Mashing it up once again

Third in what looks increasingly like a series of posts on the creative coming together of silent films and music tracks on YouTube takes us to the wilder edge of things. We’re still following the placing of sequences or montages of silent films with pre-existing music, but playing around with the concept rather more.

To start with, here we have Radiohead meets Buster Keaton, courtesy of YouTuber hoverground. It’s a collection clips (mostly very familiar) put to music, but now we have extracts from several songs, interspersed with pauses for a train passing, wind blowing, bridge collapsing etc. It gives us multiple interpretations of Keaton’s art, while the great stoneface shows himself yet again to be an Everyman figure whose eternal crises can be replayed to ideal effect in almost any form. Not so sure about the use of stills at the end, but a memorable tribute for all that.

Now for something rich and strange – strange at any rate. Here we have a clip from Dimitri Buchowetzki’s 1922 Othello, with Emil Jannings as the Moor and Ica von Lenkeffy as Desdemona. Accompanying it we have loops of music from an unnamed ‘garage band’, plus sounds from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – whether the original or the remake it does not say, and I am not expert enough to judge. The result is peculiar, to say the least, particularly when the chickens start clucking. Its creator, Joe Boyce Burgess, called the video Me vs You, and he has created a number of bizarre juxtapositions of film and alien sound.

Experimental films of the silent era are a favourite subject for adding music tracks. Here Walter Ruttman’s Opus I, II, III and IV are set to music by electronica outfit Digitonal, courtesy of totaldistortion. The marriage (inevitably?) works perfectly, and you can find Ruttman’s works similarly set to the experimental music (of one kind or another) of John Zorn and The Chemical Brothers.

This, however, starts to take us into the field of applying original soundtracks to silents on YouTube, and that will be the subject of another post or two, as inevitably it’s a rich seam to be mined (albeit with a large amount of dross along the way). As before, I’m keen to learn of other examples you may have come across. In particular, I’ve yet to find an example where two different silent films have been mashed up (Eric Campbell ends up chasing Buster Keaton, the Ku Klux Klan from Birth of a Nation end up galloping along the Circus Maximus in Ben Hur, that sort of thing). Anyone come across such a creation?

One response

  1. re. Your last paragraph; there was a story that Rex Ingram’s editor Grant Whytock did something similar as a prank; he had returned from Italy with some footage from the still-being-filmed Ben Hur galley sequences, and cut in the rushes of the Mare Nostrum submarine model sequences……I don’t know where I read the story, but there’s the germ of an idea there for someone who has footage of both films……

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