Category Archives: American Film
The first silent movies I loved were Charlie Chaplin’s. Until now, I hadn’t made a mix for any of his movies, because I’d rather see them with the soundtrack on the video. Chaplin wrote music to go with his films sometimes (and the song “Smile”), and his compositions make the movies feel very full and complete.
Chaplin wrote the music for The Kid, The Gold Rush and Modern Times. He also composed for City Lights, which this mix here syncs up with. Chaplin had me cracking up in the first scene, where the Tramp (Chaplin) wakes up in the middle of a statue unveiling.
He meets a blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill), who mistakes him for Joe Moneybags. He adores her. He tries to win money to help the Flower Girl make the rent, but it doesn’t work out. But the Tramp has friends to get crunk with (Harry Myers), at places like this.
He’s able to help the flower girl out, but it’s a while before they meet again. She’s had a successful eye surgery that restores her vision, and she works in a legit flower shop. She’s been expecting her benefactor, when she meets the Tramp.
And if that doesn’t hit you somewhere, you are at least 24 percent robot.
City Lights mix contains:
1. I Can’t Get Next to You / Al Green
2. Can I Kick It? / A Tribe Called Quest
3. Brave Margot / Sidney Bechet
4. Strange Things Happening Every Day / Sister Rosetta Tharpe
5. Jim Strainer Blues / Memphis Jug Band
6. Bad Whiskey Blues / Merline Johnson
7. I’m a Homeboy / K-Rob and DJ Cheese
8. Death Cult Soup ‘n Salad / The Almighty Defenders
9. I’ll Never Be the Same / Artie Shaw
10. Diga Diga Doo / Benny Goodman
11. Guitar Shuffle / Big Bill Broonzy
12. Knock-Kneed Sal / Buster Bailey
13. The Jumpin’ Jive / Cab Calloway
14. Amelia / Campfires
15. I Can’t Think of Anything but You / Clarence Williams
16. He’s a Rebel / The Crystals
17. Come On, Petunia / The Blow
18. Title Screen / Daniel Capo
19. Cushion Foot Blues / Daniel Filipacchi and Clarence Williams
20. All the Young Dudes / David Bowie
21. Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) / Digable Planets
22. Trouble in Mind / Dinah Washington
23. Ain’t Misbehavin’ / Django Reinhardt
24. Eleggua / Dr. John
25. Oh Sombra! / Electrelane
26. Blind Alley / The Emotions
27. Disappear / Eternal Summers
Imagine you’re Buster Keaton. You may really need to imagine-ate, but I believe in you. Imagine you’re Buster Keaton, and you’ve been raised in the north, but suddenly you discover you were born in the south, and you’ve inherited what you hope to be some kind of Twin Oaks type of manor, surrounded by fields o’ cotton.
In Our Hospitality, Willy McKay (Keaton) is just this guy, but when he visits his long-lost home in the south, he doesn’t realize he’s the member of a family that’s part of one o’ them deadly feuds, and the Canfield’s have it out for him.
Things get hairy, like they have a wont to in blood feuds. There’s a chase scene, and this part with a waterfall – well, hell. Here’s some of that.
I don’t want to ruin the ending, but McKay may or may not get the girl – a Canfield, no less – on account of his winning charm and knack at dressing a horse in a bonnet and parasol.
Our Hospitality, 1923
Directed by: Buster Keaton
Starring: Buster Keaton, Natalie Talmadge
Our Hospitality mix contains:
1. When It’s Sleepy Time Down South / Ethel Waters
2. Allegro Moderato (Violin Concerto No. 1), Bach
3. Ain’t Gwine Whistle Dixie (Anymo’), Taj Mahal
4. Loop de Loop / Marie Adams
5. Dead Sound, The Raveonettes
6. Freight Train Boogie / The Delmore Brothers
7. Powerhouse, Raymond Scott
8. Barcelona / The Rentals
9. Disconnected, RJD2
10. I Don’t Ever Wanna Come Down, The 13th Floor Elevators
11. ‘Tain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It) / Adelaide Hall
12. Basin Street Blues / Al Bowlly
13. Mis Amigos y Yo Te Amamos, Alexico
14. Over the Horizon / The Almighty Defenders
15. Alexander’s Ragtime Band, The Andrews Sisters
16. In the Mood / Artie Shaw
17. Mean Mr. Mustard, The Beatles
18. Polythene Pam, The Beatles
19. Je me donne à qui me plaît, Brigitte Bardot
20. Pennies from Heaven / The Mills Brothers
21. Got My Mojo Working, Muddy Waters
22. Don’t Be Angry, Nappy Brown
23. Timebomb (live), The Old 97’s
24. Johnny B. Goode / Dale Hawkins
25. Hold Tight / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich
26. If You Need Me, Solomon Burke
27. Yes Sir, That’s My Baby, Lee Morse
Reefer Madness is all well and good, but nothing will turn your dope-infused teenager into a teetotaler faster than Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a silent film from 1920 with John Barrymore (Drew Barrymore’s grandfather) in the lead role.
