Last night at the Headliners Music Hall, the Flyover Film Festival presented the 1927 silent film The Unknown, by Louisville native Tod Browning. While that would have been an interesting event in itself for the Festival, they went one better and added live musical accompaniment by local band Seluah. That added element made this event a very enjoyable end to the long film-stuffed Saturday.
The movie tells the story of Lon Chaney as Alonzo, a criminal, hiding out in a traveling circus by binding his arms and performing as an armless knife thrower. A young Joan Crawford stirs his love as she finds herself frightened and shrinking from men’s hands. From there a macabre, twisting movie rolls out allowing Lon Chaney to show many of his thousand faces.
The Seluah accompaniment thumped through the film enhancing the chilling menace of the movie’s atmosphere. They brought a cavernous and haunting soundtrack, allowing me to nod my head along with the sinister gypsy tale. Seluah culminated the show by performing a rousing, masterful, frenzy of a song in step with The Unknown’s suspenseful conclusion.
The whole experiment was a complete success as it allowed a different viewing of a classic film, a chance to experience a singular event, and a purely agreeable cap on the end of the Festival’s Saturday. The Flyover Film Festival continues to impress with such innovative moments such as this.
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