Stop! Look! Vintage Railroad Melodramas

'The West-Bound Limited' (1923) is part of a double feature of vintage railroad melodramas to be shown with live music on Sun., October 24 at 2:00 p.m. at Warner Town Hall. The event is sponsored by the Telephone Museum of N.H. Admission is $10.00 per person; $5.00 for Telephone Museum members.

WARNER —A pair of rarely seen silent-era railroad melodramas promise an express ride to excitement when screened this fall.

'The West-Bound Limited' (1923) and 'Transcontinental Limited' (1926) will be shown with live music on Sun., October 24 at 2:00 p.m. at Warner Town Hall, Warner.

The double feature is sponsored by the Telephone Museum of N.H. as part of a railroad theme of the "Museums Sharing Experiences" programs taking place throughout New Hampshire this year.

Admission is $10.00 per person; $5.00 for Telephone Museum members. Please note there is a mask and distance requirement for people entering Warner Town Hall.

In 'The West-Bound Limited,' a fired employee takes revenge on the railroad by setting a trap for a head-on collision between a passenger train and a freight train.

In 'Transcontinental Limited,' Jerry Reynolds is an aging train engineer fast approaching retirement, but his eyes are giving out even faster! Will he still collect his pension?

Both movies were shot on location on actual working railroad lines. Made at a time when massive steam engines ruled the rails, both films are filled with scenes that train buffs will find fascinating today.

Railroad films were a popular sub-genre during the silent film era, when trains were the primary mode of long distance travel in the U.S. As an important part of the daily life of virtually every community in the land, railroads formed a popular background for many early films.

Live music for the movies will be provided by New Hampshire-based silent film accompanist Jeff Rapsis.

In reviving these two rarely shown train melodramas, organizers aim to show silent film as it was meant to be seen—in restored prints, on a large screen, with live music, and with an audience.

"All those elements are important parts of the silent film experience," said Rapsis, who will accompany the films. "Recreate those conditions, and movies of early Hollywood like these railroad dramas leap back to life in ways that audiences still find entertaining."

Rapsis performs on a digital synthesizer that reproduces the texture of the full orchestra, creating a traditional "movie score" sound. He improvises a complete original score for each film in real time during the screening.

"Creating a movie score on the fly is kind of a high-wire act, but it can often make for more excitement instead of everything being planned out in advance," Rapsis said.

Rapsis encouraged people unfamiliar with silent film to give it a try.

"If you haven't seen a silent film the way it was intended to be shown, then you're missing a unique experience," Rapsis said. "At their best, silent films still do connect with cinema-goers. They retain a tremendous power to cast a spell, engage an audience, tap into elemental emotions, and provoke strong reactions."

A double feature of railroad melodramas will be shown with live music on Sun., October 24 at 2:00 p.m. at Warner Town Hall in downtown Warner.

Admission is $10.00 per person; $5.00 for members of the Telephone Museum of N.H. Please note there is a mask and distance requirement for people entering Warner Town Hall.

For more information, contact the Telephone Museum at 603-456-2234. For more information on the music, visit www.jeffrapsis.com.

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