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Silent Film: A Vermont Romance
March 26, 2016 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
A Vermont Romance
Produced by the Vermont Progressive Party | Directed by Ralph Newman
USA | 1916 | 35 min (3 reels)
With a new music score played and composed by veteran composer Bob Merrill
Tour sponsors: Vermont Humanities Council; Media sponsors VPR
The 1916 film, A Vermont Romance, is the first feature film ever made in Vermont. The Vermont Movie Archive Project (VAMP) digitally remastered the film to high definition 2K. This screening is part of a statewide tour presenting the the film with live piano accompaniment and a panel of experts, in six large venues and 12 small ones throughout Vermont in the spring of 2016 to celebrate the film’s 100th birthday.
This movie is an extraordinary piece of Vermont folklore. It was commissioned by the Vermont Progressive Party (affiliated with Theodore Roosevelt’s national Bull Moose party) and its newspaper, The Vermont Advance. Scenes were filmed in Burlington, Grand Isle, Newport, St. Johnsbury, White River Junction, Rutland, Chester, and Bellows Falls. This fueled interest from theater owners from all corners of the state to host screenings. The plot is a fairly standard silent melodrama with no apparent political bent. The film is both a romance and a scenic tour of Vermont. It tells the tale of Dorothy, a country girl who befriends a rich girl and two city gents who are out for a drive in the country. Upon the death of her father she loses the farm where she lives and works. Almost penniless, she moves to Burlington to find work, and her adventures begin. Filming began Wednesday June 21, 1916 and was completed 10 days later! The first screening of the film was held Saturday, Sept 16, 1916 in Essex Junction followed by Burlington, Waterbury, St. Johnsbury, Rutland, South Royalton, Bethel and more..
For samples of the Call for Actors that The Vermont Advance published April 1, 1916 CLICK HERE.
The original music score for A Vermont Romance is lost. As part of the project VAMP has commissioned Bob Merrill, a veteran silent film composer and pianist to create a new score and the screening will be accompanied, as were most silent films of that time, by live piano, played by Merrill to his new score.
A Vermont Romance Movie is a window through which the public can view the people and landscape of Vermont one hundred years ago. Its tour will help VAMP build a statewide appreciation of Vermont films and filmmakers and increase awareness of VAMP’s growing digital archive of films.
Find out more about VAMP