So it is something of a very special ‘homecoming’ that Laurel and Hardy’s classic short silent comedy The Battle of the Century (1927) will be screened inside the hotel.
For decades, the second reel of the film had been thought lost but it was rediscovered two years ago and Southend Film Festival is poised to give the movie its regional premiere, as it has only been shown once before in London – last summer at the London Film Festival. To complete the original and authentic 1920s cinema experience, local musician Adam Ramet will provide live piano accompaniment to the action, which consists of a reputed 3,000 custard pies being riotously flung in the climactic scene!
Another highlight of the festival will be Tales from the Two Puddings. In 1962, the Johnson family took over the traditional East End boozer, the Two Puddings, and transformed it into one of the Capital’s busiest and most fashionable venues. This terrific documentary looks back upon a lost world of local eccentrics, villains, vindictive coppers, punch ups and practical jokes, all now lying buried beneath West Field shopping centre.
The festival will be drawn to a close by AmStarDam, the debut feature from Chalkwell born acclaimed music video directors Lee and Wayne Lennox, who have worked with the likes of Rolling Stones, Coldplay and Robbie Williams.
For full listings, details about venues and where to buy tickets, go to www.southendfilmfestival.com