Club Foot Orchestra, Photo: Anne Hamarsky
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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


Marriott explained 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 that 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.

Marriott's score premiered at the 1987 Mill Valley Film Festival. After touring with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Marriott wrote a score for the 1922 F. W. Murnau horror classic Nosferatu, with sections contributed by Gino Robair, introducing the period of collaborative composition. Nosferatu is a powerful and evocative score and proved equally successful with audiences, and led to an appearance at New Music America in New York City in 1989. Over the next 10 years, new scores for the films Metropolis, Sherlock Jr., Pandora's Box and The Hands of Orlac were composed by the group and performed throughout the US, following their premieres at the Castro Theater. Many short subject films were also composed during this time.

Francis Lederer, who played Alwa Schoen in Pandora's Box, attended a screening of that film in 1995 at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles. Buster Keaton's wife Eleanor attended a screening of Sherlock Jr. in 1993, and exclaimed, "Bravo Club Foot Orchestra! Buster would have loved your music."

In 1999, a string-heavy version of the orchestra, joining with the ensemble Gamelan Sekar Jaya, performed a new score for the Balinese silent Legong: Dance of the Virgins, written by Marriott and Indonesian composer Made Subandi. New scores for Battleship Potemkin, Phantom of the Opera, and Go West have been added to the repertoire, in addition to Marriott's reworking of Metropolis to match the newly restored and much longer print.

The Club Foot Gamelan premiered a score for the silent Indonesian film Goona Goona at the 2019 San Francisco Silent Film Festival, featuring the Balinese virtuosos Nyoman Windha and Dewa Barata. In 2019-2020, the Club Foot Modern Machines has been performing yet another new score for Metropolis, this time featuring kinetic sound-producing sculptures created by Matt Heckert, Kal Spelletich, and Obtainium Works.

Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat
In 1995, The Club Foot Orchestra scored and recorded 39 episodes of the CBS cartoon series The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat, produced by FIlm Roman. Gino Robair produced the cartoon's soundtrack, which was recorded at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco and later at Guerilla Euphonics in Oakland. All members of the group, which at the time included Myles Boisen, Matt Brubeck, Catherine Clune, Steve Kirk, Nik Phelps, and Elliot Kavee, wrote music for these episodes.