SFW screening of Buster Keaton's silent classic, with organ accompaniment
Sunday 12 November 2017
Set in the striking Guildhall, cinema revellers of all ages were whisked away to the silent era thanks to the work of Silver Street Films and Southampton Film Week with their presentation of Buster Keaton’s silent comedy THE CAMERAMAN (Edward Sedgwick and Buster Keaton 1928). As one of the most familiar faces of the silent screen, it is fitting that Keaton should be awarded the prestigious honour of representing pre-talkie cinema at the festival. With an improvised accompaniment provided by Donald MacKenzie - a veteran concert organist approaching 25 years of silent film support - this was a recipe for cinematic success.
Before the film began, MacKenzie treated the audience to a medley of familiar film tunes and old organ classics. He also explained how silent film accompaniment works, showing off the range of sounds the Compton Organ is capable of as well as stressing the importance of occasional silence to let the film speak for itself. As the lights dimmed and MacKenzie played the familiar Universal Pictures intro, it was clear that the next hour would be a wordless delight.
THE CAMERAMAN is a comedy of errors in which clumsy portrait photographer Buster (Keaton) falls for MGM secretary Sally (Marceline Day). In an attempt to woo her, Buster sets out to film New York’s most important news. MacKenzie expertly navigated every shift in tone, enhancing an already enjoyable cinematic experience. The 4000 pipes of the Compton Organ breathed additional life into all of Buster’s endearing blunders.