Unboxing the Silents: Two W.C. Fields Silent Films on Bluray from Kino (with bonus Louise Brooks)

Here’s some exciting news for comedy fans: Kino is releasing two of W.C. Fields’ silent comedies today! While his voice is iconic, it’s fascinating to see what he could do with pantomime. Oh, and one of the films features Louise Brooks.

As always, a huge thanks to Kino for providing review copies.

Running Wild and It’s the Old Army Game are both available on DVD and Bluray.

Both films are mastered in 2K from 35mm elements held by the Library of Congress and include audio commentaries from film historian James L. Neibaur.

Samples

Here are some screencaps from the Blurays. I have cropped out pillarboxes but have not otherwise tweaked the images.

Running Wild

It’s the Old Army Game

Music

Both films have new scores for their HD debut. It’s the Old Army Game has an organ score by Ben Model and Running Wild has a piano score by Donald Sosin. The scores are absolute delights and add considerably to the films they accompany.

These films look great and sound great. W.C. Fields fans will want to check out their favorite in his pre-sound days and Louise Brooks fans will be particularly interested in It’s the Old Army Game. Hats off to Kino for continuing to release these wonderful Paramount gems in HD.

Again, both films are on DVD and Bluray and were released today. You can order It’s the Old Army Game here and Running Wild here. The Blurays are region A, so be sure to check your equipment if you live outside that zone.

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10 Replies to “Unboxing the Silents: Two W.C. Fields Silent Films on Bluray from Kino (with bonus Louise Brooks)”

  1. Looking forward to receiving these. There seems to be three more silents with Fields in that might be good for Blu Ray. About 10 years or so before these films were made Fields toured my country and appeared on the same stage in Melbourne/Australia that my late Mom worked in during the war years. She was a milliner but being 14 when she started she also was a dog’s body and gopher. Her dad was working there as a carpenter during that period and ended up all too young as a cleaner at another great ancient theatre that is still there and used.

  2. Thanks for letting us know about the Kino release! I love Fields’ films and have the Universal box sets of his sound films. His selection of unusual words/names for a precise verbal effect (for the highest comedic value!) is really unsurpassed. I have not seen enough of his silent work, but I’m sure I’ll appreciate his pantomime skills. I certainly get a kick out of his juggling skills!

    And, I just love Louise Brooks. When I first saw her on the big screen in “Diary of a Lost Girl” at the Library of Congress’ theater more than 15 years ago, I thought “wow!” She was just made for the big screen! Your post inspired me to dig through my books to find “Lulu in Hollywood” where she wrote about Bill Fields for a whole chapter!

    Appreciate the post!

  3. This new release presents the film with extremely good clarity of image. It is good to have this and the “Running Wild” DVD.

  4. I have both Kino DVDs of “Running Wild” and “It’s the Old Army Game”, and they are fine releases. Hopefully, Kino can also release the long-unavailable “So’s Your Old Man”, another W. C. Fields silent feature.

  5. I have the WC Fields silents and love them, as I thought I would. WC is a lot skinnier than I am used to him in the 30s Talkies. Pity the others are mostly lost bu there is at least one more out there. Louise Brooks is delightful as Clara Bow’s replacement if that is true.

  6. These two releases are great. The visual quality of each is superior to any previous release of these films, the music is great, and the audio commentary is informative. I certainly hope that Kino will be able to continue releasing silent films, and I am especially looking forward to a release of W. C. Fields’ 1926 silent feature, “So’s Your Old Man”, which has never been officially released on any home format (tape, DVD, etc.). Kino does some fine work.

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