Entertainment » Music

Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman (1925)

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Friday Jan 31, 2014
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"The Freshman," a 1925 silent film featuring the great Harold Lloyd, is a classic example of that bygone era; an innocuous tale of a normal man with an extraordinary talent, in this case, his comic genius. Modern composers have found the creation of fresh scores for these silent gems of yore an attractive opportunity to flex their musical muscles in traditional writing, utilizing pastiche and what the film industry calls "Mickey mousing," the direct imitation of the action through music (most frequently used in animation). This is an ideal arena for Carl Davis, the American-born, British resident, whose generic, conservative style is well-suited for this genre, and subsequently, "The Freshman."

With several other silent film scores under his belt starring the bespectacled Lloyd (including "Safety Last," "The Kid Brother" and "Speedy"), Davis’ music is highly supportive in its underscoring, giving the listener a strong indication of the cinematic intent even if they aren’t familiar with the film.

With scenes ranging from the gridiron to the college campus, with love stories, student rivalries, and comedic segments galore, Davis’ music goes from the patriotic, fight song motifs through chases and Charlestons, as it follows Lloyd through the 75-minute feature about the young man going off to college and attempting to find his niche in this new world.

Every theme will sound familiar to others in its category, as Davis plays it safe in his creation of melodies. This new release from Threefold Records features accurate interpretations from The Chamber Orchestra of London, and is part of the Carl Davis Collection, which also includes the scores to Charlie Chaplin’s "City Lights" and to "Ben-Hur."

In summary, this recording is an innocent companion to the film, but doesn’t provide much stimulation as a stand alone score.

"The Freshman"
Carl Davis
CD and Digital formats
Threefold Records / Carl Davis Collection

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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