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Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934

USA 1900 - 1934

This third groundbreaking set in the Treasures from American Archives series presents over 48 films never before seen on video. Over 12 hours of rare cartoons, newsreel stories, serial episodes, advocacy films, and features. Preserved by the George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Archives, and the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Commentary by 20 experts, Digitally mastered from the finest archival sources, Newly recorded music in two-track stereo More than 600 interactive screens about the films and music, 200-page illustrated book with film notes and credits, Postcards from the films

Films include: The Black Hand, How They Rob Men in Chicago, The Voice of the Violin, The Usurer's Grip, From the Submerged, Hope-A Red Cross Seal Story, The Cost of Carelessness, LIghts and Shadows in a City of a Million, The Soul of Youth, A Call for Help from Sing Sing!, 6 Million American Children Are Not in School, Kansas Saloon Smashers, Why Mr. Nation Wants a Divorce, Trial Marriages, Manhattan Trade School for Girls, The Strong Arm Squad of the Future, A Lively Affair, A Suffragette in Spite of Himself, On to Washington, The Hazards of Helen, Where Are My Children?, The Courage of the Commonplace, Poor Mrs. Jones!, The Crime of Carelessness, Listen to Some Words of Wisdom, Cecil B. DeMille's The Godless Girl, Emigrants Landing at Ellis Island, An American in the Making, Ramona, Redskin, The United Snakes of America, 100% American, Bud's Recruit, The Reawakening and more!

The acclaimed Treasures series has earned raves and awards for the past seven years including the National Society of Film Critics' Film Heritage Award and the VSDA's Best in Show Non-Theatrical Award.


In 2004 we reviewed More Treasures From the American Archives and soon after that the initial DVD release of this series, "Treasures of the American Archives", went out of print.  Seeing copies go for obscene amounts on EBay and other online auctions stirred the National Film Preservation Foundation to re-issue this release (called "encore"). It is something that is both a prized keepsake not only for film fans but for all those interested in history. Everyone should have the opportunity to own and view this astounding collection.

DVD Review: Image Entertainment -  Region 1 - NTSC



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Distribution Image Entertainment -  Region 1 - NTSC
Audio English narration (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
Time Over 11 hours of material on 4 DVDs
Intertitles Original English where offered
Features Release Information:
DVD Production: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Various from (Picture boxed) 1.15:1  to Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:

  • Over 300 interactive screens
  • Newly recorded music scores
  • 180-page Illustrated book with film notes and credits
  • Number of discs: 4

DVD Release Date: October 16th, 2007
Cardboard Sleeve Box with 4 Keep Cases each containing a book


We are lucky to have another fabulous mix of the primordial soup of the medium of film. 4 dual-layered, interlaced DVDs, coded for region 1 in the NTSC standard, and one 180-page book in an exciting package for films fans everywhere.

The picture-boxed or pillar-boxed image quality varies from severely damaged (as expected) to surprisingly intact, with exceptional contrast, for extremely aged films. Aspect ratios have been maintained and occasional black bars down the side are exhibited dependant on the film and its original format.

The movies began during a period of social reform and quickly emerged as a way to reach millions, regardless of their class, education, or language. During the "Progressive Era" before World War I, virtually no socially significant issue was too controversial to bring to the big screen—abortion, anarchism, prohibition, unions, the vote for women, TB, worker safety, organized crime, race relations, loan sharking, juvenile justice, homelessness, police corruption, job discrimination, immigration, and more. Controversy fueled public debate and stoked the box office. Here was entertainment with the power to persuade.  

With the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, the NFPF is now completing a DVD project to reclaim this little-known history. The 12-1/4 hour set with book, slated for release on October 16, 2007, will present four features and 44 documentaries, cartoons, newsreels, serial episodes, and public service announcements exploring social issues from the period 1900 to 1934. Showcased are Hollywood productions as well as works sponsored by businesses, charities, and advocacy groups.

Menu navigation is a bit of an ordeal with so many prospects attached to each disc, but the best option is the "Play All" where you can simply sit back and watch it unfold in front of you. You can enable the commentaries 'on the fly'.

There are no subtitles and all inter-titles are in English. 

This DVD Boxset is so profound it deserves nothing less thanout of  . Highlights for me were The Godless Girl, 100% American and Romona (latter two with Mary Pickford).


