Thursday, October 24, 2013


Just to set the record straight, not all of my experiences with classic films and live music on the UT campus were as bad as that PHANTOM OF THE OPERA debacle I wrote about in my previous post. In fact, I had one of the greatest experiences of my movie-going life on the University of Texas campus back in 2000.

The date was November 5th (I know because Judy framed the ticket and promotional postcard for me, a treasured memento which sits proudly on my desk here at home). The event was a screening of the original 1931 DRACULA, the film that made Bela Lugosi immortal.

I'd seen the film many times over the years but never like this. Those of you who have seen the movie will recall that there is no musical score to the film. Other than some cues from SWAN LAKE, which are played under the opening credits, the film does not have an original musical score. Nor does the 1931 FRANKENSTEIN. Both of these films were early sound productions, just barely out of the silent era and the sound quality of both has never been very good. I don't know that the absence of music helps or hurts the films. After all, that's just the way they are. But in 2000, music was added to DRACULA in a very unique way.

Composer Philip Glass wrote an original musical score for DRACULA in 2000 and he and the Kronos Quartet toured the country performing the music live on stage behind the movie screen while the film was projected. Judy and I had the honor of being there at the Bass Concert Hall to see this once-in-a-lifetime experience. DRACULA has always been one of my all-time favorite horror films and to see it presented this way with an appropriately moody, atmospheric and haunting live accompaniment was a real treat. I later purchased both the CD "soundtrack" and the DVD of DRACULA which features the score as an alternate audio track.

This magnificent performance of film and music did much to purge the bad taste left by the PHANTOM abomination. I loved every minute of it.

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