Via Chicago Film Archives.
How cool is this? A couple years ago Chicago Film Archives discovered a 35mm print of a lost silent film in their collections, buried under agricultural and sponsored films from Peoria. Turns out, it was The First Degree, directed by Edward Sedgwick and starring Frank Mayo, originally released in 1923 and probably not seen since then.
Chicago Film Archives hired our pals Quasar Wut-Wut to compose and record an original score. As you may recall, several years ago the Quasars had been commissioned by Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art to write and perform an original score for Buster Keaton’s 1926 silent masterpiece The General.
The first screening took place at the Gene Siskel Film Center last year with live accompaniment by the band. The Chicago Tribune described the score as “an intriguing spell of contrasts, eerie electronic loops interwoven with more traditional melodic waltz-time themes played on piano.”
The band has played a few more screenings since then (in Madison, Cleveland, and Ann Arbor), but if you couldn’t make any of those appearances you will get your chance tonight on Turner Classic Movies.
The First Degree will air at 10pm Eastern/9pm Central as part of TCM’s 24 hours of programming for National Silent Movie Day, Wednesday, September 28.
So set your DVRs, your VCRs, or your alarm clocks, because you’re not going to want to miss this!