By Sophia Rutti
For all the modern movie lovers out there it’s time to try something new, something a little less explosive, something a little more…well, silent.
The Alden is presenting a “Classics of the Silent Screen” night on Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m.
There will be a showing of cinema’s very first cowboy “Broncho Billy” Anderson in his film “Shootin’ Mad” (1918) before a showing of “The Tollgate”(1920) that stars William S. Hart the “Clint Eastwood of silent film”.
The films may be silent, but the event certainly will not be. Composer Ben Model will be accompanying the film by improvising a live score on the piano and Bruce Lawton, a film historian and preservationist, will give background and history about the movies.
“They are both silent-film experts, and audiences get the chance to ask questions of them following the screening. Their love for the material is contagious, and their enthusiasm makes silent films accessible to everyone. ” Tickets are $12 for non-residents and $8 for MCC district residents.
Ben Model, a silent film accompanist since 1981, has said that “there has been a growing interest in silent films built over the last 10 years.”
People tend to be reticent to go see a silent movie because, Model says, “The name of the genre automatically sounds like you’re not going to have a good time.” He says he likes to compare it to: “Hey, we’re going to go to a bar… but it’s in a library.”
But silent movie experiences isn’t exactly what it seems, Model says.
“Silent movies are as engaging as you think they’re not. Because there are things missing like color and sound your imagination is working more than it usually does and you’re much more involved.”
What Model does for the films is improvise the music live, assisting the audience in bonding directly with the film. He says he believes his job is to serve as an accompanist is to “bridge the gap of these two very different eras” and to “help the audience connect with the emotion and drama of the film but never to play music that calls attention to itself.”
Model will be accompanying silent films at The Alden alongside film historian Bruce Lawton, who will share his knowledge of film history with the audience.
For more information about the event click here.
Classics of the Silent Screen
1234 Ingleside Ave.
Tickets: $12 for non-residents, $8 for MCC district residents.