Unboxing the Silents: “When Knighthood Was in Flower” from Undercrank Productions

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:

New Undercrank Productions Bluray

Or this?

Old fuzzy VHS

I rest my case.

The Film

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.)

Nice!

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.

Availability: DVD/Bluray combo pack will be available on July 25, 2017.

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16 Replies to “Unboxing the Silents: “When Knighthood Was in Flower” from Undercrank Productions”

  1. A stunner of a restoration that was eagerly watched the day it arrived in our post box. Gorgeous film with a great Model score! It also provides a true study in contrasts to run it as a double bill with The Patsy, which we’ve done.

  2. Available on Amazon as of today, along with Marion Davies’ BEAUTY’S WORTH and THE BRIDE’S PLAY, also from Undercrank and with scores by Ben Model.

    KNIGHTHOOD was one of the biggest box-office hits of 1922-23 and it’s easy to see why, now that we have this gorgeous restoration. The story moves quickly and is filled with humor. This is the film that made Marion Davies a superstar. Great sets and costumes by Joseph Urban and his daughter Gretl Urban Thurlow. Great supporting cast. The plot has enough twists and turns for two films.

    Having watched the old Videobrary VHS several times, I cannot find enough good words to heap on Ben (and Jack Theakston, who did the digital hand coloring) for this impeccable restoration. This is a must-see for silent film fans.

  3. Oh wow! Now I didn’t care for this picture, I found it rather overblown and boring – Marion Davies’ comedic flair was stifled – but those fabulous screenshots might persuade me to invest…

  4. Ordered the three titles last night with Ben’s code thru Amazon. Can’t wait to get them. It goes to show it can be done.

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