Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

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mwalls

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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostThu Apr 06, 2017 7:41 pm

Mine arrived in the mail today as well and just finished watching it. Another wonderful Flicker Alley product. Very enjoyable film, music was great, and I enjoyed the piece about the restoration of the film. Now that I have seen the film I can listen to the Nitratevillle podcast on my way home from work tomorrow. :-)

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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostSun Apr 09, 2017 6:18 am

I'm so glad that Flicker Alley has released this. Having seen the film at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and been underwhelmed, it was good to have a chance to get another look at it. I liked it much more the second time around.
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostTue Apr 11, 2017 6:33 pm

I once asked Bob Birchard what he thought of Hobart Bosworth: "He was a darn good actor - and he knew it!"
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FrankFay

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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostWed Apr 12, 2017 3:45 pm

Is anyone having trouble with the DVD version? Mine stuck on the initial warning screen & I had to push a few buttons on my laptop to make it move to the main menu. When I go to look at the gallery of stills and promotional materials it flips through them in a blur then snaps back to the menu.
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostThu Apr 13, 2017 5:40 pm

FrankFay wrote:Is anyone having trouble with the DVD version? Mine stuck on the initial warning screen & I had to push a few buttons on my laptop to make it move to the main menu.

The DVD would not complete loading the first time, but simply removing and reinserting was all I needed to do. I've got a wonderful 'academy' sized 32" Zenith TV, just perfect for watching these great Silent Films since the entire screen is used. So glad Flicker Alley releases these in both formats since I cannot connect to HDMI with this older TV.
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostThu Apr 13, 2017 10:09 pm

My disc arrived Monday. I had no problems with the Blu-ray and probably will never watch the DVD. I plan to save the feature restoration until Memorial Day, as I've seen the film at least two or three times in the previous in-progress restorations, although I spot-checked a few minutes of several scenes to see the beautiful quality on the big screen along with the very fine music score. I did watch all the bonus features, however, a good little featurette on the restoration, a nice interview with Kevin Brownlow mostly about Irvin Willat, a gallery of some photos and advertising artwork, and the surviving reels of the Russian version (which is missing a reel in the middle).

The Russian cut looks pretty good but overall is not in quite as good a shape as the American footage (an extra generation or two from the camera negative plus more print wear), and its new plot, while rather interesting, lacks the original's dramatic punch. The film was completely re-edited and re-titled to change into a completely different story. What had been a post-war anti-German pro-America propaganda story about a patriotic German-American (Hobart Bosworth) enlisting in the Merchant Marine and later taking revenge on a sadistic German U-boat captain (Wallace Beery) who abducted his wife (the town banker's daughter who had stowed away to be with him), turns into a post-revolution anti-capitalist story of a ruthless shipping magnate who won't pay to keep his old ships seaworthy, but insures them against loss so he'll still make a profit when they sink in storms. This time Hobart Bosworth is an upstanding retired ship repair technician the nasty shipowner blames for the latest ship loss, largely because his daughter wants to run off with him instead of marrying his slimy clerk, but somehow (in the missing reel) Bosworth becomes a sea captain looking for revenge against a smuggler with a submarine who had abducted his wife. It's all presented chronologically this time (except for brief in-camera dissolve flashbacks) with an epilogue that shows what the American version uses as its opening sequence. It's really nice to be able to see this alternate cut, although it's more of a curiosity than anything else. It would actually make a fascinating double-bill with the new Blu-ray of DANGEROUS HOURS that Grapevine just put out, another Paramount-Artcraft production made in 1919 but an entertainingly heavy-handed anti-Bolshevik propaganda story!

I'm really looking forward to watching the full-length restored American cut of BEHIND THE DOOR, but I can hold off another month and a half to watch it with some other recent Blu-ray releases of classic war films.
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostSat Apr 15, 2017 8:17 am

There aren't many films I've been dying to see for four decades— pretty much caught up with them all by now; the only thing I can think of offhand is Stark Love.

Behind the Door was one. So I made my wife and older son watch it last night, even though he was hot to watch the live stream of Coachella, but at least he knew Father John Misty wouldn't be up till after the film was over. At the end he said, "That's probably the second best dramatic silent I've seen." His first is The Phantom Carriage. I know he's seen other things that should qualify (Sunrise, Wings, The Man Who Laughs) but I was happy to hear it all the same.

