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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Captive [Blu-ray]


(Cecil B. DeMille, 1915)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company

Video: Olive Films



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 0:50:20.475

Disc Size: 14,915,117,410 bytes

Feature Size: 14,676,135,936 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.76 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 13th, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2174 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2174 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)






• None





Description: "Cecil B. DeMille s thought-to-be-lost 1915 Silent film The Captive, is a found treasure. Set during the Balkan Wars, The Captive tells the story of Sonia (Blanche Sweet, The Woman in White), a young woman living in Montenegro and left to care for her younger brother Milos (Gerald Ward, The Warrens of Virginia) and the family farm when older brother Marko (Page Peters, Davy Crockett) goes off to battle. Unable to handle the day-to-day tasks following her brother s tragic death, help comes in the form of Mahmud Hassan (House Peters, Prisoners of the Storm) a captured Turk nobleman now a prisoner of war. Tasked with helping Sonia, their initial frosty relationship soon melts into love. As the war rages on Sonia, Mahmud and Milos will face near-insurmountable obstacles in their quest for a better life amidst the hell of war.

Directed by Cecil B. DeMille (The Ten Commandments, The Buccaneer) from a screenplay written by DeMille and Jeanie Macpherson (based on her play), the wartime romantic drama The Captive features supporting performances by Jeanie Macpherson (The Girl of the Golden West), Theodore Roberts (
The Ten Commandments), William Elmer (The Devil and Miss Jones) and features a musical score newly composed by Lucy Duke."



The Film:

The Captive is an American Silent-era film released on April 22, 1915 in five reels. The film was directed, written and produced by Cecil B. DeMille. Jesse L. Lasky was also a producer and Jeanie MacPherson worked with DeMille to write the screenplay. Blanche Sweet stars as Sonia Martinovich alongside House Peters as Mahmud Hassan. The film details the romantic war-era plight of Montenegrin protagonist Sonia Martinovich and her Turkish lover, Mahmud Hassan. The film is based on a play written by Cecil B. DeMille and Jeanie MacPherson. The Captive has grossed just over $56,000.

The Captive chronicles the life of a young woman named Sonia Martinovitch (Blanche Sweet) who lived during the midst of the Balkan Wars. She lives close to the Turkish border on a small farm in Montenegro with her older brother Marko Martinovich (Page Peters) and younger brother Milo (Gerald Ward). Nearby, a Turkish nobleman by the name of Mahmud Hassan (House Peters) lives in a lavish palace. Marko Martinovich fights in the Battle of Lule Burgess, and is tragically killed, leaving Martinovich and her remaining brother, Milo, helpless. Subsequently, Hassan is taken prisoner, and assigned to the Martinovich’s farm to help her with the chores Sonia is unable to complete without her brother.

In the beginning, Sonia holds Hassan captive with the use of her bullwhip and forces him to complete tasks like getting water, baking and plowing fields. Hassan begins to befriend young Milo to alleviate his humiliation and suffering. Gradually, Sonia warms up to him and they fall deeply in love.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

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

The Captive arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films. This is only single-layered but the 50-minute film has a max'ed out bitrate and visually looks impressive considering the age of the film. There is plenty of grain textures, numerous tints connoting scene/atmosphere changes and the overall 1080P image is very strong for a Silent Era film. The Blu-ray presentation is surprising in it's clarity - especially since it was thought to be lost for many years before being discovered in Paramount’s vault in 1970. This provides a very strong video presentation.















Audio :

Audio is transferred to a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at a healthy 2174 kbps. Olive Films has commissioned a brand-new score by composer Lucy Duke. “The opportunity to create an original score to a DeMille Silent film is a singular opportunity – a musician’s dream come true!” said composer Lucy Duke. “I hope that the music is true to the era while remaining valid in a contemporary context, shining a new light on this film.” It is all pretty remarkable matching the impressiveness of the video presentation. There are no subtitles, but original English intertitles (samples above), and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their releases.



The Captive is another Silent era Blu-ray gem from Olive after Michael Curtiz's The Undesirable. Like that release this is one of the earliest films (over 100 years old!) I can think of that has reached 1080P. This is a very good story and extensive production. The Blu-ray detraction is the film's shortness, at less than an hour, and the lack of supplements. Positive's may be the price and Silent Era fans should probably nab this for a decent price. 

Gary Tooze

September 15th, 2016

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.

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Gary W. Tooze





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