Neobychainye priklyucheniya mistera Vesta v strane bolshevikov [The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks] (1924) + PHACE

Neobychainye priklyucheniya mistera Vesta v strane bolshevikov
Director: Lev Kuleshov
Writer: Nikolai Aseyev, Vsevolod Pudovkin
Cast: Porfiri Podobed, Boris Barnet, Aleksandra Khokhlova, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Sergey Komarov, Leonid Obolensky, Vera Lopatina, G. Kharlampiev
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by PHACE
Seen on: 29.3.2016

Plot:
USAmerican Mister West (Porfiri Podobed) is tasked with traveling to Russia to see the land of the Bolsheviks for himself. Trouble is, all West knows about Russia is a magazine article making them out to be the worst kind of savages and Mr West is pretty much scared out of his wits. So he takes his faithful companion Jeddy the Cowboy (Boris Barnet) and starts praying. Once he reaches Russia, West is actually robbed. The thieves find the magazine and decide to create the savage land portrayed there for West, sure that they can squeeze some money out of him that way.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks is a funny, albeit silly film. The music by PHACE wasn’t that much my cup of tea, but it works as accompaniment to the film.

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Varieté (1925) + The Tiger Lillies

Varieté
Director: Ewald André Dupont
Writer: Ewald André Dupont
Based on: Felix Hollaender’s novel Der Eid des Stephan Huller
Cast: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Lya De Putti, Warwick Ward
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by: The Tiger Lillies
Seen on: 3.12.2015

Plot:
Boss Huller (Emil Jannings) is an artist at the circus together with his wife (Maly Delschaft), but after an accident he started to stay away from the trapeze. When young woman Bertha-Marie (Lya De Putti) is brought to the circus because she has debts she can’t pay otherwise, she finds a bed with the family Huller. It doesn’t take long until she and Boss fall in love and Boss uproots his entire life for her. But things are not headed for a happy end.

Varieté is not only an excellent film, combined with the soundtrack by The Tiger Lillies, it makes for an utterly fantastic, riveting evening.

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Glen Hansard (Support: Ye Vagabonds)

Glen Hansard came to the Konzerthaus again, with supporting band Ye Vagabonds.
Seen on: 17.10.2015

I hadn’t actually planned to go to this concert, but the puzzledpeaces’ sister got sick and I sacrificed myself to not let the ticket go to waste. I endured the hardships of an excellent concert with great seats because that’s just the kind of selfless friend I am. Yes indeed.

Ye Vagabonds

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The Salvation Hunters (1925) + Brad Mehldau & Friends

The Salvation Hunters
Director: Josef von Sternberg
Writer: Josef von Sternberg
Cast: George K. Arthur, Georgia Hale, Bruce Guerin, Otto Matieson, Nellie Bly Baker, Olaf Hytten, Stuart Holmes
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Brad Mehldau, played by Brad Mehldau, Joris Roelofs and Michael Williams
Seen on: 2.10.2015

Plot:
In the mud and grime of the docks, the boy (George K. Arthur), the girl (Georgia Hale) and the child (Bruce Guerin) find each other. Fueled by the hope for a better life they decide to move to the big city to make their luck there. The boy may dream big, but reality isn’t quite so accomodating. Will they be able to find their luck?

The Salvation Hunters is an interesting film that works in some parts, but not in others. Mehldau’s accompanying music was nice, but for me it didn’t always fit the film. Altogether though, it was a very nice evening.

thesalvationhunters

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Carmen (1915) / Burlesque on Carmen (1915) + Tonkünstler Orchester Niederösterreich / Timothy Brock

Carmen / Burlesque on Carmen [DeMille shot his version of Carmen, and shortly afterwards Chaplin shot a spoof of that film.]
Director: Cecil B. DeMille / Charles Chaplin
Writer: William C. de Mille / Charles Chaplin
Based on: Prosper Mérimée‘s novella and Georges Bizet‘s opera based on said novella.
Cast: Geraldine Farrar, Wallace Reid, Pedro de Cordoba, Horace B. Carpenter / Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, John Rand, Jack Henderson
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Georges Bizet, played by the Tonkünstler Orchester Niederösterreich under direction of Timothy Brock
Seen on: 27.04.2015

Plot:
Carmen (Geraldine Farrar / Edna Purviance) works with smugglers. When the city watch gets a new commander in Don José/Darn Hosiery (Wallace Reid/Charles Chaplin), Carmen makes it her mission to seduce him to secure herself and her people a blind eye to their activities. But José/Hosiery falls hard for Carmen, causing unforseeable complications for everybody.

The straight-up Carmen version was fine, though its cinematic language hasn’t aged all that well. The Chaplin version was fantastic though. And for both version, Brock provided excellent music and arrangements.

