Updated: Monday, 01 Jun 2009, 5:43 PM CDT
Published : Monday, 01 Jun 2009, 5:43 PM CDT
APPLETON - The silent film "The White Sister" finally has a voice after 86 years without one, thanks to Lawrence University senior Garth Neustadter.
"My purpose as a composer is to try and bring a certain narrative and life to what's going on on screen and try and take their emotions to the next level and communicate those to the audience," said Neustadter.
This was his first venture into feature film composition, and it was a big one, about 2.5 hours of music, equaling a 450 page score.
"And probably over the course of writing for the film watched it 300-400 times," said Neustadter. "So I got used to every little nuance and what every little movement was going on on screen."
The movie is a classic love story featuring Lillian Gish.
"She falls in love with an Army officer who is sent away to Africa on a war mission," said Neustadter.
She finds out he dies, she becomes a nun, and later finds out he's alive. The rest is the personal battle that ensues to either leave the church or marry him.
"Originally Turner Classic Movies had asked for only a piano score for the film and I wanted to take it to the next step and utilize a full orchestra because I thought the film really needed that dramatic effect and all the different colors that can be brought out by an orchestra," said Neustadter.
Fred Sturm a music professor at Lawrence says such an endeavor would challenge any professional who normally only has to put together 45 minutes of music for a film.
"Garth did over 2 hours of music and did it while a full time student, so by any standard that's pretty remarkable," said Sturm.
Neustadter says he easily spent more than 1,000 hours on the film over a three month time frame. And he hopes this isn't the end. He's planning a career in film scoring and composition.
Neustadter plans to attend the well-known performing arts center
Juilliard next year to major in composition. He says the film will
air again on the network sometime in the future, but a future
air-date hasn't yet been determined.