I enjoy silent comedy on film. Buster Keaton. Charley Chase. Charlie Chaplin. Fatty Arbuckle. Laurel and Hardy. Especially Laurel and Hardy.
I have a large collection of silent comedy on DVD that I’ve watched many times on my computer or TV.
Today I attended a screening of the Buster Keaton film Seven Chances and the Laurel and Hardy short reel Two Tars at the Union County Performing Arts Center. The Center is located in a beautifully renovated theater that featured vaudeville in its early days. I had never seen a silent film on the big screen and this was my first visit to the Performing Arts Center. Organ accompaniment of the films was provided by the Garden State Theatre Organ Society.
For almost two hours, I enjoyed the early movie theater experience as my grandparents knew it. Silent films require complete concentration from the moviegoer as there is no dialogue other than the occasional written title cards. The organ music followed the action of the movie and I laughed and cried (yes, I feel the sad moments in comedies) and felt as if I were part of the film as Buster was being chased by expectant brides and boulders on his way to meet his true love by the seven o’clock wedding deadline to gain his inheritance.
I will be searching for future silent film screenings in my area as viewing my DVD collection can’t match the experience of watching the silent greats on the big screen.