October 14, 2015

Live music soundtrack to accompany screening

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Flying cars. Futuristic, skyscraper-laden city. High-tech factories. Star-crossed love. Class warfare. A catastrophic event. Exotic dancing. A sexy robot easily confused with a human being. A robot that could be a long-lost relative of C3PO. And a live organ-music soundtrack. 

That’s what’s happening at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Shryock Auditorium Oct. 16, beginning at 7:30 p.m. with a film screening of the science-fiction movie classic “Metropolis,” a 1927 silent film in the German expressionist tradition. 

During the hey-day of the silent film, many theaters supplied live piano or organ music to enhance the experience for movie-goers. The School of Music brings in guest organist Peter Krasinski, a specialist in silent film accompaniment, to recreate that experience. Krasinski is on the faculty of St. Paul’s Choir School in Cambridge, Mass., and he is dean of the Boston chapter of the American Guild of Organists among other accomplishments. He’ll play the Marianne Webb Pipe Organ in Shryock’s balcony, playing by improvisation rather than strictly following Gottfried Huppertz’ score. 

The movie itself has been widely influential, from the opening sequence of the city of the future, to the ethical questions raised by the creation of a humanoid robot. Ridley Scott cited the movie as part of his inspiration for his own futuristic android movie “Blade Runner.” 

The plot centers on the friction between wealthy industrialists living in towering buildings and underground-dwelling lower classes toiling constantly to provide power resources to the wealthy. Brigitte Helm (1906-1966) debuted as the heroine Maria and her robot-double in a role that caused censors to look askance at the movie.

Tickets are $12 for the general public, $6 for students and free for SIU students and employees with valid SIU I.D.