The Woodlands Pavilion to Hold a Not-So-Silent Film Festival

Regular readers of this column may recall that last year I suggested they should plan ahead to attend this year’s Silent Film Classic presentation. This year’s film, Charlie Chaplin’s 1925 classic, “The Gold Rush,” will be screened at 8:30 p.m. on Friday July 13, 2001 at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. But perhaps “silent” should not be the operative word, because on that evening, film buffs will be treated to the kind of orchestral accompaniment that was typical for major releases during the golden age of silent pictures. And this will not be just any orchestra, but the renowned Houston Symphony Orchestra, (Donald Hunsberger, conducting) that will provide music on a grand scale for this cinematic event.

Mr. Hunsberger has led accompaniments of silent films with more than 40 orchestras in the United States, Canada and Switzerland. He specializes in early 20th century films, and directs the Eastman-Dryden Orchestra, an ensemble that performs accompaniments for silent films. In reality, silent films were never really silent. There were soloists and ensembles that provided mood music for actors on the set; and there were organists, pianists and orchestras in the movie theaters around the world.

In his recent article titled “Silent Film Accompaniment,” Hunsberger describes two types of accompaniment that prevailed during the Silent Era (Early 1900’s to 1930). One of these was the composed score consisting of original music. The other was the compiled score, which was made up of a “cue sheet” (suggesting the action, mood, etc. for a particular scene), and related selections of assorted music appropriate for the various types of scenes.

In addition to starring in “The Gold Rush,” Chaplin also served as the film’s director. Georgia Hale, Mack Swain and Tom Murray co-star. The film has been called a “…wonderful, timeless comedy,” and features such hilarious scenes as “the dance of the rolls,” the eating of a leather shoe, and the tottering of a cabin on a cliff. Don’t forget to bring the children for a night of delight they will never find at Tinseltown!

Lawn seating is just $7 with reserved seating available at $12, $10, and $8. 50.  For information call: 281-363-3300.

(The Courier    7.8.01)

(The Villager    7.11.01)

About The People's Critic

David Dow Bentley III, writes columns about the performing arts which are featured in newspapers from the East Coast to the Gulf Coast. A member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA), The International Theatre Critics Association, and America's oldest theatrical club, The Lambs, he also had long service as the editor of The Lambs' Script magazine. Mr. Bentley may be contacted via e-mail at
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