Directed by: #RichardHLyford
Written by: #RichardHLyford
As the Earth Turns is an independent silent that calls on the desperate need for peace at a time of continued conflict. This film, from the mind of Richard H. Lyford truly encapsulates his prowess as an independent filmmaker, uninhibited by the resources of his time. As the Earth Turns is 45 minutes of commentary on both society and the world as a whole, which is as relevant, if not more relevant now than at the time. The themes of war and climate change are as much a part of the infrastructure of our society today as they have ever been. This film acts as a criticism of the conflictual nature of humankind. As the Earth Turns follows a slightly mad scientist, Pax, so desperate for peace that he is willing to incite extreme climate change in order to prevent the war and all future wars.
Given the fact that this is silent picture, there is no spoken dialogue, however there is still a script. The script is presented more as selective subtitles, with most scenes being preceded or followed by a quick block of text. Moreover, the fact that this film is silent means that the script is kept quite simplistic and more of an assistant to allow viewers to follow more easily.
Lyford did everything, producing, editing, writing, directing and playing the scientist protagonist Pax. Evidently without any computer to help him, he created everything in his basement. He built the miniature models and sets and set off miniature explosions. All of this makes producing As the Earth Turns even more of a remarkable feat in this era of filmmaking.
As for the performances here, Lyford actually has very limited screen time, however without words and voice he delivers a crazed performance which is strictly down to the incredibly expressive nature of his face, almost contorting in concern, curiosity or madness. Barbara Berger and Alan Hoelting give credible performances in the roles of Julie Weston and Arthur Verrill respectively, taking the roles of investigative reporters to greater heights in the search for the omnipotent Pax.
The real powerhouse of As the Earth Turns is the music. Ed Hartman, the contemporary composer who both scored and performed the music, supplies the film with an era-appropriate accompaniment that only enhances its story. Further proving that dialogue isn’t everything if an outstanding score is its replacement. In many ways, the fact that this film was ‘lost’ for over 80 years is a bit of a gift, that now we can appreciate Lyford’s As the Earth Turns as the forward-thinking independent film that he intended it to be, furnished with a dominant and befitting score.