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Intimate Biography Series: Douglas Fairbanks - The Great Swashbuckler (Documentary)
Intimate Biography Series Douglas Fairbanks - The Great Swashbuckler
Director: Lynn Stevenson
Genres: Action & Adventure, Documentary
NR     2005     5hr 9min


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Movie Details

Director: Lynn Stevenson
Genres: Action & Adventure, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Documentary
Studio: Delta
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color
DVD Release Date: 11/29/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/1976
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1976
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 5hr 9min
Screens: Black and White,Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Finally - a documentary about Douglas Fairbanks!
Liberty Rocks! | USA | 10/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After many years of waiting, a good documentary film about Douglas Fairbanks Sr. is available from Delta Entertainment. Their Intimate Biography Series profiles Fairbanks in "The Great Swashbuckler," a full 90 minutes of footage, interviews, rare artifacts and memorabilia provided mostly by the Library of Congress and the Douglas Fairbanks Museum. Fairbanks fans have been waiting for this!

In addition, the DVD includes raw unedited footage of Doug, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and Marie Dressler during the WWI Liberty Loan Drive as a bonus, and a complete Fairbanks filmography, a list of the books he authored, and a list of important locations for further study on Mr. Fairbanks and silent film.

It's a double-sided DVD, and side B contains a double-feature of two of his best-loved classics films, "The Three Musketeers" (1921) and "The Iron Mask" (the 1929 sequel). The prints of both films are very clean and look sharp, although not the quality of Kino's editions, which are fully restored w/ color-tints. The musical score is ok, just recordings of old 1920s jazz (for Musketeers) and a more appropriate classical soundtrack for "The Iron Mask."

A couple of things that should be pointed out: [...]This is a BRAND NEW release (2005), and the material is all fresh. (Their listing says this was released in 1976). Also, Amazon says that Robert Shaw is the narrator, but this show has a female voice narrating, and I don't even know who Robert Shaw is, but he's not in this production at all. (?) This is a typo on Amazon's part.

The only negative I can say about this is that it is a special order item through Amazon - mine took almost a month to arrive in the mail, but it was well worth the wait!

Although I like the "Three Musketeers double feature" idea, the documentary is the real reason to buy this DVD. Better prints of the "3 Musketeers" and "The Iron Mask" can be found elsewhere, but the documentary is a Delta original production and it is a total must-have!

This DVD would be a great gift for any Fairbanks fan, especially as a primer for introducing the unfamiliar with his work. You get two of his very best films, plus a 90-minute documentary that tells you all about his life. A nice way to learn about Douglas Fairbanks at a very low price. Overall, this is a great deal, and I'd recommend it to every silent film fan.

So, when is TCM or PBS going to show this new documentary on TV?

Three features for the price of one!
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 09/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"First and foremost, let it be known that this double-sided DVD has two full length feature films, namely THE THREE MUSKETEERS and THE IRON MASK starring Douglas Fairbanks, and on the other side a 90-minute documentary on Fairbanks, along with other bonus material. For a budget/mid-priced DVD, everything is of good quality and a high standard, and I would recommend this DVD especially as a general introduction to the silent era's greatest action hero who made the mould for all others to follow. In the 1920s Douglas Fairbanks pioneered the costume action and adventure movies such as The Mark of Zorro, Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers and swashbuckling pirate adventures, all of which have been remade numerous times in following decades. But there was much more to Fairbanks than just his successful decade of the 1920s, and this Delta-produced documentary details his life from his early childhood to his untimely death at 56 from a heart attack. Three nice and knowledgeable ladies - a film historian and two biographers - discuss various aspects of his life from career and business ventures to various personal details, making it a well-balanced, interesting and entertaining biography. Many film clips are shown, including some from rarely-seen pre-1920 comedies and `talkies' of the early 1930s. For instance, the first 40 minutes covers his life and career before the 1920s, including his Broadway stage career, pre-1920 comedies and Westerns, as well as the formation of United Artists and, of course, his marriage to "America's Sweetheart", Mary Pickford. His sound films of the years 1929 to 1934 are also discussed, along with other titbits of his personal life which even Fairbanks fans might not yet know about. Further bonus material on this DVD for fans are: a thorough filmography, a list of five books written by Fairbanks, the complete Liberty Loan Drive film featuring Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, and also a list of locations relating to Fairbanks: his school in Denver, former residences and other interesting sites.

The two feature films on the DVD are among the most famous and popular Fairbanks films of the 1920s, and are a great introduction to the swashbuckling part of his career. No doubt everyone is at least vaguely familiar with these two famous stories, and as the main character D'Artagnan, Fairbanks shows off his skills with the blade and other acrobatic feats as he energetically bounces through both of these exciting action-packed adventures. Fairbanks was involved in writing the screenplay for most of his films, and he always aimed to balance action and drama with romance, suspense and some comedy or fun. In other words, these two films have everything! The picture quality of "The Three Musketeers", made in 1921, is very good on this DVD, but I must point out that the music score might not appeal much to the silent film connoisseur because it is simply a recording of early jazz, and while good and nice in itself, it is not a score especially made for this film, nor does it suit the setting of 17th century France. On the other hand, the music for "The Iron Mask" is classical and fits much better, but the picture quality is slightly less than perfect: the `perfect' edition being the restored Kino Video edition of "The Iron Mask" complete with talking introduction and interlude by Fairbanks. For 5-star versions of either film, Kino Video can't be surpassed, but for an inexpensive 3-in-1 deal, this Delta DVD rates very highly, too!

What a great deal!
SupaSta | California, United States | 06/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What a great deal...a fine documentary and also full length movies on the flip side...and for the price, that's just way too awesome!!"