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Silent Movie Night Presents 'The Eagle'

August 19, 2013 5:09 a.m.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando previews the Silent Movie Night's "The Eagle."

Related Story: Silent Movie Night Presents 'The Eagle'


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

ANCHOR INTRO: The 26th Annual Summer International Organ Festival continues tonight with a screening of “The Eagle,” starring Rudolph Valentino. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando gives us a preview of Silent Movie Night outdoors at the Spreckels Organ Pavillion.

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He was known as the Latin Lover or simply as Valentino. His death at age 31 in 1926 caused mass hysteria among his female fans. Tonight, you can see for yourself how Valentino smoldered on screen with the Silent Movie Night’s presentation of “The Eagle.” Dennis James calls it a Russian Robin Hood tale but with a contemporary hook for San Diego.

DENNIS JAMES: The movie is really based on sexual harassment in the workplace, except in the movie it’s reversed. It’s the Czarina, a female, who is harassing her lieutenant. So I’m going to make a great analogy to your mayor. It’s sort of Second City under the stars.

James is Professor of Glass Music Studies at Rutgers University. For 30 years he’s played a pivotal role in presenting silent films with live music. He says movies were originally designed as the visual component of a live presentation that included music.

DENNIS JAMES: And it was the live music that gave them the breath of life and gave them the veracity and the vitality that movies have. This is really what movies are it’s not historical revival, it’s historical continuity. This is preserving something the way it was.

James will be providing music for “The Eagle. “ The pre-concert show starts at 7:30pm at the Spreckels Organ Pavillion in Balboa Park. Admission is free for Silent Movie Night.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.