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Rialto Theatre's 100th-year celebration in Deer Lodge to end with Silent Film live music event

Posted at 8:21 AM, Sep 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-18 10:21:44-04

DEER LODGE — Silent films are coming back to the Rialto Theatre in Deer Lodge with an added twist.

World-famous silent film pianist Dennis James will be playing live music to accompany three films: Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid, Buster Keaton’s The High Sign, and Harold Lloyd in Never Weaken.

James says that it's amazing to step foot in one of the true examples of the revival of motion picture theaters in this country.

"A town of this size to have a theatre of this size and scale is a gem, truly a gem," said James.

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James loves to introduce his audience to the fun of the films that caught his attention as a child through live music.

"I always ask the audience how many people have never seen a silent movie with live music and over half the audience is- now everywhere I go – half the audience raises their hand because it is something old that has become new again and they're stunned to see the vibrancy of a live performance for the film," said James.

James has toured the world for 54 years to play in theatres.

His fascination with silent films began when he was just a young boy during the 1950s.

"Now I at the age of maybe 6 or 7 used to walk up when the silent movies came on and go up to the knob and turn down the music and my mother recalled asking me why do I do that and I said ‘oh I have better music in my head then what they play on this tv.’" said James.

Steve Owens wanted to introduce a new experience to those who visit the Rialto as the 100-year anniversary celebration ends.

"A celebration through the year and this was something special and different and we just thought we'd give the people of southwest Montana a unique opportunity," said Owens.

The event will be held Saturday, September 18 at 7 p.m. Seats cost $10 to $15. Formal wear or 1920 era costumes encouraged.