DIXFIELD — A Dirigo High School history class will pay homage to the films of Charlie Chaplin at its third annual Silent Film Night at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, in the Old Tuscan Opera House on Main Street.

The night will focus on Chaplin’s 1921 film, “The Kid,” along with two of his early short films.

Admission is $10, with all proceeds going to the Dixfield Historical Society.

In the early 20th century, Chaplin was the talk of the town. Over the course of a 60-year career, he wrote, directed and starred in several renowned silent-films, including “The Gold Rush,” “The Kid” and “The Circus.”

Even as silent film transitioned to “talkies” in the late 1920s, Chaplin refused to add sound, and in the 1930s, released two of his best-received movies: “City Lights” and “Modern Times.”

The first two years of the Silent Film Night focused on the films of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.


The Old Tuscan Opera House, owned by Dixfield resident Nancy Carpenter, was a popular location in the River Valley decades ago.

In 2013, Dirigo High School teacher Kurt Rowley created a history course called A River Valley Civilization using grant money from the Maine Historical Society.

The purpose of the grant was to give local historical societies a chance to connect with the community and convince them to participate in digitally preserving documents and images of local history on the Maine Memory Network website.

Rowley said that the idea for a Silent Film Night was born out of an interest in giving back to the community and the local historical societies.

Live music will be provided by Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based silent film accompanist who has provided musical accompaniment throughout New England, including the last two Silent Film Nights at the Old Tuscan Opera House.

Rapsis will also provide background on Chaplin’s career and introduce each film.


“There’s nothing like silent film comedy shown on the big screen with a live audience,” Rapsis said. “If you can put pieces of the experience back together again, it’s surprising how these films snap back to life. By showing the films under the right conditions, you can really get a sense of why people first fell in love with the movies.”

Rapsis said he performs his music on a digital synthesizer that “reproduces the texture of the full orchestra.”

For more information and advance tickets, call Rowley at 207-680-0113.

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