Sunday, October 07, 2012

Striking a New Note children's cinema concert: Liberty

LIBERTY (Hal Roach/M-G-M, US 1929). D: Leo McCarey; P: Hal Roach; intertitles: H.M. Walker; DP: George Stevens, Jack Roach; asst. ph: E.V. White; ED: Richard C. Currier; ass. D: Lloyd French; set dresser: Theodore Driscoll; prop master: Morey Lightfoot; FX: Thomas Benton Roberts; C: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Sam Lufkin, Jack Hill, Harry Barnard, Jean Harlow (woman entering cab), Ed Brandenberg; DVD, 19'16"; source: Cinemazero, Pordenone. English intertitles. Teatro Verdi, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone, with e-subtitles in Italian, 7 Oct 2012.

Accompagnamento musicale/Musical accompaniment:
Orchestra della Scuola Media “Leonardo da Vinci”, Cordenons
Direzione/Conductor: Emanuela Gobbo
Clarinetto/Clarinet: Elisa Badin
Tastiere/Keyboards: Eleonora Malachin, Giulia Pilot
Chitarre/Guitars: Paolo Nicoletti, Miriam Raffin
Glockenspiele/Glockenspiels: Manal Aachiche, Marta Gazzola
Flauti contralti/Alto flutes: Lorenzo Tomasi, Alberto Zanchetta
Flauti soprani/Piccolos: Giacomo Bensi, Martino Bensi, Federica
Bignucolo, Genny Cristofaro, Serena D’Andrea, Alessia De Piero,
Giorgia Del Tedesco, Chiara Della Bella, Adele Gusso, Siria Moret,
Marco Nascimben, Federico Pin
Rumoristi/Sound effects: Simone Cappellaro, Murtada Inusah, Jonny
Tessaro, Francesca Vitale

"Leo McCarey constructs an unfaltering escalation of hysteria. Stan and Oliver having improbably switched trousers, the first half of the film concerns their efforts to correct the error, and their consequent, ever-more humiliating embarrassments when caught, trousers down, in public places. Incautiously they shelter in an elevator which sweeps them to the top of a skyscraper under construction. Their battles with disintegrating scaffolding, unravelling ropes, toppling ladders, lost footwear, and the effects of gravity in general are aggravated by the unfriendly attentions of an angry crab, relocated from the seat of Stanley’s pants to Oliver’s. At one extreme the boys out-class Harold Lloyd in thrill comedy; at the other the reactions of the strangers who chance upon their clothes-switching hint at a psycho-sexual sophistication far beyond the fantasies of the Hays Office." DAVID ROBINSON

AA: Many call Liberty the best film comedy of all times, and I cannot propose a better candidate. This screening was a uniquely joyful experience with the orchestra of the children of Scuola Media "Leonardo da Vinci" of Cordenons playing. The first tune was naturally "The Star Spangled Banner" as we saw images of Washington and Lincoln illustrating the theme of liberty, stretching into images of the escaped convicts Stan and Ollie running away from the law. Oliver Hardy is an incredible actor: he projects a certain air of dignity, cool and self-control even when he is acting and reacting in a totally infantile fashion. For instance at the top of the construction site of a very tall building, struggling with a crab that is biting him in his pants, he never loses a certain fundamental assured sense of being in control.

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