Silent Music in the Ohio Theater?
Some years ago, I had the privilege of seeing the beautifully restored Jean Cocteau film La Belle et la Bete. Originally released in 1946, the black and white film is a surreal telling at the age-old story. An experience which could have been two-dimensional was given depth by Philip Glass, who wrote an all-new score for the film and performed it live here in Columbus with the Philip Glass Ensemble. It was an unforgettable event.
Not too many years later, another film was given similar treatment by Richard Einhorn. This time, however, the film was from the early days of cinema – The Passion of Joan of Arc – a 1928 silent film, censored before it was released. The original negative was destroyed in a fire, prompting director Carl Dreyer to re-edit the film from a second negative.
It was seen only in badly mutilated forms until 1981, when an original copy was found. In the late 1990s, Richard Einhorn was inspired to tell the story of Joan of Arc in Voices of Light. This, too, became an evening of extraordinary cinema with live music, featuring the Anonymous 4.
Later this year, another now iconic film will be screened with a live musical performance. The Godfather, by Francis Ford Coppola, will be shown in the Royal Albert Hall with a live performance of Nino Rota‘s soundtrack.
I write all of this because, though Central Ohio is still in a deep freeze, I’m hoping this trend might spread to the Ohio Theater sometime during the summer months. The CAPA Summer Movie Series allows us to enjoy masterpieces from many different eras of cinema, including classic silent films accompanied by the Mighty Morton Theater Organ. Maybe this event will encourage a local collaboration for something similar.
Read More: Live Orchestra to Accompany The Godfather at U.K. Screening (The Hollywood Reporter)
Hear and Watch the stirring finale to Voices of Light below