'the good, the bad and the ugly'
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 02/18/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, this budget DVD is actually a triple feature of three good quality silent films, namely Charlie Chaplin's "The Kid", "Joyless Street" starring Greta Garbo, and Mabel Normand in "The Extra Girl", but a few things about this DVD's presentation warrant only 3 stars: the musical accompaniment, despite being good, pleasant classical music, is not suited to the films and therefore tends to get somewhat annoying after a while, especially if you are used to well-presented silent films and know how it should be. The picture quality is very good, however, with the exception of "Joyless Street" which is too dark at times so that even some of the intertitles cannot be read. This is my main complaint, and despite missing out on some of the texts, I was still able to appreciate the solemn drama of this otherwise very good film starring Greta Garbo in one of her first starring roles, and directed by G. W. Pabst. Greta is very effective in the role of a young woman trying to make ends meet during difficult economic times and other hardships.
"The Kid" is Charlie Chaplin's first feature-length film and unlike his work until then, it is essentially a serious story about a woman forced to give up her baby, which ends up on the streets and is taken in by tramp, played by Charlie. The tramp raises the child (played by adorable Jackie Coogan)and in the end, mother and child are reunited after all. A nice Chaplin classic, but there are other DVDs with more suitable music to make it more enjoyable viewing (I'm quite satisfied with the version in 'The Essential Charlie Chaplin Collection' on Delta, for instance)
My favourite of the three, and which makes up for the shortcomings of this DVD, is "The Extra Girl" starring Mabel Normand who found fame in Keystone and Mack Sennett productions in the 1910s. In this 1923 feature film she plays a country girl who dreams of becoming a Hollywood movie star and even manages to get to Hollywood, only to land a short role as an extra. This is an excellent film with the right balance of drama, humour and suspense, with one of the highlights being mayhem in the film studio when Mabel accidentally lets a lion out of its cage. The picture quality is very good, and with the right music it would easily warrant at least 4 stars. For me personally, this DVD is worth it just to see "The Extra Girl" until hopefully a new release with better music comes out (same goes for "Joyless Street"). Overall, not such a terribly bad DVD: just expect some shortcomings due to the budget nature of this label."
Really bad quality
S. Gro▀mann | Germany | 01/14/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The video quality of this DVD is bad. The films are black/white mute films, but nevertheless there are VHS with a better quality. The music does not match the story. The films are cut to the bone and so you can't recognize the story. It's sad."