Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

The Devil Music Ensemble to Perform
Original Score for 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'

RELEASED: Sept. 15, 2006

Devil Music Ensemble
Devil Music Ensemble

EAU CLAIRE — The Devil Music Ensemble will perform its original score live to John Barrymore's silent film "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Monday, Sept. 25. The program will begin at 7 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium.

Formed in Boston in 1999, the Devil Music Ensemble is a trio comprised of Brendon Wood on guitars, lap steel and synthesizer; Jonah Rapino on electric violin, vibraphone and synthesizer; and Tim Nylander on drums, percussion and synthesizer.

"The Devil Music Ensemble has established itself as one of the primary American groups composing and performing scores for silent films," said Dylan Skolnick, director of programming at Long Island's Cinema Arts Centre.

In its short history, the Devil Music Ensemble has been a rock trio, an Eastern European folk band, a country band, a 40-piece modern orchestra, a house band for live theater and a multi-instrumental ensemble performing live soundtracks to silent films. The group began its touring career performing its live score to "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1919) in movie theaters, museums, performing art centers and colleges around the country. DME's other live scores for silent films include Jean Cocteau's "The Blood of a Poet," Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times," Rene Clair's "The Imaginary Voyage," the first films of the Lumiere brothers, the surrealist films of Man Ray, and F.W. Murnau's "Nosferatu," which toured nationally last fall.

Scene from "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"
Scene from "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"

Considered by many to be the first great American horror film, the 1920 Paramount production of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" allowed stage legend John Barrymore to deliver his first virtuoso performance on film. Blending historic charm with grim naturalism, this silent version is one of the more faithful of the many screen adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson's story, recounting a visionary scientist's ill-fated attempts to unleash the human mysteries that dwell beneath the shell of the civilized self.

Barrymore found his greatest popular success in his roles as a great lover, but he delighted in playing men with twisted minds and warped bodies. His characterization of Dr. Hyde bears traces of his Richard III, which he was rehearsing for Broadway at the time filming commenced in November 1919. In his remarkable performance he accomplishes his metamorphosis from one character to another largely through facial contortions rather than lap dissolves or camera trickery.

"His transformations from Dr. Jekyll owed little to make-up, much to cinematography and most of all to Barrymore's artistry, which illuminated his whole performance," wrote John Douglas Eames in The Paramount Story. "John S. Robertson's direction of the Clara Beranger screenplay managed to combine a moody atmosphere with a brisk tempo, and drew effective work from Martha Mansfield as Jekyll's girl and Nita Naldi, then unknown, as Hyde's."

Tickets are $4 ($2 for UW-Eau Claire students) at the Service Center, 715-836-3727, in Davies Center's east lobby. Tickets also will be sold at the door.

The program is sponsored by the University Activities Commission of the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate (www.uwec.edu/studentsenate/uac/films).

-30-

UW-Eau Claire News Bureau

Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

 

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.