Club Foot Orchestra, Photo: Anne Hamarsky
CFO Film Collection
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Sherlock Jr
Pandora's Box
Hands of Orlac
Legong Dance of the Virgins
Battleship Potemkin
Phantom of the Opera
Go West
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Club Foot Orchestra
SF Jazz Festival, Club Foot Orchestra performing The Complete Metropolis, at SFJAZZ, April 14, 2013
Performing NOSFERATU at World Financial Center
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari: Conrad Veidt as the SomnabulistFritz Lang's METROPOLIS
Performing SHERLOCK JR at World Financial Center
PANDORA'S BOX: Louise Brooks as LuluHANDS OF ORLAC: Conrad Veidt as Paul Orlac
Legong Dance of the Virgins
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

THE CLUB FOOT ORCHESTRA is a music ensemble founded in 1983 by Richard Marriott. After a brief career playing dramatic, complex music in San Francisco clubs, they became known for their equally dramatic and complex scores for classic silent movies. The ensemble got their name from a performance art nightclub called the "Club Foot" which flourished in the Bayview district of San Francisco. Marriott, who lived upstairs, formed a house band that came to be called the "Club Foot Orchestra". Two albums released on Ralph Records document this period: Wild Beasts and Kidnapped. The performers on these recordings included Snakefinger, Beth Custer, Eric Drew Feldman, Dave Barrett, Dick Deluxe Egner, Josh Ende, Arny Young, Julian Smedley, Dave Kopplin, Raoul Brody and Opter Flame.

Marriott explains how they started writing for movies:
"I became interested in doing something visually that further expressed the ideas behind the music; something that would help put the music in context. I considered projecting slides of experimental art on a screen behind us. Then a friend suggested, after catching our show: "The music is so cinematic, why don't you take outtakes of 1950s sitcoms and score them." I put it under my hat. Later that night I saw a Lily Tomlin skit on Saturday Night Live. She was reading the Dow Jones averages of various art trends. She reported, "Pop art up 10... Op art up 20... Expressionism down 30." I turned the channel. And there was The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The distorted sets and dreamlike atmosphere in the film were the qualities that I always envisioned accompanying our music. The subversive plot was drenched in the unconscious. I was obsessed to write for that film."

The score was premiered at the 1987 Mill Valley Film Festival. After touring with Caligari, Marriott wrote a score for the 1922 Murnau horror classic Nosferatu. This proved equally successful with audiences and lead to an appearance at New Music America 1989 in New York. Portions of the "Nosferatu" score were contributed by Gino Robair, introducing a period of collaborative composition. New scores for the films Metropolis, Sherlock Jr., Pandora's Box and The Hands of Orlac were presented at art houses across America and also at venues such as Lincoln Center and the Smithsonian Institution. In between these projects, they also scored and recorded 39 episodes of "The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat" a Saturday morning cartoon show on CBS. Some of the conductors, performers and composers of this period of the orchestra included Steed Cowart, Deirdre McClure, Sheldon Brown, Miles Boisen, Bob Lipton, Nik Phelps, Doug Morton, Kenny Wollesen, Elliot Kavee, Catherine Clune, Kaila Flexor, Jason Marsh, Matt Brubeck, Steve Kirk, and especially trumpet player Chris Grady.

In 1999 a smaller version of the orchestra performed Legong: Dance of the Virgins with Gamelan Sekar Jaya on a score cowritten by Marriott and Made Subandi.

In January 2005, Marriott’s new scores for Battleship Potemkin and Phantom of the Opera were premiered at New York’s World Financial Center. In April 2008, Club Foot Orchestra was featured at the San Francisco Jazz Festival and the Baja California Jazz Festival, performing the scores for Caligari, Nosferatu and Sherlock Jr. New scores for Steamboat Bill, The Golem (composed by Sheldon Brown, Alisa Rose, Marriott) and The Godless Girl were premiered at The Silent Movie Theater, Los Angeles. SFJAZZ commissioned Marriott to write a new score for the Complete Metropolis (154 minutes) which was premiered April 13, 2013. The Legong score was revised for the SF Silent Film Festival in July 2013 and the orchestra created a new cinema show for SF’s DeYoung Museum to celebrate the Bulgari opening, entitled “La Dolce Vita and Beyond”. The most recent score, for Keaton’s Go West was premiered August 23, 2015 at SFJAZZ. Some of the new musicians who were active in these phase of the orchestra include vocalist Pamela Z, violinist Alisa Rose, pianist Kymry Esainko, harmonica virtuoso Bill Barrett, percussionist Stephan Hodges, violinist Matt Szemela, bassist Todd Sickafoose. The orchestra continues to perform their catalog of scores and to develop creative approaches to the marriage of film and music.