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The Kid and The Idle Class: Two Silent Films Get the Orchestral Treatment at the IMA

If you’ve been keeping track of the 2011 Winter Nights Film Series at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, you’ve likely seen examples of noir cinema from several eras in film history, from the originals (Criss Cross, Key Largo) to the re-imaginings (Blood Simple, Memento). While this year’s iteration of the Winter Nights Film Series focuses on noir, there are other films that go on at the IMA. While Winter Nights Film Series at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Toby Theater have been impressive in their own right, you haven’t experienced cinematic history until you’ve seen a silent film with a full orchestra providing the music, just what you’ll get if you head out to downtown Indianapolis tonight.

Video: Scene from The Kid; The Kid and The Idle Class will be showing at the IMA in Indianapolis February 4, 2011

 

This Friday, February 4, 2011, you can catch not one but two silent films at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, both with full Indianapolis music treatment. The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra will be providing live accompaniment to two Charlie Chaplin classics, The Kid and The Idle Class, at the Toby Theater on February 4, 2011. This special dual film screening at the Indianapolis attraction is separate from the 2011 Winter Nights Film Series, so there won’t be any tricky dames, hard boiled detectives, or cloak and dagger deception, but there will be plenty of laughs, a few tears, and lots of music.

Video of Charlie Chaplin in the famous “husband crying scene” in The Idle Class, showing at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in Indianapolis February 4, 2011

 

This will be the third year in a row the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra has paired with the most famous Indianapolis museum to bring cinema to life. The Indianapolis musical organization last year played accompaniment for Safety Last! and the Buster Keaton classic, One Week. In 2011, two Charlie Chaplin sidesplitters will be shown at the Toby Theater, The Kid and The Idle Class. The Kid was released in 1921 and features Charlie Chaplin and a then-unknown child actor named Jackie Coogan. The film follows the adventures of Chaplin’s iconic “Little Tramp” character, a vagabond with a heart of gold who features in several Chaplin movies. For this go-around, the Tramp discovers an abandoned baby in alley and adopts him. As the baby grows up, Chaplin teaches him the ways of the vagabond; the child becomes Chaplin’s partner in crime until the welfare agencies get wise to the plot and attempt to take him back. The Kid was one of the first movies to combine comedy with drama and became the second highest grossing film of 1921. It made Jackie Coogan into the first major child star of American cinema, transforming the vaudeville star into a silver screen commodity overnight.

Video of the trailer for The Kid, starring Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan; The Kid will be showing at the IMA in Indianapolis February 4, 2011

 

The second movie that will be shown at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on February 4, 2011 will be another Charlie Chaplin film, The Idle Class. Released in the same year as The Kid, The Idle Class again features Chaplin as the Little Tramp, who this time is attempting to sneak his way into an upper crust golf resort. The golf resort is having an extravagant masquerade party, so of course no one is the wiser that Chaplin is not in costume, but is in fact a vagrant. Once inside the resort, he meets a lovely rich woman, Edna Purviance, who is having an argument with her increasingly drunk husband (also played by Chaplin). In a hilarious case of mistaken identity, Edna believes the Tramp is her husband; trouble arises when she finds out the truth. Though not as well received as The Kid, The Idle Class is an excellent example of the unique streak of Chaplin’s humor and his skill at combining social issues with “low brow” comedy; The Idle Class is, as the title suggests, all about the ridiculousness of class tensions.

Video of Charlie Chaplin in a scene from The Idle Class; The Idle Class will be showing at the IMA in Indianapolis on February 4, 2011

 

Both The Kid and The Idle Class feature music written by Charlie Chaplin himself and arrangements by Carl Davis, though neither of them probably planned for the score to be played by an entire chamber orchestra. Make it an evening of Chaplin tonight, February 4, 2011 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Toby Theater with the double screening of The Kid and The Idle Class, with accompaniment provided by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. The first film begins at 7:30 p.m; you can buy tickets either from the Indianapolis Museum of Art Welcome Center during regular business hours or from the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra box office (ICOmusic.org or 317.940.9607). Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for IMA members, and $10 for students of Indianapolis schools. Don’t miss out on these two relics of film history, restored to the spectacles they once were at the IMA on February 4, 2011.

The Kid and The Idle Class with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
Friday, February 4, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $30/adult, $25/IMA member, $10/student
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