I don't think it's possible to see South too many times. As noted here in October 2011, the story of Ernest Shackleton's failed expedition to the Antarctic is heroic, terrifying, deeply moving, and true. Happily, the film is available on DVD and is also occasionally featured at film festivals. What's improbable is getting the chance to see the film on an actual ship, but see it thus I did — to the stellar accompaniment of the Alloy Orchestra — while on the TCM Classic Cruise a couple weeks ago.
I don't mean to be This Person, but if you have never seen a silent movie with live music, you may not really have ever seen one. An integral part of the movie-going experience in the silent era was watching it to the improvisations of a human being providing real-time sound synchronization. So if you are ever in a position to see a silent film accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra, you will never forget it; their creativity and versatility is astonishing. The three-man ensemble uses found objects (arrayed on what they call the "rack of junk") along with traditional instruments, which they play in conventional and unconventional ways. In South, for example, whenever the ship moved through the frozen sea, the guitarist scraped the strings in such a way that you heard — not a guitar, surely, but the sides of the wooden Endurance painfully, slowly breaking through the ever-tightening ice floes that would eventually trap, crush, and sink it.
The Cameraman's Revenge (1912)
The Alloy Orchestra has scored a number of silent classics (the recently restored Metropolis, for instance) along with lesser known works, such as a peculiar Russian short, called The Cameraman's Revenge. The Alloy guys do a lovely, straight up romantic soundtrack for this piece, and if the links on their website worked, which, sadly, they do not, I could have provided some samples of their stuff.
In the meantime, you can see The Cameraman's Revenge set to someone else's music. The bugs in this film were supposed to be the subject of a nature documentary, but after they were all dessicated by hot movie lights, the filmmaker decided to stage a stop-action love triangle with their little corpses.
When life hands you lemons...