Well, Mr Lon Chaney. He really was as good an actor as you will ever find. His films are very clever, and although my favourites are on another DVD - Laugh Clown Laugh and The Ace of Hearts - one can expect some great films in this box set. Highly recommended including to folk who are not familiar with Mr Chaney.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
77 of 92 people found the following review helpful
DVDs meant as Bern Act rebuke/not for Chaney fans.22 Feb. 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Shame on you Warner Brothers for releasing these DVDs simply to keep Lon Chaney fans from trading copies over the internet. A little background: The now infamous fan DVD compilation, The "Lost" Films of Lon Chaney, was sold online by a person who spent untold years gathering the best possible reels of Chaney's films and making this compilation of Lon's movies, which were not previously available for sale. Citing the Bern Act (which allows for the trade of personal copies in lieu of official product for sale by the copyright owner), this person sold The "Lost" Films of Lon Chaney, an 11 DVD set featuring all of LC's unreleased films, for $50. If you only figure cost of materials, shipping, and labor (in making the actual copies), this person probably made only a few bucks. But if you figure the cost he incurred acquiring the prints and time spent editing various prints of the same film to attain the best possible transfer, he LOST money on this endeavor. Warner Brothers, who ostensibly had no plans ever to release these films in any medium, all of a sudden took notice and shut down his website. They then put out DVD-R (only made when you order a copy) editions of these movies to protect their copyright. Why the big deal if it gets Lon Chaney's movies back out there? Because Warner obviously DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THIS PRODUCT. Warner's version of "He Who Gets Slapped" CAN NOT BE WATCHED because the picture BOUNCES UP AND DOWN from cel to cel. I am not a technology expert, but I assume they could have transferred the film to a digital file then had someone go cel by cel and correct this annoying effect. I don't think we're talking even a few hundred of dollars to do this. But they didn't even bother. And you shouldn't bother to buy this set either. Anybody looking to check out the great Lon Chaney should first shell out for the AWESOME "TCM Archives - The Lon Chaney Collection". Alpha Video also has put out some of Lon Chaney's public domain movies: though no-frills, at least Alpha's versions are watchable and economically priced.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
hold your horses, don't expect restorations here13 Dec. 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Let me state that I owned the laserdiscs of both Unholy 3's, He Who Gets Slapped, The Unknown, West of Zanzibar (in fact, I sold them to Crispin Glover after I burned DVDs for my collection). For those movies, what you are getting are the exact same masters that MGM used back in the 1990s. For Tell It to the Marines, Mockery and The Monster, which I burned off of TCM back in the 1990s, again these DVDs are from those masters. Realizing that the market for these Chaney films is a limited one, I cannot fault WB for using the existing video masters (in the case of The Unknown, they used the only known surviving print of the movie). My guess is that the nitrate negs were trashed long ago with no safety copies made (after all, these ARE silent films, and no studio head was going to allow the use of good funds to copy these on safety film when there was no obvious market for silent films after sound pictures took over).
So as a realist, I accept that these movies are 90 years old and may very well look it. In a perfect world they would be restored. In a perfect world, Universal wouldn't have trashed Chaney's Hunchback negative in the 1930s (leaving only 16mm prints). Yet you can still view these movies in their current form and be astounded by Chaney's craft. The previous reviewer speaks of a bootleg set of these films. If the bootlegger is in possession of better quality prints, WB will actually entertain paying him for the licensing of his personally owned films in order to create better masters for their own collection (this is not uncommon, but one must submit evidence of legal ownership or provenance of acquisition, as well as video saples of said superior print for evaluation). Many collectors have superior prints of many films in their collections. And perhaps some have better copies of the movies in this collection. For now, I applaud WB for releasing legitimate copies of these movies. These DVDs are much better than the previous reviewer leads one to believe, but this is only my opinion.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Great Collection of Lon Chaney!8 Jan. 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
I purchased all of these discs separately from the Warner Archive section at the WBshop Website. The discs were made to order in DVD-R format. I've had the discs for at least three years now. These are the same discs but in a set, which makes it that much better...and cheaper!
Well, I don't expect any more or any less from DVD-Rs as long as the quality is the same that I saw on Turner Classic Movies. It is exactly the same quality. All six of these movies are classics that I will cherish for a lifetime. I've watched each one several times. "Mockery" and "He Who Gets Slapped" are my two favorites of the set. If they ever release these in Blu-ray format, I will be buying them again.
