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Silent Films on DVD

Posted: April 23rd, 2007, 3:23 pm
by filmlover
Please review silent film DVDs here, thanks. When reviewing, good things to keep in mind that people want to know: how good was the film quality, was the film itself any good, what were the extras and how good were they, was there a good commentary, etc. You know, stuff you would like to know if you were thinking about buying a particular DVD.

Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 (20

Posted: March 13th, 2008, 7:48 am
by silentscreen
I picked up this collection and it's well worth the money! Not only are the prints from the best archival sources, but the menu is very user friendly and the commentaries educational. This third set from the highly acclaimed series produced by Image comes from material preserved by the George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Archives, and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. A must have for any serious collector of motion picture history!

Films include: The Black Hand, How They Rob Men in Chicago, The Voice of the Violin, The Usurer's Grip, From the Submerged, Hope-A Red Cross Seal Story, The Cost of Carelessness, LIghts and Shadows in a City of a Million, The Soul of Youth, A Call for Help from Sing Sing!, 6 Million American Children Are Not in School, Kansas Saloon Smashers, Why Mr. Nation Wants a Divorce, Trial Marriages, Manhattan Trade School for Girls, The Strong Arm Squad of the Future, A Lively Affair, A Suffragette in Spite of Himself, On to Washington, The Hazards of Helen, Where Are My Children?, The Courage of the Commonplace, Poor Mrs. Jones!, The Crime of Carelessness, Listen to Some Words of Wisdom, Cecil B. DeMille's The Godless Girl, Emigrants Landing at Ellis Island, An American in the Making, Ramona, Redskin, The United Snakes of America, 100% American, Bud's Recruit, The Reawakening and more!

Stand outs for me were the Mary Pickford films, 100% American and Ramona, Cecil B. DeMille's The Godless Girl, William Desmond Taylor's The Soul of Youth, King Vidor's Bud's Recruit, and the two strip Technicolor film, Redskin.

Posted: March 13th, 2008, 9:06 am
by SSO Admins
I have Treasures III at home but have not gotten around to watching it yet. I'll be sure to fix that soon.

Have you read Kevin Brownlow's book <i>Behind the Mask of Innocence</i>? He looks at the early social films, many of which no longer exist. A fair amount of the book is dependent on surviving scripts, reviews and other contemporary writings. But it's nevertheles a fascinating look at how these issues played out in the political landscape of the early 20th century. It's highly recommended.

Posted: March 13th, 2008, 9:57 am
by silentscreen
No I haven't read that book. I'll have to see if the library has a copy. It sounds like an excellent companion to the set. :)

Posted: March 13th, 2008, 3:16 pm
by charliechaplinfan
Jondaris, I've just started that book. I'm only a few pages in to it but I'm hooked already. I enjoyed The Parade's Gone By so much, Kevin Brownlow writes with clarity. Books like these take me a while to get through because I have to rewatch films to get the full impact of the book.

Don't expect a review anytime soon :D . but I am enjoying it :D

Posted: March 13th, 2008, 4:14 pm
by SSO Admins
Just try to finish it by April 14. :)

Posted: March 14th, 2008, 2:23 pm
by charliechaplinfan
I'm not here I'm on holiday :cry: :D I can't be sad really the holiday will be lovely. I can't wait to read what he has to say. I hope everyone has lots of question for him to answer.

Posted: March 16th, 2008, 3:15 pm
by Synnove
I bought the Saved From the Flames set from Flicker Alley. I had to import it from the US, but it was worth it: this is a very worthwhile collection of quirky films for anyone who enjoys the bizarre. I especially love the early experimental films in sound and colour, and the comedies. They are amusing, and a great look at the past. I think these films get shown at a festival in France every year, I can see why they are such a hit since they have a lot of charm and a generous dose of weirdness which is appealing. The French commercials will make you smile, the dancing pig will give you nightmares. Lovely stuff.

