Wednesday, March 18, 2015

episode 11: song cues gone wrong, scoring One Week, Lee Erwin, silents in schools

episode 11: song cues gone wrong, scoring One Week, Lee Erwin, silents in schools

Welcome
Silent Film Sound and Music Archive
Library of Congress shows: Leap Year, The Patent Leather Kid
Cinema Arts Centre show: Linda, dir Dorothy Davenport
Recording: Patent Leather Kid, live in performance at the LoC Packard Campus Theatre, on their Walker digital theatre organ
Rules of the Game: when existing music must be used…but no longer works
Recording: excerpt of Lee Erwin playing his score for America, dir DWG, on a Wurlitzer Theatre Organ
On scoring One Week, borrowing a leitmotif device from Mussorgsky, and squelching inadvertent audience reaction
Recording: audience of 4-5 year olds watching Oranges and Lemons with Stan Laurel, on a Yamaha upright
Upcoming performances: 35th annual Cinefest, Toronto Silent Film Festival, cinema studies classes at Columbia and NYU, and more.
Closing

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Wednesday, March 04, 2015

episode 10: presenting silent films to kids and to seniors, interview with Harry Weiss pt 2, listening to the audience

episode 10: presenting silent films to kids and to seniors, interview with Harry Weiss pt 2, listening to the audience

Welcome
Silent Film Sound & Music Archive
The Cinema Arts Centre on Long Island - "Within Our Gates", virtual theatre organ
Palace Theatre family programming, Stamford CT
Recording: Charlie Chaplin in "The Adventurer", live in performance at the Palace Theatre in Stamford CT, on a Yamaha upright
Yes, I was a piano tuner
Listening to the audience when playing for a comedy, and not always being able to hear the reaction
Interview with 98-year-old silent film pianist Harry Weiss, part 2
Why I bring a tuning lever to shows
Audience building: this means YOU
Recording: Harold Lloyd in Grandma's Boy, live in performance at the Osborn in Rye NY, on a Steinway L; Feb 2015
Upcoming performances: Arbuckle in "Leap Year" and Barthelmess in "Patent Leather Kid" at Library of Congress, 35th annual Cinefest, The Marcel Perez Collection DVD, and more.
Closing

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

episode 9: Boise Philharmonic, musical cross-cutting, interview with Harry Weiss pt 1, inspiration for main themes

episode 9: Boise Philharmonic, musical cross-cutting, interview with Harry Weiss pt 1, inspiration for main themes

Welcome
Silent Film Sound & Music Archive
Boise, ID: working with Boise Philharmonic, playing at the historic Egyptian Theater, showing One Week to 700 5th-graders
Recording: Charley Chase in "Dog Shy", live in performance on the Robert-Morton theatre organ at the Egyptian in Feb 2014
Rules of the Game: musical cross-cutting to help underscore scenes in early dramatic shorts
Recording: Alice Guy-Blaché's "A Fool and His Money", on Steinway piano at MoMA in Feb 2015
Interview with nonagenarian silent film pianist Harry Weiss, part 1
A trick to come up with main themes for all those comedy shorts
Recording: Max Davidson in "Don't Tell Everything", on Steinway D piano at Bruno Walter Auditorium, Silent Clowns Film Series Feb 14, 2015
Upcoming performances: comedy shorts at the Palace in Stamford CT, Harold Lloyd in Westchester, Keaton at Wesleyan, The Marcel Perez Collection DVD, and more.
Next episode: Harry Weiss, part 2.
Closing

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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

episode 8: Everybody Gets Cake, Trip to the Moon in Tromsø, OsloOrgan, Marcel Perez

episode 8: "Everybody Gets Cake", Trip to the Moon in Tromsø, Oslo Organ, Marcel Perez

Welcome
News from January: composing and performing music for Parallel Exit's "Everybody Gets Cake", running off-Bway thru Feb 8.
Recording: instrumental from "Cake" show: "A Shakespearean Smoke Break"
The restoration of Georges Melies' "A Trip to the Moon" with narration
Recording: live performance piano and narration for "A Trip to the Moon" in Tromsø, Norway
Funeral organists workshop in Oslo
Recording:
Upcoming performances, Egyptian Theatre in Boise, with Boise Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble, release of Marcel Perez DVD, Hal Roach at Silent Clowns, Zorro in Bklyn, Keaton at Wesleyan, and more.
Closing

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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

new DVD release: "The Marcel Perez Collection"

http://amzn.com/B00SLWHGJC

I'm very excited announce the release today of my new DVD, The Marcel Perez Collection!

