528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Matt
Posts: 6300
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#1 Post by Matt » Fri May 14, 2010 12:41 pm

Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/2794/528_box_348x490_w128.jpg[/img]

Vienna-born, New York–raised Josef von Sternberg (Shanghai Express, Morocco) directed some of the most influential, extraordinarily stylish dramas ever to come out of Hollywood. Though best known for his star-making collaborations with Marlene Dietrich, Sternberg began his movie career during the final years of the silent era, dazzling audiences and critics with his films’ dark visions and innovative cinematography. The titles in this collection, made on the cusp of the sound age, are three of Sternberg’s greatest works, gritty evocations of gangster life (Underworld), the Russian Revolution (The Last Command), and working-class desperation (The Docks of New York) made into shadowy movie spectacle. Criterion is proud to present these long unavailable classics of American cinema, each with two musical scores.

Underworld

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/product_images/1023/529_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

Josef von Sternberg’s riveting breakthrough is widely considered the film that launched the American gangster genre. George Bancroft is the main heavy, “Bull” Weed, an urban criminal kingpin whose jealous devotion to his moll, Feathers (Evelyn Brent), gets him into hot water with a rival hood and, ultimately, the authorities. Further complicating matters is the attraction blossoming between Feathers and an alcoholic former lawyer (Clive Brook). With its supple, endlessly expressive camera work, and a screenplay by legendary scribe Ben Hecht (who won a best original story Oscar the first year the awards were given), Underworld solidified Sternberg’s place as one of Hollywood’s most exciting new talents.
Criterionforum.org user rating averages



The Last Command

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/product_images/1029/530_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

Emil Jannings won the first best actor Academy Award for his passionate, heartbreaking performance as a sympathetic tyrant, an exiled Russian military officer turned Hollywood actor whose latest part—a czarist general—brings about his emotional downfall. With its brilliantly realized Russian Revolution sequences, virtuoso camera work, and grandly designed sets and effects, Josef von Sternberg’s The Last Command is a gripping silent melodrama that grapples with tumultuous recent history, as well as a striking portrait of one man’s increasing blurring of the line between fantasy and reality.
Criterionforum.org user rating averages



The Docks of New York

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/product_images/1026/531_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

Roughneck stoker Bill Roberts (George Bancroft) gets into all sorts of trouble during a brief shore leave when he falls hard for Mae (Betty Compson), a wise and weary dance hall girl, in Josef von Sternberg’s evocative portrait of lower-class waterfront folk. Fog-enshrouded cinematography by Harold Rosson (The Wizard of Oz), expressionist set design by Hans Dreier (Sunset Boulevard), and sensual performances make this one of the legendary director’s finest works, and one of the most exquisitely crafted films of its era.
Criterionforum.org user rating averages



SPECIAL EDITION THREE-DVD SET FEATURES

- New, restored high-definition digital transfers
- Six scores: one by Robert Israel for each film; two by the Alloy Orchestra, for Underworld and The Last Command; and a piano and voice piece by Donald Sosin for The Docks of New York
- Two new visual essays: one by UCLA film professor Janet Bergstrom and the other by film scholar Tag Gallagher
- 1968 Swedish television interview with director Josef von Sternberg, covering his entire career
- PLUS: A ninety-six-page booklet featuring essays by film critic Geoffrey O’Brien, film scholar Anton Kaes, and author Luc Sante; the original film treatment for Underworld by Ben Hecht; and an excerpt from Sternberg’s autobiography, Fun in a Chinese Laundry, on Emil Jannings

User avatar
Tom Hagen
Posts: 1668
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:35 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vo

#2 Post by Tom Hagen » Fri May 14, 2010 12:44 pm

Get ready for bitch fest round trois that the Sternbergs -- like The Human Condition and The War Trilogy before them -- won't be on Blu.

User avatar
med
Posts: 644
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:58 pm

Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vo

#3 Post by med » Fri May 14, 2010 12:48 pm

I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt re: the Sternberg set. Maybe the films weren't up to Blu-quality standards? The War Trilogy didn't appear to be so. Or maybe there will be a Blu announcement in a day or so.

User avatar
lubitsch
Posts: 525
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:20 pm

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#4 Post by lubitsch » Fri May 14, 2010 1:00 pm

There is a god!!! =D> =D> =D>
Now if they would also save Wedding March from Paramount (and maybe Covered Wagon), I'd be a happy man.

User avatar
Tommaso
Posts: 4027
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#5 Post by Tommaso » Fri May 14, 2010 1:01 pm

Okay, release of the year. No question about it.

