Harry Langdon cue sheets

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greta de groat
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Harry Langdon cue sheets

Unread post by greta de groat » Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:29 pm

I'm sitting her at my computer surrounded with cue sheets, and amidst the zillions compiled by James C. Bradford and Ernst Luz, i notice that the compilations for The Strong Man and Long Pants cue sheets are credited to Harry Langdon himself.

Is there a story behind this? Did he have musical talent or experience? Or was he a control freak? Has anybody out there played one of these cue sheets? How did it work out?

Greta de Groat
Unsung Divas of the Silent Screen

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Unread post by Rodney » Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:18 pm

Well, I've never seen the Harry Langdon cue sheets. I'd be happy to look them over (or scans of them) and give my opinion, if it interests you.

The other "movie personality" cue sheet that I know of is the Peter Pan cue sheet by the director, Herbert Brenon. It is in my opinion not only bad, but unusable. He chooses pieces from the well-known classical literature, which I find distracting to an audience. Midsummer Night's Dream, Ride of the Valkyries, etc. One or two pieces you've heard are okay, but every scene? And also, he chooses pieces for every scene or mood change, no matter how short -- there's a limit to how few seconds you can play of a musical piece. Yes, this piece could work with that scene, but the scene is only ten seconds long, so you barely have time to start it before the next scene arrives.

We are reviving our score for LEAP YEAR, which crams 60 cues into about 55 minutes, and it's a bit ridiculous (though it works well for that particular film). I think that a cue per minute is about the practical maximum; having a cue change every two to six minutes is most comfortable. But it does depend on the film, of course. Films like SUNRISE and THIEF OF BAGDAD do a good job of letting the orchestra stretch out and enjoy a piece before putting it away.

Rodney Sauer
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
"Let the Music do the Talking!"

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