An obscure silent melodrama reveals an odd niche in British social history: Trapped By the Mormons (1922) was a fumbled piece of propaganda intended to warn English women of the dangers posed by the misunderstood American sect.
Some comments about the past year’s DVD and Blu-ray releases.
The BFI Blu-ray release of Arthur Robison’s The Informer (1929) offers a fascinating glimpse of the sometimes rocky transition from silent cinema to sound, with restorations of the original silent version and the partial Talkie made simultaneously.
2016 was an impressive year for movies on disk, with a wide variety of new and classic releases, prestige productions and exploitation, and some interesting rediscoveries … too many to pick just a handful of “bests”.
It’s remarkable that it’s still possible to discover a previously unknown yet major film from the silent era, but the BFI’s new release of Anthony Asquith’s first feature, Shooting Stars (1928) is a revelation; a fresh, self-aware film about filmmaking and the intersection of real and imaginary lives.
A round-up of recent disk-watching ranges from comedy to horror, mock-umentary to documentary, a poverty row classic and major discovery from the late silent period.
Despite perennial predictions of the demise of movies-on-disk, 2014 offered a rich and varied selection of new and old titles in often impressive editions from many different companies, though not necessarily from major distributors. The cream came from specialty labels like Criterion, the BFI, Arrow, Eureka/Masters of Cinema, Shout! Factory, Olive Films, Kino Lorber, Flicker Alley and Twilight Time.
Guest blogger Howard Curle continues his investigation of the silent Weimar feature Harbour Drift (1929) through a look at the film’s producer Willi Munzenberg and the film’s critical reception.
Guest blogger Howard Curle discovered a fascinating, previously unknown film and filmmaker at the 2014 San Francisco Silent Film Festival: Harbour Drift by Leo Mittler.
Criterion introduces the great Carl Theodor Dreyer to Blue-ray with their release of his remarkable chamber drama Master of the House (1925).