Review:  Unreleased 1938 silent sci-fi film ‘As the Earth Turns’ boasts analog ingenuity    Richard Lyford in the 1938 movie “As the Earth Turns.” (8th Sense Productions) By Michael Rechtshaffen Oct. 17, 2019 3:21 PM Had Steven Spielberg been a 16-millimeter camera-toting teen in the 1930s, his home movies might have looked like “As the Earth Turns,” a black-and-white, silent 45-minute science-fiction film about a peace-crazed scientist named Pax who attempts to persuade the world to put down its weapons by inducing extreme climate change. Made by Richard H. Lyford, a 20-year-old Seattle-based budding playwright and filmmaker who would go on to work as a Disney animator and Oscar-winning documentary director, the digitally restored 1938 original has been outfitted with a period-appropriate score by contemporary composer Ed Hartman. Clearly influenced by the serials of his era, particularly “Flash Gordon,” Lyford also drew upon the 1915 sci-fi novel “The Man Who Rocked the Earth” to relate his pre-World War II story about an intrepid, Lois Lane-type newspaper reporter (Barbara Berger) who eventually tracks down the elusive, misguided Pax (Lyford, looking eerily like Matthew Modine’s “Stranger Things” villain). Ultimately more a curio than a bona fide buried treasure, the forward-thinking production, with its animated opening credits and resourceful use of models, makeup and double exposures, nevertheless serves as a valuable reminder that imagination and creativity needn’t ever be limited by the going technology. Lyford, incidentally, died in 1985, the same year as fellow innovator Orson Welles, and a year after Spielberg turned in the latest chapter of his own affectionate tribute to serials, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” ‘As the Earth Turns’ Not rated Running time: 45 minutes Playing: Starts Oct. 18, 2019 Laemmle Glendale” - Michael Rechtshaffen

LA Times (As the Earth Turns Review)

Movie Pick: As the Earth Turns Nathaniel Bell October 17, 2019 As the Earth Turns was a no-budget science-fiction epic shot in 1937 by a 20-year-old experimental filmmaker named Richard H. Lyford. The young avant-gardist went on to work for Walt Disney in the 1940s, and his early films were rediscovered and cherished by only a few dedicated cinephiles. Recently, composer Ed Hartman teamed up with the Lyford estate to restore the 16mm film, adding a new soundtrack in the process. This new and improved As the Earth Turns will enjoy a one-week run at the Laemmle Glendale. The film has played at over 100 film festivals worldwide and garnered many awards along the way. Fans of the obscure will want to check out this 65-minute program, which represents an act of love and faith from one artist to another. Hartman will be in attendance for the Friday and Saturday shows.  Laemmle Glendale, 206 N. Maryland Ave., Glendale, Fri., Oct. 18, various showtimes; $9-$12. (310) 478-3826, ” - Nathaniel Bell

LA Weekly (As the Earth Turns)

How did you get into film-making? I did a lot of Super 8 films as a kid. I struggled to get music synchronized with it (Vinyl, Reel-to-Reel, etc.). That drove me to film music composition, I believe. Which 3 films inspired you to become a filmmaker? As a composer/producer (and a bit of a filmmaker), 2001, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Which equipment do you prefer to film with? I shot a simple music video recently on my Android phone, added a piece of recently recorded music, and the result was excellent in my mind. It even won awards at a film festival. I did do color-correction, and the film makes sense and has a purpose. Others like it. That’s all I can ask. What are the main qualifications of a successful Co-producer? For me, I was a composer first. My role as co-producer of this film is very different, in that I came into the production, 80 years after it was initially created in 1938. As a co-producer of this film, I have become the leader in every way. I did restore the film, edit it a bit (found lost footage), do post-production, including music. We have promoted this film in many festivals, created PR (Stills, Press Kits, other assets (mini-docs, festival video introductions), etc. If a co-producer is involved in the festival promotion, it can become a full-time job submitting, monitoring, handling selections, screenings, file transfer, posters, postcards, with festivals, etc. For our film (currently in 78 festivals), keeping track of all of the awards, nominations (IMDB updates) can be a daily task over the festival run (at least 12 months!) What’s your approach to Dogme 95 and how do you feel about creating Dogme 2020 manifesto? I find it fascinating that modern audiences forgive the primitive effects, and completely buy into the story. Fantasy can be extremely strong in the audience. They want to believe the images and sounds are real. The drama of the script and acting make or break a film. The musical score creates a tremendous amount of emotion to a scene. Watch nearly any film, take away the music, and you may lose 50% of the scene. For my film being silent, music is the entire sound-score. I can say that there are two tremendously emotional scenes in the film. One is when they see snow in July, and the other is the ending. I can pin-point the moments that still give me chills as a composer. I do think that Dogme 95 or 2020 will always wrestle with what level of technology, effects, etc. is too much. I think the point will always be priorities. Good story, good acting, good solid production equals a good movie. What do you think the feature film “Astrall Story” will be about? I’ve seen collaborative efforts before. It will probably have a “stream of consciousness” to it. Editing will be the deciding factor, in my opinion. I believe Richard Lyford would love the creative element and would want to have participated. His film, “As the Earth Turns” is all about world peace. He spent a lot of his filmmaking career doing documentaries about a wide variety of subjects. Many were day-to-day living issues (farmers, railroads, etc.). Walt Disney spoke of Lyford as a tremendous storyteller. Almost anything can be made into a story. Whether a huge group of independent stories can come together as one, will be a tremendous challenge. I can say that, in my experience, serendipity can play a large role. The overall direction will be challenged to find that common ground from all of the stories. Regarding your experience, can you give 3 keywords that ARFF International provides to the filmmakers? Exposure, support, community. Ed HartmanSoundtrack | Composer | Producer

