Screened as part of NZIFF 2002

The Wind 1928

Directed by Victor Sjöström

The Festival and the Auckland Philharmonia are proud to present a single rare screening of one of the great dramatic classics of the silent era from 1928.

78 minutes 35mm / B&W


Frances Marion. Based on the novel by Dorothy Scarborough


John Arnold


Conrad A. Nervig


Lillian Gish
Lars Hanson
Montagu Love
Dorothy Cumming
Edward Earle
William Orlamond
Carmencita Johnson
Leon Janney
Billy Kent Schaefer


The Festival and The Trusts are proud to present the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in a single rare screening of one of the great dramatic classics of the silent era.

To see The Wind accompanied by Carl Davis’ superbly dramatic score is to experience the peak of the era we so mistakenly call silent. It is also to experience the elemental power of melodrama at its most resoundingly cathartic. Man and nature seem to conspire against the heroine, Lillian Gish in this film, and yet she persists, and her heroism is exhilarating. Unaccompanied, or with a score that falls short of the film’s force, her struggle might be too distressing to modern sensibilities. But when Carl Davis summons the roar of the storm from an orchestra, the excitement and the suspense show up contemporary Hollywood film scoring for the hollow hubbub so much of it is. The Wind is an absolute highlight of the orchestral Live Cinema repertoire. — BG

The Wind is one of cinema’s great masterpieces. The lovely Lillian Gish gives her finest performance ever as the young Virginian innocent who travels West to stay with relatives on the Texan prairie, only to be pushed into a harsh, unwanted marriage, and to find herself immersed in a maelstrom of rape, murder and madness. Swedish émigré Sjöström directs with immaculate attention to psychological detail, while making perfectly credible the film’s transition from low-key naturalistic comedy of manners to full-blown hysterical melodrama. Filmed under extremely difficult conditions on location in the Mojave desert, its climactic sandstorm sequence has to be seen to be believed, although the entire film – erotic, beautiful, astonishing – demonstrates such imagination and assurance that it remains, [80] years after it was made, completely modern.” — Geoff Andrew, Time Out 

“It remains one of the greatest silent films – and one of our great movies.” — David Thomson, A Biographical Dictionary of Film 

The Wind, along with Ben Hur (1925), may well be the Kevin Brownlow/Carl Davis collaboration that shows most vividly why director King Vidor affirmed to Brownlow that fifty per cent of a silent film’s effectiveness depends on the music. Davis’ music whisks us through the early eye-poppers, and by the time we get to the ‘norther’ windstorm, his thundering score overwhelms. Davis… makes the awesome fury of the storm real… The coalescence of sound, image and artistry throughout The Wind illustrates how the power of silent film at its best remains undiminished after nearly three-quarters of a century.” — Dean Thompson 

Carl Davis is the doyen of contemporary composers for silent film. His symphonic scores composed in association with Kevin Brownlow and Photoplay Productions comprise a ‘Greatest Hits’ of Auckland Live Cinema presentations: Intolerance, Ben Hur, The Wedding March and The Phantom of the Opera.

Marc Taddei is the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s first Associate Conductor. He has conducted in North America and Europe and is a frequent guest conductor throughout New Zealand. Along with his subscription concerts, he has recorded soundtracks for TV3, the New Zealand Natural History Film Unit and Britain’s Channel 4 (with the Auckland Philharmonia). The Channel 4 soundtrack was for a half-hour puppet animation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle which won the prestigious Prix de Basle special jury award for the most outstanding contribution to European culture in television in December 2000.