Silent Film on DVD and BD

Discuss North American DVDs and Blu-rays or other DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

Silent Film on DVD and BD

#1 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Mar 16, 2006 10:03 pm

have come to a screeching halt after three straight years of collector's absolute paradise.

Ending with the Late 04 zone w Kino releasing the final Lang silents plus the gay themed German silents (plus Tourneur Senior... ah the BLUE BIRD), and Image releasing the Dreyer LEAVES as well as the double Chaney 1919 films WICKED DARLING/VICTORY.... what happened?

We were rolling along so nicely I couldn't keep up with everything. Each month there were new Milestone, Kino, Image releases... plus ahem 3 CC titles.

Everything seems to have screeched to a halt. Sure we got the Lloyd box plus undiscovered Chaplin but silent comedy is not what I'm talking about. (nor is DeMille i e WHY CHANGE YOUR HUSBAND/WIFE etc) There is so so so much yet to be released. I know Warner is going to step up & do its bit w Greed & THE WIND etc, plus the VIdors... but I have nice VHS's of all that stuff & so will be no mind-blowing discovery. There's so much German & Swedish & Japanese & French & American (eyes open for BEYOND THE ROCKS) silent stuff waiting in the vaults... o and uh Russian.

I'm starting to get the shakes I need a fix so bad....

WHAT HAPPENED?

User avatar
What A Disgrace
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 10:34 pm
Contact:

#2 Post by What A Disgrace » Thu Mar 16, 2006 10:35 pm

Well, Kino has promised to release three films by Mauritz Stiller this year. It doesn't seem like there's much else on the horizon...one can only hope that some of the classier R2 joints can release some; or more, silent films. Frankly, I trust them more than Kino and Image.

The lack of silent films in the Criterion Collection is appauling, but somewhat understandable. I imagine it would be difficult to stir up adequate (supplementary) materials for The Blue Bird, or The Mysterious X. But not for Limite or Happiness, you know? C'mon.

Also, have you seen Image's Before There Was Hollywood, There Was Fort Lee, NJ? It contains Tourneur's The Wishing Ring (odd that this film is longer than the disc's title documentary); and a very nice transfer as far as silent films go; not to mention the excellent condition of the print). I wouldn't call it a masterpiece, but its a delightful silent film, and one of the best pre-Birth of a Nation films.

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#3 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:02 pm

Yeah... Kino had promised Sjostrom's THE SCARLET LETTER w Gish, but this has now vanished from the schedule.

Things are coming out in little drips & drabs here & there, but nowhere near the rate as before. We had the Edison box and some of the stuff in the two Avant Garde sets fm Kino & Image... but there's so many great films out there-- German stuff in particular is what I'm waiting for.

I've never seen the disc you mentioned above. SPeaking of pre-Birth titles (Griffith had nothing it seems on George Loane Tucker... ever see TRAFFIC IN SOULS fm 1913?.. and of course Raoul Walsh, as 1915's REGENERATION is fabulous) I'd love to see more of the grand scale italian epics which Griffith was ripping off ad hoc in the years 1913-16 i e CABIRIA & LAST DAYS OF POMPEII & QUO VADIS (never saw the latter).

User avatar
What A Disgrace
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 10:34 pm
Contact:

#4 Post by What A Disgrace » Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:22 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:Yeah... Kino had promised Sjostrom's THE SCARLET LETTER w Gish, but this has now vanished from the schedule.
I'm pretty sure Warner owns the rights to this film...if I'm not mistaken, wasn't it mentioned by name in the recent chat, alongside Greed, The Big Parade, and The Wind?

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#5 Post by zedz » Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:22 pm

The most impressive pre-Birth of a Nation feature I've seen is Christensen's Sealed Orders / The Mysterious X - brilliant use of composition in depth to tell several strands of his story at once, in the absence of sophisticated montage. (And the advance in Christensen's style evident in Blind Justice two years later is breathtaking).

Scandinavian cinema led the world in the teens, and I think the dearth of key titles is probably the most urgent Silents-on-DVD issue. The Stillers will be a start, but I'd be overjoyed if MoC made this their next area of focus.

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#6 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:32 pm

What A Disgrace wrote:
HerrSchreck wrote:Yeah... Kino had promised Sjostrom's THE SCARLET LETTER w Gish, but this has now vanished from the schedule.
I'm pretty sure Warner owns the rights to this film...if I'm not mistaken, wasn't it mentioned by name in the recent chat, alongside Greed, The Big Parade, and The Wind?
I was going to write that I had heard that, but didn't trust my memory.

