Sunday, June 27, 2010

Report from Keaton double feature June 27

A few quick notes on today's screening of 'Sherlock, Jr.' (1924) and 'Go West' (1925) at the Wilton (N.H.) Town Hall Theatre. Didn't seem to get too much outside publicity on this one but Buster pulled them in as usual; the theater appeared to be a little more than half full, pretty good for a summer Sunday afternoon. Great audience, very responsive to both films, staying with the parts of 'Go West' that are quieter rather than full of big laughs.

With music, I tried something different this time. 'Sherlock, Jr.' was done with a full orchestral texture and worked itself up into a frenetic climax. But with 'Go West,' I opened with a guitar patch, which actually sounds quite good on the Korg Triton LE synthesizer, I think. And I stayed with the guitar-only sound for about 3/4 of the film, only switching back to a full orchestral patch when the train with the cattle (and Buster) is pulling out.

I think it worked, as the guitar sound provided a much-needed "come down" from the full-on roller coaster of 'Sherlock, Jr.', and also it had enough variety to bring to life many kinds of textures: strumming, plucking, chords in rhythm, all from the keyboard, and all useful in supporting the film's action. Plus, it just naturally fit the film's ranch sequences and helped anchor the whole story right from the beginning, I think. (Much like the title does and also the statue of Horace Greeley -- who was from Amherst, N.H., by the way.)

I was very pleased with 'Sherlock, Jr.,' for which the music fell together quite effectively and the climactic chase worked out just great. I felt I had some problems of focus with 'Go West' but in the end it worked out. Lots of reaction to little touches, such as playing an excerpt from 'The Barber of Seville' during the sequence when Buster shaves the branding mark into Brown Eyes' coat. Thank you, Carl Stalling!

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