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Composer Günter A. Buchwald briefly discusses his career and approach for scoring silent films, including the new score for Casanova.
Max Steiner wrote a Mickey Mouse score for KING KONG (1932)
Mickey Mouse had yet to appear on the screen when Edmund Meisel wrote his score for THE BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN in 1925. Nonetheless, it is a Mickey Mouse score.
That is to say, it is on the beat.
Erich Wolfgang Korngold at first did not want to write the score for ROBIN HOOD (1938) but then he learned what Hitler was doing in Germany and realized he had to get his family the Hell out of there. He conjured up a Mickey Mouse score for the film.
Many composers don’t like to write Mickey Mouse scores because they are too demanding.
Buchwald’s music lacks drive, energy and urgency. Moments that should have had me on the edge of my seat instead had me fighting to keep my eyes open.
That’s not good.
Because underneath all that musical sludge is a great film and a great restoration.
Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov, the Soviet-Russian composer who scored Sergei Bondarchuk’s inspired telling of WAR AND PEACE (1966-67), said of creating the music for the film that we have to remember he was creating music for an entertainment. I love that statement. Buchwald created a lazy score for people who are content to let him get away with it. The problem is that he is not the only one.
The audience for motion pictures has always been the working class.  Terry Ramsaye in the first (and still best) history of the motion pictures, A MILLION AND ONE NIGHTS (1925) that the audience for the movies is between 11 to 30, primarily 14 to 24, and primarily female, primarily working class.
That is no longer true today. A decision was made in the 1970s to make movies for young boys. As a result of this women and men stopped going to the movies. I learned this from an interview with Mark Breslin, founder of YUK YUK’S COMEDY CLUB in Toronto. Joan Rivers had asked him to be a writer for her television show. When it ended Mark was asked what he wanted to do. Breslin replied, “Write for the movies.” He was told, “Movies are being made for13 year old boys. You want to write for television.”
For too long CASANOVA (1925) was available only in truncated versions and only in Cinematheques. Thanks to this wonderful restoration the world can experience it. These DVDS and Blu-rays are designed not for the working class but for the academic class. This is akin to preaching to the converted. You can get a good salary doing that but, as has been often noted, the converted often least understand. Furthermore, they do not listen. As long as they hear the word “Jesus” at least three times they go home happy. It is the same as preaching to the choir. The choir is not there to listen.
Years ago I forced a film teacher who wanted to use my copy of a 16mm print of a silent film for his class. I said, “You want my print, you use my music.” After the program he asked his class what they thought of the music. The class replied that they did not like the music because it made the film scary. The teacher said that was why he felt my score was bad. It had done what it was supposed to do.
There is not in this score for this wonderful restoration of CASANOVA a single moment that could be called scary.
And that is a pity. What is not a pity is the marvellousness of this restoration which includes a reel of stencil colored footage which shows how sophisticated this technique was and how wonderful.
You can see for yourself here: . –Reg Hartt


On Sale
$39.95 Save 13%
UPC: 6-17311-68809-6
Brand: Flicker Alley
Format: Blu-ray / DVD
Director: Alexandre Volkoff
Year: 1927
Language: French (Silent)
Length: 159 mins.


The iconic French historical drama, Casanova, directed by Alexandre Volkoff and set in 1760s Venice, stars renowned silent film actor Ivan Mosjoukine as the famous philanderer Giacomo Casanova in a flamboyant spectacle of romance, comedy, and intrigue. Flicker Alley, in partnership with the Blackhawk Films® Collection, Lobster Films and the Giornate del Cinema Muto (Pordenone, Italy) is honored to present this newly restored edition of the film, thanks to the tremendous efforts of La Cinémathèque française, in a deluxe 2-disc Blu-ray / DVD Edition, complete with a brand-new orchestral score composed by Günter A. Buchwald and performed by the San Marco Orchestra.

Shot on location in the Austrian Alps and in Venice, Casanova portrays its dashing central player as living a sumptuous and flirtatious lifestyle, showing blithe disregard for the consequences that may ensue. Casanova’s risky adventures eventually complicate his way of life and he must flee Venice with vengeful husbands and law enforcement in pursuit. While on the run, however, his continued precarious behavior alerts his rivals and forces him into a life-or-death scenario.

This digitization of Casanova, undertaken by la Cinémathèque française, was completed from the safety fine grain of Renée Lichtig’s restoration of the film struck from the nitrate camera negative and an original diacetate stencil-colored reel in the collections of la Cinémathèque française, Paris.


  • New Musical Score – A brand-new original orchestral score composed by Günter A. Buchwald.
  • Interview – Composer Günter A. Buchwald briefly discusses his career and approach for scoring silent films, including the new score for Casanova.
  • Image Gallery – Featuring original production, exhibition, and promotional materials.
  • Souvenir Booklet – Limited edition booklet featuring new essays on the film’s history and significance; notes on the restoration process; and rarely seen production and promotional photographs.
  • Subtitles – English, French, and Italian

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