Good-- that's good.
zedz wrote:The most impressive pre-Birth of a Nation feature I've seen is Christensen's Sealed Orders / The Mysterious X - brilliant use of composition in depth to tell several strands of his story at once, in the absence of sophisticated montage. (And the advance in Christensen's style evident in Blind Justice two years later is breathtaking).

Scandinavian cinema led the world in the teens, and I think the dearth of key titles is probably the most urgent Silents-on-DVD issue. The Stillers will be a start, but I'd be overjoyed if MoC made this their next area of focus.
Ever see Cabiria? Just want to be sure we're all on the same page. That's pretty amazing stuff.

And the wild card is Yevgeni Bauer. Anyone who hasn't seen the MAD LOVE dvd from BFI or Milestone must see this to re-evaluate Griffith, the Italians, etc. The man was simply amazing.

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#7 Post by zedz » Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:48 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:Ever see Cabiria? Just want to be sure we're all on the same page. That's pretty amazing stuff.
What strikes me about the Scandinavians (this is particularly true of Stiller's comedies) is the sophistication of their content and storytelling. Subtle acting, adult themes, sly humour - the kind of stuff you didn't see in Hollywood for a good ten years (and generally at the hands of the Europeans). While Griffith was doing Victorian melodrama, Stiller was doing 30s Lubitsch. Love and Journalism was made in 1916, for heaven's sake!

Dazzling spectacle and special effects (Cabiria, Intolerance, Metropolis) were the areas in which many of the acknowledged leaders of the medium were competing, but I'm much more interested in the other side of cinema at the time. Consequently, I rank Stiller's comedies much higher than things like his Sir Arne's Treasure or Sjostrom's Phantom Carriage (films which can certainly go toe-to-toe against anything of the time in terms of spectacle / FX).

Whatever your preferences, it should all be released!

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#8 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:54 pm

zedz wrote:
the sophistication of their content and storytelling. Subtle acting, adult themes, sly humour - the kind of stuff you didn't see in Hollywood for a good ten years (and generally at the hands of the Europeans).!
If you havent checked him out then, Yevgeni Bauer is your man-- buy MAD LOVE.

User avatar
ola t
They call us neo-cinephiles
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:51 am
Location: Malmo, Sweden

#9 Post by ola t » Fri Mar 17, 2006 6:18 am

HerrSchreck wrote:WHAT HAPPENED?
One thing that happened is that the Swedish Film Institute got their funding cut back and consequently dismantled their line of DVD releases just as they were (rumored to be) about to release a whole bunch of restored Swedish silents. When or if we'll ever see them is anyone's guess.

User avatar
Ashirg
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:10 am
Location: Atlanta

#10 Post by Ashirg » Fri Mar 17, 2006 7:05 am

Danish Film Institute are still planning to release 3 more discs in 2006 -
Atlantis
August Blom, 1913

Science Fiction
Verdens Undergang, 1916
Himmelskibet, 1918

A.W. Sandberg
David Copperfield, 1925
Klovnen, 1926

unclehulot
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:09 pm
Location: here and there

#11 Post by unclehulot » Fri Mar 17, 2006 12:21 pm

Of course one reason that Image has had fewer releases was the huge undertaking of the Unseen Cinema project.


Ditto the high opinion of Christensen's Sealed Orders, surely one of the top debut films of all time, perhaps equaled only by Kurosawa. BTW, Nicheflix has that disc for rent.

User avatar
lubitsch
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:20 pm

#12 Post by lubitsch » Fri Mar 17, 2006 2:10 pm

Wit Warner releasing GREED, THE BIG PARADE, THE CROWD, SHOW PEOPLE, THE SCARLET LETTER and THE WIND, a LON CHANEY Collection with TELL IT TO THE MARINES, HE WHO GETS SLAPPED and UNHOLY THREE AND the SILENT THE PRISONER OF ZENDA this year or next, some essential movies will see the light of the DVD.
Paramount and their silents are still a weak link, but I guess Kino and Image will continue their good word.
And in october this year Transit will release a five part Lubitsch silent collection ... things could be worse.

User avatar
Rufus T. Firefly
Go, and never darken my towels again!
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2004 4:24 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

#13 Post by Rufus T. Firefly » Sat Mar 18, 2006 12:25 am

I hear that David Shepard is working on a double feature of True Heart Susie and Hoodoo Ann. Some other company is releasing The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse shortly (can't recall who). Apart from The Clinging Vine, Beyond the Rocks and the others mentioned, there's not much on the horizon.

