Unboxing the Silents: Douglas Fairbanks Double Feature from Kino Lorber

Douglas Fairbanks is known as the king of costumed swashbucklers and rightly so but the movies from the start of his career, the movies that allowed him to build his stylish empire are fascinating in their own right. Kino Lorber has just released two rare 1916 Fairbanks features in HD!

As always, thanks to Kino for the review copy.

This release includes The Half-Breed and The Good Bad Man, two western/wilderness films that represent the sort of pictures 1910s audiences expected.

The double feature is available to order on DVD and Bluray.

Image

I have cropped out the pillarboxes but have otherwise not changed the screencaps in any way.

The Half-Breed was discovered as part of the cache of silents rescued in Dawson City. The footage is supplemented by a 16mm print. As you can see, this is still an attractive release.

The Good Bad Man is a quirky western spoof with the always-adorable Bessie Love. This is derived from the 1923 re-release, alas the original version has not yet been discovered.

 

Sound

The films are delightfully scored by Donald Sosin and feature commentary tracks by by Tracey Goessel and Robert Byrne.

We also get a featurette on the restoration of The Half-Breed. Good stuff!

This double feature is a must-buy for Fairbanks fans and anyone who enjoys a good lost film rescue story. It’s a great, affordable way to see the charming Fairbanks at his early best.

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7 Replies to “Unboxing the Silents: Douglas Fairbanks Double Feature from Kino Lorber”

  1. I’ve just watched The Half Breed and fully concur with you about the film and the commentary.The history of the finding of the various elements and how they were married together is worth the money in itself.
    I imagine that in its time it was a daring take on the treatment of Native Americans. Praise to Fairbanks for this.
    I have only the slightest quibble about the sound, but that is only because I prefer something beefier than a solo piano.
    I wish I had a tree to live in!

    1. Well, we’d all like one of those! 😉 My parents met not far from where the picture was shot but, alas, they lived in boring old houses and apartments, as far as I know.

  2. What a pair of handsome prints these look to be! Can’t wait ’til ours arrives. And thanks so much for the great screencaps. Re: The Good Bad Man- I admit to a fascination for turn-of-the-last-century bars (and restaurants, hotels, general stores, haberdashers, but I believe we’re talking bars here), so was delighted at the clarity of the print so I could really examine those slot machines behind the gunman. We all have our little nerdy areas of intense interest, and who would have it any other way 😀

    1. Oh, most certainly! I keep an eye out from price tags, menus and other money matters with my inflation calculator at the ready. It’s a bonus to some already fun films.

  3. ‘Our little nerdy areas of intense interest’… Love that phrase! I will use it often, Marie. My ‘nerdy area’ is clothing – not just admiring the clothes, but examining details on how they’re made .. i.e. with back or side zippers or hooks and eyes, etc. And keeping track of how many variations there were of those awful fur neckpieces!

    1. And who would have it any other way, Shari 😉

      I’ve a friend who shares your enthusiasm for details of silent film clothing. She can spend a pleasant hour explaining to me how to sew different types of glass beads onto chiffon frocks while I enjoy myself immensely listening. Then I can spend the next hour weighing the merits of various silent movie slots, cash registers, barrel organs (with or without monkeys), stoves, vehicles……Yep, like our gracious MS hostess, we find great pleasure in these wonderful details!

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