Silent Film News

Three exciting Bay Aread silent film events coming up that I just had to tell you about.

Sunday, October 17: This one doesn’t even require you to leave the house. In a segment on this Sunday’s 60 Minutes (CBS, 7:00), Morley Safer will interview the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum’s own David Kiehn. (Yes, I know, the interview has already happened. It will merely be broadcast at that time.) The subject will be a very old film of San Francisco’s Market Street, which Kiehn has recently dated as having been shot on April 14, 1906—just four days before the earthquake. The TV crew did some filming in Niles, and we may see some of the museum on the show.

Sunday, November 14: Those of you who have followed San Francisco silent film presentation for a long time may remember the Club Foot Orchestra. This ensemble created their own unique accompaniment to a number of silent features, mostly German expressionistic classics like Nosferatu and Metropolis. But they also did Sherlock Jr., and their spirited but controversial score is on the DVD.  They’re returning to the Bay Area silent movie scene next month with four performances at the Castro. (No Metropolis, though.)

Thursday, December 7: Although not as popular as the works of Keaton or Murnau, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 period drama The Passion of Joan of Arc carries a high reputation as one of the great works of the medium. (I saw it once, about 10 years ago, on DVD, and was considerably impressed.) Richard Einhorn’s composition Voices of Light is both a score for Dreyer’s film and a respected piece of music in its own right. The film and the music will come together at Oakland’s Paramount Theater, with a 22-piece orchestra and a 200-voice chorus. Tickets are already on sale.