The silent film era involved a pianist or organist playing along live to the action on the screen. Today, film enthusiasts seeking a taste of the past can see stars like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Lillian Gish on digitized reels accompanied by live music. Movie historian Ben Model is the resident accompanist at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He plays at venues around the world and will be appearing in the Adirondacks on Sunday. He says the technique engages viewers.
“Ironically it may on the surface seem like there are these things missing but it’s precisely that I really enjoy because you’re involved with the screen entertainment supplying things with your imagination. And you’re engaged as opposed to contemporary cinema where everything is just completely spoon fed to you and it’s a very passive experience. There’s something very satisfying and fun about these films from 90 years ago. Plus the comedies they’re just funnier.”
Ben Model will be at the Strand Theatre in Schroon Lake on Sunday at 8 pm to accompany a trio of digitally restored Charlie Chaplin silent comedies and participate in a question and answer session.