Unboxing the Silents: Two-Volume Alice Guy-Blaché Bluray from Kino Lorber

Kino Lorber has been busy lately. In addition to showcasing pioneering filmmaker Julia Crawford Ivers, the company has released two new Bluray volumes of films from Alice Guy, who was one of the world’s first directors, period. No gender caveat.

As always, thanks to Kino Lorber for the review copy!

The set is split into two discs which are sold separately. Volume One deals with Guy’s early days at Gaumont starting with 1898 and her first releases under her own Solax banner. Volume Two deals with Solax exclusively up to 1914. So between the two volumes, we have a solid sixteen year cross-section of Guy as a filmmaker.

Volume One is available for sale here. Volume Two is available for sale here. (Disclosure: I earn a small commission on sales made through affiliate links.)

The contents of these discs do not overlap with the Alice Guy material found in the Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers set from Kino and they only share one title with Flicker Alley’s Early Women Filmmakers: An International Anthology box. There is some overlap with earlier DVD releases but presumably, the chance to see Guy’s work in HD is a major attraction to collectors.

What do I get?

Here’s a rundown of the contents of each volume. (I will link to any reviews I have published.)

Volume ONe Contents

  • The Cabbage-Patch Fairy
  • Midwife to the Upper Class
  • Madame Has Her Cravings
  • The Hierarchy of Love
  • The Results of Feminism
  • The Coming of Sunbeam
  • Alice Guy Films a Phonoscene
  • The Trottins Polka
  • In a Bamboo Hut
  • Indiscreet Questions
  • The Anatomy of a Draftee
  • Five O’Clock Tea
  • The True Jiu-Jitsu
  • A Sticky Woman
  • The Glue
  • The Drunken Mattress
  • The Rolling Bed
  • Bathing in a Stream
  • Serpentine Dance by Mme. Walter
  • Turn-of-the-Century Blind Man
  • At the Hypnotist’s
  • Illusionist Scene
  • At the Café
  • Wonderful Absinthe
  • At the Photographer’s
  • Automated Hat- and Sausage-Maker
  • Avenue de l’Opera
  • Dance of the Seasons: Winter, Snow Dance
  • Turn-of-the-Century Surgery
  • Serpentine Dance by Lina Esbrard
  • How Monsieur Takes His Bath
  • What Is a Flag?
  • The Birth, the Life, and the Death of Christ
  • On the Barricade
  • The Race for the Sausage
  • The Banknote
  • The Standing Cock

Volume Two Contents

  • Starting Something
  • A Comedy of Errors
  • His Double
  • Cousins of Sherlocko
  • Officer Henderson
  • Parson Sue
  • Frozen on Love’s Trail
  • Broken Oath
  • A Terrible Lesson
  • A Man’s a Man
  • Making an American Citizen
  • The Strike
  • The Thief
  • The Sewer
  • The Detective’s Dog
  • The Girl in the Arm-Chair
  • Dick Whittington and His Cat
  • Mr. Bruce Wins at Cards

Image

As is typical for a collection this extensive, there is some decay found. That means the movie was saved just in time and we are fortunate to have it. However, in general, the image quality is beautiful and it’s illuminating to see these early films in HD.

Volume One

This volume includes a booklet by curator Kim Tomadjoglou and music by Sorties d’Artistes, Patrick Laviosa, Tamar Muskal, Joanna Seaton and Donald Sosin. This volume also contains sound films using Gaumont’s in-house process.

Volume Two

This volume includes a booklet by curator Kim Tomadjoglou and music by Dana Reason, Amy Denio, Alyson Fewless, AJ Layague, Ben Model, Meg Morley, Tamar Muskal, Aaron Ramsey, Joanna Seaton, Andrew Earle Simpson, Donald Sosin and Luke Van Denend.

I am delighted to see a more extensive showcase for Guy’s talents available in HD. Early films in particular benefit from additional resolution because they tended to be full of detail that the audience was to drink in on a reasonably large screen. I hope this is an indication of future releases.

Both volumes are valuable additions to any collection and are both educational and entertaining.

☙❦❧

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Disclosure: Some links included in this post may be affiliate links to products sold by Amazon and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

2 Comments

  1. mrtmelody

    Hi! The link you provided takes you to the DVD rather than the Blu-Ray. Will you still get the credit if we use the link to the DVD but opt for the Blu-Ray instead?

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