Announcing THE INVINCIBLE CZARS’ SILENT SUNDAYS 7:00 PM @ The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin. Tickets.

New movies every couple months with a few surprises.

Live at the North Park Theatre in Buffalo, NY
Live at the North Park Theatre in Buffalo, NY

Live silent film soundtracks are perfect for outdoor events, theaters and even educational organizations.

The Invincible Czars have filled theaters all over the US with audiences eager to experience their intricately crafted and precisely performed silent film soundtracks.

The band was part of a wave of acts that began creating new soundtracks for silent films at the original Alamo Drafthouse. The Czars were the only band that kept adding movies to their catalog, mixing up instrumentation, creating custom artwork and wardrobe and taking their shows farther and farther from home each year.

They have created soundtracks to the following silent films:

with fans in Salt Lake City after a "Nosferatu" show.
with fans in Salt Lake City after a "Nosferatu" show.

Nosferatu (1922)

Considered the most important vampire picture of the silent era, Nosferatu tells the story of a young man from the peaceful village of Wisborg sent to sell a piece of property to the mysterious Count Orlok. Orlok possess people in the the village from afar and brings a swarm a plague infested rats to the town and the hero races back to town before it’s too late. The Invincible Czars’ soundtrack features Leila Henley’s spooky voice and was her debut on bass clarinet. It also more triggers and loops than ever before and incoprorates several Romanian folk dances (made popular by Bela Bartok) into the score.

THE WIND (1928) – starring Lillian Gish

Psychological thriller / western set in the 1880s Sweetwater, TX. The Wind is a forgotten gem from the silent era with excellent acting, direction and editing. It’s also a landmark for women in film – Gish carries the movie and allegedly selected her co-stars and director. The movie is based on a novel by Dorothy Scarborough.

MARTYRS OF THE ALAMO (1915) – produced by DW Griffith

Tells the story of the battle of the Alamo from a 1915 perspective… which is considerably different than today’s! The film itself is as much a piece of history as the story it attempts to tell – it even features a few seconds of Douglas Fairbanks in black face. Egad! The Invincible Czars created this soundtrack at the request of the Bullock Museum in Austin. Buy the DVD with the band’s soundtrack here!

DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE (1920) – starring John Barrymore

Yes, he’s Drew Barrymore’s grandfather! Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson novella, this is movie is considered to be the first important American horror film by many. Dr. Jekyll attempts to use science to separate his good and evil personalities with dire results. This is the Czars created their most understated, minimal soundtrack to match the introspective, philosophical nature and incorporated music by Eric Satie and Claude Debussy.

THE UNKNOWN (1927) – starring Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford

The Unknown stars Lon Chaney as Alonzo, a wanted criminal hiding his identity by posing as an armless knife thrower in a Spanish circus. Alonzo falls in love with the ringmaster’s daughter Nanon – played by a very young Joan Crawford! Nanon fears mens’ arms and feels safe with Alonzo, but her affection for him is not romantic. When the circus strongman, Malabar, is stricken by Nanon, the resulting love triangle isn’t pretty. The Unknown was directed and co-written by Tod Browning who is probably best known for directing the 1931 Dracula starring Bela Lugosi. This soundtrack includes some of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Cappricio Espagnol.

DESTINY (der Müde Tod) (1921)

This Fritz Lang film is part fairy tale and part legend. The Angel of Death visits a small village untouched by time and takes the life of a young woman’s lover. When he leases the old cemetery in the village, the young woman pleads with Death to return her fiance. Death agrees to return her lover only if she can beat him in one of three situations. Her three chances take her to Italy, the Middle East and China making for some interesting musical opportunities.

AELITA QUEEN OF MARS (1924) – (((RETIRED)))

Aelita pre-dates Fritz Lang’s classic Metropolis and has been speculated to be the first full length science fiction film. A young Russian scientist dreams of traveling through space and meeting Aelita, the queen of Mars. The film is his story of making that dream a reality and the consequences that follow. As much a propaganda piece as it was a work of science fiction, Aelita is really post-Bolshevik Revolution eye candy. The Czars performed to their own cut of this long-winded movie and retired it from the catalog shortly after the first performance.