Pleasant Home Movies on the Porch: The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

Movies on the Porch at Pleasant HomeOn Friday night, I dragged Naoto to see a silent movie.

Pleasant Home, a historic home/museum in our neighborhood, is hosting Silent Movies on the Porch this month. The porch is huge, the summer nights are mild and there is live piano accompaniment! It felt like a real old-time theater experience! I have never seen a silent movie (sad, I know!) so I thought watching one on a porch with live music was a great place to start. At least if the movie lost my interest, I could appreciate the piano, right? Well, the movie never lost my interest…even Naoto had a great time!

Friday’s movie was The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a 1920 German horror film. The movie was kind of weird, kind of scary (though not scary by today’s standards). The set was charming–characters walked among jaggedly painted buildings and hills, they opened oddly-shaped doors and windows, they congregated in tiny, spare rooms… The actors were fun to watch…great facial expressions, great hand motions…without the captions, you could still get a feel for what was going on. There was a plot twist at the end. (I love a good plot twist.)IMG_3244The best part about this particular movie on the porch, though, was that the pianist, Thomas Holmes, wrote his own score for this movie! (You can read more about that here.) Apparently, the movie’s original score was too string-heavy to duplicate with just a piano, so he decided to write a new one…no big deal, right? His music really made the movie come alive–the suspenseful scenes were so much more effective with the piano behind them! There were several extreme close-ups of creepy Dr. Caligari during the movie, and Holmes’s music for these scenes was perfect to set the creepy mood!

The movie on the porch was so much fun that I think we’re going to do it again. This week Pleasant Home is showing Buster Keaton’s Our Hospitality. I’ll be spending all week talking it up to Naoto…but we all know he’s going to enjoy it, right?

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