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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Paul Leni
USA 1928

 

Universal Pictures and Flicker Alley present Universal Pictures new 4K restoration of the 1929 silent classic, The Last Warning, accompanied by a newly recorded score from Arthur Barrow. Adapted from Thomas F. Fallon s 1922 Broadway play of the same name, The Last Warning is based on the story The House of Fear by Wadsworth Camp and centers on an unsolved murder that occurs during a live Broadway performance. When the victim s body goes missing, the death remains unsolved and the theater is condemned. That is, until years later when a suspicious new producer arrives to restage the play with the original cast and crew. As one of the last silents Universal produced, The Last Warning was later released as a part-talkie with roughly sixty feet of sound scenes added.


The Last Warning was Paul Leni's final film before his untimely death, and a prime showcase for Universal's 1920s leading lady, Laura La Plante. A visual artist at the peak of his career, Leni s camera never stops shifting, offering cutaways and trick shots involving nervous could-be culprits, a highly suspicious sleuth, and cast members who suddenly disappear in the darkened theater. The result is a cinematic funhouse that restlessly cross-examines the suspense of the story s stage play against the real murder mystery saga, all unfolding amid the outstanding production design of Charles D. Hall.


Part of Universal's ongoing silent restoration initiative, The Last Warning honors the studio's rich film history that has spanned more than a century. Universal's team of restoration experts conducted a worldwide search for The Last Warning's available elements, ultimately working with materials from the Cinémathèque française, and the Packard Humanities Institute Collection in the UCLA Film & Television Archive. NBCUniversal's restoration team was able to stabilize and deflicker the film as well as repair scratches, warps, and dirt. The 4K digital restoration was completed by NBCUniversal StudioPost.

***

In this mystery, a producer reopens a theater where five years before, a lead actor was killed on stage during a performance. The murder remained unsolved. To solve the mystery, the producer stages the same play with the same cast. As the play is performed, the same series of events occurs and the lead actor vanishes. It is eventually discovered that a masked stage manager is behind the it all. He has set up the whole thing to force stockholders to withdraw from the production.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 25th, 1928

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Review: Flicker Alley - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Distribution Flicker Alley - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:18:16.983        
Video

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 20,296,185,270 bytes

Feature: 19,331,826,624 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.976 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio Undetermined 1548 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1548 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles (intertitles are in English)
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Flicker Alley

 

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 20,296,185,270 bytes

Feature: 19,331,826,624 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.976 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Paul Leni and The Last Warning - A visual essay by film historian and author, John Soister on Leni’s final film (09:58)
“Of Gods and Monsters” - An essay excerpt from the book of the same name by historian John Soister.
"Notes On the New Score" - A short essay by composer Arthur Barrow on his new score for The Last Warning.
Rare Image Gallery - A slide show presentation of vintage marketing materials and production stills.
*Featuring reversible cover artwork.


Blu-ray Release Date:
June 4th, 2019
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 14

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Flicker Alley have released another 4K restoration, "The Last Warning". The single-layered Blu-ray holds the 1.33:1 1080p image shown at 24fps with a high bitrate (There is also an included DVD). As Flicker Alley states:

"Universal's team of restoration experts conducted a worldwide search for The Last Warning's available elements, ultimately working with materials from the Cinémathèque française, and the Packard Humanities Institute Collection in the UCLA Film & Television Archive. NBCUniversal's restoration team was able to stabilize and deflicker the film as well as repair scratches, warps, and dirt. The 4K digital restoration was completed by NBCUniversal StudioPost."

There are instances of damage scattered throughout the picture, hairs, blips and vertical bands sometimes appear, though this is really no surprise for a silent film of this age. The restoration work, however, seems to be rather seamless, which helps to maintain the integrity of the film's appearance.

"The Last Warning" is presented with a 2.0 DTS-HD Master audio track, in 24-bit uncompressed linear PCM. Interestingly, the film was one of the last Universal-produced silent films, and was later released as a “part-talkie” with roughly sixty feet of sound scenes added. The picture is accompanied by a newly recorded score from Arthur Barrow, who also wrote some notes on his score in the included booklet. I found his notes very thoughtful, discussing the differences between scoring silents and talkies, where silents allow him more room for strong melodies, without the fear of overshadowing dialogue or sound effects. Also of interest is his dilemma for scoring the horror/mystery aspects of the film, when these themes are interrupted with moments of comical relief (if it were up to me and my Benny Hill-music-styled taste, there would just be a lot of slide-whistles). Regardless, this new score from Barrow is quite the accomplishment, and I'm sure any listener would agree that it creates a wonderful mood throughout the film.

"Paul Leni and The Last Warning" is a 10-minute visual essay on Leni’s final film, written and narrated by film historian and author, John Soister. There are rare image galleries featuring slide show presentations of vintage materials, these galleries are separated into the following categories; "Production Stills", "Behind the Scenes", "Posters", and "Trade Ads". While not as extensive a collection as found on Flicker Alley's "The Man Who Laughs"
Blu-ray, these vintage images are still quite valuable to have collected here. "“Of Gods and Monsters” is an essay excerpt from the book of the same name by historian John Soister. "Notes On the New Score" is a short essay by composer Arthur Barrow on his new score for The Last Warning. There is reversible cover artwork as well. This is a Region 'A' Blu-ray.

Paul Leni's "The Last Warning", along with "The Man Who Laughs" (also recently released by Flicker Alley) comes to us in a new 4K
Blu-ray digital restoration with an all-new score. Flicker Alley are wise to always include a booklet featuring photos, essays and notes that further contextualizes the film in question, and this is no different. A fabulous release, recommended to fans of horror/mystery silent films (albeit with some comedy too) as well as stage and theatre fans. Of note here is the really stunning production design from Charles D. Hall.

Colin Zavitz

 


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Distribution Flicker Alley - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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