Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

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Dean Thompson

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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostThu Dec 22, 2016 11:59 am

[/quote][/quote]ote="Gaucho"]I'd be pleased if they also kept the Gaylord Carter scores--excellent imho.[/quote]

Amen to that. When I think of the Paramount silents released on VHS so long ago, I still hear Carter at key points. As fine as the two scores (by Robert Israel and by Donald Sosin & Joanna Seaton) are on the Criterion DOCKS OF NEW YORK, it's Carter who for my money best captures the tenderness of the wedding scene.
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostThu Dec 22, 2016 3:53 pm

I'd be elated to see both an evocative orchestral score and Gaylord Carter organ score offered with these films. One of the greatest attributes of disc formats (DVD & BD) is the space for optional music tracks. IMO, it's a serious mistake to eschew optional scores for silent features especially since there's no clear consensus on what constitutes appropriate silent music. In so many instances, music plays a crucial role in the cinematic experience. Some folks prefer organ and/or piano scoring as representing the ideal silent film experience, ...others, are convinced that it takes a full orchestral or chamber orchestra score to hit all the right notes. Whichever preference, musical arrangements are a partnership of sound and visual experience that transcends time. What's less desirable is modern music that takes the audience out of the period setting.

One caveat regarding experimental scoring. Occasionally more modern avant garde music does work well (Man With a Camera as scored by the Alloy Orchestra for instance) is a happy coincidence, but too often contemporary scoring creates a distraction effectively removing the audience from a visceral connection to the period. Trip to the Moon scored by the experimental group Air and Variety with Tiger Lillies composition immediately come to mind. Maybe it's just me, but if unconventional scores are going to be included, then I'd prefer to see conventional options provided as an alternative whenever possible (preferably orchestral). It just makes no sense to alienate half your potential customer base when a simple alternative could be provided.

Sorry 'bout the rant, ...It's a plea from the orchestra pit rather than a soap box (mosh pit options notwithstanding). :lol:
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostThu Dec 22, 2016 6:04 pm

smokey15 wrote:I'm a little confused as I tried to read all the prior posts on this thread. Is Beggars Of Life actually going to be released by Kino? And if it is, I would hope it would be the restored version. Also, what about any Clara Bow titles? Is there any certainty that one or more of her silents will be available very soon? If so, which ones? I'd sure appreciate anyone who knows the answers.


Hi Smokey15,

From the thread above, what we do know is that ZaZa, Beggars of Life, The Sheik and Son of the Sheik will be released. And from another posting above, it is safe to say that the following will NOT be released: Hands Up, Woman of the World, Hula, Feel My Pulse, and Beau Geste.

Although I have no specific insider information I would believe that Forbidden Paradise, for which the MOMA restoration is scheduled to be finished in 2017, will likely see a release although that may not be until late 2017 or early 2018. And The Spanish Dancer, which was restored by the EYE a few years ago is another candidate. Apparently that one goes public in 2019 so now would be the time to cash in on any revenue.

So, while the initial post said "several" will be issued, there is no telling what "several" equates to in terms of numbers. Of the ones named so far, I am particularly excited about Beggars followed by ZaZa, and am hopeful for the two Pola Negri films.

Matthew
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostTue Mar 21, 2017 7:38 pm

For anyone keeping track, Zaza is set for 6 June and the two Sheik titles for 30 May, as posted in message #4652 below:
https://www.hometheaterforum.com/community/threads/official-kino-insider-announcements-thread-strictly-moderated-read-guidelines.337771/page-233

-HA
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostTue Mar 21, 2017 7:46 pm

I see nothing on the Kino site about Zaza
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostTue Mar 21, 2017 8:02 pm

I can confirm Kino-Lorber's upcoming release of ZAZA. I did the musical score for it!
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostTue Mar 21, 2017 8:04 pm

Jeff Rapsis wrote:I can confirm Kino-Lorber's upcoming release of ZAZA. I did the musical score for it!


