotkicks in front of 90,000

37 minutes ago
Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld challenges Fulham's Neeskens Kabano (pic Nick Potts/PA)

Defender delighted with FA Cup success at Fulham

38 minutes ago
Haringey's girls are competing at the London Youth Games indoor cricket finals at Lord's (pic LYG)

Cricket squad chasing London Youth Games success

14:07
The crash in Swiss Cottage happened this morning         Picture: Nick Ansell/PA

A driver has been freed from a car after it crashed into a parked lorry in Swiss Cottage.

Simon Lawrence bagged a hat-trick as Hampstead Heath beat AFC Oaklands 3-2. Picture: MARTIN WRAY

A hat-trick from Simon Lawrence helped Hampstead Heath to what could be a vital win in the race for the Herts Senior County League Division One title.

Kwan Browne in action for Hampstead & Westminster. Picture: MARK CLEWS

Hampstead & Westminster picked up a crucial victory in the race for the end of season play-offs after coming out on top in a seven-goal thriller with nearest rivals Beeston.

12:55
Mandarin workshop at Highgate Primary School

A Highgate school which prides itself on being a pioneer in teaching Mandarin is pulling out all the stops to embrace Chinese culture.

John Keats listening to the Nightingale on Hampstead Heath c1845 by Joseph Severn

200 years after John Keats published his first poetry volume, Hampstead actress Ruth Rosen marks the occasion

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

HOT JOBS

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