Love, Life and Laughter
Betty Balfour, Harry Jonas, Frank Stanmore
We are delighted to be screening this historic restoration of George Pearson’s Love, Life and Laughter – for decades, one of the BFI’s most sought after films – introduced by Bryony Dixon, Curator, Silent Film, BFI National Archive and accompanied on the piano by Stephen Horne.
Lost for nearly a century, this rediscovery is a wonderful opportunity to fall under the spell of Betty Balfour, Britain’s ‘Queen of Happiness’. The country’s biggest star in the 1920s, the discovery of one of her key films is a major event.
Identified by archivists at EYE Filmmuseum in the Netherlands, this Dutch-language version is incomplete, with footage missing throughout the film; but, painstakingly pieced together by the BFI National Archive’s restoration team with new English intertitles, it restores to audiences a truly vivacious performance from Balfour and adds to our knowledge of director Pearson, a key figure in British cinema, few of whose films survive.
The story of a pair of working class youngsters with big dreams – a cheery chorus girl and a serious writer – the film toys with our expectations, blurring the boundaries of reverie and reality, tragedy and comedy.
The film was restored by BFI National Archive at L’Immagine Ritrovata, Bologna with the collaboration of EYE Filmmuseum.
With many thanks to EYE Filmmuseum and the BFI National Archive.