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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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Kino Lorber is releasing one of the most important disc sets of 2018, and it's the perfect gift for the serious cinephile.

Having handled, nitrate silent films, I can attest to the sheer bravura love and passion that has gone into the production of this set. Those who read my words are aware that I'm a quality fanatic, but that goes out the window in this case, as many of these films - shorts and features, are still with us by chance and fortune - some only as extracts, or missing entire reels.

But they are.

And that's all that's important.

The films were directed by Alice Guy-Blanche, Lois Webber, Grace Cunard & Francis Ford, Cleo Madison, Ruth Ann Baldwin, Mabel Normand, Angela Murray Gibson, Zora Neale Hurston, Lule Warrenton, Marion E. Wong, Elsie Jane Wilson, Nell Shipman, Ida May Park, Charles Bryant (and Alla Nazimova), Walter Lang & Dorothy Davenport Reid, Lita Lawrence, and others.

For full disclosure, while most cinephiles are aware of Alice Guy-Blanche, Mabel Normand and Lois Webber, there are directors listed above, that I'm discovering for the first time.

Quality is as one might presume, from quite excellent to problematic, inclusive of nitrate decomp, but as noted above...

It's there.

All have musical accompaniment, some are tinted, and digital clean-up varies.

But bottom line, Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers is a gift from the gods, courtesy of Kino Lorber.

Adding a copy to your own library, or purchasing for a friend, advances film preservation and restoration.

Very Highly Recommended

RAH
 

Angelo Colombus

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Mabel Normand did open her own company in partnership with Mack Sennett producing and directing films. Sad she died early at age 37 from tuberculosis.
 

bujaki

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I proudly contributed to this project via Kickstarter. The importance of this release is eloquently expressed by RAH's words.
 

Bert Greene

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As a serial buff, I'm most curious to see the chapters of the Universal serial "The Purple Mask" (1916), featuring the popular acting duo of Grace Cunard and Francis Ford, who together headlined several serials and two-reelers. Stills showing off characters in capes, masks, secret-societies, etc., always made it look rather intriguing. I understand that in this set there is apparently only one chapter complete in two reels, while two other chapters are of singular reel length (missing, or cut-downs?). Anyway, anything that survives is miracle enough. Not much is all that extant when it comes to silent-era serials. Which is a shame, as many of them sound so fascinating.

Similarly, it's also a shame that this set couldn't include Lillian Gish's directorial effort, "Remodeling Her Husband" (1920), starring her sister Dorothy. I'm pretty sure it's a lost film, from what I recall hearing. Actually, I don't think there are too many of Dorothy Gish's starring films around. I saw "Gretchen the Greenhorn" at a film festival once, many years ago. I suspect most are long gone. But some of the titles to her films, like "Nugget Nell," "Ghost in the Garret," "Flying Pat," "The Country Flapper," etc., always sounded like good fun. But it's just so grim, when it comes to the landscape of surviving films from back then.
 

Detour (1945)

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I am also a proud Kickstarter supporter of this project. Unfortunately, due to some delay, we actually don't have our sets yet, though people who have ordered online are already receiving theirs.

Ah, the intricacies of crowd-funding!
 

bigshot

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Stephen
Kino doesn't plan their distribution well. I preordered the Kolchak discs from them off their online store. It's been months since they were released in stores, and I still haven't received mine. I think individual orders are their last priority. They fill retailer's orders until they sell out then make the individuals wait for backorder.

The musical scores vary in quality on this set. Some are serviceable piano scores, others are bizarre modern experiments that don't relate well to what is going on up on the screen. But that is par for the course for a set like this I guess.
 

Bert Greene

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Yes, I thought the music on Nell Shipman's odd and charming "Something New" (1920), was rather insane. It reminded me of some kind of 1960s-era 'free jazz.' Bizarro world. I think it shows up on "Linda" (1929) as well. I mean, these were quaint, rural-esque type films. I truly don't even remotely comprehend the thinking here. Maybe the odd music would work on something like "Salome" (1923), which is already a nutso movie to begin with.
 

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