Wednesday, April 14, 2010


When I showed up for the Sunday evening screening of Murnau's Sunrise at the Castro Theatre, I did not realize that it would be accompanied live on the organ. Our organist was Warren Lubich. In his introductory remarks, he explained that an original cue sheet for the film includes the song Sunrise & You by Arthur Penn, & so he would feature this as the love theme for the main characters. I found Mr. Lubich's playing to be a bit dour. He relied heavily on the lowest, most rumbling notes of the organ, to the extent that I wondered about his hearing. He did better with his accompaniment to the film's lighter moments. In the end, I did not feel that Mr. Lubich made a good case for his alternative to the film's multi-layered symphonic score.

As if commenting ironically on the situation, the projectionist somehow put the last reel of the film in backward, so we watched the original soundtrack stream down the right edge of the picture even though we could not hear it. The audience laughed when the intertitles appeared reversed.

There was an excellent turn-out for this show, & Mr. Lubich got an enthusiastic ovation for his playing. He even played San Francisco Open Your Golden Gate for us as exit music.

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