A rare film featuring the Scottish pop artist Eduardo Paolozzi in a leading role is to be part of Scotland's silent movie festival.

Lorenza Mazzetti's 1956 film Together features a young Paolozzi in a lead role as a deaf-mute dock worker.

The role was apparently relished by the artist, born in Leith in 1924, and he modelled his performance on Marlon Brando.

Bill Hare, honorary fellow at the Edinburgh College of Art, writes in an introduction for the film: "For those more familiar with Paolozzi’s brightly coloured jazzy “Pop Art” work from the 1960s onwards Together might seem strangely different to their expectations.

"In the 1940s and 1950s however, his work was closely connected with austere angst-ridden zeitgeist of the post-war, cold war era, where the dominant avant garde movement was Art Brut."

He adds: "Paolozzi was also fascinated by the world of science in all its forms, including medicine.

"So it would not be surprising that the exclusively visual world of the deaf-mute would attract him and their artificial created system of communication."

Mr Hare said that Paolozzi may also have been influenced by the Oscar-winning classic movie On The Waterfront.

He adds: "In the previous year the film which swept the Oscar awards was one with a similar gritty dockland subject - [Elia] Kazan’s On the Waterfront.

"So it is possible that Paolozzi is trying his hand at a bit of method acting in Together- though admittedly he is no Marlon Brando."                       

Other films in the 2017 Hippodrome Silent Film Festival include the original screen version of Chicago from 1927, The Informer, a film set in revolution-torn Dublin in 1922, and What’s The World Coming To? a 1926 film that takes place “100 years from now when men have become more like women and women more like men” and was co-written by Stan Laurel.

All films in the programme feature live scores by an international line-up of musicians.

The 2017 festival includes four musical commissions, with new scores composed by Scottish Album of the Year award-winning musician RM Hubbert, for 1926 Soviet film By The Law.

Raymond MacDonald and Christian Ferlaino have created the music for Together, and Jane Gardner and others for for Festival opener The Grub Stake, from 1923.

One of the themes of the festival, known as HippFest, this year is the "pioneering but largely forgotten women of early cinema, a time when there were more women working at every level in the film industry than there are today."

The Festival opens on 22 March with The Grub Stake, a 1923 adventure created by Nell Shipman, a silent movie star who turned down a studio career to work entirely outside of the Hollywood system.

Lorenza Mazzetti was a novelist, painter and director.

Mazzetti, part of the British ‘Free Cinema’ movement, is now 89 and was celebrated last year at the Venice Film Festival in a new documentary titled Because I Am a Genius!

Alison Strauss, director, said: “At HippFest we are all about making cinema special – engaging the best musicians to accompany rarely screened titles, presenting those films in beautiful and atmospheric settings, seeking out the best restorations from the world’s archives, and generating an atmosphere of inclusion and fun with our audience.

"Since we established the Festival in 2011, more and more people are finding out that early cinema is not clunky and out-dated, but rather is fresh and relevant, sometimes even colourful and never actually ‘silent’.

"Within our programme people will find unparalleled comedians, experimental work and revelatory new scores alongside youth projects, workshops for school children and grown-ups, a Speakeasy, walks, talks and exhibitions."

Tickets for HippFest 2017 are now on sale.