Michigan Theater Originals

Silent, experimental films and more!

Handcrafted and put together by our own Michigan Theater staff, featuring silent films played on the newly restored, original 1928 Barton Organ located in the Michigan Theater. Enjoy these selections below via Video on Demand. Each film directly supports the Michigan Theater while we are closed due to COVID-19.

THE MOTIONS OF STILLNESS

An original film and score by musician and our Technical Director, Jared Van Eck! Read his film summary below:

All footage was shot on April 15, 2020, in a downtown nature preserve on a cold snowy day in Ann Arbor, MI – 24 days into our COVID-19 stay-at-home order. During this time in which our old normal continues to disappear and we must all embrace this current unknown, I hope this film brings its viewers a peaceful meditation space. By slowing down shots and blending in an original electronic score with nature’s natural sounds, my aim is to encourage the viewer to equally still them self, focus on deep breaths, and reflect on the simple beauty of falling snow.

Documentary. 60 mins. NR.

 

Rent Online - $3

Now Available

FREE for Michigan Theater Members!**

**Must login to Member account.

Meet the Artist

Jared Van Eck is an electronic musician in Ann Arbor, MI, who creates under the name microluv. From an early age, Jared’s interest in the organic and human produced sounds of the world around him developed an unwavering curiosity for synthesizers and synthesizer-like instruments. Currently, his iPad and hardware and software instruments such as Elektron, Roland, and Moog, serve as his main composing tools. His ever-growing collection of vinyl, especially titles from the obscure world of Italian library music of the 70s, fuel his experimentation and creativity.

In 2017, Jared debuted an original electronic score to the 1927 German silent science-fiction film Metropolis at the Michigan Theater. This performance marked one of the first times that a MIDI controller was used in conjunction with a Barton organ (considered a “Heritage Instrument” by the American Theatre Organ Society). The soundtrack for his most recent project, The Motions of Stillness, was created entirely on his iPad using the apps Cubasis and Korg Gadget. “I think it is amazing how polished the sound quality is out of the iPad software. I was able to produce sounds that were not possible from computers 20 years ago! Plus, it’s portable, which really makes me feel like my creative space is unlimited. Amazing!”

When not composing, record digging, or sampling sounds of the outdoors, Jared works as the Technical Director for the Michigan Theater Foundation and is a member of IATSE Local 395.

This Film Supports the Theater!

This film is an original Michigan Theater Production and 100% of proceeds benefit the theater! Additional donations will be most appreciated.

Tech Support!

Check out or FAQ guide on how to watch your rental on your TV. For any additional questions or concerns about your purchase, please contact: boxoffice@michtheater.org.

4th of July Weekend Organ Concert with Andrew Rogers

Join us virtually this 4th of July weekend for a Barton Organ tribute to the 4th of July and to “Those Lazy Days of Summer”! Like a typical pre-show before a film in the Michigan Theater’s historical Main Auditorium, the music will be varied and, hopefully, bring a smile to your face and a beat to your feet. Expect to hear everything from the classic sounds of “Carousel” to patriotic favorites, and a march written for the Michigan Theater. Recorded live at the Michigan Theater with Head Organist Andrew Rogers on the Historic Barton Organ.

60 mins.

 

Rent Online - $3

Now Available

FREE for Michigan Theater Members!**

**Must login to Member account.

This Film Supports the Theater!

This film is an original Michigan Theater Production and 100% of proceeds benefit the theater! Additional donations will be most appreciated.

Tech Support!

Check out or FAQ guide on how to watch your rental on your TV. For any additional questions or concerns about your purchase, please contact: boxoffice@michtheater.org.

Meet the Organist

Andrew Rogers currently serves on staff at the Michigan Theater and was an organist for several years at the Detroit Fox. Residing in Fenton, Michigan, he travels doing theater organ concerts, accompanying silent films, and lecturing on film scoring. He changed his focus entirely to music after leaving behind 17 years at a travel agency doing back-office accounting and 30 years of serving a parish.

THE GENERAL

Opening TBD – Limited Engagement!

Watch this newly recorded production of The General with LIVE organ accompaniment from Andrew Rogers!

One of the most revered comedies of the silent era, this film finds hapless Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton) facing off against Union soldiers during the American Civil War. When Johnny’s fiancée, Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), is accidentally taken away while on a train stolen by Northern forces, Gray pursues the soldiers, using various modes of transportation in comic action scenes that highlight Keaton’s boundless wit and dexterity.

1926. Comedy/War/Silent. 107 minutes. NR.

 

Rent Online - $3

FREE for Michigan Theater Members!**

Opening information coming soon

Pre-order Available Now.

**Must login to Member account.

This Film Supports the Theater!

