Tuesday, September 15, 2015

episode 16: Norwegian edition - Too Much Johnson, Roald Amundsen, Chaplin's City Lights

episode 16: Norwegian edition - Too Much Johnson, Roald Amundsen, Chaplin's City Lights

Welcome
10th anual "Silent Film Days" festival in Tromsø, Norway
Shows for 6th grade school kids, childrens' show on Saturday
Recording: in performance at Verdensteatret cinema, Baby Peggy in "Carmen Jr."
October DVD release of Baby Peggy in "The Family Secret", restored by Library of Congress
Challenge of scoring workprint-rushes of "Too Much Johnson"
Recording: in performance at Verdensteatret cinema, accompanying Orson Welles' "Too Much Johnson"
Performing as part of Arctic Philharmonic accompanying Chaplin's "City Lights" conducted by Timonthy Brock
Recording: in performance at Verdensteatret cinema accompanying Roald Amundsen north pole expedition film
Upcoming performances at LoC, Cinema Arts Centre, Silent Clowns Film Series "Mark of Zorro"
Thanks, and closing

click here to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunes

Click here to stream podcast:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

episode 15: Laurel & Hardy, orchestral Chaplin gig, scoring Technicolor at MoMA

episode 15: Laurel and Hardy, orchestral Chaplin gig, scoring Technicolor at MoMA

Welcome
Silent Film Sound and Music Archive
Recap of June shows: Clara Bow in "Mantrap" in Lake Placid, Mostly Lost 4 at Library of Congress, a special L&H program concept from Bruce Lawton at Silent Clowns
Recording: in performance at Silent Clowns Film Series, Laurel and Hardy in "Duck Soup"
Returning to Tromsø, Norway for "Silent Film Days", and special Chaplin accomp assignment
Recording: in performance at MoMI, accompanying Chaplin's "The Immigrant" for 5th graders
Upcoming shows: Silent Clowns' "Men In Trouble", Cinema Arts Centre shows of Ernie Kovacs plus restored Baby Peggy
Recording: in performance at MoMA for "Toll of the Sea" from Technicolor series
The importance of participating in audience preservation
Thanks, and closing

click here to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunes

Click here to stream podcast:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

episode 14: silence in the theater, Docks of NY, playing into the film, an orchestral organ

episode 14: silence in the theater, Docks of NY, playing into the film, an orchestral organ

Welcome
Silent Film Sound and Music Archive
Recap of May shows: Mary Astor in "Heart to Heart", Buster Keaton in "Battling Butler", plus "Docks of New York" and a faster fps
Recording: in performance at MoMA, from 2008, playing the audience into the beginning of Douglas Fairbanks in "A Modern Musketeer"
Rules of the Game: playing an audience into a film, keeping the show momentum going
Recording: in performance at MoMA, from 2009, accompanying, "Poil de Carotte, a French film with live translation of intertitles
Upcoming shows: Lake Placid Film Forum, Silent Clowns' Laurel & Hardy, Mostly Lost 4 at Library of Congress Packard Campus Theatre
Recording: in performance at Baptist Temple in Brooklyn NY, from 2010, on Steere & Sons orchestral organ, accompanying "The Ten Commandments"
The importance of participating in audience preservation
Thanks, and closing

click here to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunes

Click here to stream podcast:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

episode 13: programming vs. what I like to play for, staying inside a character's head, legacy piano at NYU

episode 13: programming vs. what I like to play for, staying inside a character's head, legacy piano at NYU

Welcome
Silent Film Sound and Music Archive
Recap of April shows, playing for 5th graders at the Museum of the Moving Image
playing and presenting at the Toronto Silent Film Festival
(correction: Toronto SFF shorts curator is Chris Seguin, not Paul)
Recording: in performance at Toronto Silent Film Festival, Stan and Ollie discuss rich people doing things "just the reverse" in WRONG AGAIN
Rules of the Game: staying inside a character's head, regardless of the physical action of the scene when it doesn't match
Recording: in performance at the Alden Theatre in McLean VA, Raymond Griffith takes in the end of the Civil War in "Hands Up!"
Upcoming shows: Silent Clowns' series season of Hal Roach comedies, Library of Congress Packard Campus Theatre, High School band in Connecticut, Mostly Lost 4
Returning to the scene of the crime: playing annually at a silent film class at NYU on the piano I picked out in 1983
Recording: in performance at NYU Cinema Studies, sequence from Mikio Naruse's "No Blood Relation"
Closing

click here to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunes

Click here to stream podcast:

