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Anthony Asquith's 1928 debut Shooting Stars on dual format in March

17 February 2016

A must-see for silent cinema fans, Shooting Stars is the brilliant and assured debut from British filmmaking legend Anthony Asquith which offers a fascinating insight into the workings of a 1920s London film studio. Newly restored by the BFI National Archive, it was premiered as the Archive Gala screening at last year’s BFI London Film Festival. It will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in a Dual Format Edition in March with many accompanying special features, including rarely seen short films and footage from the 1920s.

Boasting a boldly Expressionist shooting style, dramatic lighting and great performances from its leads (Annette Benson, Brian Aherne and Donald Calthrop) involved in a classic romantic love-triangle, Shooting Stars is a sophisticated morality tale and an affectionate critique of the film industry, teasing its audience with its revelations about how the fantastic world of the photoplay conceals irony and hidden truths.

Anthony Asquith (son of the former Prime Minister Herbert Asquith) had privileged access to see Chaplin making The Circus on a trip to Hollywood and he had also been behind the scenes at German film studios – both influences are clearly seen in the film. Asquith went on to have a hugely successful career in the sound era with films such as Pygmalion, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Browning Version and The VIPs, but Shooting Stars is now recognised as one of the few undisputed masterpieces of British silent cinema. Only Alfred Hitchcock has a higher critical reputation than Asquith in the filmmaking of this period.

This new restoration by the BFI National Archive is accompanied by a dazzling new jazz-influenced score by renowned BAFTA and Emmy award-winning composer and jazz musician John Altman (Hear My Song, Beautiful Thing, Little Voice).

Shooting Stars will be released on UK dual format (Blu-ray and DVD) on 21st March 2016 by the BFI at the RRP of £19.99.

Special features:

  • Pathé’s Screen Beauty Competition (1920, 2 mins)

  • Around the Town: British Film Stars and Studios (1921, 2 mins)

  • The Lovely Hundred (1922, 25 secs)

  • Secrets of a World Industry – The Making of Cinematograph Film (1922, 8 mins)

  • Meet Jackie Coogan (1924, 11 mins)

  • Starlings of the Screen (1925, 15 mins)

  • Opening of British Instructional Film Studio (1928, 4 mins)

  • Stills and Special Collections Gallery (2016, 6 mins)

  • Original screenplay (downloadable PDF, DVD only)

  • Illustrated booklet with essays by Bryony Dixon, John Altman, Henry K Miller and Chris O’Rourke, and full film credits