Friday, February 24, 2017

Early Women Filmmakers Receive Their Due

During the past few weeks of my silence on the silents, I've been steadily learning more about the silent era, and have been delighted to discover a plenitude of women who were involved in directing and producing movies in the early years of film. I had been completely unaware of the involvement of so many women in the early years of filmmaking.

After thoroughly enjoying Lois Weber's fascinating short film, Suspense, I was interested in learning more about her and seeing more of her work. As I began seeking out more of her films, I found a trio of DVDs in a series released by Kino, entitled First Ladies: Early Women Filmmakers. The movies I've seen from this series are captivating, surprising, entertaining, thought provoking and visually delightful. You can read a thorough review of the three DVDs in this series on DVD talk.

Just as I was wishing that Kino had more to offer in this series, I discovered that Kino Lorber recently mounted a Kickstarter campaign to fund a collection of films by women directors called Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers, with an estimated release date in November. I wish I'd seen that sooner to be able to support the project, but look forward to that release, just in time for Christmas.

Then, to further fulfill my wishes, I just received word from Flicker Alley that they will be releasing Early Women Filmmakers: An International Anthology in early May. This looks to be an amazing collection of films that I can't wait to see. I'll definitely be making room on the Collections shelf for this one, as Flicker Alley never lets me down.!/Early-Women-Filmmakers-An-International-Anthology/p/80085513/category=20414531

When I wrote about Ida Lupino being the only woman director and producer in 1950s Hollywood, I had no idea of the many women who preceded her. It is wonderful to see these films come to light and be able to enjoy the unique perspectives and talent that these women contributed to the early years of film.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Season of Silents: The Butcher Boy (1917)

I have never seen any Buster Keaton films, probably because I'm not a huge fan of slapstick comedy. It's possible Keaton may change that for me. I've read too many raves of his talent to ignore his work any longer, so when Amazon had the Buster Keaton Shorts Collection available on a Lightning Deal, I decided the time was right.

The Butcher Boy is the first Buster Keaton short I'm watching and the first he made with Roscoe Arbuckle 100 years ago. The screenshots I've taken are not from this Blu-Ray release, which is not tinted. The title cards in this short may not be the original ones, and some title cards on other releases I've seen provide more information than those included in this collection. Some of the character's names have also been changed in this short. Slim was originally called Alum and Amanda was Almondine. I do not approve of changing the titles and names from the original and hope that won't be common practice with all the shorts in this collection. I do prefer the Robert Israel score that accompanies this film and the picture is also superior in this Blu-Ray collection.