Silent movies were never silent and Bassling, a Cyclic contributor and artist based in regional NSW has decided to draw attention to a film from 1925 with a soundtrack of contemporary music. I’t’s a pretty diverse suite of bass led tunes, that captures the wonder and drama of this majestic film, bizarrely enough incorporating elements of everything from reggae to electonica and everything in between. It’s odd, but it works.
Willis O’Brien’s visual effects are a large part of the film’s charm and he went on to animate King Kong in 1933, as well as earning credit for the story in the first on-screen encounter the giant ape had with Godzilla in 1962. He also worked with Ray Harryhausen, who’s films we reviewed here.
In 1922, Conan Doyle showed O’Brien’s test reel to a meeting of the Society of American Magicians, which included Harry Houdini. The astounded audience watched footage of a Triceratops family, an attack by an Allosaurus and some Stegosaurus footage. Doyle refused to discuss the film’s origins. On the next day, The New York Times ran a front-page article about it, saying “(Conan Doyle’s) monsters of the ancient world, or of the new world which he has discovered in the ether, were extraordinarily lifelike. If fakes, they were masterpieces”
You can see the film and hear Bassling’s original soundtrack by downloading the album for free here.
This project is supported by Create NSW’s Country Arts Support Program, a devolved funding program administered by Regional Arts NSW and Western Riverina Arts on behalf of the NSW Government.