The DVD contains 10 rare short silent comedies in new digital transfers from prints preserved by the Library of Congress and by the EYE Filmmuseum (Netherlands), and each has a brand new piano score by yours truly. The films on the disc were curated by me and Steve Massa, who refers to Marcel Perez as "the greatest silent film comedian no one's ever heard of".

The DVD project was funded by a Kickstarter held last summer, which was so successful that additional funds were used to create and publish a companion book that Steve has written. The book is Marcel Perez: The International Mirth-Maker and contains a detailed biography, career overview, filmography and more than 50 rare photographs from Perez's films made in Italy and in the US.

This is the second DVD that I have produced and release that is co-branded with the Library of Congress. Cover art for both the DVD and the book was done by the amazing Marlene Weisman-Abadi.

Marcel Perez entered films in 1900 in France, after working in circus and the music hall, then had a starring series of comedies in Italy which he also directed from 1911-1914. The following year he came to the US where he worked steadily starring in and directing comedy shorts until an illness forced him into the director's chair in 1924. He made hundreds of films in Europe and in the US between 1900 and 1928, and yet his films are extremely rare, especially the American titles. We are very proud to be able to make this prime selection of Perez silent comedies available.

I think you'll enjoy watching the 5 of his Italian "Robinet" comedies and the 5 American "Tweedy" shorts on the DVD, and will agree that Marcel Perez is ripe for rediscovery.

The DVD sells for $19.95 and the 104-page book is $11.95. To order the DVD click here, and for the book click here! Enjoy!

Thanks!

Ben

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

episode 7: news from the road, Peter Pan, Blackmail, using ragtime

episode 7: news from the road, Peter Pan, Blackmail, "Everybody Gets Cake"

Welcome
News from the road: December 2014 recap: the Silent Clowns Film Series, Chaplin Mutuals, Library of Congress holiday party, the Powers kids in "The Skeleton"
Recording: live performance, accompaniment to "Peter Pan", Peter saves Tinkerbell
Using ragtime to accompany silent films, then and now, pros and cons
On accompanying the murder scene in "Blackmail"
Recording: live performance, from Hitchcock's "Blackmail" at Alden Theater
Silent film series at the Alden Theatre in McLean, VA
Upcoming performances, Egyptian Theatre in Boise, with Boise Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble, release of Marcel Perez DVD, off-Broadway show "Everybody Gets Cake".
Closing


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

NEW DVD COLLECTION OF FORGOTTEN SILENT FILM STAR MARCEL PEREZ



THE MARCEL PEREZ COLLECTION SHOWCASING
FORGOTTEN SILENT FILM COMEDIAN CONFIRMED FOR
RELEASE ON FEBRUARY 3 IN NEW DVD FEATURING
NEW DIGITAL TRANSFERS OF RARE ARCHIVAL PRINTS


Undercrank Productions Collaborates with Library of Congress
and EYE Filmmuseum (Netherlands) to Shine Spotlight on
Overlooked Silent Clown & Director; New Book on Perez by
Steve Massa Also to be Published.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW YORK, N.Y. (MONDAY January 12, 2015) Undercrank Productions and noted silent film accompanist/historian Ben Model announced today the DVD release of THE MARCEL PEREZ COLLECTION, a disc of 10 rare short silent film comedies starring and directed by the largely forgotten star Marcel Perez will be released February 3, 2015. The five Italian and five US shorts in this collection prominently feature the silent-era comedian whose work has been completely unknown…until now.

The DVD features new digital transfers of the films, which were preserved by the Library of Congress (www.loc.gov/avconservation/packard) and by EYE Filmmuseum (Netherlands) (www.eyefilm.nl), with new musical scores by Ben Model. Undercrank is also publishing Marcel Perez: the International Mirth-Maker, written by noted film historian Steve Massa, a 100-page bio with over 50 rare photos from Perez’s films. Both the DVD and book will be released on February 3 and will be available exclusively through Amazon.com.

