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.
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Cronenfly
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:04 pm

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

#176 Post by Cronenfly » Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:50 pm

Glad that, like the BRD Trilogy, this is coming back as a set. Still leaves me pissed about Teshigahara, though.

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Roscoe
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:40 pm
Location: NYC

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

#177 Post by Roscoe » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:37 pm

And no indication of what if any supplements -- I'm thinking we should check the page every now and then for information updates. I find it hard to believe this is going to be a "movies only" package.

Glowingwabbit
Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 1:27 pm

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

#178 Post by Glowingwabbit » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:41 pm

Roscoe wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:37 pm
And no indication of what if any supplements -- I'm thinking we should check the page every now and then for information updates. I find it hard to believe this is going to be a "movies only" package.
It's an upgrade. It shows the same supplements as before.
SPECIAL EDITION THREE-DISC SET
High-definition digital restorations of all three films
Six scores: by Robert Israel for all three films, Alloy Orchestra for Underworld and The Last Command, and Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton for The Docks of New York
Two video essays from 2010, one by UCLA film professor Janet Bergstrom and the other by film scholar Tag Gallagher
Swedish television interview from 1968 with director Josef von Sternberg
PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critic Geoffrey O’Brien, scholar Anton Kaes, and author and critic Luc Sante; notes on the scores by the composers; Ben Hecht’s original treatment for Underworld; and an excerpt from von Sternberg’s 1965 autobiography, Fun in a Chinese Laundry, on actor Emil Jannings
Covers by F. Ron Miller

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Roscoe
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:40 pm
Location: NYC

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

#179 Post by Roscoe » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:01 pm

Glowingwabbit wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:41 pm
Roscoe wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:37 pm
And no indication of what if any supplements -- I'm thinking we should check the page every now and then for information updates. I find it hard to believe this is going to be a "movies only" package.
It's an upgrade. It shows the same supplements as before.
SPECIAL EDITION THREE-DISC SET
High-definition digital restorations of all three films
Six scores: by Robert Israel for all three films, Alloy Orchestra for Underworld and The Last Command, and Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton for The Docks of New York
Two video essays from 2010, one by UCLA film professor Janet Bergstrom and the other by film scholar Tag Gallagher
Swedish television interview from 1968 with director Josef von Sternberg
PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critic Geoffrey O’Brien, scholar Anton Kaes, and author and critic Luc Sante; notes on the scores by the composers; Ben Hecht’s original treatment for Underworld; and an excerpt from von Sternberg’s 1965 autobiography, Fun in a Chinese Laundry, on actor Emil Jannings
Covers by F. Ron Miller
Serves me right for not scrolling all the way to the bottom...

nitin
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:49 am

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

#180 Post by nitin » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:07 am

Cannot wait to revisit The Docks Of New York on blu, flat out masterpiece

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dustybooks
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:52 am
Location: Wilmington, NC

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

#181 Post by dustybooks » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:25 pm

Having missed this on DVD and spent the last five years or so trying to score a copy for a less than outrageous price, I'm thrilled it's been issued on Blu even though I gather that the contents are identical and the transfers aren't a huge upgrade. The Bergstrom video essay and the Sternberg interview as well as the booklet are splendid and illuminating enough to make up for the lack of a great volume of extras. And revisiting the films, I was amazed at how all three were even stronger than I remembered; I'd managed to forget, in The Last Command,
SpoilerShow
the absolute devastation of the moment when the train crashes.
And while it's only been a few years since I first saw The Docks of New York, I found it now minted as a masterpiece for me; its performances and atmosphere are infused with a kind of longing and sadness that seem both shockingly modern and like the calling cards of a film that could only have been made in Hollywood, at Paramount, by this director, at the end of the 1920s.
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My first time through, I was frustrated by the final scenes, which seemed too much of a "happy end" copout to me along the lines of The Wind -- but on rewatching, I'm not entirely sure the final encounter between Bancroft and Compson is even particularly optimistic, with a palpable air of uncertainty to that beautiful pull away from her standing frozen in the courtroom, as she gets swallowed by other people and other cases. There's no comparison to the silliness of The Wind's ending, which has never stopped me from considering that a great film. And at any rate, everything before that moment is so close to flawless that I can't consider it as being harmed at all by its finale.
The appearance of this, The Circus and Haxan in rapid succession from Criterion is such a bounty for silent cinema fans, and I'm really grateful for it. More please.

nitin
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:49 am

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

#182 Post by nitin » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:47 pm

The Docks of New York has been the best film I have seen this year and Von Sternberg’s films in general have been a great rediscovery.

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The Curious Sofa
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:18 am

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

#183 Post by The Curious Sofa » Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:03 am

I watched The Docks of New York last night, had never seen it before. Enjoyed it a lot but I wouldn’t place it above the better von Sternberg/Dietrich films, which I’ve just all re-watched. The movie is atmospheric, of course gorgeously shot and the performances are great. I had never seen Betty Compson in any of her silent movies, she is wonderful and has a timeless beauty which reaches out from the past.

The ending was indeed a little sudden and I found George Bancroft’s motivation difficult to figure out from scene to scene. To me he felt more driven by the demands of a melodrama than making much sense to me as a character beyond “all men are bounders”.

There is an attempt at authenticity here, Hollywood exploring a seamy slice of life story, which von Sternberg abandons by the time he builds his movies around Dietrich. The different countries of the Dietrich films are artificial dream spaces which pivot around Dietrich’s exoticism and star power. This makes inconsistencies in plot and characters easier to excuse. Even when the plot goes off the rails, as in Blonde Venues, there is always Dietrich’s meta star-persona, almost winking at you not to take things too seriously.

Again, loved the movie, but maybe I set my expectations too high after all the praise. Having just made my way through the wonderful von Sternberg/Dietrich Indicator set, I can’t help but judge the movie in the wake of that.

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