Renowned musician and preservationist Dennis James will bring silent movies to life at the Palmer Opera House in Cuba on July 24. Two nautical themed Buster Keaton films will be shown.
Silent Film Concert with Dennis James comes to the Palmer Opera House in Cuba on July 24th at 2 p.m. Dennis James has a storied history with the Palmer Opera House, having donated to them an upright piano from 1896, on which he will be performing during the films. In May of 2014, during a break from a presentation he was giving at the Cuba Circulating Library, Mr. James stumbled upon the Palmer Opera House. During a discussion with Cuba Friends of Architecture President Michael Doyle, the talk of a silent film series came up. A month later, Dennis called from a paddle-wheel cruise boat on the St. Croix River where he had just purchased a calliope, and the captain had thrown in a piano on the deal. Mr. James delivered the piano to the Opera House on July 4th, 2014.
For fifty years Dennis James has played a pivotal role in the international revival of silent films with live music. He began professional film accompaniment touring while he was a music student at Indiana University in the late 1960's. James now tours under the auspices of the Silent Film Concerts production company performing to silent films with solo organ, piano, and chamber ensemble accompaniments in addition to presentations with major symphony orchestras throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. James is renowned for providing the most comprehensive selection of silent films with historically authentic live musical scoring presentations available today.
Dennis James' Silent Film Concerts production company offers the rare opportunity to see classic silent films and to hear appropriate live musical scores presented at the same time. Provided are the authentic musical accompaniments to classic silent films using either the complete original scores issued with the films or historic “photoplay music” assemblages to recreate the exciting and compelling compilation scores of the kind heard in movie theaters in the 1920s.
“The Boat” is a Buster Keaton film from 1921. In this film, Buster has built the boat in his house and takes his family on an inaugural pleasure trip. From the boat’s construction to its untimely demise, Keaton and family encounter one misadventure after another and by the end of the film he has successfully demolished his house, drowned his car, sunk the boat and Buster with his little family are lost- washed up after a storm at night on a deserted beach.
“The Navigator” is from 1924. In a return to the "pampered youth" role, Keaton stars as Rollo Treadway, an inexperienced lad of extraordinary wealth -- and surprisingly little common sense -- who finds himself adrift on "The Navigator" with no one else on board except an equally naïve girl (Kathryn McGuire). After discovering each other's presence in an ingenious ballet of unintentional hide-and-seek, the couple resourcefully fashion a home for themselves aboard the derelict boat, in spite of their unfamiliarity with the tools of domesticity.
Presale tickets are $7.50, ticket price is $10 at the door. Tickets for the show on July 24th (2 PM) are available for purchase at The Perfect Blend Coffee House and PalmerOperaHouse.com. More information also available on the Palmer Opera House’s Facebook page.