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Dick

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Rick
While one might lay blame upon a past set of executives at Universal for the wholesale destruction of their silent film library c. 1948, one must give credit to the current regime for funding a new restoration from the finest extant film elements of the 1923 silent classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

There will be no numerical grade for image, as I'm pleased to have anything on this film, which has been seen in the past in almost unviewable states.

The source element is an original 16mm print, worn, occasional splices, but with far more image clarity than I've ever seen.

That's the good news.

There is no bad news.

This (for the uninformed) is the original Lon Chaney version of the film. Mr. Chaney started in the cinema 1912-13, making a number of short films for director Allan Dwan. He made numerous films for Rex, Victor and Bison, before joining The Universal Film Manufacturing Company in 1916, and remaining there for some of his greatest achievements, with loan-outs or side ventures with a few other major production entries including Goldwyn and Paramount until he joined M-G-M in 1924, returning to Universal in '25 for The Phantom of the Opera.

The synchronized score works beautifully, and is in stereo.

With the exception of the Flicker Alley release, old home video releases on the film are now officially coasters.

Please support film restoration, Universal and Kino by adding a copy to your library.


Image – n/a

Audio – n/a

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD - Yes

Very Highly Recommended

RAH

I'm pretty happy with this, even though the last reel or two have some soft sections (the rest is amazingly sharp, considering the 16mm source). The image deterioration otherwise does not bother me -- it sort of adds to my enjoyment of it...reminds me I'm watching a film that is (gulp) 99 years old!
 
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Dick

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I too have this Blu-ray edition, very well done I hope that KL can deliver, what should be a better visually correct edition but, again, Flicked Alley did a wonderful version with BLackHawk films help. At this point it's a wait and see attitude. I'd love to see it slighly cleaner, and the gray scale better asdusted. They did the best they could, with the elements provided 16mm stock. Like many films of this period, co-opperation from societies around the world seems to yeild the greatest sources of footage for films like The Golem, Phantom of the Opera, the Theif of Bagdad, or the BLack Pirate.

The new one seems to have better black levels (thus, contrast) and shadow detail.
 

warnerbro

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The Kino is noticeably sharper and clearer. The commentary is outstanding. She actually talks about the movie and the people involved. She is very knowledgeable about the subject and is a very eloquent speaker. There is a bunch of restored HD home movie content and photos. Outstanding, Kino! More please.
 

bujaki

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Jose Ortiz-Marrero
Terrific score that actually fits the film. Two outstanding women composers!
The print comes from the film collection of Dr. Jon Mirsalis. He composes fine scores for silent films. He's also an epidemiologist working on COVID-19 at very high levels. His advice to several of us on Labor Day was to simply get the damn vaccine if we wanted to control the virus.
Coming back to The Hunchback, his print must have been the best one around since it was the one Universal used to scan at 4K. It bears remembering that Universal destroyed all the negatives of their silent films, so all that was left was what remained in archives or private hands.
 

Mark Zimmer

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Jun 30, 1997
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Curious: because they used a 16mm print, does that mean no 35mm print is extant, or just that the 16mm was in better shape?

Would it make any difference to superimpose the 16mm over the 35mm to get all the picture?
There is no extant 35mm material on this film so far as can be established. There have been rumors of a 35mm print for decades, but those have never amounted to more than rumors. If there's a 35mm print, it's very well hidden.
 

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