I saw Zaza at Eastman about 10 years and loved it. So this is great, confirmed news. Congrats, Jeff..... but only on blur-ray?
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostWed Mar 22, 2017 2:22 pm

Contacted Kino..... They say Zaza will be a DVD/BLU combo
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostWed Mar 22, 2017 3:31 pm

You should pick up a blu-ray player, Ed. They're cheap and the picture is spectacular!
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostWed Mar 22, 2017 4:09 pm

Jim Reid wrote:You should pick up a blu-ray player, Ed. They're cheap and the picture is spectacular!

Seconded. It's wonderful. Even better, if you don't already have region-free capability, would be to get one that plays Region B. It opens up a whole new world of goodies.
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostWed Mar 22, 2017 4:34 pm

So far we know of Beggars of Life, ZaZa, The Sheik, and Son of the Sheik. From the original posting I believed there would be at least two more, although no exact number was ever specified. Has anyone heard any rumors if there will be more coming and even better what they might be?

Matthew
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostThu Mar 23, 2017 2:16 pm

Just noticed listings for The Shiek and Son of the Shiek Blu-Ray pre-orders from Amazon. Many here probably own copies of these well known Valentino films in one form or another. That said, the mastering upgrade seems attractive for those inclined toward double-dipping. After all, these will likely be the best versions of these classics we'll ever see.

Nevertheless, I have a couple of nagging reservations to pulling the trigger on these before capitulating to pressure from my long suffering wallet.

The first: if ever two silent features screamed for a two-fer set release (original & sequel), these do. The choice of selling them as separates on the same day (May 30th) will likely give pause to those contemplating first day purchase of both even if the price drops from the current MSRP of $29.95 each, especially given the fact that Son of the Shiek ...the clever tongue and cheek send up of it's predecessor... is arguably the better of the two.

Secondly: choice of music. I have no idea if two soundtracks are provided (one orchestral & one avant-garde), but if not, commissioning the Alloy Orchestra as featured soundtrack for Son of the Shiek seems ...at first blush... to be totally inappropriate for the material. Note: I like Alloy Orchestra's work, especially on experimental cinema like the classic Soviet silent Man With A Movie Camera. In my mind, no other music could possibly work as well for that rapid cut industrial themed motion picture. Conversely, Son of the Shiek is a horse ...or rather camel... of a different color.

Concerns notwithstanding ...I'll probably buy these regardless of the aforementioned reservations..., I'm just curious as to others thoughts on this. Not having all the details from KINO maybe I'm being too critical/judgmental.
Last edited by R. Cat on Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostThu Mar 23, 2017 3:19 pm

So far we know of Beggars of Life, ZaZa, The Sheik, and Son of the Sheik. From the original posting I believed there would be at least two more, although no exact number was ever specified. Has anyone heard any rumors if there will be more coming and even better what they might be?


As always, the answer is, you want more, buy these.
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostThu Mar 23, 2017 4:36 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:
So far we know of Beggars of Life, ZaZa, The Sheik, and Son of the Sheik. From the original posting I believed there would be at least two more, although no exact number was ever specified. Has anyone heard any rumors if there will be more coming and even better what they might be?


As always, the answer is, you want more, buy these.


True, and I intend to, but I thought from the original posting that the titles were already licensed. My question was more to whether anyone knew what those titles are.

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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostFri Mar 24, 2017 3:40 pm

Alloy Orchestra, if that's the only score, guarantees a 'no sale' here.
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostSat Mar 25, 2017 9:20 am

I see where Running Wild and It's The Old Army Game has been announced by Kino.

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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostSat Mar 25, 2017 9:41 am

mwalls wrote:I see where Running Wild and It's The Old Army Game has been announced by Kino.

And this is the announcement on Facebook:
Kino Lorber Studio Classics wrote:Coming Soon From Kino Classics!
First Time on DVD and Blu-ray!
Brand New HD Masters From 2K Scans!

