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News release - Issued by Fairfax House

Heroes & Villains on Silver Screen

2017 Film Festival comes back to Fairfax House

St. George’s Cinema comes alive for the 2017 Silver Screen Festival with an edge-of-the-seat theme guaranteed to set the blood racing. Taut plots, dark storylines, tense cliff-hangers and gritty performances abound in this festival of classic film that looks through the cinematic lens at the forces of good and evil, and the fight for right over wrong. Some of cinema’s greatest names in acting are immortalised in eleven award-winning movies from the golden age of Hollywood that see ruthless and spine-chilling villains pitted against courageous heroes and feisty heroines.

In Bette Davis’ own words ‘Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night’.

The Silver Screen Festival of classic period film pays homage to the days of St George’s Hall, when this Georgian townhouse was better known to the people of York as a cinema and dancehall. The Festival recreates the atmosphere and heady days of cinema-going in the early 20th century with all the classic touches of glamorous usherettes, imposing Commissionaire, torch-lit seating, interval for pop-corn and ice-creams, red carpet arrival, and of course the ‘big screen’ experience - which sees Fairfax House’s red Saloon transformed into an intimate private movie theatre complete with film projector and grand screen.

Now into its fifth outing (previous themes have included WWII, Murder and Mystery, the Georgians on Silver Screen), Silver Screen is back by popular demand and this year turns to Hollywood’s most iconic heroes and villains, from the chilling Night of the Hunter with Robert’s Mitcham’s portrayal of the evil Revered Harry Powell (the AFI’s top 29th villain of all time) through to John Mill’s rendering of the ultimate hero, Scott of the Antarctic.

A line-up of some of cinema’s greatest actors have been chosen for the 2017 Festival including Bette Davis, Cary Grant, Marlon Brando, Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Grace Kelly, and the list goes on. Of course no Festival would be complete without the all-time master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, and his classic thrillers Notorious, The 39 Steps, and the ultimate nail-biter Dial M for Murder.

The week-long festival opens with a gala night of glamour, gourmet popcorn and cocktails and a special screening (Friday 3 Feb) of the classic cat and mouse, hero-versus-villain film, North by Northwest (with Cary Grant). A mix of evening (On the Waterfront, All about Eve) and matinee performances (such as Ivanhoe, Angels with Dirty Faces) follows across the week culminating on the finale night (Saturday 11 Feb) with the other great film noir classic The Maltese Falcon.

Hannah Phillip, Director of Fairfax House: “Through the Festival our aim is to mark Fairfax House’s former life as St. George’s Cinema and a period that played such an impactful role in the house’s history. It is, after all, not only a period that many will remember, but also an era that is tremendously important in York’s heritage, when the city’s eleven cinemas played a huge part in everyone’s lives.”

For more information about Heroes & Villains on Silver Screen visit


Press Contacts: Hannah Phillip, Director Tel: 01904 655543,


Heroes & Villains on Silver Screen opens on 3 February and closes on 11 February. Across these 9 days the following films will be screened:

Saturday 4 February 7.00pm
Marlon Brando, Lee J. Cobb, Eva Marie Saint
In this electrifying and career-defining performance, Brando plays Terry Malloy, a onetime prize-fighter working on New York docks ruled by the iron fist of mob-connected, union boss Johnny Friendly. Nominated for 12 Oscars and winning 8, this unforgettable melodrama follows Terry's heroic struggle to bring down Friendly’s corrupt empire.

Sunday 5 February 6.00pm
Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders
A Machiavellian story of ambition and betrayal starring Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a highly regarded but aging Broadway star. Anne Baxter plays Eve Harrington, an ambitious young fan who insinuates herself into Channing's life, ruthlessly threatening her career as she climbs the greasy pole towards success. Marilyn Monroe co-stars in this acclaimed classic, recipient of the most nominations in film history.

