British Film Institute restoration reveals 1920s London life on the Underground tube system

Underground is a 1928 British silent drama film directed by Anthony Asquith and starring Brian Aherne, Elissa Landi, Cyril McLaglen, and Norah Baring. The film reveals the lives of ordinary Londoners and the romance between them, set on and around the London Underground tube system. 

Underground premieres in the Philippines this 1 September 2017, 7:30pm, Shangri-La Plaza Cineplex, at the 11th International Silent Film Festival. The festival offers the rare experience of watching silent films accompanied by live performances as musical scores. The screening is supported by the British Council. 

The London tube connects the world’s first underground railway, which opened in 1863. It celebrated its 150th anniversary last 2013. The screening of Underground hopes to encourage discussions among audiences on how everyday people’s lives are greatly affected by a city’s public transport system.

Underground was made by British Instructional Films at Elstree and Cricklewood Studios on location in London, including scenes shot at Lots Road Power Station in Chelsea. It was Asquith’s second feature film in a career that spanned 37 years, with four short films and 38 feature films. He is best known for his adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Pygmalion,’ which won him an Academy Award for Best Screenplay and which was later turned into a musical screenplay. He also directed The Importance of Being Earnest (1952), which Variety praised as the ‘best known version of Oscar Wilde’s perennial classic.’ 

In 2009, the British Film Institute restored Underground following the discovery of an alternative print at the Brussels Cinematheque Royale and the advancements in photo-chemical and digital techniques. 

The silent film will be accompanied by the music of dub band, Goodleaf. They are Edy Varde on melody/mutated vocals, Jolly Navarro on keyboards, Ryan Goan and Cliff Pama on guitar, Jas Sonido on drums, Ranjit Alabos on keyboard, and Marco Hautea on bass guitar. Goodleaf minister their music with various influences, such as Ambient, Trip Hop, Post Punk, Vintage Dub from King Tubby to Jah Shaka. Their first album, Dub Pilipinas, was their first LP to be released on Inity Records. 

The International Silent Film Festival runs from 31 August – 3 September at the Shang Cineplex, Shangri-la Plaza. Admission is open to the public on a first come, first served basis.