It’s almost a cliche now but it’s worth repeating. Silent films were never silent. Music remains an essential component of the silent film experience and that is our topic of discussion today. We are going to salute the talented men and women who create the music of the silent movies.
There are dozens of different ways to accompany a silent film but here are just a few scores that I felt went above and beyond:
Robert Israel’s score for the Flicker Alley release of Judex is a masterpiece. Exciting, witty and catchy as heck, it’s the gold standard for orchestral silent film music.
Jon Mirsalis’ piano score for the Kino Lorber release of Waxworks is just smashing. It has all the drama and pulpiness that is required for this “carnival nightmare” of a film.
I have a sneaking love for the synth score included with the Paramount VHS release of The Sheik. It’s dreamy and surreal and somehow is just perfect for the very strange film it accompanies.
Philip Carli’s live piano accompaniment for Mare Nostrum (2013 Cinecon, Hollywood) was a thunderous tour de force, perfect for the stylized spy drama.
Pretty much anything from Carl Davis ever.
I could go on for hours but I’m cutting myself off. What are some of your favorites? Leave a comment and give the composers and accompanists a shout out.
A quick reminder:
Be excellent to each other.
This is all about the positive. No kvetching about scores you didn’t like.
If you heard a score live, be sure to include the approximate time and place. If your score is from a home media release, be sure to include the name of the company that released it (if you remember it). This will help others track down and enjoy the music you are discussing.