It’s the Old Army Game (1926) Starring W.C. Fields, Louise Brooks – Directed by A. Edward Sutherland (The Flying Deuces)

Running Wild (1926) Starring W.C. Fields, Mary Brian – Directed by Gregory La Cava (My Man Godfrey)Image

I'm in!
Last edited by Lonesome Luke on Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostSat Mar 25, 2017 10:03 am

I hope KINO checks the timing on ARMY GAME. There's an edition in circulation that looks good but runs 104 mins although it's only 7 reels or so. We adjusted the speed and posted it on our FB group Silent Film Today (see link below) and it works much better. We also copied RUNNING WILD from the old VHS release and that's on SFT too. But no question, I'll line up to buy the Blu-ray versions of both!
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostSat Mar 25, 2017 10:32 am

Yes, that one is crazy slow.

This is very exciting. I had seen Running Wild on VHS before, but they showed it at Cinevent, I think, 8 or 10 years ago and it killed with an audience. The first part of it is basically remade as The Man on the Flying Trapeze, but it becomes very different in the second half because Fields is younger and more capable of living up to the title, and it's probably his best silent overall, though It's The Old Army Game is very good too.
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostSat Mar 25, 2017 11:21 am

Lonesome Luke wrote:
mwalls wrote:I see where Running Wild and It's The Old Army Game has been announced by Kino.

And this is the announcement on Facebook:
Kino Lorber Studio Classics wrote:Coming Soon From Kino Classics!
First Time on DVD and Blu-ray!
Brand New HD Masters From 2K Scans!

It’s the Old Army Game (1926) Starring W.C. Fields, Louise Brooks – Directed by A. Edward Sutherland (The Flying Deuces)

Running Wild (1926) Starring W.C. Fields, Mary Brian – Directed by Gregory La Cava (My Man Godfrey)Image

I'm in!


Excellent, kewl to see these coming out on Blu-ray! I'm thinking first day purchase if early reviews match the promotional tease.


bobfells wrote:I hope KINO checks the timing on ARMY GAME. There's an edition in circulation that looks good but runs 104 mins although it's only 7 reels or so. We adjusted the speed and posted it on our FB group Silent Film Today (see link below) and it works much better. We also copied RUNNING WILD from the old VHS release and that's on SFT too. But no question, I'll line up to buy the Blu-ray versions of both!


The devil will be in the details. I'd like to see info on music scoring, running time, source elements used and completeness, along with pre-release screen shot comparisons. Nevertheless, total thumbs-up from me.

On a side note, fingers crossed that our friends at KINO are paying attention to film collector opinions on scoring classic silent films as well. The more thought given to commissioning period-friendly music or providing music options, the more supportive collectors will be toward future releases. My 2 cents (inflation adjusted).
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostSat Mar 25, 2017 2:57 pm

Wonderful news. I'm crossing my fingers that Kino will be including the wonderful Gaylord Carter organ score that was on the Paramount VHS of Running Wild. I wonder if there are any plans underway for the other remaining Fields Paramount silent So's Your Old Man. If my memory is correct, Universal didn't distribute the sound remake You're Telling Me for some time because of some issue with the story rights. I'm wondering if Paramount would have to clear the rights for the silent version in the same way that Universal cleared the rights for the remake.
Never cry over spilt milk, because it may have been poisoned. - W.C. Fields
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostSat Mar 25, 2017 7:21 pm

mwalls wrote:I see where Running Wild and It's The Old Army Game has been announced by Kino.

Matthew


This excites me far more than Zaza, but the score/scores will determine whether I shell out for it.
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 6:28 am

Too bad this one didn't get made with Fields as planned.

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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 9:07 am

R. Cat wrote:Just noticed listings for The Shiek and Son of the Shiek Blu-Ray pre-orders from Amazon. Many here probably own copies of these well known Valentino films in one form or another. That said, the mastering upgrade seems attractive for those inclined toward double-dipping. After all, these will likely be the best versions of these classics we'll ever see.