Following a 10-year career in movies in France, Marcel Perez directed and starred as the character “Robinet” in approximately 160 short comedies in Italy before coming to the US in 1915, where he made another 60 comedy shorts as the character Tweedledum or “Tweedy” for a number of independent studios in Florida, New York and New Jersey. Perez is the only silent screen comedian besides Max Linder to have had this kind of long-reaching career on both continents. More than just another slapstick comedian, Perez had a unique character and a directorial persona, which he developed throughout his career and adapted seamlessly to American slapstick filmmaking.  Sadly, only a fraction of Perez’ output, which spanned 1900-1928, survives.

“Perez was literally one of the founders of film comedy,” says film historian Steve Massa, author of Lame Brains and Lunatics: the Good, the Bad and the Forgotten of Silent Comedy, and librarian in the Billy Rose TheatreCollection at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln
Center.  “He was right there at the dawn of cinema, making movies in France starting in 1900. By 1910 he was headlining in his own series in Italy, writing and directing them too and he was known around the world. So when he came to the U.S. in 1915 his popularity continued and while prolific, most of the American films have been lost. THE MARCEL PEREZ COLLECTION DVD rounds up his best surviving films and gives Perez the opportunity to take his rightful place as one of the innovators of the whole silent film genre.”

“What impressed me in discovering Marcel Perez and his films is how clever the humor and filmmaking is and how engaging a persona he has,” said DVD Producer Ben Model. “It’s been a thrill, working with Library of Congress, EYE Film and being supported by fan crowdfunding, to give this forgotten silent clown his day in the sun. THE MARCEL PEREZ COLLECTION not only means that classic film fans can now discover this forgotten comedy star, but his two surviving grand-children will finally be able to see his films.”

This is the third DVD project that Ben Model has funded by reaching out to silent film fans via Kickstarter, and is the second that he has produced as part of a co-branding association with the Library of Congress. The first DVD project was THE MISHAPS OF MUSTY SUFFER released April 2014. The DVD of The Marcel Perez Collection will be available for $19.95; 120 mins, B&W. The DVD contains new digital transfers of archival master prints held the Library of Congress and the EYE Filmmuseum (Netherlands).

The book Marcel Perez: the International Mirth-Maker, will be priced at $11.95 and is written by Steve Massa; 100 pp..
THE MARCEL PEREZ COLLECTION is set for release on February 3, 2015 via Amazon and serves as a great introduction to his ‘lost’ work in the US and Europe.

For review copies, interest in talking to Ben Model directly about the collection and more, please contact: ben@silentclowns.com

ABOUT BEN MODEL

Ben Model is one of the nation’s leading silent film accompanists, and has been a resident film pianist at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) since 1984.  He accompanies silent films on piano and theatre organ regularly at MoMA, the Library of Congress, the Silent Clowns Film Series (in NYC), and at many theatres and schools around the country.  His recorded scores can be heard on numerous releases from Kino Lorber and on Turner Classic Movies (TCM).  He is also co-curator of MoMA’s annual “Cruel and Unusual Comedy” silent film series, and this month will be performing in the off-Broadway show “Everyone Gets Cake” at 59E59 Theatres. Model is also the archivist for the Ernie Kovacs/Edie Adams collections and has programmed two “Ernie Kovacs Collection” DVD box sets for Shout Factory as well as MVD’s “Here’s Edie: The Edie Adams Television Shows”. He is based in New York City.  His website is www.silentfilmmusic.com.

THE FILMS on “THE MARCEL PEREZ COLLECTION” DVD:

Italian films:
“Robinet's White Suit” (1911)
“Robinet in Love with a Singer” (1911)
“Mademoiselle Robinet” (1912)
“Robinet is Too Much Loved By His Wife” (1912)
“Robinet is Jealous” (1914)

American films:
“A Bathtub Elopement” (1916)
“A Busy Night” (1916)
“Camouflage” (1918)
“You're Next” (1919)
“Sweet Daddy” (1921)