Based in the Kansas state capital of Topeka, the Kansas Silent Film Festival, Inc. has been ensuring the legacy of silent films since 1997. Every February, they gather to celebrate the history of silent cinema in a two-day marathon of celluloid greatness. However, for two decades now, they’ve also been part of a wonderful Halloween tradition, Silents in the Cathedral. This year, I was finally able to attend and it was a wonderful way to get in the spirit of the season.
Our main event was the 1922 classic, Nosferatu. This marks the third time I’ve seen it on the big screen and the second with live music accompaniment. As with all of the films this evening, Dr. Marvin Faulwell and Bob Keikeisen provided the music. To say they did an amazing job is an understatement. Having seen them at previous Kansas Silent Film Festivals, I knew we were in for a treat. There truly is nothing better than live music for these wonderful silent films. With Nosferatu, the restored print looked majestic in the surroundings of the cathedral. The music was perfect for all of the creepy moments as Count Orlock (Max Shreck) menaces his way in search for precious blood. Nosferatu is one of my all-time favorite films and it’s never looked or sounded better.
I may be a couple of decades late to the party but Silents in the Cathedral may very well become a new tradition. They had an amazing capacity crowd, which warms my heart knowing so many people love classic cinema, both young and old. You missed out on the 2017 festivities but plan ahead for 2018! And don’t forget that after the holidays are done, the 2018 Kansas Silent Film Festival is right around the corner!