Posted: April 14th, 2008, 8:16 am
by Ann Harding

Marcel L'Herbier's L'Argent (1929) with Brigitte Helm and Pierre Alcover is coming out on R2 DVD on April 24th.
This is a special edition 2 DVD set including Jean Dreville's documentary about the making of the film: A propos de l'Argent. Probably the first case ever of 'Making Of' a film. 8)

Posted: April 16th, 2008, 9:00 am
by Ollie
I'm totally uneducated on this development, so I'll ask it here.

Is there any 'graphic substitution' of narrative or text frames in different languages among Silent Films? That is, rather than merely 'subtitle' an existing text-frame, do you see DVDs with those text-boxes replaced by the selected language?

(I would not vote either way, frankly. When I am semi-literate in languages, I often prefer seeing subtitles in a more comfortably-understood language so I can improve those translation limits.)

Posted: April 16th, 2008, 9:32 am
by Ann Harding
In general, DVD release respect the original language of the title cards. if you want a translation, you get subs underneath.

That said, Kino -for example- releases all its silents with English title cards instead of the original. A bit of a shame, really!

There is also the case when the print of a silent is rediscovered and the language of the subs do not match the original. For example, a American silent might be in Russian. In this case, a bit of work is necessary as most of the time, the title cards are not a direct translation of the original. Each country adapted the film for its own purpose! So a film historian has to go back to the original script to recreate the titles as best as possible.

I hope it's clear! :wink:

Posted: April 16th, 2008, 11:24 am
by Ollie
Yes, "title cards" - thanks.

A few moments after I'd posted this, I thought of too many examples where the subtitles used dumbed-down, too-simplified and occasionally wrong choices to the native language track. I can only wonder about those stickler directors and writers who are infamous for "never touch a word of MY dialog!" battles, only to discover the subtitles to the rest of the world are worse!

And etched into DVD-stone.

Re: Silent Films on DVD

Posted: October 16th, 2009, 7:28 am
by MichiganJ
The three-part adventure serial Miss Mend will be released on DVD from Flicker Alley on 12/15. Directed by Boris Barnet and Fedor Ozep, Miss Mend was one of the most successful films in the Soviet Union in the 20's, a film the Soviet press regarded as a prime example of that shameless "Western-style" entertainment.

Includes a new orchestral score by Robert Israel, this one, for me, is a no-brainer.

Re: Silent Films on DVD

Posted: October 17th, 2009, 5:08 am
by rudyfan
Captain Blood: (1924)
Directed by David Smith & Albert E. Smith
J. Warren Kerrigan ... Capt. Peter Blood
Jean Paige ... Arabella Bishop
Charlotte Merriam ... Mary Traill
James Morrison ... Jeremy Pitt
Allan Forrest ... Lord Julian Wade

I'm assuming we all know the 1935 talkie version of Sabatini's swashbuckling novel. I've long wanted to see this film and had hoped a complete version yet survived (such as the Milton Sills version of Sabatini's The Sea Hawk). Alas, at 31 minutes, this DVD is all of the surviving footage of this classic film. Grapevine's website states the narrative is complete. Truncated, yes, and very choppy. It's sad to see what is left of what appeared to be a lavish production and like many a silent film, very true in spirit to the original source. The print quality is alternately murky and fuzzy. If this is all we have left, too bad, most of the swash in this buckle has been lost to the ages. To satisfy one's curiosity, $5.99 is not a bad investment, but be warned, not much left of the film and the print quality is fair. The music score is a fun "needle drop" version of a score.

I just recently scored a haul of silent dvds, I'll be back, loads to watch. :D

May I second, third on Brownlow's Behind the Mask of Innocence. His The War, The West and The Wilderness is also a fabulous and engrossing read if you have not yet read it.

Re: Silent Films on DVD

Posted: October 17th, 2009, 2:46 pm
by charliechaplinfan
Donna, that's a book I need to find, he's my favorite author.