The Sunday Intertitle: Hall of Usher
A Halloween special last Saturday at Edinburgh’s grand Usher Hall (above) — The 1920 DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE (previously discussed here) was screened with live accompaniment from the Hall’s massive pipe organ, which towers above the screen. Last year it was PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, which of course was a very fitting choice. Maybe the audience for this kind of entertainment is building, because it was a sell-out show this year. Many of the punters came in ’20s dress, as per the invitation, which added a festive note. (Maybe next time they should show a movie SET in the ’20s so customers can compare their garb with those onscreen?)
Fiona and I, accompanied by Marvelous Mary, didn’t manage to accouter ourselves in period dress, but Fiona did don her special Halloween top —
Apart from the entire film being projected — on DVD — in the wrong aspect ratio (about 14:9 — not bad enough to be ruinous, but an unnecessary and rather dumb mistake) this was very enjoyable. The crowd started by chortling at every silent-movie mannerism or gesture, but by the time of the first murder, they’d realised, I think, that this was not really a tenable way to approach the movie, which gets pretty horrible…
The score was superb, that ominous rumble really affecting us at a gut level, and on the big screen it was possible to see more clearly the superimposed giant white spider which attacks Jekyll in a dream sequence: it not only symbolizes his evil side, it has Hyde’s face! I’d love to see this scene recreated in a modern version. Seems like a good idea for any dramatization of J&H to include a fantasy scene where the two halves meet and confront one another.
If they do this again next year, what movies would Shadowplayers suggest for screening?