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Episode 59 show notes: The Silent Film Music Podcast

Episode 59 Show Notes: “The Dog Days are here (July), but maybe not in San Francisco”

Undercrank Productions’ 10th Anniversary
Accompanying Edward Everett Horton shorts at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival
  • Ben attends the 26th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival for the first time; many fans think he’s been there before, and here’s why.
  • Performing for three Edward Everett Horton films; reviews the main theme for each film, e.g., for Horse Shy, a theme based on the bugle call to post.
  • Why three two-reel comedies (18-25 minutes each) is enough for most audiences, where four can be a bit much, and will at least need a break
  • Merchandise tables: Blu-ray/DVD sales are uneven – depending on the festival
  • The function of the music in a slapstick comedy – providing a point of view, sometimes that of the character, sometimes an omniscient POV
  • Conveying a tone, e.g., a waltz in a Chaplin film to communicate a fussy gentility
  • When a character doesn’t understand the reality of their situation, per Lee Erwin, the accompanist must pick either the character’s emotions, or objective reality, not go back or forth
New Tom Mix restorations released in July from Undercrank Prods
  • Tom Mix: Sky High and The Big Diamond Robbery
  • Instead of the usual Undercrank comedy discovery, Tom Mix was one of the biggest Western stars of the era
  • How Tom Mix was selected as a project; in reviewing a list of silent feature films preserved by the Library of Congress that are p.d. which do not have donor restrictions,Sky High jumped out as a film not currently available in a high quality edition on home video.
  • Mix’s name is known, but his films and his persona are not.
  • TCM’s programming of Ben’s newly restored and scored on the TCM channel itself, as well as a pair of other Tom Mix westerns at their festival in 2019, was a great boost.
  • Sky High is one of the first fiction feature films shot mostly at the Grand Canyon, and it shows off the setting in the storytelling.
  • Crystal Kui discovered the original tinting and toning records; these were recreated digitally in the Undercrank release.
  • Big Diamond Robbery is from 1929, as silents were ending, and the surviving prints have much less wear, so the Undercrank release looks very fresh.
  • Looking to encourage those who program silent film to include more Tom Mix.
Thoughts on bringing a music light to shows, and about climbing the Bolton Building
  • Whether or not to take a music stand light; not to mention a light for organ pedals
  • N.B. – Undercrank has gone native 16:9 for its DVD editions as of 2023, so the “aspect ratio cube”s are gone
  • Comparing two successive performances of Safety Last
  • Climbing sequence is all tension and release; experimented with upper register for the birds bit
  • Finding new ways to support films, especially those that are frequently programmed
  • Accompanying the hand-wringing gag with a waltz diverts attention from possible stereotypical characterization
  • Goodbyes
  • Secret bonus – The NEW THEME for the Silent Film Music Podcast!
  • Sign-off
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