Max Wants a Divorce: Restoring the Music of Silent Movies

Project Information


This project recreates musical motifs from the silent film era of the 1910s. Meyer's compiled score brings together fifteen musical themes in a new soundtrack for the 22-minute short film Max Wants a Divorce, produced in 1916 by Chicago-based Essanay Studios and starrring Max Linder.  The film with new soundtrack is available here in .mp4 format. 

Faculty Chicago Fellow:

Donald C. Meyer, Professor of Music, Lake Forest College

Chicago Fellows Year: 


Chicago Fellows Research Assistant

Sydnie Bivens '17 (Lake Forest College)

Watch a recreation of one of Chicago's historical silent movies, Max Wants A Divorce, filmed in 1916 by Essanay Studios, and listen to new period-based musical accompaniment by composer and musicologist Don Meyer, professor of music.

Further Information

Rachel Tenuta '17 (Lake Forest College) designed the updated title cards featured in the film. 

Live screenings with orchestral performance of Meyer's score took place on January 30, 2016, at Lake Forest Place, February 6, 2016 at Lake Forest College, and May 17, 2016 at the Chicago History Museum. 

The soundtrack was recorded in the Lily Reid Holt Memorial Chapel at Lake Forest College on February 7, 2016, performed by the Lake Forest Moving Picture Orchestra, comprised of Lake Forest College students, alumni, faculty, and staff, as well as local community musicians.