The Valencia Symphony Orchestra presented - A Charlie Chaplin / Harold Lloyd Double Bill at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center on August 26th at 7:00 PM. This production was a live-to-picture event featuring two of the best film comics of the 20th century. With two new scores, these films came to life on the big screen.
THE ADVENTURER (1917)
THE ADVENTURER was the last of the twelve films Chaplin produced for Mutual Film Company at Lone Star Studios. It stars Chaplin as an escaped convict who finds favor with a wealthy family after he saves a young lady from drowning. The young lady’s suitor does everything he can to have the convict apprehended.
Charlie Chaplin’s time at Mutual / Lone Star provided him with complete artistic freedom. It was at that time when he was able to depart from strict use of ‘The Tramp’ character and begin to branch out into other characters. Although he finds his way back into a 'Tramp' costume in THE ADVENTURER, he spends the first act of the film in a prison uniform trying to evade the prison authorities.
THE BACK STORY OF PRISONER #23
In order to heighten the suspense of the film, Chaplin uses a newspaper story which details the escape of 'Prisoner 23' from a Federal penitentiary. The newspaper only appears on screen for a few seconds; far too short to read anything but the headline. The drama of the escape is actually quite useful to the story. The transcription of the cover story is as follows:
THE WHITTIER HERALD - FRIDAY, AUGUST 3, 1917 - CRIMINAL ESCAPES / CONVICT AT LARGE / Officials Completely Baffled / Rain of Bullets Fail to Stop Convict No. 23 in Wild Dash from State Prison.
The most daring escape in the history of the State Prison was that today of Convict No. 23, known to the authorities as "The Eel," who gained his freedom after a mad dash through a shower of bullets and who had up to a late hour successfully covered every trace of his whereabouts.
A nation-wide alarm has been sounded, and every avenue of escape from the city is being closely watched by armed guards. Orders to return the fugitive dead or alive have been issued by the authorities.
Already an investigation has been started by the Prison Board in an effort to determine who is to blame for this most recent outrage, and it is rumored that several of the highest officials of the institution will be interrogated.
THE SCORE FOR THE ADVENTURER
This evening’s original score for THE ADVENTURER was written by André Assaiante (USA), Joy Ngiaw (Malaysia), Wani Han (South Korea) and Victor Kong (Malaysia). After breaking the film into its formal elements of narrative, character and scene, several distinct themes (motifs) were created. These themes are then arranged, developed and orchestrated to convey the story as dramatically as possible. THE ADVENTURER was chosen for this presentation because of its unique story line and its pacing. Many silent-era comedies involved extended chase scenes and a great deal of slapstick, as can be seen in Chaplin’s work with Keystone (1914-1915) and Essanay (1915-1916). THE ADVENTURER, although beginning and ending with a chase, possesses a (slightly) more sophisticated humor and storytelling than the ‘safe’ films of its time. It also has one of the funniest gags of any silent-era film.
THE ADVENTURER has been restored by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and Lobster Films, from a diacetate print from the Library of Congress and a nitrate print preserved at the Cinémathéque Royale de Beligique. Some fragments were added from a nitrate print in the Lobster Films Collection preserved at the Archives françaises du film (CNC). Intertitles have been reconstructed according to the original Mutual title cards reconstructed by Film Preservation Associates and based on 1920's reissue prints. The surviving elements come from two different negatives. Negative A was restored whenever possible while negative B was used to reconstruct missing or severely damaged shots. Restoration work was carried out at Lobster Films laboratory in 2013.
THE FRESHMAN (1925)
Harold Lloyd’s biggest box-office hit, THE FRESHMAN, stars Lloyd as Harold Lamb, a college freshman who dreams of being a big man on campus and gets advice from pamphlets such as “Clever College Clothes” and “How to Play Football.” A disastrous tryout lands him a spot on the football team as a human tackling dummy before he becomes the team’s water boy. But Harold holds on to his dreams, aided by his sweetheart, Peggy (Jobyna Ralston).
THE FRESHMAN is widely considered one of Lloyd's most hilarious, well-constructed films and was his most successful silent film of the 1920's. Hugely popular at the time of its release, it sparked a craze for college films that lasted well beyond the 1920's. It was one of Lloyd's few films to remain widely available after the sound era, and he reissued the film (with cuts) and used extended scenes in compilation films of the 1960's. The football game sequence was reused by Lloyd and director Preston Sturges in Lloyd's last film, THE SIN OF HAROLD DIDDLEBOCK (1947).
THE SCORE FOR THE FRESHMAN and BERKLEE SILENT FILM ORCHESTRA
The score for this evening performance of THE FRESHMAN was composed by The Berklee Silent Film Orchestra (BSFO) is dedicated to composing new, original scores for silent classics and performing them live. Based at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, in the world’s only undergraduate degree program in film scoring, this all-student orchestra composes and performs for silent features under the direction of three-time Emmy nominee and Berklee Professor of Film Scoring Sheldon Mirowitz (Outside Providence, Missing in America), who serves as Artistic Director. Rob Hayes is Managing Director. Composers for tonight’s score are as follows: Vincent Isler (Switzerland), Esin Aydingoz (Turkey), Bernard Duc (Switzerland), Victoria Ruggiero (USA), Andres Gutierrez (Mexico), Jeffrey Gaiser (USA), and Vinicius Pippa (Brazil)