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Im Kampf mit dem Berge [Battle with the Mountain] (1921) + ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester

Im Kampf mit dem Berge – 1. Teil: In Sturm und Eis – Eine Alpensymphonie in Bildern
Director: Arnold Fanck
Writer: Arnold Fanck
Cast: Ilse RohdeHannes Schneider
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by: Paul Hindemith, played by the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester

Plot:
Ilse Rohde and Hannes Schneider are two skiers who decide to climb the 4.500m high Lyskamm mountain. It takes them three days to make the trip and return, during which a camera team follows them to document their climb that is neither easy nor without danger.

I’m not a mountain person (weird for an Austrian, I know) and watching people risk their lives to climb a mountain, look around for a bit and then descend again, makes me uncomfortable, both in theory and in practice. That being said, Im Kampf mit dem Berge is a beautifully shot film with great music and probably one of the best films that could have been made with that material.

imkampfmitdemberge

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All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) + Frank Strobel and ensembleKONTRASTE

All Quiet on the Western Front
Director: Lewis Milestone
Writer: George Abbott, Maxwell Anderson, Del Andrews, C. Gardner Sullivan, Walter Anthony
Based on: Erich Maria Remarque’s novel
Cast: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Arnold Lucy, Ben Alexander, Scott Kolk, Slim Summerville
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by: Manfred Knaak, conducted by Frank Strobel, played by ensembleKONTRASTE
[There are quite a few version of this movie, apparently. The one I saw was the 145 minute silent version*.]

Plot:
Paul Bäumer (Lew Ayres) is a young soldier in World War I. Spurred on by his class teacher, he and his class mates volunteered their services, but only little time later there numbers are already substantially reduced. That Paul is doing rather well for himself is mostly due to the seasoned soldier Kat (Louis Wolheim), who has a knack for organizing things. But war is still war.

The movie was very well made and interesting, maybe a tad too long. I did not like the accompanying music, though – it was a little too percussion-y for my taste.

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Faust – Eine deutsche Volkssage [Faust: A German Folk Legend] (1926) + Tobias Schwencke and Ensemble Resonanz

Faust – Eine deutsche Volkssage
Director: F. W. Murnau
Writer: Hans Kyser, Gerhart Hauptmann
Based on: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe‘s play
Cast: Gösta Ekmann, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn

Faust was shown in the Konzerthaus with live music by Tobias Schwencke played by the Ensemble Resonanz as part of their Film and Music Cycle. [Here are my reviews of the other shows in the cycle.]

Plot:
Mephisto (Emil Jannings) is pretty much screwing the world over, sending disease and hunger and death. To put an end to all this, an archangel delivers a wager to him: if Mephisto can get the scholar Faust’s (Gösta Ekmann) soul, the earth is his. If Faust stays strong, Mephisto has to stop. So Mephisto comes to earth to tempt Faust: he gives him knowledge and youth at first and later helps him to get through to the young Marguerite (Camilla Horn).

I still think Faust is a crappy story (even when it’s not told by Goethe), but my goodness, Murnau is one hell of a filmmaker. I seriously loved the film. Unfortunately I did not love the music that accompanied it.

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Cops (1922), The Cameraman (1928) + Timothy Brock and die reihe

Cops (also directed by Edward F. Cline) and The Cameraman (also directed by Edward Sedgwick) are two movies directed by and starring Buster Keaton. They were shown in the Konzerthaus with live music by Timothy Brock played by die reihe as part of their Film and Music Cycle. [Here’s my review of the other shows in the cycle.]

Plot:
In Cops, a young man (Buster Keaton) tries to prove to the girl he loves that he’s a good business man and ends up inadvertently making one shady deal after the other.
In The Cameraman, Buster (Buster Keaton) tries to impress a girl working for a news studio by becoming a cameraman. That doesn’t go so well, either.

So, there’s this big gap in my movie education when it comes to silent films and I had actually never seen a Buster Keaton movie before [I have also never seen a Charlie Chaplin movie but I’m almost too ashamed to admit this]. Since slapstick isn’t much of my thing, I didn’t expect to get much out of it, but both movies were absolutely, brilliantly and amazingly funny. Timothy Brock’s music took a back seat to the sheer awesome, but it was very nice as well.

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Novecento

A couple of weeks ago, Karl Markovics read Alessandro Baricco‘s Novecento at the Wiener Konzerthaus, accompanied by Béla Koreny on the piano.

Plot:
Danny Boodman T. D. Lemon Novecento was born on a ship, the Virginian, where he was found by a machinist. The machinist practically adopts him and takes care of him until his death, when Novecento is 8 years old. Novecento disappears for a couple of weeks – and when he’s back, he knows how to play the piano. And he’s a wonderful pianist.

Markovics is a wonderful actor and he reads the text very well. Béla Koreny is (as far as I can tell) a good pianist. Unfortunately, they didn’t find the right balance between text and music and they didn’t pick the right songs, either.

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