Dr. Jekyll is an idealistic, annoyingly earnest, do-gooder doctor. Ambition is his middle name, until a conversation with his lady’s father inspires him to explore the darkest depths of his soul by way of Science, by which I mean drugs. Jekyll does some brewing and concocting in that delectable, mad scientist style, and here’s what happens:
Cue the downward spiral. The opium dens. The intervention and trip to rehab that inevitably fails. Turning from someone at the top of your game to someone too doped-up to star in a Lifetime made-for-teevee movie without appearing in a tabloid or three.
Well, more or less. I can tell you this much, friends. Out of the silent horror movies I’ve seen so far (Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Phantom of the Opera), this one gave me the most severe case of the willies. I think it was a combination of the self-destruction subject matter, Barrymore’s excellent performance as a tortured dope-fiend, and the evolving shape of Hyde’s head (By the end of the movie, it’s shaped like a giant cone covered in spidery hair). In fact, speaking of spiders, check out this body-snatcher still!
Yes, that is a spider with the face of Hyde, about to jump into a drug-addled Jekyll. Be still, my crawling skin!
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, 1920
Directed by: John S. Robertson
Starring: John Barrymore and some other people who don’t matter cause they aren’t as righteous as Barrymore
The Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde mix contains:
1. It’s De-Lovely / Shep Fields & His Rippling Rhythm Orchestra
2. Independence Day, Elliott Smith
3. Trouble in Mind / Jeff Beck
4. Blue Hawaiian / Pavement
5. I Bleed, The Pixies
6. Bodysnatchers / Radiohead
7. The Olde Headboard, Rasputina
8. After Dark Blues / Billy Wright
9. Psycho Killer / The Talking Heads
10. Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Tears for Fears
11. Dragon Queen / Yeah Yeah Yeahs
12. Twist Lackawanna / Jr. Walker & the All Stars
13. Running Up That Hill (a Deal with God), Kate Bush
14. Down Bound Train, Ken Colyer Skiffle Group
15. Head First / Andre Williams
16. Nhurng Dom Mat Hoa Chau (Fireballs), Bang Chan
17. Broken Train, Beck
18. Moon Beeps / Intelligence
19. No Rest for the Worried, Clarence Williams
20. Change, Gonjasufi
21. Super Bad (parts 1 & 2) / James Brown
22. Tongues of Fire, Movie Star Junkies
23. My Tornado / The Raveonettes
24. Once Upon Your Smile, Richard & the Young Lions
I am overdue to do a mix for a comedy or an American film, so I have killed two birds with one slapstick stone. Seven Chances stars Buster Keaton as a financier on the verge of bankruptcy and scandal – unless he marries before seven tonight.
I’ll be honest with you, since we’re such good friends. I don’t really care for Buster Keaton flicks. I’m more of a Chaplin kinda gal, hence the name of this blog. Keaton is more attractive, with the added benefit of not looking homeless, but I think Chaplin films are less superficial and stand the test of time a little better. For instance, in Seven Chances, Keaton’s character proposes to anything in a skirt, unless she is Jewish or black, of course. Aside from that, I also think Keaton’s movies are more slow-paced.
Seven Chances picks up in the latter half of the movie, with a twenty-minute chase that’s actually pretty funny. Check out a clip from it below.
Seven Chances, 1925
Directed by: Buster Keaton
Starring: Buster Keaton, T. Roy Barnes, Snitz Edwards, Ruth Dwyer
The Seven Chances mix contains:
1. Spanish Harlem / Ben E. King
2. The Sheik of Araby / The Benny Goodman Sextet
3. Honky Tonk / Bill Doggett
4. Rollerdisco, Black Moth Super Rainbow
5. I Can’t Write the Words / The Boswell Sisters
6. Jelly Roll Blues, Bunny Berigan
7. Old to Begin / Pavement
8. Get on Up and Do It, Baby, Marie Adams
9. If You Don’t Believe I Love You / Clarence Williams
10. Wildwood Flower / Cowboy Copas
11. Tornado, Dale Hawkins
12. Lust for Life / Girls
13. Getting Nasty / Ike Turner
14. Rehearsin’ for a Nervous Breakdown, John Kirby & His Onyx Club Boys
15. Freetime / Kenna
16. Touch My Soul, Lack of Afro
17. There’s a Fire / OK Go
18. I Wanna Tell My Baby, Precisions
19. Way Over There, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles