Make More Noise Suffragettes In Silent Film
Time Out says
An eye-opening compilation of silent film and news footage from the suffragette era
Carey Mulligan’s new film is the first drama about the suffragettes. But the feminist activists filled the newsreels in the 1910s. This compilation, put together by the British Film Institute, takes its title from a rallying speech by the movement’s leader Emmeline Pankhurst: ‘Make more noise… fill the papers.’
On one level it works as straight-up history, telling the story of the suffragettes from peaceful marches, bitter struggle and militancy to winning the vote in 1918 (women over 30 only; full equality came later in 1928). Footage of Emily Wilding Davison being trampled underneath the hooves of the King’s horse, fluttering to the ground like a leaf, is heartstopping.
But as well as the history we also get a glimpse of 1910s-style misogyny. In an anti-suffragette comedy sketch a man falls asleep and dreams of revenge on his battleaxe suffragette wife. The sequence ends with him dunking her, strapped to a chair, into a lake like a medieval witch suspect. There’s also some brilliant early female sketch comedy – the best is Alma Taylor and Chrissie White’s double-act as rebellious schoolgirls.