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Paths to Paradise [DVD] [1925] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B001MEJY1O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 312,215 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Available as a DVD import this silent film is one of the rare extant examples of Raymond Griffith at his best. This silent comedian is often overlooked, unlike his co-star Betty Compson. They play a couple of thieves who are contantly trying to outwit each other. The film has some classic gags and extremely winning performances from the stars. The print is acceptable, if not exactly pristine, but then we are lucky that it still exists at all I suppose. The film runs about 85 minutes and ends quite abruptly in Mexico. I believe that originally there was a finale set back in San Francisco, but this is now lost. This slight truncation doesn't stop the film being both clever and funny. I'm glad that I got a chance to see it outside of the confines of the NFT.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comedy paradise 27 Mar. 2010
By Hte Trasme - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Raymond Griffith starred in a very popular series of comedy features in the 1920s, but today, while very highly regarded by those who have seen his films, he is little known. Unlike many of the other great silent comedians, Griffith has had the misfortune that almost all of his films are lost.

This is the first of his comedies that I have seen (well, I saw it minus the missing final ten-minute reel, which still leaves the film ending in a place that makes sense. If you have access to the full version, get in touch with a film archive), and its a brilliant comedy that definitely justifies Griffith's reputation as a master of humorous performance in the silent era.

I think, apart from the actual material of the extremely clever comedy, a big part of it is that he's simply a great actor, especially suited to the silent film medium. It would be tough to find someone who expresses more with his expressions and motions -- one can virtually hear his delivery of a funny line as we watch what he mouths around the title card.

Betty Compson, the film's star power at the time, gets an excellent role as a rival, then partner, then love interest to Griffith, who is a master criminal after the biggest jewel in the country. Griffith's signature costume was the white tie and tails that he wore no matter what the situation -- he was known as the "Silk Hat Comedian" -- and here that serves a useful function to the story, gaining him a great deal of credibility in his constant machinations and manipulations.

We can't help but root far Raymond as he engages in his elaborate thievery (once he is affronted that his honesty is put into question!) and a great deal of the funny and impressive moments take place as we witness more and more impressive demonstrations of his criminal trickery: volunteering to be frisked as he misdirects the jewels with sleight of hand, breaking the safe while showing his skills as the world's greatest detective in a watch-finding parlor trick, etc. There's a great running gag which is probably far, far funnier than it should be in which Griffith answers to a different new surname whenever somebody refers to him.

Just as Buster Keaton's "The General" is a masterpiece in which almost everything revolves around variations on the situation of one train chasing another, "Paths to Paradise" delivers gold by drawing out countless twists on the simple, extended sequence of Griffith and Compson's characters getting the jewels from the safe. It's wonderfully artfully done, and allows for a lot of great push-and-pull character tension to build up between the two characters. Then there are some simply inspired gags, such as the one involving Griffith hauling a safe back and forth around the couch as he seeks to avoid detection while a policeman fights with his dog for the flashlight.

Deserving of special mention are the flawlessly constructed first twenty minutes or so, in which it is ever so deliberately, with perfect timing, revealed that Griffith his pretending to be a police officer to get a bribe from a group of criminals who think they have fooled him into thinking they are a sightseer's treat of an opium den, so they can get him to pay them. This kind of slow-reveal, devastating humor is representative and really impressive.

Then we end with an elaborate car chase that's almost impossible to describe but which would give Keaton a run for his money any day of the week.

I will certainly be seeking any any more of Raymond Griffith's remaining comedies that I can find.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten great 18 July 2011
By Balaste - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Unlike one of the previous reviewers, I have no knowledge of whether Paramount has sought to have this film removed from the market, or not. Presumably if they had, it would be gone by now, as the big studios get their way in such matters. However, Paths to Paradise is definitely still available, as I purchased it from this source a couple of months back.

I thoroughly second the reactions of the other reviewer, here, regarding Raymond Griffith's talent. The man was not only an excellent writer, but a first rate actor. He created a very different persona from such downtrodden figures as those developed by Keaton, Chaplin, Langdon, and Laurel and Hardy: a stylish, suave, formally dressed, spry little man who struggled but succeeded to remain on top of all possible challenges--a sort of riff on Douglas Fairbanks' extremely popular film character before he went into the costume adventures.

