Dodge Brothers get Hell’s Hinges swinging

ONE of the great silent western movies gets a new score played live by The Dodge Brothers at Bridport’s Electric Palace on Sunday 16th June at 7pm.

The screening of the 1916 classic Hell’s Hinges, directed by and starring William S Hart, follows last autumn’s first silent black and white film, Beggars Of Life, screened in September 2018 to a sell out Electric Palace audience.

After the film, there will be a Q&A with Mark Kermode (The Observer chief film critic and BBC radio and television presenter), Neil Brand (composer, silent film pianist, writer and presenter of various BBC radio and television film music series), Dr Mike Hammond (associate professor, film department, University of Southampton), Aly Hirji (rhythm guitar, mandolin, vocals and all round nice guy) and Alex Hammond (washboard, snare drum, percussion).

Hell’s Hinges is a rough town in the American West. The heroine is the saintly sister of a minister. The anti-hero is a gunslinger determined to run the church right out of town. Could romance possibly shine through the dust and gunsmoke?

Silent cinema was never silent, says Dr Mike Hammond. “Before sound arrived in Hollywood in 1928 the movies always had some noise associated with them and the Dodge Brothers are steeped in that tradition; making rackets to stories to raise an eyebrow, infect your feet with rhythm, and prompt maybe a laugh or a tear.”

The Dodge Brothers have played to silent films at venues including the Barbican, the National Film Theatre, BFI, the National Media Museum “and anywhere that the high art of playing live to silent film is appreciated.”

The band’s approach is simple: “We derive our music from what might have been played in the cinemas in towns such as Clarksdale, Mississippi, or Troy, Alabama.”

The choice of music ranges from jug band and skiffle to Woody Guthrie and their own songs. Each and every performance is unique.