Pioneering director Lois Weber is enjoying a bit of a renaissance these days but, for the most part, the films that have been released have been from her days of sharing credit with husband Phillips Smalley. While Weber was the acknowledged brains of the outfit at the time, the decline of her career after her divorce has led to speculation that Weber needed a man in order to succeed.
The obvious way to approach this revisionism is to examine Weber’s post-Smalley work and see if she displayed the same skills behind the camera without a “strong masculine presence.” Unfortunately, high quality releases of Weber’s later work have been scarce on the ground until now.
Kino Lorber has released two later Weber pictures, Sensation Seekers (1927) and A Chapter in Her Life (1923) on Bluray. Thanks to Kino for the review copy.
Sensation Seekers is the headline feature. It has been available on budget discs for years but only as a lower quality, truncated release. The edition released by Kino is a full half-hour longer and features a jazzy, modern score by Arthur Barrow, as well as a commentary by film historian and Weber biographer Shelley Stamp. The image quality is excellent (with the caveat that small imperfections are inevitable in films of this age), which comes especially in handy during the epic stormy shipwreck sequence.
A Chapter in Her Life is a quieter film that focuses on a child protagonist. The score by Alexandra Harwood is more of a traditional orchestra affair and is quite lovely. Again, the image quality is very good.
This release is an important missing piece in the story of Lois Weber and the jump in quality for Sensation Seekers makes this a serious upgrade even if you already own the film. Universal/Kino continues to impress with the high quality music included with their releases.
Kino has also been nice enough to sponsor a giveaway of a Bluray copy of these films. It’s open to U.S.A. shipping addresses only. To enter, here’s what you must do:
- Leave a comment telling me why you want to own the disc.
- I will randomly select the winner on May 7, 2021.
- If the winner does not respond in five days, I will draw an alternate.
Like what you’re reading? Please consider sponsoring me on Patreon. All patrons will get early previews of upcoming features, exclusive polls and other goodies.
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.