Rosalio N. (piobman) from POST FALLS, ID Reviewed on 8/13/2009...
Good transfer with the best score to date for this movie. Kino version has a better image... but the better score gives this version the edge. One of my favorite movies.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Damian M. (ratchet) Reviewed on 3/11/2009...
A very early horror film in the German Expressionist style dealing with madness. This story follows the tale of a psychologist who has the power to command his sleepwalking patient to kill. The psychologist is apparently easily angered and very jealous, so his patient gets a lot of work. But there's a wonderful twist! Beware the Expressionism is extreme (and maybe distracting to those unfamiliar with this style), but the use of colors added an extra something.
A note to confused amazon users...
Dirk De Bruyne | Schoten, Belgique Belgique | 01/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Amazon does NOT differentiate its reviews of titles (be it book/DVD's/vhs etc) by this or that edition by any of the many companies that release them....so your review of the cheapy public domain Alpha dvd(to name just one of the several CRAP distributors of old movies)and the words you write about the restored fine print Kino International(to name one of the very excellent distributors of old movies)will be all on the same page, WHATEVER version you have selected!!
Having said that , my review is of the KINO dvd release , a very fine one as this company does not distribute anything less(you pay more, but if you know anything about silent and classic movies it will be no secret to you that if you pay peanuts that is exactly what you will get....)...it is however disconserting to see that even the best available dvd release still hasn't been cleaned up to the degree that other classic silent masterpieces have..surely with todays technology a digital "hoovering" of this film is not too much to ask.
Wonderful film of course, but you know that otherwise you wouldn't even be reading these reviews, and the KINO version is , so far, the best you can get for your money. "
Edition selection tips
J. Porter | UK | 01/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not going to spend time raving about the movie, because I'm going to assume that if you've got this far you already know how wonderful it is. What I think could be far more useful (as this is an area where I have been burned) is some comparison between the two DVD editions I know of.
I have copies of both the Kino Video edition and the Image Entertainment edition. My preference is for Image Entertainment for the following reasons:
(1) The print seems slightly cleaner (and most helpfully, the DVD packaging warns you about the horizontal line across the top of some scenes which is a defect on the original film)
(2) The intertitles on Image use the correct expressionistic style as per the 1920 release. from what I recall, Kino's are the 'normalised' printed intertitles from 1923.
(3) The Kino version has possibly the most insensitive layer transition location I have ever come across. For reasons of their own Kino put an intertitle before the final sequence in the asylum, and it would have been a natural place for a layer transition. Instead they put it a few seconds into the final sequence (and only a couple of minutes before the end of the film!). Image has no layer transition.
(4) Both scores on the Kino version are dreadful. One consists of strange electronic noises, while the 'orchestral' one is pretty inappropriate. Instead Image chose a very nice specially composed score by Timothy Brock which is a remarkably effective pastiche in the style of Alban Berg (very appropriate for an expressionist film).
(5) Image has a commentary track; it's not clear that Kino does (I can't remember, but certainly it isn't mentioned in the blurb on the back).
Just about the only plus of Kino is that there is considerably more bonus material (43 minutes from 'Genuine: the tale of a vampire' as compared to about 3 on Image). However, if the price for that is the awful layer transition, then I know which I prefer.
So that's why I prefer the Image version and wish I hadn't bought the Kino version."
Prime example of German Expressionism
keviny01 | 08/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had watched many poorly-made VHS tapes of this film and was very happy a restored version came out on video. There's probably no better way to see this film. This visual stunning silent German film tells the story of a mad doctor who trains a sleepwalker to kill people in order to study the effects of somnambulism. Filled with images resembling one's nightmare (or the mind state of a mentally-ill) -- distorted views, deformed spaces, bizarre lights and shadows -- this film in 1919 helped usher in a new era of German Expressionism, a period that produced such classics as The Last Laugh, Nosferatu, and Metropolis.This DVD is identical in content to the laserdisc from Image a few years ago, with the exception that the LD included a detailed letter explaining why there is a faint horizontal line near the top of the screen in certain scenes (it's a misplaced "frame line" that is supposed to mark the edge of a frame). The DVD merely mentions on the jacket case that this is a "defect" on the film negative. Like the LD, this DVD also presents the film in a "windowbox", ensuring every frame can be seen in full.The audio commentary on the alternate sound track is thoughtful and insightful, but the commentator reiterates much of what appears on the jacket essay. Other extras include a few comtemporary photographs related to the film, and a short silent film from the Expressionist era."
Image or Kino?
Jeffrey S. Pfeiffer | 02/29/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'd like to add my two cent's worth here. Not going in to the film itself, I just want to discuss the 2 main versions out there, the Image "Special Collector's Edition" disc from about 10 years ago and the new Kino "Restored Authorized Edition". I watched both side to side (2 TVs & 2 DVD players)
Despite some raves about the Kino version (which I can't really understand), the Image version wins hands down. Kino, which normally puts out a superior product whatever movie they are releasing, I believe really dropped the ball with this one. For one, they went totally overboard with tinting...most scenes now appear to be a deep, dark blue, and the black areas have a weird, mottled, speckley, "wavy" look, like TV reception that isn't quite coming in. Granted, this is mostly only really bad during the first reel, in the opening garden scene, improving slightly as the film goes on, but it's still annoying.
The Image disc, by comparision, is brightly lit, scenes being either a "regular" grey like you see on the usual b/w silent film, or an amberish tint that still shows up fine. The entire Kino version just seems too dark & murky. The intertitles of both are in that funky, abstract font, but each has slightly different wording for the same scenes (and I don't know which is actually more accurate to the original, but both convey basically the same information). For example, one may say "Listen while I tell you a story" while the other says "I will now tell you a story" (I made both those up, but it was to get the idea across!). However, the intertitles on the Kino version are, again, much darker than the Image disc. Also, the Image print in general just seems much sharper & clearer than the Kino, and the musical score is much better & more fitting. Kino gives you a choice of 2 musical scorings & both are atrocious and do not seem to fit the "mood" of the story.
On the other hand, Kino does have more extras, particularly a much longer segment of GENUINE: THE TALE OF A VAMPIRE (43 minutes) while Image gives you about a 3-minute snippet. Also, and most important, that annoying horizontal line that cuts across the top of certain scenes on nearly every version out there (including the one shown on TCM) has been removed on the Kino disc. Long considered to be a flaw in the original film, it's most likely a goof in the converting process somewhere, and this shows that we DO have the technology to remove it, which we did not have back when the Image disc was made. Quite frankly, this was the ONLY main advantage I could find in the Kino print, and it does not make up for a blue, murky, dark movie. I'd much rather have a clean, crisp, clear, brightly lit film & deal with the line (it's not in every scene in the movie, just certain ones anyway).
I guess the best of both worlds would be if Image put out a new version, using it's same print but removing the line as Kino did. THAT would really be the "Ultimate Edition" in my opinion."