I've read the other reviews. All I'm going to say is if you are OK with the quality on TCM, you'll love this set. I highly advise any Lon Chaney Sr. enthusiasts to take advantage of this low price for these six beautifully restored movies. No, they are not perfect, but what do you expect from archive footage from over 80 years ago?
The music in "Mockery" is amazing and was done in 2009 by James Schafer of Turner Entertainment Co.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Sadly Not Perfect, But Still Amazing27 Dec. 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Before there was Turner Classic Movies, I had but two sources for Lon Chaney Classics. I either watched PBS in Chicago where the programmer had an obvious affection for the MGM silents or an old retro movie palace the Clark located in Chicago's loop. I was still in my teens when the Clark went belly up. My husband and I own both Lon Chaney Collections from the Warner Archive. This is a new acquisition that was purchased for Christmas. If you want to hear about how lousy these physical copies are, read the other two reviews which are factual and for the most part, accurate and without embellishment. My husband and I are enthusiastic about Lon Chaney and therefore hungry to watch Chaney regardless of film quality. I don't think all silent movies are great, but Chaney's work is compelling. He shows a huge range of emotion and the physicality he often employs is full of pathos and pain. Added to that is his monicker 'the man of a thousand faces'. Hollywood hype for sure, but also true. Before there was ever a Rick Baker there was Lon Chaney. A gifted make-up artist, contortionist, character actor, Chaney knew how to use his many talents to milk a role for all it was worth. Decades since these movies previewed, the impact of his films still resonate and Chaney is among the best of a burgeoning group of silent screen actors. This set contains the following films: HE WHO GETS SLAPPED (1924) with a very young Norma Shearer early in her career and film heart breaker John Gilbert. THE MONSTER (1925) in which Chaney plays a terrifying character named Ziska who collects subjects for his 'experiments' in accidents he 'arranges'. THE UNHOLY THREE (1925) is a con story where Chaney employs his talent for disguise with two other circus cons, a dwarf and a strongman to perpetrate a litany of crimes. MOCKERY (1927) is set in Russia during the revolution and presents Chaney in a dramatic roll that does not employ disguises. Chaney portrays Sergei, a humble peasant, wrapped up in turmoil of the revolution and his devotion and love for a noble woman. MR. WU (1927) showcases Chaney as Grandfather Wu and also as Mr. Wu's grandson. This film showcases his talent for phyically transforming himself. In this film you get two generationlly very different Chaneys. The final film is THE UNHOLY THREE (1930). This is a talkie version of the 1925 silent on this set. This film is fascinating from the point of view that not only did Chaney talk but illustrated that he could survive the transition from silent movies to talking ones. It was also sadly his last movie before before he died from complications from throat cancer that had been recently diagnosed. I like this set for the quality of the performances in each film and as a showcase for Chaney's broadly based abilities as an actor. If you are a fan of Chaney or fond of silent movies, this is a good set to add to your collection and an entertaining one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The art of Lon Chaney...22 Mar. 2014
- Published on Amazon.com
I'm hardly a silent movie buff--but I am a fan of Lon Chaney. And I also have no idea what exactly goes into the restoration of silents & having never viewed these 6 movies before anywhere else, I have to say I was pleased overall with the quality of these movies.
They are not perfect--but then again, I wasn't looking for perfection with movies this old. Hell, I think Universal Pictures is still trying to do a proper restoration of their 1931 Dracula--which has been released on DVD several times & fans of that movie still gripe about the picture quality. But that may be beside the point.
As for the movies themselves, "Mr. Wu", "He Who Gets Slapped," and the silent "Unholy Three" were my favorites. Mr. Wu's film score was hardly the abomination one review might lead you to believe and the tragedy of the story with Wu killing his daughter seems even greater when you take into account that he also kills his unborn grandchild--although the film doesn't explicitly say in any caption cards whether Wu's daughter was pregnant--but it's strongly implied.
The 1925 "The Monster" was probably the most disappointing feature--not terrible by any stretch, but with a title like "The Monster" and starring Lon Chaney, you might expect something a bit more on the macabre.
1930's talking "Unholy 3" shows that Chaney Sr. was more than capable of making the transition to talkies--but unfortunately, throat cancer intervened and who knows what the future would have held for Chaney--although I know for sure that despite the myth that has been told for decades, he would not have been playing Dracula for Universal Pictures. But again, that story has been told so many times most people have just accepted it as the gospel.
At any rate, if you're a fan of Chaney Sr. then you could do worse than purchasing this set. 4 1/2 stars