The Goldtown Nickelodeon theater is showcasing silent movies with live accompanied music.
Silent films - way better than "boring" 112812 AE 1 Capital City Weekly The Goldtown Nickelodeon theater is showcasing silent movies with live accompanied music.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Story last updated at 11/28/2012 - 3:16 pm

Silent films - way better than "boring"

The Goldtown Nickelodeon theater is showcasing silent movies with live accompanied music.

At 4 p.m. on Dec. 1, (this will be a family-friendly showing with family rates), 7 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. The evening shows are all-ages, but there will be a no-host bar set up, with specialty cocktails for the occasion. Tickets are $15 in advance either at Rainy Retreat Books or on our website ( and they will be $18 at the door.

"This is going to be an on-going series, spurred mostly from my great love of silent films, and my trying to figure out how to share that, and how to get modern audiences to give them a chance, and discover how amazing they can be," said Collette Costa, Goldtown manager. "My goal is to produce 6-8 shows a year, each featuring different local musicians and showcasing as diverse a group of films as possible. For future films I'm working with Robert Cohen, Jason Caputo, Sammy Burrous, Patrick Murphy, Bob Banghart, and others."

This show will feature Rumblefish, a primarily old-time music band (which is a perfect fit for this particular Buster Keaton film, as it takes place during the Civil War, when many of these songs were written) consisting of Andy Ferguson, Erik Chadwell, Sergei Morosan, and Jack Fontanella.

"In addition to scoring the entire film, they are also incorporating sound effects, noise makers, and a variety of percussive devices to the mix, which is something that was also quite common in the silent era," Costa said. "There used to be special effects specialists at movie houses that would have a whole host of sound effects for silent films. There was often nothing silent about these movies."

The film itself is Buster Keaton's 1926 "Tour de Force," The General, certainly his best work, and considered by many critics to be one of - if not THE - best silent film ever mad, Costa said. Keaton was a comedic genius, and a flawless stuntman, always performing his own stunts, and in the course of making this film, actually broke his neck in a fall, which wasn't discovered until years later. Keaton also co-directed and co-wrote the film, and it was to be the last time he would be given so much creative freedom. It features some of the most daring, exciting, unbelievable stunts ever put to film, with no stand-ins, no special effects, and no safety nets. When you see him run across the top of the speeding train, then jump onto a water tower, he actually did it.

The story itself is about Johnny Gray (Keaton), a Southern railroad engineer who loves his train engine, The General, almost as much as he loves Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack). When the opening shots of the Civil War are fired at Fort Sumter, Johnny tries to enlist - and he is deemed too useful as an engineer to be a soldier. All Johnny knows is that he's been rejected, and Annabelle, thinking him a coward, turns her back on him. When Northern spies steal the General (and, unwittingly, Annabelle), the story switches from drama and romance to adventure mixed with Keaton's trademark deadpan humor as he uses every means possible to catch up to the General, thwart the Yankees, and rescue his darling Annabelle.

"Anyone who thinks they don't like silent movies, or thinks they're boring and unwatchable, I challenge you to come see this film, and if you still feel the same way, I will give you a full refund and a free ticket to another (talking) movie," Costa said.