A young poet is hired by a sideshow museum to write publicity for the waxworks’ most notorious figures. As he weaves his tales, the tyrants come to life, embodied by Emil Jannings, Conrad Veidt, and Werner Krauss, in increasingly disturbing vignettes—but Paul Leni’s expressionist sets steal the show.
Restoration by Deutsche Kinemathek and Cineteca di Bologna
Live Music by Guenter Buchwald and Frank Bockius
Guenter Buchwald Conductor, composer, pianist, and violinist Guenter Buchwald is a pioneer of the renaissance in silent film music. He has accompanied silent films for thirty-eight years with a repertoire of more than three thousand titles and has conducted orchestras worldwide from Iceland to Romania, Tokyo to Zurich. In great demand as a composer, he has scored silent films as varied as Suzuki and Ota’s What Made Her Do It?, René Clair’s Paris qui dort, Chaplin’s Pawn Shop, and Murnau’s Nosferatu. A soloist known for his virtuoso improvisation, he has appeared regularly at film festivals in Berlin, Bonn, Bologna, Zurich, Pordenone, and Seattle. He is a lecturer at the Film Science Institute at the University of Zurich and resident conductor of the Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra for Silent Film in Concert. He is cofounder of the Silent Movie Music Company and is musical director of Bristol’s Slapstick Silent Film Festival in England.
Frank Bockius Versatile percussionist Frank Bockius specializes in jazz and is versed in medieval, flamenco, and Latin music styles. He has performed for dance and theater companies as well as in his own bands, including the jazz quintet Whisper Hot and the percussion ensemble Timpanicks. He joined the Guenter Buchwald’s Silent Movie Music Company twenty years ago and has since performed for silent films at festivals in Kyoto, Pordenone, and Sodankylä, Finland. He made his first appearance at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2014.
Images credit: Pamela Gentile