Which Silent Films Would You Like to See on Home Video

It’s no exaggeration to say that the home video boom is responsible for a whole generation of silent film fans. As my recent survey shows, the vast majority of the readers of this site rely on home video to see silent films.

While there are quite literally thousands of silent films on home video, there are thousands more in archives waiting their turn to be released. Which silent films would you like to own but are not yet available for sale in your region?

My #1 pick is also my favorite silent film: Michael Strogoff (1926)

This is an epic that has everything and it is the kind of big film that was never quite replicated in the sound era (not that Cecil B. DeMille and William Wyler and Henry King didn’t try, bless them) because, well, borrowing the army of Latvia is such a silent era thing.

Plus, Ivan Mosjoukine both with and without a beard. Rawr.

(A recent Twitter poll found most prefer the beard but I’ll take my Vanya any old way.)

As a second choice, I would really like a Marie Doro movie to be made available to the public. Of all the not-on-video silent stars, she is the one I get asked about the most and people deserve to see a silent star in motion, right? (For the record, I have indeed seen her in action.)

Several of her films survive but, alas, there are access restrictions or I would have taken care of this myself. (Believe me, I asked.)

It’s your turn! Which silents are surviving but unavailable in your region? What’s your wish?

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27 Replies to “Which Silent Films Would You Like to See on Home Video”

  1. I would like to see Lubitsch’s “Student Prince in Old Heidelberg” available on DVD. It is currently only available on VHS, which is outdated because no one uses VHS machines anymore. Also
    a decent version of “Call of the Flesh.” It is not commercially available at this time.

      1. (In far away voice…I use VHS, also Laser Disc…shhhh. Have films I view on the ol’ moviolas: safety film transferred, but a little ragged from use. Card carrying member of FGNU- Film Geeks & Nerds United. Keep it under your hat 😉

        Another vote for Michael Strogoff, The Wind, Student Prince, and any and all things extant not on DVD from Roach’s Lot of Fun!

  2. Two Arabian Knights, The Racket, and The Mating Call all need home releases. I’ve read that the problem is with the Hughes estate. Whether that is true, IDK.

    Then there is many of the Thames Silents that have seen restoration work that never been released on home video, in the United States, or previous DVDs that are long OOP such as: Napoleon(I know it has a UK release, but the lack of a US release is frustrating), The Crowd, A Woman of Affairs, The Wind, Greed, and Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I also mention Sadie Thompson since Kino said they no longer have the rights, I guess I will continue to watch eBay for an affordable version.

    1. I have both The Crowd and The Wind on DVDs, ordered from Spain. I would immediately buy better releases if available. They are okay, but in The Wind, there are moments when Lillian’s face becomes blank white so one cannot see any facial expression. The score is great but uncredited. It must be the Davis one, but I’d like to give him as much credit as possible.

  3. Ooooh, how long you got? Okay, I’ll try to keep it brief. There are many great quality prints of Clara Bow films that have never had home market release. Okay, so the general critical opinion is that most of them aren’t great films and are only carried by Clara’s charisma (like that isn’t enough?). Marion Davis’s films’ critical reputation isn’t all that either, but that doesn’t seem to stop Undercrank from doing brisk business with them.

    Apart from that, I’ll confine myself to a couple of Nazimovas; A Doll’s House (1922) and Madame Peacock (1920) … the avant-garde short The Yellow Girl (1916) which, frustratingly I keep reading about but can’t see, and … last one I promise … Die Strasse (1923), which is available but needs a serious digital remastering (or at least a fresh capture from a print rather than from a vhs). This film deserves the same reputation as the best of Lang, Pabst etc.

  4. All the Warner Rin Tin Tin films. Some were available from Grapevine at one time but there are a lot more. They should be part of the Warner Bros. arcive series!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I’d like to see more blu-ray releases of silent films in general. DVDs are fine but nothing beats seeing silent films in HD.

    That being said, I would like to see 1918’s “Revelation” and 1920’s “Madame Peacock”, both films starring Nazimova. It appears both survive but to my knowledge, neither has been issued on any sort of home video (if I’m wrong, let me know!).

  6. I would enjoy seeing Pola Negri’s “Forbidden Paradise” and “The Spanish Dancer”; both of which have been restored. I know in the case of “The Spanish Dancer” that it goes public domain next year and there is some interest from at least one label of releasing it to home video. Not sure if anything is happening with FP.

