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S. J. Turner "simon24187" (Carlisle)
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Intolerance [Blu-ray] [1916] [US Import]
Intolerance [Blu-ray] [1916] [US Import]
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £21.27

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Playable on uk bluray players - happy happy joy joy!, 27 April 2014
I took a risk purchasing this bluray as available info gave contradictory views about whether the disc would play just on US blurays.

Some said it was region free and as I had no problems with the Cohen bluray on a UK only player thought it was worth a punt.
Thankfully I can confirm there were no problems at all.

So what you get is a very good beautiful print as mentioned by Kevin Brownlow in the short but informative talking head extra provided. This is accompanied by the unbeatable Carl Davis score in either 5.1 DTS-HD.

Also there are 2 alternate versions of the fall of babylon and mother and law, non-tinted with less impressive score, but still interesting for the alterations and extras.

Although not quite up to the blu-rays I have which I consider to be the pinnacle so far of silent blurays, ie Kino's The General and Paramount's Wings, this is likely to be the definitive home version of Intolerance for years to come.


Lost & Found: American Treasures New Zealand [DVD] [1929] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Lost & Found: American Treasures New Zealand [DVD] [1929] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice collection and a few gems, 16 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this region free DVD after thoroughly enjoying the previous Treasures of the West compilation. I find they are a good way for me to encounter a wider range of silent films outside of my particular preferences for certain stars and directors. The reason the price is much lower than earlier collections is partly the increasing scarcity of earlier ones and due to this being a smaller one disc compilation.

All are watchable but I my highlights are: upstream, dolly of the dailies, won in a cupboard and the white shadow.

Upstream shows an unexpected gift for comedy from John Ford, very much a character driven piece a bit like show people. A great score accompanies it surprisingly originally recorded on analogue tape. It will definitely reward repeat viewings.

Dolly of the Dailies is part of a mainly lost serial a competitor of Perils of Pauline, great stuff from a go getting gal newspaper reporter taking on the white slave trade. This is charming stuff in particular the actress seems to have whale of a time in this film.

Won in a Cupboard is a riot, completely ridiculous and silly, a climax which has people falling over for no reason and a sheriff with a daft haircut that looks like a horn coming out of his head. What more can you ask.

The White Shadow is incomplete and a bit dull and stagey until the action moves to the laughing cat, a French bohemian night club where the bad twin female star has turned up having a great time playing cards and smoking using a long cigarette holder, so decadent!. It reminds me of some of Richard Sala's comicbooks and I just wish we could have had more of this.


Ultimate Buster Keaton [Blu-ray] [US Import]
Ultimate Buster Keaton [Blu-ray] [US Import]

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stunning in places but not cheap, 29 Jun. 2013
I'm reviewing this bluray collection from a UK perspective and comparing with the Eureeka short films collection and the Buster Keaton Chronicles.

The first thing to comment on is the eye-watering cost, in addition you need to factor in import costs of approximately another £40 unless stated otherwise. The collection does cost substantially less than purchasing these blurays separately when they originally came out.

Pluses to consider making the investment would be if you have a good quality surround sound set up that can read full HD signal you are in for a treat with some of the features with the obvious highlight being the HD version of Carl Davies scores for the General and Our Hospitality. These are non-compressed versions of much earlier stereo recordings but sound great adapted to 5.1 and compared with the Chronicles DVD are finally combined with great prints in particular the General which might never be bettered.

I can confirm all these discs are region free and worked fine on a standard UK Sony Bluray player. The images are not true 5/4 ratio and seem to be more 16/9 which is worth knowing for the purist but does have the benefit of a close up on the action.

The bluray transfers are of varying quality and success. A major reason to consider investing is that with the more detailed sharper images you get more from Keaton,s very subtle responses and facial reactions. For me the best prints were General, Hospitality, Sherlock Jr, Battling Butler and Seven Chances. The last two really added to my enjoyment of these less applauded features, Seven chances also has a beautifully restored technicolor first scene that I was never aware existed.

The short films were never going to compare with the features because of their varying states of preservation and are mostly unrestored with the exception of digitally enhanced versions of High Sign, the Boat , Cops and Balloonatic all of which look fine to me but there are unenhanced versions of all 4 for the purists. There are some controversial aspects as far as the music particularly about 4 tracks composed by Robert Israel which a stuffed full of "comedy" musical sounds with every gag and for me suck all the humour out of these shorts. This really surprised me as I normally rate Israel and thought he did wonders on the Harold Lloyd collection. There are no alternate music for these shorts. Also personally I much prefer the versions on the Eureeka collection of The Electric House, Convict 13 and Love Nest as they look like the brightness has been turned up so high to reveal the details the actors look more like ghosts than human beings. I would see this collection as an addition to the Eureeka set rather than a replacement particularly as there are none of the Arbuckle collaborations.

