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Rogers Center announces silent film series with live music for 2016-17 season

August 30, 2016
Dinosaurs, westerns, and spooky movies to be featured on the big screen at Merrimack College, North Andover, Mass.
Rogers Center for the Arts

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.—Silent film on the big screen with live music will return to the Rogers Center for the Arts in North Andover, Mass. with a series of shows scheduled for the 2016-17 season.

Admission to the screenings is free and the public is welcome.

The schedule includes the first-ever Hollywood “dinosaur” movie, a creepy thriller for Halloween, a rip-roaring early Western, and a landmark adaption of the Joan of Arc story.

Musical accompaniment will be performed live by silent film composer Jeff Rapsis, regarded as one of the nation’s leading silent film musicians.

The series aims to recapture the magic of early Hollywood by presenting silent films as they were intended to be shown: in restored prints, in a theater on a big screen, with live music, and with an audience.

“If you can put together those elements, it’s surprising how much power these films still have,” said Rapsis, who specializes in improvising live music for silent film screenings throughout New England and beyond. “You realize why these films caused people to first fall in love with the movies.”

The series features some of the most-requested titles from the silent film era:

• Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, 7 p.m.: “The Lost World” (1925) starring Wallace Beery, Bessie Love. First-ever movie adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary tale of British explorers who discover pre-historic creatures still thriving atop a remote South American plateau. Great entertainment; ground-breaking special effects by the same team that later created ‘King Kong’ mesmerized early movie audiences and remain impressive today.

• Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, 7 p.m.: “The Man Who Laughs” (1928) starring Conrad Veidt. Unnerving adaptation of Victor Hugo’s historical novel about a man cursed with a permanent carnival-freak-like grin on his face. The make-up job for actor Conrad Veidt inspired the look of Batman’s arch-nemesis the Joker. Great Halloween film, set the stage for Universal horror classics such as ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Dracula.’

• Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, 7 p.m.: “The Winning of Barbara Worth” (1926) starring Ronald Colman, Gary Cooper, Vilma Banky. Epic-scale Western about the settlement of California’s parched Imperial Valley, and the struggle to harness the Colorado River to create an agricultural paradise. Great story with Ronald Colman and Gary Cooper competing for Vilma Banky. Shot on location in Nevada’s spectacular Black Rock desert; climaxed with an entire town getting swept away by a flood.

• Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 7 p.m.: “The Passion of Joan of Arc” (1928). Danish director Carl Dreyer’s intense recreation of the trial of Joan of Arc set new standards for cinematography and expanded the language of film in new directions. Extreme close-ups, expressionistic photography, and a stellar cast (including, in the title role, the only film performance of legendary stage actress Renée Falconetti) combine to create a movie-going experience that remains riveting today.

All films will be screened at the Rogers Center for the Arts, Merrimack College, 315 North Turnpike St., North Andover, Mass.

“If you haven’t seen a silent film the way it was intended to be shown, then you’re missing a unique experience,” Rapsis said. “At their best, silent films can be surprisingly sophisticated. They still retain a tremendous ability to cast a spell, engage an audience, tap into elemental emotions, and provoke strong reactions.”


For more info, contact:
The Rogers Center Box Office at 978-847-5355

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  • A still from "The Man Who Laughs", one of the four silent features presented at the Rogers Center for the Arts.
    A still from "The Man Who Laughs", one of the four silent features presented at the Rogers Center for the Arts.

Contact  Box Office:  978-837-5990

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