Astral Story Q&A

SIFF 2019: RETROSPECTIVE: AS THE EARTH TURNS Posted on May 30, 2019 by Calvin Kemph Reading time 5 minutes Richard Lyford was one of our area’s first independent filmmakers. For nearly eighty years, his silent picture, As the Earth Turns, has gone unseen. It’s a prescient and foreboding warning echoing out of the heightened pre-war nervousness of 1938. World War II was coming. The film foretells of America’s over-involvement overseas, predicting the coming conflict with great effect and specificity. It also applies to the modern day (not the fascism, but yes that too), warning of imminent catastrophic global warming. The great appeal of something like As the Earth Turns is how long we have had to wait. Now we get the chance for an old message to find its intended audience when it needs to be heard. It spent so many years in its author’s basement, among a collection of interesting and unproduced independent work. It came right before the first boom of independence, with further accessibility provided to moviemakers after the war. As such, it wears the caustic time of its production on its sleeve. Early methods of shooting models for As the Earth Turns, 1938. Local composer Ed Hartman has given the silent film his voice. He figures, in an interview with King5, that the music he’s selected is “very close to the music of the era that he’d have been working with, so [he] feels good about the choices they’ve made,” and it rings especially true in context. The new music brings the old film home. Ed Hartman has designed a soundtrack the informs and often comments on the film’s central action, the tapping of a desk given percussive elements, or escalating sounds conveying the tone of the conceit. Director Richard Lyford proves ahead of his time. He was readily experimenting with triple exposures – creating cross-fading images of war on multiple fronts, befit with news clippings that deliver context. He does fantastic work for miniatures. This is born out in his following career. After his independent experiments, Lyford was brought on board Disney to work on projects like Fantasia (1940), often situating miniatures and figures to aide the animators in their sketching. He would go on to win an Academy Award for his documentary The Titan Story of Michelangelo (1950), which connected the internal passions of the subject with his work on art. As the Earth Turns. Dir. Richard Lynford. In the film, Lyford plays Pax, an environmentalist intent on stopping the big planet threatening war at all costs. He’s received by a news organization and Julie (Barbara Berger) – a reporter ready for the story that’ll elevate her career. It plays out between the newsroom and several Seattle specific locations. Many shots take place around the Boeing field, providing a great opportunity for aviation shots. There are also segments filmed at an operational Gas Works Park – then still a gasification plant. The story is they were chased out of the plant, and that is what gets captured in the film. Some great silent acting is played out in the newsroom, while the Seattle specific locations provide a great hook for discovering this film at the festival. The film has spent eighty years buried at the Seattle home of Richard Lyford. It is a great delight to uncover it and provide some context for our readers. The film makes its premiere at SIFF on June 1. Outside people close to the authors, likely nobody around for the festival, have seen this work. Getting new scores for lost silent films is always an enticing prospect. Covering a local and lost silent film? Well, this is exactly the kind of piece we needed to create a film site for. ” - Calvin Kemph

MBIFF talks to Ed Hartman about the unique film project, As The Earth Turns. Ed Hartman, Composer, Song Writer, All around musical talent, discusses the joys of bringing new life into a film that is over 80 years old.   ” - MBIFF

