Shelfie: Those Terrible Box Sets!

I’m back with another peek into my silent movie collection, this time we’re diving into box sets, my absolute downfall. If you want to catch up on other “shelfie” posts, you can find them here.

I’m based in California, so these films are quite possibly region 1 or region-free. Readers living outside the region will need to check their equipment before purchasing. Also, some of these boxes have been released in other regions, so check that out as well.

I love kits. The concept of having everything you need to knit a scarf, fold origami or make a mini book in one convenient box appeals to me. So it should come as no surprise that I adore silent film box sets, though my bank account is not so fond of them.

The Movies Begin: A Treasury of Early Cinema, 1894-1913

This box was a valuable tool in my early attempts to expand my silent film viewing. I started with 1920s silents, like most people, and wasn’t sure if I wanted to dive further back into film history. This box changed my mind.

By the way, there’s a hidden menu in volume two, just keep pressing “right” and you’ll come to a collection of films that were deemed too battered for the main set but are interesting all the same.

Learn more and order here.

Lubitsch in Berlin

I already loved Lubitsch but this box set was an eye-opener. His German work is sassy, fancy and fun. This set includes four comedies and two costume films (the latter were the films that impressed Hollywood) and it provides a chance appreciate the vivacious Ossi Oswalda, heroine of three of the pictures.

Learn more and order here.

Pola Negri: The Iconic Collection

Pola Negri’s reputation has been steadily growing of late. Dismissed as a fame seeker for decades, people who have actually seen her films know that she was a potent talent in her own right. Don’t let unhinged rantings from a subset of Valentino fans scare you away, she’s the real deal!

The set is out of print but grab it if you see it.

Georges Méliès: First Wizard of Cinema (1896-1913)

Georges Méliès famously destroyed his own films but his fans have spent the last century-plus tracking down copies. This is the largest collection of pictures from the pioneering master of cinema. Great stuff!

Read more and order here.

Aaaand it was so nice that they did it twice! Méliès Encore has 26 additional films!

Read more and order here.

Perils Of The New Land: Films of the Immigrant Experience (1910-1915)

Silent era filmmakers dove into films of social conscience to a degree that often surprises modern viewers. In this case, this box collects films portraying new immigrants in the New World. Great stuff!

Read more and order here.


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  1. Matthew Walls

    I am a big fan of Pola Negri and I have the boxset. But it took a great deal of effort and running down leads to lay my hands on a set. I hope she is becoming more popular. Some people still treat her as box office poison when programming silents to show. I do know that her movie paper has climbed in value.

    1. Fritzi Kramer

      There have been successful screenings of the new restoration of A Woman of the World and some of her early German work. Fortunately, the outright haters slunk into their corners once they were called out for their rather sexist stance. I keep pushing Pola and her delightful performances are so GIF-worthy that she was made for social media.

  2. Matt

    I laughed with sympathy when I read that “your bank account is not fond of [box sets]”; my bank account hates it whenever I go online shopping to the point I sadly have to restrain myself from touring Amazon. I sincerely love your shelfies and hope that you continue to keep expanding your collection in spite of what naughty checking accounts will do to keep you from becoming bankrupt. 🙂 By the way, what advice do you have for a movie-crazy individual prone to spending his hard-earned money on special editions? Is there some sort of secret technique that helps you from going overboard with your collecting habits? Please let me know as I need help with this matter, and thank you for all that you’ve done for the movie lover community.

    1. Fritzi Kramer

      I’m afraid that I can offer no help in this regard, I have zero self-control myself. 😉 If I have a little money, I spend it on books and DVDs. If there’s anything left, I spend it on food and clothing. 😉

    1. Fritzi Kramer

      In addition to the Pola Negri box, the Lubitsch in Berlin box has two (and Eureka has a version available for the UK region), Grapevine has A Woman of the World, Gypsy Blood and Barbed Wire.

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