Location: Central Theatre, 1008 Central Avenue
The Central Theatre in Hot Springs is undergoing a resurrection with a major renovation under new ownership and one of its first major events is also a resurrection of sorts. The Temptress (1926) starring Great Garbo will be screened with live musical accompaniment on Saturdays July 31st and August 7th at 8pm and matinees on Sundays August 1st and August 8th at 2pm one of Hot Springs’ most remarkable historical landmarks. Tickets are $20 general admission and $30 VIP and available at eventbrite.
Ricko Donovan is an award-winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. While he was based in Nashville and still touring his music around the country regularly, he occasionally augmented his gigging itinerary with a special event- a silent film with live music accompaniment. Donovan composed a score that features the hammered dulcimer with an array of other folk instruments, utilizing a looping device to create a breathtaking soundtrack. He last performed Ricko Meets Garbo in 2014 at the Palace Theatre, the oldest in Tennessee.
Greta Garbo was Hollywood’s most prominent stars in the more sophisticated later period of the silent film era. Louis B Mayer, head of MGM studios enticed her from Sweden to America with a five-year MGM contract in 1925. The Temptress (1926) was the second Hollywood feature film for the iconic actress. It is an elaborate production done to a turn by MGM director Fred Niblo. The film features groundbreaking techniques such as parallel tracking shots that truly validated the film medium as an art form. King Vidor, one of cinema’s finest directors whose career spanned far beyond the silent era, once noted in an interview that absent dialogue, music comprised half the experience in the silent era. In an interview with the Dallas Morning News regarding a performance at the Inman Theatre, Donovan remarked “I think the biggest compliment I received on this tour was, ‘We forgot you were even there.’. The phrase silent film is a misnomer because these were always shown with rich musical accompaniment.”
The ownership of the Central Theatre has recently changed hands and Chris Rix immediately hit the ground running on a major renovation to a historic landmark. “This is a 1937 art deco style theatre that had just about been lost over the years,” Rix said. His vision is to bring that classic cinema feel to the 21st century. “Remodeling is what’s happened in the past that I’m undoing. I’m restoring. It’s a historic building in a historic area and it should be historic,” Rix said. Donovan will revive this unique spectacle the Cibola Beacon in New Mexico dubbed “a night of auditory and visual magic” as the first major event at the Central Theatre in Hot Springs.