User avatar
Lino
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:18 am
Location: Sitting End
Contact:

#14 Post by Lino » Sat Mar 18, 2006 4:45 am

This is interesting: Cabiria gets a restoration -

http://www.cinematical.com/2006/03/17/i ... -restored/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#15 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Mar 18, 2006 9:42 am

Annie Mall wrote:This is interesting: Cabiria gets a restoration -

http://www.cinematical.com/2006/03/17/i ... -restored/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Oh my god, this is fantastic news (including the news dropped by Lubitsch about Lubitsch silents coming out of Transit... absolutely excellent, maybe we'll get those awesome historical epics as well as DIE PUPPE in a nice edition).

But the Cabiria news is fantastic. One thing I wanted to mention to zeds aside from the Bauer recommend (I had to shut down premature on thurs eve) is that CABIRIA is so much more than Special Effects. It sounds like-- and zedz I say this without any condescention-- you've only read about CABIRIA and have it pegged only for the most stupendous set pieces i e the Moloch scene, which is why you categorized it with METROPOLIS (which couldn't be more different). Most texts on silents link these two films because of the gigantic tour-de-force images of a breathtaking moloch devouring his human meat. But this is but a single moment in a vastly rewarding and often intimate, highly detailed and painterly film, rich with very fluid & subjective camera movement and poetic nuance (Gabriel D's intertitles are some of the most lyrical in the whole of the silent cinema)... not to mention running threads of seperate narrative developing in innovative & sophisticated parallel. All that location shooting in the mountains, the complex narrative, Sophinisba feeding her leopard milk! Ahhh...

In the very early zone of silent cinema, it's easy to be fooled by the texts one turns to to get a sense of what's worth watching, and suspect that what is mentioned as 'innovative' by the authors represents all that "works" in the films viz the perspective of today, with the rest being stodgy musty old rediculousness. But CABIRIA is way ahead of it's time (ahead of today actually!) a complete, full, stunning masterpiece in all zones, sharing much with Kurosawa's & Lean's (maybe L.V.'s LEOPARD, maybe Eisenstein) vast historical epics filled with rich 3 dimensional characters, the sum much more than those stupendous scenes which are most singled out for mention in the texts.

Anyhow, thanks to all for filling in the blanks-- I'm excited again... withdrawal symptoms starting to subside.

User avatar
htdm
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 3:46 am

#16 Post by htdm » Sat Mar 18, 2006 1:45 pm

Rufus T. Firefly wrote:Some other company is releasing The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse shortly (can't recall who).
This is being released by Delta, a company I'm not familiar with. The disc is "Rudolph Valentino: The Great Lover" and Horsemen is just one of the extras. Other extras include an audio file of Valentino singing the Kashmir Song, a filmography, and list of locations. With a price point of US$7 I'm not expecting much, but at least someone is trying to put out silent titles that haven't yet been released.

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#17 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Mar 18, 2006 2:01 pm

dmkb wrote:
Rufus T. Firefly wrote:Some other company is releasing The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse shortly (can't recall who).
This is being released by Delta, a company I'm not familiar with. The disc is "Rudolph Valentino: The Great Lover" and Horsemen is just one of the extras. Other extras include an audio file of Valentino singing the Kashmir Song, a filmography, and list of locations. With a price point of US$7 I'm not expecting much, but at least someone is trying to put out silent titles that haven't yet been released.
ALPHA beta gamma... DELTA... hmmm. Must check oldies.com (and beware, though I confess I own at least 7-10 ALPHA titles... THE BAT, HUNCHBACK (till Kino produces), D. Espers MARIHUANA WEED W ROOTS IN HELL, THE COCAINE FEINDS, CHAINED FOR LIFE (The Hilton Sisters!), CHILD BRIDE (!), some Clifton exploiters, THE BRAIN/HEAD THAT WOULDN'T DIE, THE PHANTOM PLANET. Also DETOUR before the other releases came out. And SHADOWS w Chaney. I find them worth the money for getting telecine on cheapshit movies that played in filthy blowjob theaters in the junky part of town back in the 30s-50's. A very special breed of delicacy rarely touched by decent DVD co's (save for VCI/Something Weird ), and they do put out many silents.

Speaking of B.A.D. I just saw ROBOT MONSTER (Elmer Bernstein!) for the first time last weekend. Wow. Dogs around the world lifted their heads out from between their legs & tipped their heads in confusion while that thing rolled.

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#19 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Mar 19, 2006 1:13 am

davidhare wrote:Phil Tucker - auteur supreme!