So what more is there to say? Concise, well-acted (if a bit arm-wavy from the supporting cast), and as grim and fateful as a Twilight Zone episode, it held us all for its 70 minutes. So glad to have finally seen it, thanks to everyone who made it possible (like Rob Byrne, with whom I spoke on the podcast), we live in the best of all possible worlds for film appreciation sometimes.
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostSat Apr 15, 2017 3:19 pm

I also saw it for the first time last night. I expected it to be very good, judging from comments and reviews, and I wasn't disappointed. The missing scenes were well handled. I'll watch the extras tonight.
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostSun Apr 16, 2017 7:30 pm

Watched yesterday, finished the extras today. Excellent film. And also ... damn. As Kevin Brownlow said in his interview, no way could they have made it even a few years later.

I am so grateful to Flicker Alley for all of their fine work. I'm sure some Flicker Alley folks must be on Nitrateville, so thank you for the great work you do year in and year out. You have introduced me to films that even as a lifelong buff I was either not aware of (Laila) or never thought I would see (Behind the Door).

And Mike, as a side note, I finally caught up with Stark Love last month at the North Carolina Museum of Art. I was not disappointed. Hope you get to see it one of these days.
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FrankFay

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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostSun Apr 16, 2017 9:05 pm

So no no one has had the least trouble watching the DVD version?

......or am I the only one here who does not have Blu Ray?
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostSun Apr 16, 2017 9:43 pm

FrankFay wrote:So no no one has had the least trouble watching the DVD version?

......or am I the only one here who does not have Blu Ray?

As I answered before to your first post. I had to remove and then replace the DVD the first time I used it. I had no problems with the extras. I have a Blu-ray player but prefer watching on my 32" Zenith Television.
It has worked fine the multiple times I have reinserted the disc in my player to compare many of the scenes I saw that seem missing in the restored version (they are). The scene index help me to easily see (and verify) the film footage that was not used.
Thanks to having access to the Russian version, it's obvious the restored film is incomplete since many scenes (seen in the Russian film) are not part of the restoration.
This seems to be more of a reimagining of the film than an actual restoration. The evidence is very plain when you watch both film copies. Footage was omitted or perhaps changed from what they were like originally. Even the scene where the U-Boat is fired upon seems to have been incorrectly tinted, masking how it would have looked originally (brighter image highlighting the searchlight in the story).

I wish I had access to the "continuity script" since there seems to be several problems with titles as well. Without the script, I have no evidence of that.
In the extras, the woman talks about building this big spreadsheet of all the available material and how they decided from that what to use and what not to use.
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostMon Apr 17, 2017 10:52 am

Players cache the last place you quit with a movie. Sometimes that can be in a spot where you can't go further from. If your player has a clear cache setting select that, if not unplug your player for a couple of hours and it should start fresh the next time.
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostMon Apr 17, 2017 10:29 pm

Laptop DVD players are cheap and finicky. I only had one complaint about Mont Alto's release of The General, and it was from someone trying to run it on a laptop. Sorry not to have better news, but they're just not going to run some DVDs that will run on a dedicated player.
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostTue Apr 18, 2017 7:06 am

Mike Gebert wrote:Wait long enough and everything comes out on home video.


I made a list somewhere of all the films I had seen clips of in Hollywood or Cinema Europe that I wanted to see. In the last couple years that list has shrunk considerably (or would've shrunk if I hadn't lost the paper version but I know the version in my mind is shorter.)
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostTue Apr 18, 2017 3:55 pm

Rodney wrote:Laptop DVD players are cheap and finicky. I only had one complaint about Mont Alto's release of The General, and it was from someone trying to run it on a laptop. Sorry not to have better news, but they're just not going to run some DVDs that will run on a dedicated player.


I'll keep the disc- it played properly on my work computer so there is probably just a compatibility issue in my laptop
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostWed Apr 19, 2017 10:19 am

bigshot wrote:Players cache the last place you quit with a movie. Sometimes that can be in a spot where you can't go further from. If your player has a clear cache setting select that, if not unplug your player for a couple of hours and it should start fresh the next time.


Most models that I'm aware of will also clear the cache if you turn on the player with no disc in and hit STOP several times (three usually is enough).
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostThu Apr 20, 2017 5:13 am

Big Silent Fan wrote:Thanks to having access to the Russian version, it's obvious the restored film is incomplete since many scenes (seen in the Russian film) are not part of the restoration.

Russian versions of foreign films often contain footage from other films. I think the scenes with the fishing boat at the beginning came from another source and were never a part of "Behind the door". I remember an article about the restoration of G. W. Pabst's 1925 DIE FREUDLOSE GASSE (The joyless street). The Russian print that was used also contained several sequences from other films, e.g. one sequence was identified as originating from Joe May's 1923 TRAGÖDIE DER LIEBE.
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostThu Apr 20, 2017 9:17 am

andybenz wrote:Russian versions of foreign films often contain footage from other films. I think the scenes with the fishing boat at the beginning came from another source and were never a part of "Behind the door".