  7. I, too, would like to see “Michael Strogoff” on blu-ray and DVD – complete with a restored print, a great orchestral score, an audio commentary, and behind the scenes extra. (It might be too much to ask, but a hardback copy of the Jules Verne novel with N.C. Wyeth illustrations would be a nice addition as well.) Others films I’d like to see: “A Kiss For Cinderella” with Betty Bronson, “White Gold” with Jetta Goudal, and “White Price Glory?” with Victor McLaglen. Also, a film with Marion Davies called “Lights of Old Broadway”. It has tinting, toning, Handschiegl color, and two-color Technicolor scenes. Speaking of Technicolor, how about putting out the 1929 version of “The Mysterious Island” with Lionel Barrymore? Then there’s all the films of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford that haven’t been released on DVD or blu-ray. Two films that are on DVD that I’d like to see upgraded to blu-ray are “Redskin” with Richard Dix and “Robin Hood” with Doug. The “Robin Hood” DVD has as a bonus the Will Rogers short “Big Moments From Little Pictures”. I’d included that with a blu-ray release along with the 1912 “Robin Hood” and the 1913 “Ivanhoe”. I’m not asking for much, am I?

  8. He who gets slapped
    Student prince of old Heidelberg
    Covered wagon
    Scarlet letter
    Michael Strogoff

    Phantom carriage has been first of my list for a long time, but it was recently shown in TV and is waiting at the recorder…

    1. “The Covered Wagon” was released on DVD and Blu-ray earlier this year by Kino Lorber. “He Who Gets Slapped” came out from Warner Archive as an individual release and as part of a Lon Chaney collection.

      1. Thank you! I had missed that Warner archive.

        The Covered Wagon is unfortunately only for the US region. Region-free players seem to be much more expensive than my 100 EUR player.

  9. I’d like to see Her Wild Oat on home video. I’ve seen it in a theater, but would love the chance to watch it again. I’m sure most Colleen Moore fans would agree with me. And I’d also like to put in my vote for The Wind. I have a VHS tape of it, but I’ve become somewhat addicted to the convenience of DVD/Blu-Ray.

    I know they’re available in one way or another on DVD, but the Our Gang silents really deserve a decent release. The Hal Roach sound pictures have always been popular, and you can even get the MGM ones on disc, but I think some company is missing a good marketing opportunity by not releasing the silent ones in a well done set. There are also a few of the later silent shorts that haven’t been released on DVD at all.

    One last one: Please, please, please, someone re-release the Laurel and Hardy silents again, so I don’t have to pay half my yearly income to get them on DVD…

    1. Regarding the silent shorts of Laurel & Hardy, I wrote to my friend, Randy Skretvedt, one of the foremost authorities on the comic duo. Here is his response: “I’ve only heard vague rumors that something might be happening with them soon — but I don’t know of anything definite.” Keep your fingers crossed.

  10. Here’s another request for “The Wind,” “The Crowd” and “Michael Strogoff.” A lost film I would be curious to see on DVD is Oscar Michaeux’s first feature, “The Homesteader.” But we have a better chance of sighting a real unicorn.

    1. Just received Michael Strogoff from a dealer in international films advertising on eBay. Many other films, some cited in these comments–The Wind, The Crowd, the Gish Scarlet Letter, The Mating Call, Student Prince in O.H., &c.–have been offered over eBay, often by UK dealers. These discs are inexpensive & generally satisfactory. I know some may be “unofficial” releases, but when no “official” releases have been provided….?

      1. Thing is, official releases generally have superior image quality and proper scores. For example, the Strogoff DVD on eBay is derived from a VHS copy and several scenes have been cut, presumably for time. The grey market is fairly controversial and I won’t really be going too far down that particular rabbit hole but I always try to buy official releases when I can to show there is a market for these items.

  11. – Silent Films of Laurel and Hardy (they came out, but are way out of print and expensive)
    – Greed (short version)
    – While the City Sleeps (Lon Chaney) I know it exists but not sure in what state (missing footage?)
    – The Road to Mandalay (Lon Chaney) Restored as best as possible
    – The Crowd
    – The Cameraman (Buster) Blu Ray with better score!
    – Any unreleased
    – Greta Garbo on DVD or Blu

  12. “The Fire Brigade” (1926). Ever since seeing bits of it during the episode opening of “Hollywood: Pioneers” I’ve wanted to see the entire movie. So far I’ve tracked down a scruffy, gray market copy but would really love to see a good copy. Also, another vote for “While The City Sleeps” (1928). Again, I’ve only got another scruffy copy and its a great movie.

  13. “The Girl from Montmartre” – Barbara La Marr’s last picture. It was received well when released after her death and might be interesting to see since she wanted to finish this film at all cost, regarding to her biography.

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