The lost discs I must admit I haven't watched much, they are later sound films which have low production values, duff acting by others but do seem to have about 3-4 laugh out loud gags reminiscent of the older films but for me I would rather be watching the old films.

There are plenty of extras of varying quality, some great short documentaries, some revised film location documentaries, a lovely heartfelt tribute to Keaton from Orson Welles and a startling insincere tribute from Gloria Swanson in Hollywood Boulevard mode which is equally hilarious and frightening! Also there are two alternate foreign prints of two of the features.

Overall despite my criticisms and the cost I can't give this collection anything less than 5 stars. I have no idea whether there may be an equivalent Europe Keaton Bluray in the future but even if there is, there is a hell of a lot of fantastic stuff on this collection for me to recommend such a large investment.


Wings [Blu-ray] [1927] [US Import]
Wings [Blu-ray] [1927] [US Import]
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £10.19

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars setting the bar high, 22 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This all region bluray really shows the potential for silents when there is good source material and care, love and cash is added in.
The image clarity is a bit variable but generally good to remarkable. This is fantastic for the aerial action which is legendary.
The new sound track of orchestral score plus sound effects is in glorious full hd in 5.1 surround with mainly the sound effects utilizing the surround features. Although some have not liked the sound effects it is consistent with the original presentation, of high standard and there is the choice of more traditional alternate organ score.
Non-silent devotees might find a few scenes with the posh flyboy's family offputting with rather hammy acting but overall the acting is naturalistic with Clara Bow magnetic and very cute too.
The extra's are very informative and add to your appreciation of the feature and admiration of the cast and crew; particularly the male lead who after every scene flying the plane himself would get out of the cockpit, vomit and then fly off again for the next take.
The style of this movie is good old Hollywood hokum spliced with realistic scenes of warfare, stemming from the directors and many of the crews wartime experience, rather than an artistic classic silent but there's nothing wrong with that.
Here's hoping that more silents receive this level of presentation.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 19, 2013 6:45 PM BST


Ellington Uptown
Ellington Uptown

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars uneven classic, great sonics, 6 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ellington Uptown (Audio CD)
The strong points about this cd include the amazing accurate sound quality, its wonderful to hear those clarinet keys rattle during the solo on Mooche, this cd is a DSD transfer triumph. Skin deep you may not like if you are not a big fan of drum solo's, I think it's ok but every time the full band kicks in again is a bit of a relief. The controversial suite. Is it some kind of knowing parody as some reviews have suggested? I don't know but I've never warmed to it. Despite this the band are red hot throughout and if you love Clark Terry there's lots to love.Over time the part of this cd I keep coming back to is the Liberian suite as it is a fantastic composition throughout plus the sound quality is phenomenal for its recording date of 1949. Compared with the rest of the cd on Liberian there is occasional surface noise. Compared, however, with a Masters of Jazz selection of the suite I have the imrpovements brought about by this version are incredible. All in all, for the price unmissable bargain but over time you may well dip into your favourites rather than listen all the way through.


At the Cotton Club (2CD)
At the Cotton Club (2CD)
Price: £20.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars live late thirties radio recordings, 10 Nov. 2012
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This collection is from radio broadcasts from the second Cotton Club after the move out of Harlem. It was made by a composer collecting contemporary music to suppport his theories on chord progressions. His theories do not seem to have stood the test of time as well as the music he recorded. The period covered is late thirties and makes a very interesting companion piece to the mosaic 1932-40 Ellington boxset with different often longer and more spontaneous versions of the studio recordings in that boxset. There are also some versions that include intricate horn interplay similar to Braggin in Brass that are stunning. There are many highlights but a particular favourite of mine is the extended version of Echoes of Harlem with Cootie Williams in great form being egged on by Ellington. There are some tunes with multiple versions on this cd collection but all are different enough to justify inclusion. The sound quality is very good for a recordiing off a radio from this time period as it was done with state of the art equipment from that time. In contrast to the mosaic set that is of such high quality that it sounds impressive whatever the quality of the hifi equipment that it is played on this collection does benefit strongly from being played on a decent cd player and hifi, as it sounds less shrill and it is more easy to get lost in the music. Although the title of the collection mentions the Cotton Club there are also a few recordings from Sweden from a tour from the same period too. I would recommend this double CD set to someone who enjoys thirties Ellington and the variations heard from their live recordings.


Masterpieces: 1926-1949 (4CD)
Masterpieces: 1926-1949 (4CD)
Price: £16.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best place to start, 20 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I purchased this CD collection quite a while back. Looking back now I definitely made a very good choice.

What is so great about this collection is it cherry picks many seminal recordings of most of Ellingtons classic compositions from this period. The choice has not been restricted as many other Ellington compilations are to one particular label. Particularly in the earlier stages of his career Ellington and his orchestra did multiple recordings of each major composition for different labels, often under different pseudonyms. Understandably the tunes evolved and particular recordings are better than others.

