Shhhh.... this one is silent.
One of the great things about silent film is the fact that it is, well, silent.
While this attribute certainly draws attention to body language and visual storytelling, it also provides a blank canvas. As someone who composes and arranges music, this proves a great opportunity to sharpen my skills and have a bit of fun, dropping different types of music into a set of scenes. The fun happens when music intended for one purpose magically enhances another. It is proved to be a much more laborious a task, as I am not able to rely on the timings (and ease of scrolling) as one would with a digital version.
This is an older 16mm reel and a new(ish) projector, after all, and its motor purrs along at its own pace — the combination creates its own unique tempo. There is a great article on the history and affects of the 24 frames per second standardization of the 1920s here on The Straight Dope. So armed with a stop watch, pencil, and some paper I diligently marked out the timings of events and set to it. I set some paramenters for the music (that is not my own) — only music written in the same year the film was published.
Some choice pieces from 1915 (a partial list):
Scott Joplin's Frolic of Bears
Erik Satie's Cinq grimaces pour le songe d'une nuit d'été
Erik Satie's Avant-dernière pensées
We are pleased to offer the following film on Tuesday evening, May 1, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. Seventh part in the series:
(1915, 60 min., 16mm)
Raul Walsh directs his first full length feature, an early silent crime drama based on the 1903 memoir My Mamie Rose by Owen Kildare.
We follow the life of an orphaned Bowery boy turned gangster (Rockcliffe Fellowes) who makes an attempt to reform his ways after catching the eye of a beautiful society girl (Anna Q. Nilsson) turned settlement worker. Walsh and cinematographer Georges Benoît capture authentic street scenes including local residents as extras on the Bowery, in Chinatown, and in Lower East Side tenement housing.
Regeneration courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
This is a FREE monthly series held at Seward Park Library. Documentary and feature films (both 16mm and DVD) shot on location in lower Manhattan are presented the first Tuesday of every month.
Previously: Lower East Side Heritage Film Series, Season 2, Part 6. Follow us on Facebook: Lower East Side Heritage Collection