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The Devil's Needle and Other Tales of Vice And Redemption [Blu-ray]
(Frank Beal, 1913)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Fine Arts Film Company
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
The Devil's Needle Runtime: 1:06:49.463
Disc Size: 46,080,800,594 bytes
Devil's Needle Size: 16,598,467,392 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.81 Mbps
Children of Eve Runtime: 1:13:57.141
Children of Eve Size: 16,728,068,160 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.61 Mbps
Inside the White Slave Traffic Runtime: 0:28:21.282
Inside the White Slave Traffic Size: 6,437,770,752 bytes
Video Bitrate: 26.76 Mbps
Chapters: 10 / 10 / 1
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: July 3rd, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
• THE INSIDE OF THE WHITE SLAVE TRAFFIC: unrestored scenes (19 minutes)
• CHILDREN OF EVE: 8 minutes of outtake footage
Bitrates of The Devil's Needle (TOP), Children of Eve (MIDDLE), The Inside of the White Slave Traffic (BOTTOM):
Description: In its continuing effort to showcase the great works of early cinema, Kino Classics launches a new series of Blu-ray and DVD releases dedicated to archival rarities -- influential classics that have gone virtually unseen for decades. Presented in association with the Library of Congress, the films have been mastered in HD from the original film elements and are backed with newly commissioned musical scores. In some cases the films survive in less-than-perfect condition. But it is the mission of this series to preserve and promote these films in spite of their flaws, rather than allow them to disappear entirely from the cultural radar.
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTION is comprised
of three feature films that dared to address incendiary subject matter:
drug abuse, prostitution, and the exploitation of labor. By folding
these explosive issues within layers of melodramatic storytelling, the
filmmakers were able to dodge public criticism while making their
political views even more compelling. These films were among the first
to demonstrate the cinema's potential as a persuasive cultural force.
CHILDREN OF EVE (1915; dir: John Collins) is most famous today for its
detailed reenactment of the tragic fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist
Factory in 1911, which had become a symbol of unsafe working conditions
and capital's apparent disregard for labor. Viola Dana stars as an
illegitimate child of the slums who labors in an oppressive canning
company, not realizing she has a significant connection to the
cold-hearted factory owner. This special edition includes outtake
footage of the sensational fire scene, for which the Edison Studios set
an actual four-story factory ablaze. (73 min)
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
I'm usually quiet lenient with damage in very old films transferred to Blu-ray but purchasers should be aware that The Devil's Needle has extensive emulsion issues throughout much of the middle third of the film (see samples below). I suspect that fans of the Silent Era will be able to shrug this off and appreciate the 1080P presentation. Rounded corners are frequently visible. The contrast tends to make the film look thin but again - whether these limitations from the source will impinge upon your viewing - is a personal issue. Technically bitrates are high for all three films - housed on a dual-layered disc. Children of Eve probably looks the best of the three - still with damage and scratches - but a lesser interruption of the video. The Inside of the White Slave Traffic also has marks etc. but these are usually in the form of multiple vertical scratches. Overall - I'd say there was more visual weaknesses than I was anticipating in the package but I could still enjoy the three films for what they are - appreciating when they were produced.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Children of Eve
The Inside of the White Slave Traffic
These are newly commissioned scores - all in linear PCM 2.0 channel transfers. They sound wonderful without being so overwhelming as to detract from the onscreen activity. I enjoyed the music - appropriate for Silent Era fare and very clean and crisp as a juxtaposition to the video. The intertitles vary from newly created to original and there are no subtitles necessary.My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Supplements include some unrestored footage of the fire in The Inside of the White Slave Traffic and some outtake footage from Children of Eve. The package contains a liner notes booklet with text by film historian Richard Koszarski but there is nothing digital along the lines of a discussion of the films themselves - which would have been nice. Koszarski thoughts are appreciated though.
July 3rd, 2012
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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