YEEEEEESSSS!!!!!


=D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D>

And it's not even Eclipse :shock:

User avatar
swo17
Posts: 13495
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#6 Post by swo17 » Fri May 14, 2010 1:04 pm

I'm very much looking forward to this release, but have to ask re: the claim that Underworld "is widely considered the film that launched the American gangster genre," is this accurate? From doing my pre-1920s list homework, it seems like either Griffith's The Musketeers of Pig Alley, Tourneur's Alias Jimmy Valentine, or Walsh's Regeneration hold claim to that title.

Oh, and also, so as not to break the pattern: =D> =D> =D>

User avatar
Peacock
Posts: 1009
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:47 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#7 Post by Peacock » Fri May 14, 2010 1:08 pm

Criterion have just posted on Facebook under someone's complaint about the lack of Blu for these films
'Sorry, we don't have the rights for the Sternbergs on Blu...'

There's some great extras in this set, huge booklet, Tag visual essay, two scores per film, filmed Sternberg interview...
Very excited!!!
Last edited by Peacock on Fri May 14, 2010 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Tommaso
Posts: 4027
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#8 Post by Tommaso » Fri May 14, 2010 1:08 pm

swo17 wrote: From doing my pre-1920s list homework, it seems like either Griffith's The Musketeers of Pig Alley, Tourneur's Alias Jimmy Valentine, or Walsh's Regeneration hold claim to that title.
Any of them, probably. But Criterion simply doesn't know there were films before 1920....

However, it seems they want to out-do MoC with that booklet/book. Very good, and much needed.

mteller
Posts: 478
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:23 pm

Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vo

#9 Post by mteller » Fri May 14, 2010 1:20 pm

med wrote:I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt re: the Sternberg set. Maybe the films weren't up to Blu-quality standards? The War Trilogy didn't appear to be so. Or maybe there will be a Blu announcement in a day or so.
They're saying on their FB page that they don't have Blu-Ray rights on the Sternbergs.

User avatar
Tribe
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
Posts: 1912
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:59 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Contact:

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#10 Post by Tribe » Fri May 14, 2010 1:32 pm

swo17 wrote:I'm very much looking forward to this release, but have to ask re: the claim that Underworld "is widely considered the film that launched the American gangster genre," is this accurate?
I don't know about it being the first American gangster movie, but, for whatever it's worth, Silver and Ward list it as the "first" American film noir in the Third Edition of Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style.

User avatar
Matt
Posts: 6300
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vo

#11 Post by Matt » Fri May 14, 2010 1:34 pm

mteller wrote:They're saying on their FB page that they don't have Blu-Ray rights on the Sternbergs.
They probably negotiated their license for these films long before they started releasing Blu-rays. I can't imagine Universal is clutching the Blu-ray rights for these films tightly to their chest.

And who would have thought that von Sternberg would make people go crazy with the clapping emoticon? I guess he is all about excess, after all.

User avatar
Tommaso
Posts: 4027
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#12 Post by Tommaso » Fri May 14, 2010 1:57 pm

Well, three of the most important American silents for the first time on dvd, and a classy edition on top of it instead of Eclipse, and quite generally the inclusion of more silents certainly deserve that emoticon. Wait what happens should they release "Greed" or "The Wind" (unlikely, I know). :wink:

User avatar
triodelover
Posts: 1388
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:11 pm
Location: The hills of East Tennessee

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#13 Post by triodelover » Fri May 14, 2010 2:43 pm

Tommaso wrote:Well, three of the most important American silents for the first time on dvd, and a classy edition on top of it instead of Eclipse, and quite generally the inclusion of more silents certainly deserve that emoticon. Wait what happens should they release "Greed" or "The Wind" (unlikely, I know). :wink:
Or The Big Parade or The Four Horsemen (equally unlikely, sigh).

User avatar
Finch
Posts: 2762
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:09 pm
Location: Edinburgh, UK

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#14 Post by Finch » Fri May 14, 2010 3:22 pm

August can't come soon enough. As for them not being available on Blu: I am just grateful they're being made available at all, and even if Criterion had the rights, the material may not have been in good enough shape to warrant the 1080p upgrade.

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Posts: 6324
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#15 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri May 14, 2010 3:26 pm

I knew this was coming and in fact imminent, but seeing it materialize before my eyes is still causing me to seep a little pre.

Nice, classy, full blown CC edition, some extras... you'd almost think this was 2003 or 4.. hell, you'd think this was Edition Filmmuseum or something!

