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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stories from the Sea: Stephin Merritt Scores a Jules Verne Classic

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 12:55 PM

The textures and melodrama of silent films always seizes me. I love the body language. The ambient tones. I love the speedy scores and heightened drama. Oh man, do I love how an old organ trills. So when I saw that Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields is scoring the 1916 silent film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for the SFIFF, I was doubly thrilled.

There's always something a bit tragic and sensational about sea stories-- that passion for the open water, where sailors are lured away by sea monsters and delayed by sirens. How Merritt will respond to the adventure and the grand pantomimes, rework the original scores and use cue sheets or perhaps improvise totally is what hooks me. Merritt will be joined by the Castro's organist David Hegarty to score the classic on May 4. Atmospheric, warbling soundtracks expected.

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Jolene Torr


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