Perhaps, but there's much more evidence, such as the lynch rope being taken to the door of the Taxidermy shop where the mob has gathered. That most definitely is from this film and missing in the restoration. A careful comparison by anyone of the two versions will show other examples as well.
The epilogue in the Russian film, reunites two parts of the same scene. Was it that way originally? It certainly played well as one continuous scene.
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostFri Apr 21, 2017 12:57 pm

Big Silent Fan wrote:
andybenz wrote:Russian versions of foreign films often contain footage from other films. I think the scenes with the fishing boat at the beginning came from another source and were never a part of "Behind the door".


Perhaps, but there's much more evidence, such as the lynch rope being taken to the door of the Taxidermy shop where the mob has gathered. That most definitely is from this film and missing in the restoration. A careful comparison by anyone of the two versions will show other examples as well.
The epilogue in the Russian film, reunites two parts of the same scene. Was it that way originally? It certainly played well as one continuous scene.


Interesting. Perhaps a more complete restoration incorporating the footage unique to the Russian print can be done at some point. I'm surprised it wasn't done for this release. Regardless, I'll definitely be picking this up.
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostFri Apr 21, 2017 2:17 pm

Okay, it's kind of crazy to talk about it like this is not a complete restoration. It may not use every scrap of footage in existence—neither does Brownlow's Napoleon; neither do the Chaplin Mutuals, unless you want to make them be three reels; neither does any currently available version of Intolerance, Phantom of the Opera, or countless others.

This is a restoration of the American release of Behind the Door that has a complete and coherent version close to what American audiences saw. We don't know what was sent to Russia and how it related to what Americans saw, but this one works and if they left something out of it, it was unnecessary to the goal of making a coherent American version. If, say, you have a complete reel 2, and then you find some shots in the Russian version that could belong in reel 2, do you cut them in (if they fit at all)? Surely the wiser course is to keep reel 2 as it was in the American cut.
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostFri Apr 21, 2017 2:42 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:This is a restoration of the American release of Behind the Door that has a complete and coherent version close to what American audiences saw.


I refer you to the special on making the restoration where they said they really had no idea how the film was put together originally before they got the copy of the "continuity" script. They talked also about assembling every available piece of footage (from all sources) onto a spreadsheet where they then decided, what to leave in and what to leave out. This is not my opinion, it's what they said.
Now. The film is just 70 minutes long and they didn't find it appropriate to included the footage where the lynch rope was being brought to the door, but they certainly had the title where they called for the rope? The film crew went to the trouble of getting and filming the rope to be seen in the film. I think it's worth asking the question, Why was only a title used when there was film footage to accompany it? The Russians didn't bother with a title, they simply show the rope.
Yes, it is a very worthwhile film just as they have made it. I'm simply stating the obvious, that things were omitted when they were available to be used.
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Re: Behind The Door -- Flicker Alley

PostFri Apr 21, 2017 2:47 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:Okay, it's kind of crazy to talk about it like this is not a complete restoration. It may not use every scrap of footage in existence—neither does Brownlow's Napoleon; neither do the Chaplin Mutuals, unless you want to make them be three reels; neither does any currently available version of Intolerance, Phantom of the Opera, or countless others.

This is a restoration of the American release of Behind the Door that has a complete and coherent version close to what American audiences saw. We don't know what was sent to Russia and how it related to what Americans saw, but this one works and if they left something out of it, it was unnecessary to the goal of making a coherent American version. If, say, you have a complete reel 2, and then you find some shots in the Russian version that could belong in reel 2, do you cut them in (if they fit at all)? Surely the wiser course is to keep reel 2 as it was in the American cut.


Easy now. Obviously I'm not advocating adding incompatible footage that wouldn't fit; only if it made sense to do so. Also, re: the Chaplin Mutuals, let's quit disingenuously claiming that adding back the still-missing extant bits from THE ADVENTURER, THE CURE and THE IMMIGRANT would make them three-reelers. We all know that's a load of dingo's kidneys. Plus, with the exception of a couple of obviously alternate shots from THE CURE, the bits in question all fit perfectly when put back into the films, and the films flow better and make more sense as a result. I remember when people on the old AMC newsgroup were claiming that the familiar old short version of ONE A.M. was complete as Charlie originally intended, and that the rumored longer version had been spliced together by unscrupulous distributors. Nope, it was the exact opposite; the short version was the result of distributor butchery, like the shorter prints of all the other Mutuals. Unfortunately, THE IMMIGRANT, THE CURE and THE ADVENTURER are still butchered. I'd like to posit that, if there had been no investigating and comparing various versions and being squeaky wheels about the missing Mutual bits, they might very well all still be missing, instead of most of them being finally included by the powers-that-be in the much more complete versions we have now.
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