Nevertheless, I have a couple of nagging reservations to pulling the trigger on these before capitulating to pressure from my long suffering wallet.

The first: if ever two silent features screamed for a two-fer set release (original & sequel), these do. The choice of selling them as separates on the same day (May 30th) will likely give pause to those contemplating first day purchase of both even if the price drops from the current MSRP of $29.95 each, especially given the fact that Son of the Shiek ...the clever tongue and cheek send up of it's predecessor... is arguably the better of the two.

Secondly: choice of music. I have no idea if two soundtracks are provided (one orchestral & one avant-garde), but if not, commissioning the Alloy Orchestra as featured soundtrack for Son of the Shiek seems ...at first blush... to be totally inappropriate for the material. Note: I like Alloy Orchestra's work, especially on experimental cinema like the classic Soviet silent Man With A Movie Camera. In my mind, no other music could possibly work as well for that rapid cut industrial themed motion picture. Conversely, Son of the Shiek is a horse ...or rather camel... of a different color.

Concerns notwithstanding ...I'll probably buy these regardless of the aforementioned reservations..., I'm just curious as to others thoughts on this. Not having all the details from KINO maybe I'm being too critical/judgmental.


I cannot understand why such an important matter for the silents aficionados as the musical accompaniment is not carefully chosen in order to guarantee the success of the release. Due that most of us seem to prefer a "classic" score I wonder which is Kino's target?
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 11:35 am

FYI, the Alloy Orchestra has been accompanying Son of the Sheik (1926) for several years, including at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The following videos are on their website (for booking live performances of the film), and are a good example of their score for this film. (The videos are not an example of what the Kino BluRay will look like.)







Personally, their score sounds just fine to me, and this will be a must-have BluRay for Valentino fans.
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 1:30 pm

Saint-Just wrote:Alloy Orchestra, if that's the only score, guarantees a 'no sale' here.


'm not a big Valentino fan but I cringe when I read "the Alloy Orchestra." Their "work" on the Arbuckle-Keaton sets could've been done better and cheaper by my toddler hitting pots and pans in my kitchen. I will admit that the clips posted might change my mind. I'll let you guys buy it first and tell me if it's terrible and then I'll wait for a sale. :lol:

In all seriousness, I'm waiting for a good Kino sale as I want to pick up Deluge at some point.
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 4:15 pm

Lostintime wrote:
R. Cat wrote:Just noticed listings for The Shiek and Son of the Shiek Blu-Ray pre-orders from Amazon. Many here probably own copies of these well known Valentino films in one form or another. That said, the mastering upgrade seems attractive for those inclined toward double-dipping. After all, these will likely be the best versions of these classics we'll ever see.

Nevertheless, I have a couple of nagging reservations to pulling the trigger on these before capitulating to pressure from my long suffering wallet.

The first: if ever two silent features screamed for a two-fer set release (original & sequel), these do. The choice of selling them as separates on the same day (May 30th) will likely give pause to those contemplating first day purchase of both even if the price drops from the current MSRP of $29.95 each, especially given the fact that Son of the Shiek ...the clever tongue and cheek send up of it's predecessor... is arguably the better of the two.

Secondly: choice of music. I have no idea if two soundtracks are provided (one orchestral & one avant-garde), but if not, commissioning the Alloy Orchestra as featured soundtrack for Son of the Shiek seems ...at first blush... to be totally inappropriate for the material. Note: I like Alloy Orchestra's work, especially on experimental cinema like the classic Soviet silent Man With A Movie Camera. In my mind, no other music could possibly work as well for that rapid cut industrial themed motion picture. Conversely, Son of the Shiek is a horse ...or rather camel... of a different color.

Concerns notwithstanding ...I'll probably buy these regardless of the aforementioned reservations..., I'm just curious as to others thoughts on this. Not having all the details from KINO maybe I'm being too critical/judgmental.


I cannot understand why such an important matter for the silents aficionados as the musical accompaniment is not carefully chosen in order to guarantee the success of the release. Due that most of us seem to prefer a "classic" score I wonder which is Kino's target?


