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ASO Silent Film Double Feature


Silent Film Double Feature
Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times and Kid Auto Races at Venice
Saturday, January 11, 2014 – 8pm

Anchorage, Alaska – November 21, 2013 – On Saturday, January 11th the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra performs a Silent Film Double Feature celebrating Charlie Chaplin's timeless character, Little Tramp. Nearly 100 years ago, February 7, 1914, Chaplin's iconic Little Tramp made his public debut in the Keystone comedy, Kid Auto Races at Venice.

Auto Races features Little Tramp as a spectator at a "baby cart race" in Venice, California. The event is being filmed and wherever Little Tramp goes, he causes chaos for the camera crew. This short comedy was filmed during the Junior Vanderbilt Cup, an actual go-cart race. Chaplin and his co-stars improvised gags in front of the real spectators and racers.

With his trademark baggy pants, tight coat, small bowler hat, large shoes, cane and small mustache, Chaplin's classic character went on to star in dozens of short and feature length films. As talkies gained popularity Chaplin began writing Modern Times to be his first one, but decided that letting Little Tramp speak could ruin the mystery of the character. While you never hear him really speak, there is a part at the end of Modern Times when Little Tramp has to sing. He loses his cuff (where he had written the words to the song) and ends up singing some gibberish. This is the first time Chaplin's voice is heard in a film.

After 22 years of playing this lovable character, Chaplin decided it was time for the Little Tramp to retire. Modern Times is not only Little Tramp's final film, it is also considered the last silent film of the era. Chaplin himself wrote and directed this feature length comment on the employment and economic plight many people faced during the Great Depression. Chaplin, a self taught musician, also composed the music for Modern Times, including the romantic theme "Smile" which was later given lyrics and recorded by Nat King Cole.

With the heavy subject matter, Little Tramp still manages to keep the audience laughing as he gets caught up in the machinery at the factory, experiences several identity mix-ups and a few arrests followed by jailbreaks. During these high jinks Little Tramp also finds love, and the film ends with the lovers walking down an endless highway towards the horizon, we presume to a better life.

Saturday, January 11, (8pm) in the Atwood Concert Hall, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. Infrared headphones for the hearing impaired are available concert night from the House Manager on the Orchestra Level. Tickets (including all fees and surcharges):  $21.75-$45.75/Adult; $9.50-$21.50/Youth; $19.50-$41.25/Senior. Military, student and group discounts available. To purchase tickets, visit the CenterTix Box Office at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts or www.centertix.net or call 263-ARTS (2787), toll free at 1-877-ARTS- TIX.

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