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Archive Special Presentation

Love, Life and Laughter

Lost for nearly a century, this rediscovery is a wonderful opportunity to fall under the spell of Betty Balfour, Britain’s ‘Queen of Happiness’.

Dir George Pearson
With Betty Balfour, Harry Jonas, Frank Stanmore
UK
1923
61min
Prod Co Welsh Pearson

Balfour was Britain’s biggest star of the 1920s, so the discovery of one of her key films is a major event. Love, Life and Laughter has been one of the BFI’s most sought after films for decades. Identified by archivists at EYE Filmmuseum in the Netherlands, this Dutch-language version is incomplete, with footage missing throughout the film. Painstakingly pieced together by our restoration team with new English intertitles, it restores to us a truly vivacious performance from Balfour and adds to our knowledge of director Pearson, a key figure in British cinema of whose films a bare handful survive. Telling 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.

Bryony Dixon

Additional information

With live musical accompaniment by Meg Morley.

Extended introduction by Bryony Dixon and Kieron Webb, BFI National Archive. Full programme time 90min.

Restored by BFI National Archive at L’Immagine Ritrovata, Bologna with the collaboration of EYE Filmmuseum. Restoration supported by the Eric Anker-Petersen Charity.

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