"Way Down East" (1920) on Blu-ray. Melodrama of the First Water!

Woo Hoo! They just don't make 'em like THIS any more!

Lottie Blair Parker's hit play from 1898 -- originally known in contracted form as, 'Way Down East -- that is, 'Way for Away -- was a moralizing melodrama, ALREADY considered dated by 1920. Indeed, the term "hoary" would even be appropriate.  But D.W. Griffith felt so strongly he could make something of it he went all in, paying an astounding $175K for the rights, and spending $700K, all told, to make the film. Contrast with his, "Birth of a Nation", which had a total cost of $112K.

Well, turns out he was right! The film grossed $4.5M -- a major money maker for Griffith, and the 4th highest grossing film of the entire, silent era!

Read More

"The Black Pirate" (1926) on Blu-ray -- A Tale of Old Hollywood!

WOW! Come on, me hearties it's time to buckle your swash!

Cast your mind back:

It's 1926, and Douglas Fairbanks, then 42 and owner of his own studio, has decided he wants to get away from the more, light-comedy, action roles he's recently been playing and make a full-on, all-action movie.

About pirates!

AND he wants to do it in full color!

Read More

"The Thief of Bagdad: An Arabian Nights Fantasy" (1924) on Blu-ray. They Just Don't Make 'em Like THIS Anymore!

Wow!  THIS is why we watch restored classic films!

Douglas Fairbanks' fantasy epic is presented here in a new digital restoration; the first output from the Cohen Media Group's acquisition of the famed Rohauer Film Collection in 2011.  This is a new, 2K scan made from two, separate, acetate dup negatives, struck from original nitrate prints in the 50s.  The scan has been treated to extensive digital restoration, and digital tinting matching the original print instructions.  And the results are flat out terrific!

Read More

"It" (1927) on SD-DVD -- A Tale of Old Hollywood!

How much is a word worth?  In the case of "It", the answer is $50,000, and that in 1920s dollars!  That's how much Paramount Studios paid to "Madame" Elinor Glyn, to use her clever idea of giving polite society a way to talk about sex appeal: By assigning it an innocuous name!

Glyn, described in the Film Historian's Commentary track as, "A hack writer for Cosmopolitan Magazine", also got a cameo appearance out of the deal; portraying herself in the film.  Cosmo also got some "product placement" in the film -- before that concept had even been invented!

Read More

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1923) on Blu-ray -- A Tale of Old Hollywood!

In the early 20s, Carl Laemmle, Senior's, Universal Pictures was a DISTINCTLY 2nd tier studio.  "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" would change all that, but not without a struggle!

It was Lon Chaney, himself, who pushed for the picture to be made; only to run into road blocks and indifference.  The general consensus was, Hollywood Studios of the time were incapable of producing such a massively staged, period piece.

Read More