Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Coming up: 'Metropolis' (1927) at the Leavitt Theatre in Ogunquit, Maine on Friday, June 8

The Leavitt Theater's vintage interior...

Next up: a futuristic fantasy in a theater that's like stepping back in time. Talk about contrasts! But that's what you'll experience on Friday, June 8 if you drop by the Leavitt Theatre in Ogunquit, Maine, where I'm doing live music for a screening of 'Metropolis' (1927).

The screening starts at 8 p.m., but the theater itself started in 1923, and remains virtually unchanged. Really! As a summer-only moviehouse in a seaside resort that's been under one owner for decades, there's been little reason to remodel. Season after season, the Leavitt has been doing what it was build to do: screening movies.

However, it's no palace. The place is functional at best: built for the summer tourist crowds and caressed by cool ocean breezes, the space lacks heat or air conditioning. Most of the seating is completely original; wooden seats still carry wire loops underneath for gentlemen to store their hats!

So even though projection and sound equipment have been upgraded, the theater itself, with its steeply raked floor and curious balconies and smell of wood, is very much like what an audience would have experienced way back during the silent film era.

And what better place to take in Fritz Lang's incredible vision of the future? Hope you'll be able to join us for what promises to be a great silent film experience. The press release below has all the details...

So that's where Dr. Strangelove got the idea!

For more info, contact: Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 •

Historic Leavitt Theater to screen restored 'Metropolis' on Friday, June 8

Landmark sci-fi fantasy silent film to be shown with original live music at Ogunquit, Maine moviehouse

OGUNQUIT, Maine—A silent film hailed as the grandfather of all sci-fi fantasy movies will be screened with live music on Friday, June 8, 2012 at the historic Leavitt Theatre in Ogunquit, Maine. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10 general admission.

'Metropolis' (1927), regarded as German director Fritz Lang's masterpiece, is set in a futuristic city where a privileged elite pursue lives of leisure while the masses toil on vast machines deep underground. The film, with its visions of an imaginary tomorrow, set new standards for visual design and inspired generations of dystopian fantasies, from Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner' to Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil.'

The story centers on an upper class young man who falls in love with a woman who works with the poor, and encompasses mad scientists, human-like robots, and industrial espionage, all set in a society divided into haves and have-nots.

The version of 'Metropolis' to be screened at the Leavitt is a newly restored edition that includes nearly a half-hour of missing footage cut following the film's premiere in 1927. The footage, discovered in 2008 in an archive in Argentina, has since been added to the existing 'Metropolis,' allowing plot threads and characters to be developed more fully.

The city above ground...

The restored 'Metropolis,' now 2½ hours in length, will be accompanied by a new score created live by New Hampshire-based silent film musician and composer Jeff Rapsis. The film will be shown on the Leavitt Theater's newly upgraded digital projection system.

"We felt the start of the summer tourist season was a great time to screen the restored 'Metropolis' at the Leavitt, as it's a film all about the excitement of things to come," said Rapsis, who provides live musical accompaniment to silent film screenings throughout New England. "'Metropolis' stands as an stunning example of the power of silent film to tell a compelling story without words, and reach across the generations to touch movie-goers from the real future that came to pass, which means us."

and the city below ground.

The Leavitt, a summertime only one-screen theater, will open for its 89th season on Friday, May 18 with a three-day engagement of 'The Artist' (2011), the silent film that won multiple Academy Awards at this year's Oscars, including 'Best Picture.' Because 'The Artist' is a Valentine to the silent movie form, Leavitt owner Peter Clayton decided to augment it by programming 'Metropolis,' one of the undisputed classics from the silent era.

'Metropolis' will be shown as it was intended to be shown: in a real theater, on the big screen, with live music, and with an audience.

"Even in this age of sophisticated home entertainment, there's nothing like the shared experience of seeing a silent movie in a crowded theater," Clayton said. "The live music by Jeff Rapsis, whose presented silent films at the Leavitt for the past two seasons, is another part of the show that can't be duplicated at home," he said.

One of director Fritz Lang's more ambitious montages.

To accompany silent film, Rapsis uses a digital synthesizer to recreate the texture of the full orchestra. The score is created live in real time as the movie is screened. Rather than focus exclusively on music of the period, Rapsis creates new music for silent films that draws from movie scoring techniques that today's audiences expect from cinema.

"Silent film is a timeless art form that still has a unique emotional power to move audiences, as the recent success of 'The Artist' has shown," Rapsis said. "With original silent films such as 'Metropolis,' which are from another era, I try to help them come to life by using music to bridge the gap between the film and today's audiences. If you can show them as they were originally intended—on the big screen, in a restored print, with live music and an audience—they create the same kind of excitement that made people first fall in love with the movies."

The restored 'Metropolis' will be shown on Friday, June 8 at 8 p.m. at the Leavitt Theater, 259 Main St., Ogunquit, Maine. General admission tickets are $10 per person. For more information, call (207) 646-3123 or visit For more information on the music, visit


“'Metropolis' does what many great films do, creating a time, place and characters so striking that they become part of our arsenal of images for imagining the world.”
—Roger Ebert, 2010, The Chicago Sun-Times

“If it comes anywhere near your town, go see it and thank the movie Gods that it even exists. There’s no star rating high enough.”
—Brian Tallerico,

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