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

episode 12: cineconventions, music from out-of-print DVDS, being easy to work with, Marcel Perez review

episode 12: cineconventions, music from out-of-print DVDS, being easy to work with, Marcel Perez review

Welcome
Silent Film Sound and Music Archive
35th annual/final Cinefest, the future of cineconventions
silent film in a church and at Columbia U. film school
Recording: from out-of-print DVD from Unknown Video "Flaming Flappers", performed on Miditzer organ
Jim Henry, creator of Miditzer virtual organ program; the TCM Film Festival
Rules of the Game: show prep that goes beyond the music; plus being versatile and being easy to work with
Recording: review of Musty Suffer and Marcel Perez DVDs from Sergio Mims of WHPK Chicago
upcoming shows: Marcel Perez show at NYPL, Clara Bow in "It", Raymond Griffith in 35mm
the birth and demise of altscore.com, a great idea that didn't take off
Recording: excerpt from formerly-downloadable alternate score for "Heart O' the Hills" with Mary Pickford
Audience preservation tips.
Closing

click here to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunes

Click here to stream podcast:

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

click here to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunes

Click here to stream podcast:

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

click here to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunes

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

click here to subscribe to podcast on iTunes


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

click here to listen or subscribe to podcast


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)


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

episode 6: welcome to the reboot, 2014 recap, Arthur Kleiner, SFSMA

episode 6: welcome to the reboot, 2014 recap, Arthur Kleiner, SFSMA

Welcome
Mea culpa, and welcome to the podcast reboot
The Silent Film Sound and Music Archive
My new DVD label Undercrank Productions and the LoC
Live performance: "My Best Girl" at St. Francis College
Using pre-existing music in film accompaniment
The Herb Graff show: silent comedies on public TV in the 1970s
Recording: Arthur Kleiner playing "The Philanderer"
Arthur Kleiner, MoMA's first silent film pianist
Composing silent film scores for concert band
Recording: the Palisades Virtuosi playing my "Spice of the Program"
Upcoming performances, release of Marcel Perez DVD, off-Broadway show "Everybody Gets Cake".
Closing


Saturday, January 03, 2015

William S. Hart in THREE WORD BRAND (1921) - new release


Happy new year!

Today I'm releasing William S. Hart in THREE WORD BRAND (1921) for streaming only. It's available for just $2.99 on my YouTube channel.

Why am I releasing this in this manner?
  • my YouTube channel was recently approved for offering videos for a fee, as well as for starting a separate subscription-only channel
  • if I release it as a DVD, the less-than-stellar Amazon reviews for the Alpha Video version may get attributed to it and vice versa
  • if I release it as a DVD, I'd feel obligated to find other content to "fill out the disc", and this way I can release the feature as a stand-alone
  • this was a project not worthy of doing a Kickstarter, and any scoring/editing work I've done on it is "on spec" and is work I'm not willing to just give away for free; anything I've already posted on my YT is work I'd already been compensated for
  • this was a way of offering an edition of this film that is somewhere between "I just want to see it and don't care about the score or image quality" and a full-blown Criterion-Blu restoration from 35mm elements
This is an experiment. As is the "tip jar" I've enabled on my channel, a feature for creators that YouTube rolled out a couple months ago.

What I'm trying to find out is whether YouTubers will pony up a few bucks to watch a silent feature knowing the score will be good and — given the rest of my channel's content — that the film looks good and is at a decent speed.

Here are some particulars about this edition.
  • it's from a good 16mm print
  • I've adjusted the speed to approximate 21 fps
  • I have tinted the exterior night scenes blue, as the visual information I saw indicated this. (I could be wrong, but I'm learning to recognize what this looks like when seen in a B&W print.)
  • this film was originally 7 reels, released at 6,638 ft; this edition is slightly abridged, and if it were in 35mm it'd be around 5,700 ft
  • new stereo piano score by yours truly

This is streaming 'purchase' and not a 'rental', so if you pay the $2.99 you will have access to it as long as you like.

If anyone here goes for it, I'd appreciate any info about how this whole thing works from the consumer end of it. Also, posting any comments on the YouTube listing itself will help other fans find it or have it suggested to them.

Enough exposition. If you'd like to check out this new release of THREE WORD BRAND starring William S. Hart and directed by Lambert Hillyer...

*CLICK HERE*

Thanks.

Ben