These CD's offer a great opportunity to get familiar with the absolute classic compositions Ellington made with his massively infuential early line ups. A practical advantage of the CD's is they have all the titles available for read out on CD players which is particularly useful if you are playing them in the car as initially you may well be overwhelmed by 93 compositions on this collection.

As far as sound quality this is an issue particularly of the early recordings. I admit I was puzzled reading about how much effort Ellington made in relation to sound quality in the studio compared with for example Fletcher Henderson as some of the earliest recordings sound a bit like they were recorded down a toilet. I now realise that to make this collection affordable various sources have been used and they are of variable quality. The sound quality however substantially improves from Bojangles onwards and is very good for the seminal Blanton Webster recordings.

There are compilations with much better sounding early recordings particularly Early Ellington and the Complete RCA Centennial Edition but they are no longer available so are very pricey and are restricted to particular labels so they are nowhere as good a starting point as this complilation for someone to dip their toe into the Ellington ocean to see what its like.

If you love what you find you can work on the sound quality later with either the later recorded versions or the more expensive high quality compilations like those on Mosaic later. All of the recordings are studio based with the exception of Pussy Willow which comes from the classic Fargo concert. If you asked me for my favourite tracks on this compilation I would struggle there are just too many. Better option is just to buy it instead.


At The Bal Masque + bonus tracks
At The Bal Masque + bonus tracks
Price: £9.78

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, fantastic sound quality, shame about the applause, 30 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a collection of two sets of recordings the first a studio recording after a long residence at the Bal Masque; the rest from a small group session from a similar period. The Bal Masque set is a mock live recording with really annoying unconvincing canned applause between tracks. On the positive side the band are incredibly tight and there is no sense of some Ellington recordings where the band are relatively new to some recordings and under-rehearsed. There are some great arrangements of familiar non-Ellington tunes where he instills originality and class into some unlikely material. The sound quality of the recordings is great and will please audiophiles. Not quite to the level of the 2004 Columbia DSD remasters but pretty close. In particular the small band sparser recordings sound really nice, the high hats sound delicious. I wouldn't say this is one of Ellingtons classic ground breaking CD's but its a lot of fun, so just kick back, ignore the canned applause and enjoy.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 24, 2012 8:47 PM GMT


Akira - Collector's Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray + DVD] [1988]
Akira - Collector's Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray + DVD] [1988]
Dvd ~ Katsuhiro Ôtomo
Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: £57.98

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Japanese Full HD won't play, Anyone else having problems?, 16 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've had two copies now of the Akira blu-ray. Both have had the same problem in that if I select to play the Japanese Full HD soundtrack the screen just freezes, the blu-ray player becomes unresponsive and aftyer five minutes turns itself off then on again and starts playing the English Full HD soundtrack again. I'm using a Sony S370 blu-ray which is a well respected model and have never had any problems playing discs before. It's a real shame as I much prefer the Japanese language versions of Anime appart from when watching with my kids and Akira is most definitely not for kids. I can get the standard 5.1 Japanese version to work but it's all a bit galling with the Booklet making such a big deal about the improvements of the full HD quality sound-track. I would be interested to check whether anyone else who has this disc can get the Japanese full HD soundtrack as this will help me to decide whether to return and try one more copy or get my money back. A big shame as I have very fond memories of seeing Akira when it came out in the 90's and being bowled over by the Neon trails and the enormous toys scene.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 26, 2011 8:26 AM BST


Chico And Rita [Blu-ray]
Chico And Rita [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Javier Mariscal
Price: £7.10

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 29 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Chico And Rita [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I have been a big fan of Mariscals comic art since I first came across it years back and have been looking forward to seeing this for a long time especially as I have recently become a major Jazz convert.

The package contains a very good quite moving featurette about the making of the film which is not only helpful in understanding the film but also helped me clarify for me the only area where I can criticise the film. The animation was stongly based on real live action filming of scenes beforehand and does suffer from the same drawbacks of digital animation in that the characters tend to glide and lack life unlike most 2d drawn animation where exaggeration and input of the animators personality actually gives characters more life than most digimation. In someways the less realistic simplified Mariscal animals in his usual comicart are far more Jazz in spirit than these human characters photoshop type qualities.

On now to the strengths of the film. Mariscals backgrounds are stunning.40's Cuba and New York come to life in beautiful intricate detail. And the music. Here they have been spot on in not choosing to feature real life recordings of the Jazz musicians featured, instead they commisioned Jazz musicians to interpret the styles of those musicians which brings the score to life in a way archive material would have never achieved. I absolutely loved the Ben Webster scene and it was not surprising to hear the Sax player they used was an old friend of Ben Webster. The interplay between visuals and music is easily up to the standards of the best of Scorcese and Powell and Pressburger.

The 15 certificate I felt was a bit over the top for "graphic sex-scenes" although my wife disaggrees and thinks that 15 rating was correct where I think 12 would have been appropriate in relation to children; certainly there is nothing in there that would make me feel unconfortable waching this with my parents.


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