Monday, January 26, 2009

A expressionistic day

Wow! Another thrilling evening of Silent Movies at the Paramount with the amazing Dennis James. This time it was “Der Golem” directed by and starring Paul Wegener of “The Magician” which we saw two weeks ago. Not being a particular fan of Golems, I was not expecting this film to be as good as the others, but I think maybe it was even better. Usually I don’t care for German Expressionism in films (way to creepy in a really creepily creepy way), but here it was quite effective. The sets were darkly weird and moody, the story was nicely creepy, the Golem was scary! What more could one ask? How about incredible music! Usually Dennis James duplicates the original music for the movies if it is available, but more often it is not. In that case, he creates scores which are appropriate to the original time of the film. He told us that the American premier of this film was in the Boston Symphony Hall and the symphony accompanied the movie with classical music. Thus, innovation was the order of the day, both then and now. Dennis played classical organ music, mostly French Baroque, I think, and sound effects were provided by Mark Goldstein and his synthesizer. Somehow, the combination was unbelievably effective. The synthesizer gave out ominous moans at just the right times, made Golem-like clomping sounds when ever the Golem was walking around, and produced other appropriate zips and snorts.
It is sad that such an astonishing and exciting performance is so ephemeral - here and then gone. I wish I could see it over and over again. The movie would be good without the music, but the music as we heard it tonight, made it really monumental.

1 comment:

Knitman said...

Not my cup of tea at all, Joanna, but you really do write evocatively.