We’re going to be unboxing the DVD/Bluray edition of Undercrank Productions’ much-anticipated released of the restored Marion Davies epic, When Knighthood Was in Flower.
The project was successfully crowdfunded last year. So successfully, in fact, that producer Ben Model was able to add extra features like restored hand-coloring in certain scenes.
Availability: The Kickstarter backers already have their copies but the film will be released to the general public on July 25, 2017. (That’s this coming Tuesday!) You can’t order it from Amazon before that date but here is the link so you can stay up until midnight on July 24th and hit that buy button.
I should note that there are other versions of When Knighthood Was in Flower on the market but these are derived from an old black and white 1990s VHS release. I recommend steering clear of them.
To put it another way, would you rather watch this:
I rest my case.
I won’t be reviewing the picture itself, just the quality of the release. However, I will say that this film will be of interest to Tudor history buffs as Marion Davies plays King Henry VIII’s little sister, Mary. Her sister Margaret was married off to King James IV of Scotland (which did not cause any problems down the road, nope, nope, nope) and this film is the Hollywoodization of Mary trying to marry for love. Oh, and we get a baby William Powell, too! Awww!
The DVD/Bluray combo pack features the restored film scanned at 2K (Bluray resolution) and it is GORGEOUS! Here are some more Bluray screencaps. As always, the images are completely untouched by me except for cropping out the pillarboxes for better display.
As you can see, the production was enormous and pricey, a million-dollar picture back when that meant something. Bluray lets us enjoy the elaborate sets and costumes as they were meant to be seen.
And here is that restored hand-coloring. It’s the Handschiegl process, in case you were wondering, and this sort of thing was often done to flames and tutus in order to hide any imperfections. (Rapid movement disguised any flicker or “outside the lines” frames.)
The film is accompanied by a very suitable organ score from producer Ben Model and includes an illustrated booklet by Marion Davies historian Lara Fowler. Here’s a closer look at the guts of the thing:
This release is absolutely stunning! Fans of Marion Davies, Hollywood epics and/or English history should find a lot to love.
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