The House of Mystery is one of the most exciting silent film releases to come along in ages. This serial has been knocking ’em dead on the film festival circuit for a while but this is the first time it has been available to the general public since its release over ninety years ago. And don’t let the word “serial” put you off. Instead, think of The House of Mystery as a very fine miniseries, the kind that sweeps award shows.
Available on DVD.
Please note that I am reviewing the technical aspects of the DVD release, not the serial itself. You can read my review of the serial here but let me just give you an in-a-nutshell breakdown.
The House of Mystery attempts one of the most difficult feats– creating a film that is equal parts art and entertainment– and it succeeds brilliantly. It pleases crowds and critics with equal success.
If you like artistic fare, you will be entranced. If you like adventure and entertainment, you will be satisfied. It has humor, romance, suspense and some very polished acting. There is quite literally something for everyone.
The serial was released on DVD by Flicker Alley and the Blackhawk Films® Collection. Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients and see if the presentation lives up to the content.
Lovely! As you can see, the film is in excellent shape for its age.
Check out Flicker Alley’s trailer for the serial and feast your eyes and ears.
Arranging accompaniment for a series with a 6 1/2 hour length has to be a challenge but the piano score by Neil Brand is excellent. (As you can hear in the trailer.) It’s romantic, dramatic, intelligent and it contains all the right nods to French and Russian classical music. Fabulous stuff.
Packaging and Extras
The serial is divided onto three DVDs. It retains its French intertitles and gives the option of English subtitles.
The set comes in a standard-size DVD case with one of those flippy trays to accommodate the extra discs. It holds the discs securely and I had no trouble getting them out. (This may seem like a small point to you but I have had DVDs that seem like they are going to break in half before the case lets them go.)
The set comes with a booklet detailing the lives and careers of the cast and crew. There is also a slideshow of stills on the third disc that contains a combination of posed shots and behind-the-scenes images.
An emphatic yes! Other reviewers have been raving about this film and they are absolutely correct. This serial was a buried treasure and now its available to all.