Thursday, October 1, 2015

TCM's airings of The Grim Game will use alternate scores

Surprising news today about this month's television premiere of The Grim Game on TCM. It appears the two showings on October 18th will each feature a different musical score. The following is from the TCM website:

TCM presents an all-night "Silent Sunday" evening of films once thought lost; all are TCM premieres. A gem of the collection is The Grim Game (1919), a murder mystery starring illusionist Harry Houdini, which was restored by Rick Schmidlin. Two showings of The Grim Game feature alternate scores, one by Brane Živkovic and another by Steve Sterner. The Živkovic score was given its world premiere at a screening of the film at the TCM Classic Film Festival in March.

As the blurb states, Brane Živkovic's score played with the film at the Hollywood premiere. It is also the score mastered to the Park Circus DCP which has played various venues over the past six months (a few theaters opted to perform original live scores). While Brane's score is excellent -- it's very much the sound of The Grim Game for me -- I noted in my review that it was somewhat controversial. At times the composer decided to use no music at all, making The Grim Game something silent movies never were -- silent. I suspect that the alternate score by Steve Sterner will be a more traditional continues silent movie score.

Steve Sterner is a well known accompanist to silent films. In 2013, The New York Times profiled him as the Piano Man of the Silent Screen. He's also credited with the score for the restoration of Erich von Stroheim's Foolish Wives (1922).


The Grim Game will air twice on TCM on Sunday, October 18 at 8:00 PM (ET) and at 11:45 PM (ET). The TCM site does specify which time slot will feature which musical score. The Grim Game will be part of a special evening of "Lost and Found" silent films which also includes Sherlock Holmes (1916) starring William Gillette.

A big thanks to Meredith Secaur for uncovering this news.

UPDATE: According to our friends at the Houdini Muesum in Scanton and composer Steve Sterner himself, the first airing at 8:00 PM (ET) will be the Brane Živkovic score and the second airing at 11:45 PM (ET) will be the new score by Steve Sterner. Steve's score is an all original piano score that he recorded in August.

UPDATE 2: According to TCM and Grim Game producer Rick Schmidlin, "The reason the new piano score was created was so The Grim Game could be to presented live for those who do not have a budget for a quartet. Now The Grim Game will have a TCM approved live score when needed for screenings in this format."

Related:

5 comments:

  1. I hope he will be using some or all of the music that was featured when the film was first shown as is presented in our copy of The Grim Game Pressbook. We were able to find the sheet music for several of the pieces on a recent comprehensive search.

    Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz
    The Houdini Museum
    The Only Building in the World Dedicated to Houdini

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't sound like any of the original music will be used.

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    2. I only hope a further version may feature that music. Would be wonderful.

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  2. On the 18th the first showing will the music as was shown in Hollywood and the second showing will be Steve Sterner playing original music written by him at the request of TCM. It will have 4 themes along with other minor themes. With a lot of ad libbing and changes of moods and keys to keep it moving. We have heard some of the music and so far it sounds great.

    Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brookz
    The Houdini Museum
    The Only Building in the World Dedicated to Houdini

    ReplyDelete

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