Myrtle Beach International Film Festival

45th Annual Seattle International Film Festival: The Remarkable Recovery of the Homegrown Spec-fi Flick As The Earth Turns (1938/2019) One of the most exciting discoveries in the archival offerings of Seattle International Film Festival 2019 is a silent spec-fi film that has been out of circulation for eighty years. Made in Seattle by director, producer and star Richard Lyford, As the Earth Turns (1938) is an innovative, exhilarating independent production. This Friday, a restoration of the film with a new score will screen at SIFF Uptown with restoration producer Kim Lyford Bishop and restoration producer/score composer Ed Hartman scheduled to attend.As the Earth Turns opens in a conflicted world, where Europe is at war. Young, ambitious American reporter Julie Weston (Barbara Berger) begs her editor for better opportunities, and gets it when he sends her to a Naval radio station to look for stories in the flood of messages constantly streaming into the base. She gets a big one: the mysteriously named Pax sends a wire demanding peace, or else he while increase the length of the day five minutes.Pax isn’t taken seriously at first, but when he does successfully change time, and then follows up on his promises of earthquakes and weather changes (shades of climate change); government officials begin to take him seriously. However, it is the clever Julie and her associates who ultimately uncover the mystery of Pax and his ironically destructive approach to seeking peace.Lyford was only twenty-years-old when he made As the Earth Turns, and by that time he’d already written 50 plays and made nine unreleased films. He clearly had a remarkable knack for filmmaking; while the film is clearly low-budget, the production is far from cheap. Lyford combines sleek, innovative effects work with a lively story, able cast, and intertitles that have a pleasing touch of wit. His fascinating model work (including a gorgeous “high-tech” airplane) anticipates the great sci-fi flicks of the 1950s, while his camera work is off kilter and inventive in an Avant garde way.In a uniformly appealing cast, Berger is the stand-out. Unlike the glamour girl reporters in Hollywood productions of the time, she is refreshingly natural and straightforward. It’s a shame this was her only film role.Lyford is also magnificent in a slightly campy, but ultimately touching performance as Pax. With a raised eyebrow and shaking fist, he is enormously entertaining, but never excessively cartoonish. He clearly had the ability to master any aspect of filmmaking and embraced the indie spirit of doing whatever it took to get the job done.Hartman’s new score is a fine complement to this new release. It is period appropriate, but with a modern feel, which is appropriate for the forward-thinking tone of the film.Seattleites will enjoy the extensive location shooting amidst Pacific Northwest greenery. There are also scenes set on the streets of Seattle, on Boeing Field, and at Gasworks Park when it was still a functioning gas plant.Lyford would eventually move to Hollywood, where he would direct documentary shorts for Disney. He is perhaps most famous for his television documentary Island of Allah (1956) and the short The Titan: Story of Michelangelo (1950), a film which won the Academy Award for documentary feature.This is a festival must-see for fans of classic film. It’s a marvelous discovery.” - Kendahl Cruver

(Interview: As The Earth Turns": Let's Talk with Creative Genius Ed Hartman For 80 years the 16mm movie reels have been hiding. Why hasn't Richard Lyford's work been shown before now? What did they do with his body? Hauntings in the Seattle area? Synchronicities with future events? Join Inspirado and me for a fascinating conversation with Ed Hartman as we unravel some of the mysteries behind this film masterpiece. Ed Hartman has scored many films in the past but this one, in particular, is compelling him to take it beyond initial expectations. The film has already won countless awards across the globe and was recently featured in the Kapow Intergalactic Film Festival in North Hollywood, California. It is a silent film with lots of communication - Ed Hartman's music is astounding. For more information about the project visit and The podcasts STRONG BODY STRONG SOUL and INSPIRADO PROJECTO can be found on most audio platforms.  ” - Strong Body Strong Soul


As the Earth Turns In 1938, a 20-year-old Seattleite named Richard Lyford made an oddball sci-fi film called As the Earth Turns, in which a young reporter who wants a meaty story ends up finding one in the form of an anti-war activist named PAX. The movie has been unavailable since it was made, but now Northwest Film Forum is showing a newly restored print. If you’re a local film geek or historian, As the Earth Turns is essential viewing. In a city whose film identity is largely wrapped up in small DIY passion projects, the movie is an early little indie—black and white, silent, with goofy little models standing in for trains and planes—made only the year before big budget technicolor blowouts like Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. Sept 29, 2pm” - Stefan Milne

Seattle Met

For SIFF 2019, people are doing it for themselves Whether in politics, comedy, or films that blur the two IMAGE 1 OF 22 As the Earth Turns What SIFF says: Available for the first time in over 80 years, this 1938 Seattle-shot silent film tells of an apocalyptic future war that could devastate the planet. This presentation is accompanied by a new score from local composer Ed Hartman ” - Zosha Millman

Seattle P.I.

Ed Hartman

Ed Hartman, Soundtrack: The Blind Side. Ed Hartman scores percussive, orchestral, jazz, pop, rock, Latin, world and electronic music. Ed's music has been heard on television (HBO, NBC, ABC, CBS, MTV, Discovery, Green, TLC, WE, Travel, Women, Animal Planet, MSNBC) and in feature films, shorts commercials, documentaries and even a planetarium.