San Francisco Silent Film Festival on Thursday. We saw a 35mm print of Rex Ingram’s The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, restored by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill. The version has a wide range of tints & even one shot in full color. The glamorous Hollywood lighting of the actors’ faces stood out.
This opulent WWI epic has its feet firmly planted in the 19th century, & it was slightly eerie seeing it exactly a century after the start of the war that the script explicitly associates with the Biblical apocalypse. Rudolph Valentino’s epicene beauty is still alluring, & my movie companion & I were both struck by how appealing he looked sporting a bit of uncharacteristic facial stubble.
The 5-member Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra played their original score to the movie, which consisted of pleasing salon music & tango-inflected dances. An additional percussionist was employed judiciously. A snare drum solo accompanied the Germans marching into France & was particularly effective. Though the music did not always match the on-screen action, it provided a continuous background layer, & the musicians’ playing was impressively consistent for over 2-hours.
§ The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Rex Ingram, USA, 1921 • 132 minutes
Accompanied by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
San Francisco Silent Film Festival 2014
Thursday, May 29, 7:00 pm