Unboxing the Silents: 3 Silent Classics of Josef von Sternberg

This is a review of the box set itself, look for reviews of the individual films down the road.

What is it?: A box set of three von Sternberg silents: Underworld, The Docks of New York and The Last Command.

Who released it?: The Criterion Collection


How annoying was it to get open?: Not at all. The three films are individually packaged inside a cardboard slip case. The DVD cases are cardboard as well, which I normally would say is a bad thing, but the outer slipcase keeps the DVDs safe and sound.

How easy was it to navigate: The menu is simple and intuitive to navigate. No getting lost in endless layers or other annoyances.


What else is in it?: A small book with analysis of the three films, the original story for Underworld by Ben Hecht, and an excerpt from von Sternberg’s autobiography, Fun in a Chinese Laundry. The book is well-illustrated with movie stills.


Other selling points: Each movie has two scores: one by the ever-welcome Robert Israel and one by another artist. The Alloy Orchestra scores Underworld and The Last Command while Donald Sosin takes charge of the music for The Docks of New York.