There are probably reasons we can't fully fathom, but the end result is what matters. For film distributors to maximize sales, with the expectation that collectors will pay premium prices for archival niche product (DVD and/or BD), certain minimum standards should be met. For instance, it's reasonable to assume that archival material will be mastered from the best available elements with some clean-up where needed.

Also, in the case of silent films, it is not unreasonable to expect the inclusion of one or more soundtracks properly sequenced with what's on the screen. While commissioning a new score is an excellent option where none exists, it can also be a deal breaker for collectors if an inappropriate score is selected and that's the only option.

Imagine, if you will, a classic sound film such as Casablanca or Citizen Kane stripped of original orchestral scores and the background music replaced by an instrumental rock or techno-pop soundtrack. Not only would these films lose their emotional strength, but also their status as great films, becoming quaint parodies lacking historical context.

Silent films are no different in this regard. The music matters because it's all part of suspending disbelief. The idea of muting the volume or trying to piece together a background soundtrack of vintage classical music from a home library is no option at all.

I don't think this viewpoint is unreasonable. The idea that beggars can't be choosers when purchasing licensed niche products is all well and good until some marketer recommends a Bon Jovi soundtrack on Beggars of Life might be a kewl idea. Unfathomable? Of course. There are so many good options available you'd think this kind of thing would never be an issue, but too often this isn't the case.

If there's no pre-recorded soundtrack available and commissioning a new score with an orchestra is too much for the distributor to invest, then why not go with a well regarded chamber orchestra? If that's too costly, why not an established pianist or Wurlitzer organist? In a worst case scenario, the distributor should be able to pull samples from a library of public domain music reflective of music composed in the silent era and match it to these films. That last suggestion isn't always a great option for timing scenes, but it's still better than adding inappropriate music. This shouldn't be brain surgery.


silentfilm wrote:FYI, the Alloy Orchestra has been accompanying Son of the Sheik (1926) for several years, including at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The following videos are on their website (for booking live performances of the film), and are a good example of their score for this film. (The videos are not an example of what the Kino BluRay will look like.)







Personally, their score sounds just fine to me, and this will be a must-have BluRay for Valentino fans.


Bruce, I listened to these samples. That first one (dessert rider scene) lost me right off the bat. The tin drum machine thing just doesn't work for me. The second film clip started off okay, but ended up sounding too artificial. The third clip was similar, the synth music just doesn't sound right. Each of these took me right out of the scene. Live, the Alloy Orchestra performing with Son of the Shiek might come across much better, but as a home video soundtrack the lack of orchestral textures in the Alloy Orchestra's synthesizer music exascerbates the artificiality of it and makes the film seem campy.

If any vintage films beg for a chamber orchestra with violin, clarinet and cello, these Valentino films do. That said, we'll get what we get.

As I stated above, I'll end up buying these regardless, if for no other reason than to support the community and encourage high definition masters and future restorations, but results like this don't endear me to it. Guess I'm still ruminating over Melies' Man in The Moon with the Tiger Lillies score. It's almost unwatchable with that soundtrack. I keep asking myself "why?" anyone would choose to market unsuitable modern music with a silent drama, but there probably isn't a logical answer.
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 6:01 pm

I'd gladly take a solo piano over the Alloy Orchestra, and we all know several pianists who could do the job brilliantly. Again, if Alloy is the only audio option it's no sale here.
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 6:16 pm

The world is divided into two kinds of people, people who won't buy The Sheik because it has an Alloy score, and people who won't buy The Sheik because it doesn't have a Gaylord Carter score.

This bodes really well for future Kino releases from Paramount. Me, I just placed orders for both*, to make up for someone else.

* Not actually true, but when I can, I will.
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Re: Kino to release blu-rays/DVDs of some Paramount silents

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 7:09 pm

The issue is not the Alloy score, but that the Alloy score is the only option. Give me another option and I'll shell out even if the Alloy score is on it.
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