The Black Hand (1906, 11 minutes) - Earliest surviving gangster film. Two members of a gang write a threatening letter to a butcher, demanding money, or else they will harm his family and his shop.
How They Rob Men in Chicago (1900, 25 seconds) - An elderly man is robbed in Chicago, but some money is left behind on his unconscious person. A policeman happens by, takes the money, and leaves the victim unattended.
The Voice of the Violin (1909, 16 minutes) - A terrorist plot foiled by the power of music.
The Usurer's Grip (1912, 15 minutes) - Melodrama arguing for consumer credit co-operatives.
From the Submerged (1912, 11 minutes) - Drama about homelessness and slumming parties.
Hope - A Red Cross Seal Story (1912, 14 minutes) - A town mobilizes to fight TB.
The Cost of Carelessness (1913, 13 minutes) - Traffic safety film for Brooklyn children.
Lights and Shadows in a City of a Million (1920, 7 minutes) - Charitable plea for the Detroit community fund.
Six Million Children are Not in School (1922, 7 minutes) - Newsreel inspired by census data.
The Soul of Youth (1920, 80 minutes) - William Desmond Taylor's feature about an orphan reclaimed for society through the court of Judge Ben Lindsey.
A Call for Help from Sing Sing (1934, 3 minutes) - Warden Lawes speaks out for wayward teens.

Disc 2 - NEW WOMEN
Kansas Saloon Smashers (1901, 1 minute) - Carrie Nation swings her axe.
Why Mr. Nation Wants a Divorce (1902, 2 minutes) - Role reversal temperance spoof.
Trial Marriages (1907, 12 minutes) - Male fantasy inspired by a reformer's proposal. A man tries marriage to several women and finally gives up on matrimony entirely.
Manhattan Trade School for Girls (1911, 16 minutes) - Training impoverished girls for better jobs.
The Strong Arm Squad of the Future (1912, 1 minute) - Suffragette cartoon.
A Lively Affair (1912, 7 minutes) - Comedy with women playing poker and child-caring men. The moral is that this is what to expect if women get the vote.
A Suffragette in Spite of Himself (1912, 8 minutes) - Boys' prank results in an unwitting crusader.
On To Washington (1913, 80 sec.) - News coverage of the historic suffragette march.
The Hazards of Helen, Episode 13 (1915, 13 minutes) - Helen thwarts some robbers and overcomes workplace problems.
Where are my Children (1916, 65 minutes) - This is Lois Weber's film against abortion that brings in the issue of birth control as well, which will be confusing to modern audiences. Tyrone Power's father stars in this one.
The Courage of the Commonplace (1913, 13 minutes) - A young farm woman dreams of a better life.
Poor Mrs Jones (1926, 45 minutes) - Why women should stay on the farm.
Offers Herself as a Bride (1931, 2 minutes) - A woman comes up with a way to survive the depression.

Uncle Sam and the Bolshevik (1919, 40 sec.) - Anti-union cartoon from Ford Motor Company.
The Crime of Carelessness (1912, 14 minutes) - Business version of the Triangle Factory fire.
Who Pays Episode 12 (1915, 35 minutes) - Lumberyard strike brings deadly consequences.
Labor's Reward (1925, 13 minutes) - Surviving reel showing the American Federation of Labor's argument for buying union.
Listen to Some Words of Wisdom (1930, 2 minutes) - Why personal thrift feeds the Depression.
The Godless Girl (1928, 128 minutes) - De Mille's sensational film about girls' reformatories and his last silent picture.

Emigrants Landing on Ellis Island (1903, 2 minutes) - Actual footage of the event.
An American in the Making (1913, 15 minutes) - U.S. Steel film promoting immigration and industrial safety.
Ramona (1910, 16 minutes) - Helen Hunt Jackson's classic about racial conflict in California as told by D.W. Griffith. Stars Mary Pickford.
Redskin (1929, 82 minutes) - Racial tolerance epic shot in two-strip Technicolor. Richard Dix plays Wing Foot, son of a Navajo chief who suffers heartache and prejudice before the film's happy ending with Wing Foot bringing peace between the Navajo and Pueblo peoples.
United Snakes of America (1917, 80 sec) - World War I cartoon assails homefront dissenters.
Uncle Sam donates for Liberty Loans (1919, 75 sec.) - Very odd patriotic cartoon.
100% American (1918, 14 minutes) - Mary Pickford buys war bonds and supports the troops.
Bud's Recruit (1918, 26 minutes) - Brothers serve their country in King Vidor's earliest surviving film.
The Reawakening (1919, 10 minutes) - Documentary about helping disabled veterans build new lives after the war.
Eight Prohibition Newsreels (1922-23, 13 minutes) - footage on raids along with various opinions about the effectiveness of Prohibition.

Gary W. Tooze

The 'Treasures Collections' - #1 - 50 films preserved by America's premier archives, #2 - More Treasures from American Film Archives 1894-1931, Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film 1900-1934, Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986 and Treasures 5: The West, 1898-1938.


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

Sample Bitrate (from disc 1):


Average Bitrate: 5.24 mb/s
NTSC 720x480  

Menu screens : 50

DVD Menus
Samples (Disc 1 only)


Small Sampling


Title screens and intertitles




Screen captures















Associated Silent Era Reading  (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)


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Distribution Image Entertainment -  Region 1 - NTSC



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Gary Tooze

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