The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands reconstructs two decisive naval battles from the early stages of the First World War. It played as part of the archive strand at 2014 London Film Festival, and for Armistice Day the film will be free to view in its entirety for 24 hours from 11:02am (UK only) on the new BFI Player.
This is also a chance to check out the relaunched BFIplayer, about which you can read here.
The Battle of Coronel, off the coast of Chile, was a triumph for German Admiral von Spee – the first defeat of the British navy for a hundred years. The retaliatory strike was instigated six weeks later by ace British tactician Admiral Fisher who sent two new battle cruisers, Invincible and Inflexible, to the South Atlantic to restore British supremacy. Director Walter Summers’ film was originally released on Armistice Day to act as a memorial to the thousands who died. Filmed on real battleships supplied by the Admiralty, this production was shot mostly at sea near Malta, with the Scilly Isles a convincing stand-in for the Falklands.
The excellent Silent London blog also has a round up some of silent film highlights on the new BFIplayer:
A Silent London top 10, in no particular order:
- The Epic of Everest (1924) – £3.50
- High Treason (silent version, 1929) – £2.50
- Christmas Carol (1914) – free
- Scenes at Chester on the River Dee (1901) - free
- Underground (1928) – £3.50
- Flowers of London (1924) – free
- The Great White Silence (1924) – £3.50
- The Mistletoe Bough (1904) – free
- Ladies on Bicycles (1899) – free
- Cocaine (1922) – £1
And a couple of little-known gem from foreign parts, as a bonus: