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Blu-ray Review A Few Words About A few words about…™ Sparrows (1926) – in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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William Beaudine's Sparrows is a 1926 silent, that comes to us via VCI Entertainment, and it's a class act from first frame to last.

Restored by the Mary Pickford Foundation from a 35mm tinted nitrate print, and a duplicate negative, it gives a wonderful concept of what the film would have looked like in 1926.

The film is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it's a Mary Pickford film, also featuring Gustav von Seyffertitz, and deals with a relevant human rights issue, baby farms.

Three top cinematographers were behind the camera(s), and if certain shots take on a certain resemblance to Sunrise, which arrived in 1927, it may be because Karl Struss and Charles Rosher at the helm.

Hal Mohr and Charles Rosher shared the duties.

Between them, they are credited with some of the finest work on the planet.

Mr. Mohr began his career in 1912, and has to his name Little Annie Rooney (also a Pickford film), The Jazz Singer, Noah's Ark, King of Jazz, The Front Page, Devotion, Stage Fair, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Captain Blood, Destry Rides Again, Phantom of the Opera (1943), The Exile, Rancho Notorious, The Wild One, et al...

Mr. Rosher has an equally interesting CV - also hitting the industry in 1912, With General Pancho Villa in Mexico, A Little Princess (Pickford), Pollyanna (Pickford), Little Lord Fauntleroy (Pickford), Tess of Storm Country (Pickford), Sunrise, Tempest, Dance, Fools, Dance, What Price Hollywood, Call of the Wild, Broadway Melody, Kismet, Yolanda and the Thief, Ziegfeld Follies, The Yearling, Song of the Thin Man, Annie Get Your Gun, Show Boat, Scaramouche, Kiss Me, Kate et al...

Mr. Struss didn't enter the industry until 1919. His work includes The Affairs of Anatole, Ben-Hur (1925), The Battle of the Sexes, The Taming of the Shrew, Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Island of Lost Souls, The Sign of the Cross, The Story of Temple Drake, Belle of the Nineties, Mississippi, Anything Goes, The Great Dictator, Limelight, and The Fly.

If this film had nothing to do with Ms Pickford, I'd need a copy just because of the work of those three men.

But it is a Pickford film, and a magnificent one.

Kudos to the Pickford Foundation for its work in saving her productions.

Let's briefly discuss image quality.

In a nutshell, it's lovely. A beautifully resolved image, with accurate grain structure and a wonderful gray scale.

Had I my druthers, I may have done a bit more clean-up, just to remove some sparkle and built-in dirt (as originally printed), but this may not have been what the Foundation was after. I'll go with their concept.

An important silent production, offered here with a new score, which beautifully works with the imagery.

Image – 3.75

Audio – n/a

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD - Yes

Very Highly Recommended

RAH
 

Thomas T

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Mr. Harris, is that "new" score by Jeffrey Silverman which was used in the previous DVD incarnation? An excellent score. Or is this a new score especially composed for the newly restored print?
 

dana martin

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Thomas, I believe it is a completely new score, I almost pulled out my Milestone disc to do an A/B comparison, but yet once again got engrossed on the story and just let it pass, and agree it's a gorgeous release. And the included booklet is very informative on the film and the restoration that was done.

Now that the Pickford Foundation has a distribution agreement with VCI, I hope to see some of the other titles that they have been diligently restoring

https://marypickford.org/preservation-work/


amazingly both versions of Tess of the Storm Country are being worked on.
 
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Bob Blair

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Mr. Harris, is that "new" score by Jeffrey Silverman which was used in the previous DVD incarnation? An excellent score. Or is this a new score especially composed for the newly restored print?
Thought I would jump in here for Robert, The Mary Pickford Company commissioned a new, original, orchestral score by the Graves Brothers, which was produced and recorded at the Savannah Studios in Los Angeles. In other words, this is a brand new score.
 

Robert Harris

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Thought I would jump in here for Robert, The Mary Pickford Company commissioned a new, original, orchestral score by the Graves Brothers, which was produced and recorded at the Savannah Studios in Los Angeles. In other words, this is a brand new score.
Thank you for chiming in, and welcome to HTF.

Mr. Blair heads up VCI.
 

RobertMG

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Thought I would jump in here for Robert, The Mary Pickford Company commissioned a new, original, orchestral score by the Graves Brothers, which was produced and recorded at the Savannah Studios in Los Angeles. In other words, this is a brand new score.
BRAVO VCI! Keep em' coming!
 

dana martin

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Thought I would jump in here for Robert, The Mary Pickford Company commissioned a new, original, orchestral score by the Graves Brothers, which was produced and recorded at the Savannah Studios in Los Angeles. In other words, this is a brand new score.
Mr. Blair,

thank you for the wonderful release, and please don't be a stranger to the forum, I am sure that the collective group would love to have another "INSIDER" stoking the fires of Physical Media, And info on any future VCI releases.
 

RobertMG

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Mr. Blair,

thank you for the wonderful release, and please don't be a stranger to the forum, I am sure that the collective group would love to have another "INSIDER" stoking the fires of Physical Media, And info on any future VCI releases.
The team over at VCI Robert, Don and Rebecca are three of the best people in Home Video they have given us so much joy for 4 plus decades and the best is yet to come!
 

RobertMG

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The team over at VCI Robert, Don and Rebecca are three of the best people in Home Video they have given us so much joy for 4 plus decades and the best is yet to come!
VCI is firing on all cylinders besides their great association with the Mary Pickford Foundation they still have time to continue to give us rip-roaring serials like this due to street tomorrow
1642464148310.png

Might be delayed because last I heard their distributor MVD in PA is a bit behind due to covid
 

RobertMG

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VCI is firing on all cylinders besides their great association with the Mary Pickford Foundation they still have time to continue to give us rip-roaring serials like this due to street tomorrow View attachment 125204
Might be delayed because last I heard their distributor MVD in PA is a bit behind due to covid
William Beaudine the director of Sparrows went from Mary Pickford to the Eastside Kids then the Bowery Boys and then on to TV - what a career he had.
 

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