|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Behind the Door [Blu-ray]
(Irvin Willat, 1919)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Thomas H. Ince Corporation / Paramount
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:10:45.115 / Russian Version: 0:47:10.077
Disc Size: 44,785,668,860 bytes
Feature Size: 20,590,765,056 bytes / Russian Version: 12,596,665,728 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.76 Mbps / Russian Version: 31.70 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: April 4th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio Undetermined 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
English, none (for intertitles on the Russian version - see ample below)
• Russian version of Behind the Door - The re-edited and
re-titled version of the film that was distributed in
Russia, with musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne (47:10)
Second disc DVD
Description: Legendary producer Thomas H. Ince and director
Irvin V. Willat made this - "the most outspoken of all
the vengeance films" according to film historian Kevin
Brownlow - during the period of World War I-inspired
America has just entered World War I, and because of his name, German-American Oscar Krug (Hobart Bosworth) is thought to be an enemy sympathizer. He fights his foes to prove that they're wrong, then immediately enlists and is assigned to the merchant marines. The night before boarding, he marries his sweetheart, Alice Morse (Jane Novak), and she sails with him, disguised as a Red Cross nurse. A German submarine torpedoes the craft and sinks it. Krug and his bride board a lifeboat, where the sub finds them a couple of days later. The Germans take Alice and leave Krug, who swears revenge to the commander (Wallace Beery). Krug is saved by a passing ship and gets his chance a year later when he is in charge of another ship. It blows up a sub, and Krug sees the commander -- the same man he is looking for -- in the water. He pulls the commander on board and tricks him into telling Krug the details of how the commander ravished Alice and threw her body overboard. Then Krug reveals his identity and skins him alive. The movie's end shows Krug a saddened old man, whose soul rises from his broken body (with the help of double exposure) to join his dead bride. This film was based on a Gouverneur Morris story that appeared in Collier's Weekly.Excerpt from B&N located HERE
Behind the Door is one of the
Silent era’s most notorious films,
its plot and punchline once recalled in amazed tones similar to the ways
a later generation discussed ‘50s-era horror comics. As historian Kevin
Brownlow states in an excellent interview on this new Blu-ray/DVD combo,
the film belongs to a trend in brutality of the late teens and early
‘20s that could reasonably be showcased as part of the development of
the horror film.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Behind the Door is one of the earliest feature films to make it to Blu-ray - it's approaching its 100th birthday. Flicker Alley do their usual impressive, labor-of-love, work. Behind the Door was produced in December of 1919 and no single, complete, copy of the film is known to survive. This restoration is based on an incomplete 35mm print and a separate small roll of shots preserved at the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Centre, and a 35mm copy of a Russian version, based on an export negative preserved at Gosfilmofond of Russia. In two sequences, still images have been inserted (see sample below) to bridge gaps where the motion picture material was not available. Shot continuity and text for recreated intertitles and bridging stills are based on director Irvin Willat's original script and continuity. Color tinting and toning have been reproduced based on laboratory notations in the leaders of the Library of Congress print. The restoration was completed in May 2016 as a partnership between the Library of Congress, Gosfilmofond of Russia, and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. This Blu-ray is from the 2016 restoration and has, predictable, damage (see last capture) but also many very, remarkably, sharp visuals - so much so that you can almost see the make-up and it can dramatically impress. I think most will be very appreciative of the presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Flicker Alley use a linear PCM 2.0 channel track (24-bit) and it exports the films music by Stephen Horne - who has done score for A Cottage on Dartmoor and Varieté - beautifully from aggressive, combative, impact to gentle expressions of love.The recreated intertitles export a fully authentic, and seamless, interpretation and there are optional English subtitles for the Russian text intertitle cards. My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
As stated - we get 47-minutes of the Russian version of Behind the Door, distributed in Russia, which is a re-edited and re-titled version of the film with rearranged editing and with the plot considerably altered from the original narrative. It is presented here with musical accompaniment, also, by Stephen Horne. The quality varies but it, likewise , can look excellent. There are 10-minutes of outtakes from Behind the Door, an 11-minute piece on restoring Irvin Willat's Behind the Door with a behind-the-scenes look at the restoration and details of the challenge. I enjoyed the 1/2 hour of Kevin Brownlow discussing Irvin Willat. There is also a slideshow gallery of stills and promotional material from Behind the Door and the package contains a souvenir booklet featuring rare photographs and essays by film historian Jay Weissburg, film restorer Robert Byrne, and composer Stephen Horne. Thee is a second disc DVD included.
September 15th, 2017