Silent : Different music tracks on the same films

Different music tracks on the same films

Some silent films, especially the ones that were allowed to slip into the public domain, have been released by several different distributors with several different music tracks, and I find that sometimes it really does change my perception of a film.

I've heard that some of the small-time films didn't have special tracks written for them when they were made; the movie house counted on the organist/pianist/house band to have a large enough repertoire to provide the right mood.

In Harpo Marx's autobiography, he claimed to have only ever learned two songs on the piano: 'Waltz Me Around Again, Willie' and 'Love Me And The World Is Mine;' by working up embellishments and variations, he managed to work successfully as a pianist in a movie theater (and also in a whorehouse).

Two movies I was thinking of in regards to this subject are Buster Keaton's The General and Sherlock Junior.

In the Kino collection, The General has a period comedy music track; works fine with the action, nothing too amazing. I saw a version on TCM, though, that had a much more dramatic track, and with the different backing, The General actually works as a drama. I think that's evidence of what a truly great film it is.

The Kino track for Sherlock Junior was modern jazz, and there was even an homage to the James Bond theme, during the car chase. I didn't think it fit at all, and it may be one of the reasons Sherlock Junior is my least favorite of Keaton's silent feature films.

Chime in with your thoughts.

- Crazy. All crazy but I'm.

Re: Different music tracks on the same films

The first example that comes to my mind: Ella Cinders (1926).

I first bought the cheaper Alpha version, which has good print quality but some kind of church music that doesn't fit the action at all. Afterwards, decided to buy the Grapevine version, which has -I think- an original organ music score that was perfect for it, and it felt totally different. This time around I laughed out loud!


Animal crackers in my soup
Monkeys and rabbits loop the loop


Re: Different music tracks on the same films

I have one really cheapo set of third-tier silent comedies, and the music track is the same three Dixieland songs running on a constant loop; regardless of what's happening on-screen. One of the songs even has VOCALS on it.

- Crazy. All crazy but I'm.
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