This film is an original Michigan Theater Production and 100% of proceeds benefit the theater! Additional donations will be most appreciated.

Tech Support!

Check out or FAQ guide on how to watch your rental on your TV. For any additional questions or concerns about your purchase, please contact: boxoffice@michtheater.org.

Meet the Organist

Andrew Rogers currently serves on staff at the Michigan Theater and was an organist for several years at the Detroit Fox. Residing in Fenton, Michigan, he travels doing theater organ concerts, accompanying silent films, and lecturing on film scoring. He changed his focus entirely to music after leaving behind 17 years at a travel agency doing back-office accounting and 30 years of serving a parish.

Video on Demand selections

The productions below are available to rent for $3 on demand at any time. It is FREE for Michigan and State theater members. Your rental will last for 72 hours after purchase, and you have 72 hours to finish watching it. Enjoy!

THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI

“Caligari, the most complete essay in the décor of delirium, is one of the most famous films of all time, and it was considered a radical advance in film technique, yet it is rarely imitated — and you’ll know why.” – Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

In one of the most influential films of the silent era, Werner Krauss plays the title character, a sinister hypnotist who travels the carnival circuit displaying a somnambulist named Cesare. In one tiny German town, a series of murders coincides with Caligari’s visit. When the best friend of hero Francis is killed, the deed seems to be the outgrowth of a romantic rivalry over the hand of the lovely Jane. Francis suspects Caligari, but he is ignored by the police. Investigating on his own, Francis seemingly discovers that Caligari has been ordering the somnambulist to commit the murders, but the story eventually takes a more surprising direction. Caligari’s Expressionist style ultimately led to the dark shadows and sharp angles of the film noir urban crime dramas of the 1940s, many of which were directed by such German émigrés as Billy Wilder and Robert Siodmak.

1920. Horror/Silent. 55 minutes. NR.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Watch this previously recorded production of The Ten Commandments with LIVE organ accompaniment from Andrew Rogers!

33 years before Director Cecil B. DeMille cast Charlton Heston for his 1956 religious epic that has aired on television every Easter Sunday for decades, he made made this silent version of the biblical tale starring Theodore Roberts as Moses, The Lawgiver, in a film that recreates the biblical story of the Exodus as well as tells a modern story concerning two brothers and their respective views of the Ten Commandments.

1923. Drama/Silent. 146 minutes. NR.

VIRTUAL ORGAN CONCERT

You can watch or simply listen to this previously recorded LIVE organ performance by our head organist, Andrew Rogers. We are delighted to bring a 45 minute program of music from the Michigan’s fully-restored Barton organ to you at home via YouTube! Expect to hear a variety of classics like “Rhapsody In Blue” and “Cherokee” and some patriotic favorites like “God Bless America.” Like a typical pre-show before a film at the Michigan, the music will be varied and, hopefully, bring a smile to your faces.

Online Film Education Classes

Movies 101: Narrative Structure

Now Available

While we often expect the action of films to unfold in chronological order, there are many other possibilities. In our final session, we will look at various components of film narrative and how they can be manipulated to create anticipation, tension, and resolution. Our examples will be drawn from Casablanca, Bonnie & Clyde, L’Avventura and (500) Days of Summer. After the lecture, we recommend you watch Vertigo on your own time.

Tickets are $20 non-members, $15 members.

Movies 101: Sound

Now Available

In the beginning, movies only had sound in the form of musical accompaniment provided in the theater. Since then, recorded sound has become an indispensible part of movies. In this session, we will consider how music, speech, and sound effects can be used to add meaning to the images on the screen. Our examples will be drawn from Casablanca, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Vertigo and The Passenger. After the lecture, we recommend you watch Singing in the Rain on your own time.

Tickets are $20 non-members, $15 members.

Movies 101: Editing

Now Available

Editing is the process by which individual shots are joined together. We will explore several different ways that this unique cinematic device can be used including “continuity editing,” “parallel editing,” “analytical editing,” and “montage.” Our examples will be drawn from Casablanca, The Battleship Potemkin, Psycho, and Manhattan. After the lecture, we recommend you watch Sliding Doors on your own time.

Tickets are $20 non-members, $15 members.

Movies 101: Mise-en-Scene

Now Available

Mise-en-Scene is a term that refers to everything in the implied world of the film. This includes people, costumes, sets, props, lighting, some sound, color and the way these elements are viewed through the camera’s lenses as it moves about. We will look at various approaches to mise-en-scene including selections from Casablanca, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Double Indemnity, Saving Private Ryan, and Mr. Turner. After the lecture, we recommend you watch Casablanca on your own time.

Tickets are $20 non-members, $15 members.