Tuesday 7 February 3.00pm
Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claud Rains
Alicia Huberman’s (Bergman) notorious reputation earns her the dangerous mission as a U.S. spy in post-war Rio de Janeiro. Helped by agent Devlin (Grant), she is ordered to seduce Alexander Sebastian (Rains), a member of a covert group of exiled Nazis, but at what cost? Containing one of silver screen’s most intimate and erotic two-and-a-half-minute kisses, this psychological espionage thriller is the most elegant expression of Hitchcock’s visual style.

Tuesday 7 February 7.00pm
Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters
Starring Robert Mitchum in one of his most sinister and villainous roles, this legendary masterpiece of American cinema blatantly sets forces of good and evil in stark opposition. Night of the Hunter is a chilling thriller-fantasy, telling the story of psychopathic preacher Harry Powell, a truly terrifying and diabolical self-appointed preacher, in pursuit of $10,000 in cash.

Wednesday 8 February 3.00pm
IVANHOE (1952)
Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine
Loyal knight Wilfred of Ivanhoe (Taylor) sets out to free the kidnapped Richard, the Lionheart, and rescue England from the clutches of evil prince John in this rousing adventure where the chivalric and daring stand strong. Joining forces with Robin of Locksley, Ivanhoe must confront England’s machinating foes while juggling the affections of beautiful maidens Rowena (Fontaine) and Rebecca (Taylor).

Wednesday 8 February 7.00pm
James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, Humphrey Bogart
This slick, hard-hitting film follows the lives of two childhood friends, ‘Rocky’ Sullivan and Jerry Connolly, who grow up in the tough New York slum – Hell’s Kitchen. Taking opposite paths in life, Rocky becomes a career criminal and Jerry a Catholic priest. Rocky’s pugnacious character is idolised by local juvenile delinquents who Jerry is working hard to keep on the straight and narrow. When Rocky is sentenced to the electric chair, Jerry asks him for one last favour.

Thursday 9 February 3.00pm
John Mills
One of Ealing Studios' most lavish productions, Scott of the Antarctic is the epitome of the well-made British film, a meticulous recreation of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's doomed 1910-12 expedition to the South Pole, with John Mills as the stiff-upper-lipped hero, and a memorably bleak, desolate score by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Thursday 9 February 7.00pm
THE 39 STEPS (1935)
Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll
In this heart-racing story, Richard Hannay (Donat) is thrust into a vortex of espionage, intrigue and murder, without understanding exactly how or why. Falsely accused of murder and on the run, this unexpected hero finds himself both pursued and the pursuer as he must outwit a dastardly spy ring. Packed with twists and turns, this tightly-plotted adaption of the John Buchan novel is one of Hitchcock’s cleverest and most entertaining films.

Friday 10 February 7.00pm
Ray Milland, Grace Kelly
When ex-tennis pro Tony Wendice discovers his wealthy wife is having an affair with a handsome crime writer, burning rage turns to cold calculation. Driven by revenge, and greedy for her substantial wealth, he embarks on an elaborate plot to commit the perfect murder. With its taut script and glorious villain, with snake-like charm stylishly epitomising upper-class evil, this gripping noir thriller, transforms the classic ‘whodunnit’ into the ‘will he get away with it?’

GALA OPENING: Friday 3 February 7.00pm
Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
In this quick-paced, thrilling tale of mistaken identity an innocent man finds himself thrust into a world of spies and web of intrigue. Pursued across the United States by an evil crime syndicate, Roger Thornhill, a suave, successful advertising executive must evade capture with the help of beautiful blonde Eve Kendall, but is she just an innocent bystander?

FINALE: Saturday 11 February 7.00pm
Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre
Ushering in an uneasy world of knife-edged heroes, femmes fatales and unscrupulous villains, The Maltese Falcon marks the birth of film noir. Suspenseful, labyrinthine, and brilliantly cast, it follows cynical private detective Sam Spade in a cat-and-mouse contest for a priceless jewel-encrusted statuette, The Maltese Falcon. Spade is pitted against three treasure hunting criminals who will resort to anything to get their hands on the Falcon, even committing murder.


Tickets are available from the Museum Shop at Fairfax House on 01904 655543.
Tickets cost £11.00Adults, £10.00, Concession/Students and, £7.00 Children.
Multiple-screening offers also available.