Dan & I were able to get to the beautifully restored California Theatre this past Friday to see two Harold Lloyd movies. The first was Safety Last (1923) and was a silent film. I really enjoyed hearing the organ; the thing sure is a spectacle! (It looks like something that Liberace would have loved.) I’m amazed at how the organist just plays and plays … no stopping … you really have to be the energizer organist, I guess, to get through an entire movie. (It did bring back memories of the San Jose Symphony’s (RIP) performance of the Thief of Bagdad. We played the original score, which was something that hadn’t been done for years if I recall correctly.)
The second film surprised me because I expected it to be a silent movie and it wasn’t. (If I’d read the information I had received I would have known this, but I am often a skimmer.) The film was the 1932 Movie Crazy and from what we were told by Lloyd’s granddaughter it was originally meant to be a silent film, but when Lloyd walked past a theater and heard eggs sizzling (from the movie) he said he had to add sound to his film. So he did. I can see why it would have worked well as a silent film, though; the fight scene had very little sound and I think would be great with organ accompaniment only.
Next on the agenda are two silent movies of opera, believe it or not! We’ll be seeing Carmen (1915) and La Boheme (1926). It’s funny to think we’ll be seeing silent movies of opera. I’ll be curious to hear what the organ does for these ones. I’m guessing we’ll hear the music from the operas, but I won’t know for sure until I’m there.
All of this is part of the film festival we have here in San Jose. Cinequest runs for 12 days. (This means I have no work here during that time, since downtown is full of the film festival activities.)