"For I am RO-Man and she is HU-man.

I must, yet I cannot..
I cannot, yet I must."

(Not to mention hunky George Nader "doing shame time" as outed gay star to displace Rock for Universal.)

Sublime!
Ah.. a connessieur.

The bubbles alone are worth ten KANES.

Does anybody know anything about the film mentioned below or the company "Golden Age Pub" Bennet mentions on his site listing?. The film sounds kind of interesting (by nature of the preservation-beast, b-films from the silent era were the first to decompose via neglect & be mostly lost), being from a 35mm print... but the co's link (after you click on the primary link Carl provides, which brings you to GA's splash page) for the film itself brings you to a dead Geocities page.

http://www.silentera.com/DVD/robesofSinDVD.html

Speaking of gay subtext-- my gaydar, especially for older films, may not be most reliable... but Dave did you ever see the aforementioned PHANTOM PLANET? The lead with his bare chest & bad blonde dye job, his comrade with the excellent makeup job... getting seperated & losing their Rocket... blond guy landing on the planet looking very defensive & forced to marry sneering triumphal women on Raton, disturbed by their neutering him by jettisoning his Rocket.

Am I out of order here?

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#20 Post by zedz » Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:12 am

lubitsch wrote:With Warner releasing . . . a LON CHANEY Collection with . . . HE WHO GETS SLAPPED.
He Who Gets Slapped is a dazzling film - with plenty of those "when was this made?" moments, and the product of another of those fabulous Swedes. I think this is my favourite Sjostrom: so many brilliant and unexpected visual storytelling ideas throughout, and maybe Chaney's best performance.

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#22 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:35 am

Yes SLAPPED (and TELL IT TO THE MARINES) are my last, most eagerly awaited unseen Lon's. It's infuriating the missing Sjostrom's (and I agree w you zedz that although it's true that PHANTOM CHARIOT/COACH is sinfully missing on DVD, it is not representative of the best of the swedish silent cinema which is missing and was so influential straight thru to today) which have been skipped over. I think we'll get some satisfaction for these more subtle, but hugely influential-- including swedes-->Lubitsch--->Japanese(!!)-- titles representing this more intimate & subtle filmmaking style, between the Warner Sjostroms, the Kino Stillers, and the Transit Lubitsches (mentioned by his namesake-participant above) A Swedish film fanatic who was rarely mentioned as being so-influenced, being such a major player in his own "movement" (i e expressionsm) was Murnau, who was prompted to get his camera out in the fields & hills to capture the subtleties of nature with his early 20's material including NOSFERATU (the use of nature usually being considered an original re-directing of the expressionist dictum out of the studio, which may be true, yet was still very much a residue of his Swedish observations) but more especially Der Gang In Der Nacht, Brennener Acker and Phantom, w his use of cinematographers Axel Graatkjaer Theophan Ouchakoff. If Kino merely keeps at par with their other silent releases which have rarely been bad (mostly Transit-Films Cineteca Bologna material for European silents), we should have something nice to look forward to w the Stillers. The biggest threat to our hi-rez screens will be nonpreconverted digital beta.

Dave there's a oop Image disc of PHANTOM PLANET, but Alpha has a perfectly fine disc of it on the market now for a few bucks. Image quality if I remember correct is about BEHIND LOCKED DOORS... that is, interlaced but quite watchable.

rlendog
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:30 pm

#23 Post by rlendog » Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:34 pm

I am mostly hoping for Fox Studio Classics to get around to releasing Murnau's City Girl and Borzage's 7th Heaven and Street Angel.

User avatar
justeleblanc
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:05 pm
Location: Connecticut

#24 Post by justeleblanc » Thu Mar 23, 2006 3:12 pm

rlendog wrote:I am mostly hoping for Fox Studio Classics to get around to releasing Murnau's City Girl and Borzage's 7th Heaven and Street Angel.
I wouldn't mind a Silent box where they re-release a 2 disc set of Sunrise.

User avatar
Ashirg
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:10 am
Location: Atlanta

#25 Post by Ashirg » Thu Mar 23, 2006 3:30 pm

Kino is releasing 3 Mauritz Stiller silents on June 6th or July 11th.
Erotikon
Sir Arne's Treasure
The Saga of Gosta Berling

All three films feature Rediscovering Sweden: Peter Cowie Introduces the Films of Mauritz Stiller. Gosta Berling will also include Excerpts from Garbo's early films, including Luffarpetter and Newsreel footage of Garbo's departure from Sweden.

Post Reply