'It's not a talkie?' Fans demand money back

Cinemagoers in British city of Liverpool demanded refunds on tickets for Oscar favourite The Artist because they did not realise it is a silent movie, a cinema chain said.

The French-directed picture won three Golden Globes and the most nominations for Britain's BAFTAs this week, and is widely tipped for glory at next month's Oscars.

But several cinemagoers in Liverpool, a port city in northwest England, were apparently not so impressed and stormed out in objection to the lack of dialogue and the smaller-than-usual screen.

"Odeon Liverpool One can confirm it has issued a small number of refunds to guests who were unaware that The Artist was a silent film," a spokeswoman for the cinema told AFP.

"The cinema is happy to offer guests a refund on their film choice is they raise concern with a member of staff within 10 minutes of the film starting."

The spokeswoman said the complaints were limited to one cinema.

Nicola Shearer, 25, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that box office staff at the cinema had double-checked that she knew it was silent.

"Of course I knew it was and I asked the usher why she wanted to know," Shearer told the paper on Tuesday.

"She then told me some people complained and asked for refunds because there is no sound and the screen is smaller. I thought it was really funny and laughed."

Liverpool was famously the birthplace of The Beatles and was European Capital of Culture in 2008.

The Artist has been shrunk to a 1:33 ratio to make it look more like one of the original silent movies, which were popular from the late 19th century until the arrival of "talkies" in the thirties.

Billed as a love letter to silent cinema, the film tells the story of silent star George Valentin (played by French actor Jean Dujardin) whose career is destroyed by the "talkies".

- AFP

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