Bravo-- will be interesting to see what the preservation elements on these look like vs what's been floating aruond back channels for so many years. No doubt DOCKS & LAST COMMAND will look superlative. UNDERWORLD, fingers crossed!

User avatar
Finch
Posts: 2762
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:09 pm
Location: Edinburgh, UK

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#16 Post by Finch » Fri May 14, 2010 3:30 pm

Only potential downside to this set is the Sosin score (thank heavens for the mute button). Couldn't the Alloy Orchestra have provided the music for the third film as well?

User avatar
Tommaso
Posts: 4027
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#17 Post by Tommaso » Fri May 14, 2010 3:32 pm

What more/else could you want but Robert Israel on all three films? :)

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Posts: 6324
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#18 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri May 14, 2010 3:33 pm

Mr Finch wrote:Only potential downside to this set is the Sosin score (thank heavens for the mute button). Couldn't the Alloy Orchestra have provided the music for the third film as well?
You know, I erased from my post "I still don't get the Silent Score Mafia that Sosin Israel & Alloy comprise," but I didn't want to piss--even a light gentle sprinkle-- on one of the single most important releases in the line, ever, period, end of convo.

But I still truly, genuinely, totally, completely don't get it-- what is this lock that these entirely mediocre-at-best composers have on this niche of film scoring?

User avatar
FilmFanSea
Posts: 566
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:37 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#19 Post by FilmFanSea » Fri May 14, 2010 3:44 pm

Jesus, it seems like I've waited forever for these. Hallelujah. I love that there are choices of scores for each film. I've gotten to the point that I prefer a strong "visual essay" (two, in this case) to a full-blown commentary, particularly when the set is coupled with a 96(!) page booklet. I can live without Blu-ray for these special titles. I feel giddy, oh so giddy...

User avatar
zedz
Posts: 10296
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#20 Post by zedz » Fri May 14, 2010 3:49 pm

swo17 wrote:I'm very much looking forward to this release, but have to ask re: the claim that Underworld "is widely considered the film that launched the American gangster genre," is this accurate? From doing my pre-1920s list homework, it seems like either Griffith's The Musketeers of Pig Alley, Tourneur's Alias Jimmy Valentine, or Walsh's Regeneration hold claim to that title.
That attribution for Underworld is pretty standard, and I think the distinction is that those earlier gangster films (let's add The Penalty too), which did indeed set up a lot of the ideas and tropes of the genre, didn't kickstart the genre as a genre - i.e. there wasn't a flood of imitators. Whereas Underworld was swiftly followed by so many features in the same vein that a recognizable genre developed.

Oh, and bravo, Criterion! This is going to stop people complaining about the lack of silents for several hours - maybe even a couple of days.

User avatar
knives
Posts: 13965
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#21 Post by knives » Fri May 14, 2010 4:02 pm

Image
I am in heaven right now. The chance to finally get to see these beautiful films, might cry. I can't tell if this or the War Trilogy is the more amazing release from them this year. There's no way Criterion will be able to top themselves unless they pick up von Strohoem's The Merry Widow. [-o<
Last edited by knives on Fri May 14, 2010 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
jbeall
Posts: 2223
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:22 am
Location: Atlanta-ish

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#22 Post by jbeall » Fri May 14, 2010 4:19 pm

So nobody's going to say anything about David Duchovny finally entering the collection?

User avatar
bigP
Posts: 456
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:59 am
Location: Reading, UK

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#23 Post by bigP » Fri May 14, 2010 4:20 pm

FilmFanSea wrote:I've gotten to the point that I prefer a strong "visual essay" (two, in this case) to a full-blown commentary
Ditto. I've become really fond of Tag Gallagher's previous video pieces for the Second Sight Ophuls releases, so I'm sure these will be equally as interesting. I'm sure he'll be in shape and symmetry heaven.

User avatar
Antares
Posts: 150
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:35 pm
Location: Richmond, Rhode Island

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#24 Post by Antares » Fri May 14, 2010 4:22 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:But I still truly, genuinely, totally, completely don't get it-- what is this lock that these entirely mediocre-at-best composers have on this niche of film scoring?
I agree with you on the Alloy Orchestra and Sosin, but Israel's scores are usually pretty on the mark when it comes to conveying emotion or setting a mood.

Just thank God that they didn't give one film to each of them only.

User avatar
swo17
Posts: 13495
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 528-531 Three Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

#25 Post by swo17 » Fri May 14, 2010 4:29 pm

jbeall wrote:So nobody's going to say anything about David Duchovny finally entering the collection?
Not to mention David Strathairn, Sean Connery, and Dominique Pinon!

Post Reply