If I have a criticism of Paths to Paradise, it's that it divides too easily and obviously into the wonderful mixed farce and comedy of manners that shows Griffith to great advantage, followed by the lengthy chase sequence that seems short on gags, and much more typical of Keaton. The first part is a magnificent showpiece for Griffiths' comic timing and flair for abrupt expressive turnaround, and he's admirably assisted by Betty Compson. There are good things in the latter: the theft from the gas truck, the wonderful sequence where Griffith and the cops wait on opposite sides of the train--but it lacks something individual. That noted, if it weren't for the fact that we know Keaton could make more of this, it's still fun. Some allowances also need to made for the missing final reel, which might have resolved issues of stylistic imbalance.

The print hasn't been cleaned, but looks to be in fine shape. There's decent contrast and nice grays, with fine detail in many scenes. Speckling abounds, but you never end up focusing on all the deterioration, as is the case in the lamentable surviving print of Tourneur's 1918 The Blue Bird. The music track relies upon pre-existing material, which is for the most part reasonably chosen--so when it occasionally fails, it really stands out.

Worth getting? Definitely. Based on this film, we really need more of what Griffith remains out on DVD. Paths to Paradise is definitely worth the purchase.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paths to laughs 31 July 2012
By Randy E. Halford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
With the exception of the classic "Hands Up!" and a drama called "White Tiger", 1925's "Paths to Paradise" is one of the few surviving works of the almost-forgotten Raymond Griffith, a suave comic figure of the silent film genre. Without more of his films coming to light, there seems to be nothing--or more accurately, not enough--to rescue Griffith & place him in the front ranks of silent film comedy..even though in his day, he was as popular as Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd & Langdon.
This amusing "drawing room" comedy starts subtly & builds to some hilarious situations as Griffith & co-star Betty Compson first square off as grifting adversaries, then finally team up when they discover they're after the same precious diamonds owned by a wealthy man (part of the fun is the man believing that Griffith is a detective whom he "trusts"). There are some nice little twists & turns in the plot as mistrust, mistaken identity & deception do their best to throw everyone in turmoil. There's an amusing "hide the jewels" game which the owner plays with his "detective" & "maid", and even Griffith can't resist making fools out of the two detectives (one of which is a younger Edgar Kennedy, before he became famous as "King of the Slow Burn" in Laurel & Hardy comedies & beyond) who are assigned to guard the safe.
Interestingly, the film changes tone for its climax into a more broader Keystone Kop-like chase scene as Griffith & Compson head for the border with their loot (the constant addition of motorcycle cops is ridiculously funny, reminiscent of Buster Keaton in "Cops"). It's fun to watch Griffith think himself out of a situation, as when the car gets a flat tire, and like a pit crew, Griffith & Compson change it in record time, managing to stay ahead of the chase (!); or using a gasoline truck to fill up the car while in motion. Inspired stuff.
For those curious of the great but underrated Griffith, this one's worth a look!
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Film ! 10 Aug. 2013
By R. JOHNSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I just saw Paths To Paradise on the big screen (with live organ accompaniment by Ben Model) thanks to the Library of Congress Packard Theater in Culpeper Virginia . If you enjoy good silent movies, then this classy comedy is one you need to see. While regrettable, the fact that the final reel is missing does not detract from the experience and the film ends in a most satisfying place. In fact this may be a case where less is more. Rather than bothering to tie up legal and moral loose ends, the "ending" is both witty and gratifying.

Other reviewers here have aptly explained the plot and given the relevant background so I won't replow that ground. Lead by Raymond Griffith and Betty Compson the cast turns in an outstanding effort. Both of the leads give crisp and subtle performances that make you forget you are watching a film from 1925. Also of special note is the performance of seventy year-old Bert Woodruff. He nails the part of a wealthy old man who has bought a huge diamond for his daughter's wedding present. There is also a hilarious turn by a canine that is topped off by a fabulous scene as the dog wrestles with a policeman for a flashlight as Griffith tries in vain to dodge the wildly gyrating spotlight.

The mad dash for the border is one of the finest automobile chase scenes ever and quite amazing considering the era's technological limitations. More than just a chase, it becomes a beautifully choreographed dance as the camera cuts back and forth between an ever growing legion of law enforcement and the two jewel thieves as they cleverly overcome obstacles such as flat tires and an empty gas tank.

Paths To Paradise is a fine movie that will keep you chuckling long after the curtain falls.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite silent films and so rare that this is the ... 25 July 2015
By Will Ravenel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of my favorite silent films and so rare that this is the only copy available. Another reviewer complained that this DVD is an inferior copy of the original - I don't know what that's supposed to mean within the truth of my opening sentence, but in fact this is the best copy of the film I've ever seen. Anyone who gifts friends with comedy DVDs should add this film to their list of favorites. And will, once they've seen it for themselves.
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