Holiday Gifting 2018

It's that time if year, holiday gifting.  I'm an equal opportunity gifter, I celebrate any holiday, I love to give gifts (yeah, I like to receive them too).  There are some amazing things you can give to a fellow film nerd for whatever holiday you celebrate.  Here are a few of my choices for the 2018 holiday season:

I am a lucky kickstarter backer and will be receiving my set very soon.  I can hardly wait.  As with the earlier KINO/Lorber release of the important set Pioneers: African American Cinema, this set is one of the most highly anticipated sets to make it to digital home media in a long time.  Full information, including a trailer, order it here. This set could not be more timely.  Women producers, directors and writers fueled the silent era and it's about time the ladies got some credit where credit is due and we get the bonus of seeing some films, too. 

I am also looking forward to seeing The Red Kimono on the big screen in San Francisco on December 1.  If you do not have tickets yet, get em here

Another DVD I was proud to contribute to as a kickstarter backer was Fritzi Kramer's epic DVD release of Edison's 1917 feature Kidnapped and a full evening at the cinema in 1917.  I've got a review gestating for this, suffice to say, you need to order this.  It has been my experience that many of the best presented silent films coming out on DVD are thanks to kickstarter campaigns.  This is but one, but, the extreme care and thoughtfulness of this release really make it a special edition.  If you missed the kickstarter campaign, fear not, you can order this set at amazon.  If you want to learn more about it, go to the source, Fritzi's excellent blog Movies Silently.

One of the myths about silent films and the transition to sound is that The Jazz Singer was the first talkie.  Wrong.  In point of fact, almost from the invention of the moving picture, films were married to sound.  Films were never intended to be silent, it took technology a while.  Edison had some success with the Kinetophone.  In 2017 I had the pleasure of seeing a presentation by George Willeman of the Library of Congress in which he talked about Edision Kinetophone films.  It was marvelous, magical and the best kind of educational program, fun.  Happily, in conjunction with Ben Model's Undercrank Productions (he of some other wonderful kickstarter projects, too) a dvd was released earlier this year.  This dvd is a wonderful bit of history with the extant films restored to their glory.  They're all good fun, and George's presentation is expanded and preserved.  I cannot recommend this dvd enough. So Amazingly Perfect They Are Really Weird. Order it here.

Another highly anticipated book that was published in October this year is Gwenda Young's biography of director Clarence Brown Hollywood's Forgotten Master.  Brown is well remembered and loved by silent film fans, like me.  I've been looking forward to this ever since Kevin Brownlow told me it was coming down the pike. 

Flicker Alley is the gift that keeps on giving.  This set is coming out just in time for holiday shopping.  Chock full of magical delights, this is on my wish list.  I love Melies films so very much and this release looks stunning.  Having seen a few on the big screen earlier this year, this is going to be a treat.  I just hope Santa comes through for me!  You can order it here.

This book is not being published until February 2019, but, I encourage you to put this on your list for a pre-order!  I've got an advance e-copy for review.  This gorgeous book should be in every home library, it's just stunning in every way.  This was the first book I ever read on Douglas Fairbanks in the original edition.  This new edition is an improvement in every way.  If you love Douglas Fairbanks, then this is a must have!  You can pre-order on amazon, naturally.

Because Lois Weber, well, there can never be enough representation of the incredible director/producer, I cannot hesitate a bit in recommending the dvd of The Dumb Girl of Portici.  This silent epic had been on my want to see list for decades.  I got the chance to see this on the big screen and was not disappointed.  Anna Pavlova has long held my interest as a fascinating performer.  To see her emote on screen in a film other than the Dying Swan is a real treat.  The restoration on this film is nothing short of fabulous.  You can order it direct from Milestone Films here

I would also recommend the new restoration of Lois Weber's 1916 social drama Shoes.  Mary MacLaren gives an indelible performance in this film.

I would be remiss in not mentioning another Flicker Alley release, the first of a partnership with The Mary Pickford Foundation being the 1915 film Fanchon the Cricket and the 1925 hit Little Annie Rooney.  Flicker Alley has been releasing some fabulous content in partnership with Serge Bromberg and Lobster Films as well continuing the work of the late, great David Shepard.  I would also recommend the two Blu-ray MOD discs capturing some of the early work of Rudolph Valentino in two volumes.  Along with the above mentioned new Melies set, you could lose your shirt shopping at Flicker Alley with the volume of choices, so make sure you get these on your wish list.

Still banging the drum for Flicker Alley, their release of The Ancient Law was an eye opening experience.  This has been referred to as a riff on The Jazz Singer where a young man must choose between the old village life, restricted by family and religion or choose his heart and seek a life outside the village as an actor.  It was a moving, sometimes funny and entirely wonderful film when it screened at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.  This is also a film I consider to be a must have.

KINO Lorber has been releasing a terrific series of silent films from Paramount Pictures. Paramount's silent film survival rate is dreadful, so any film we can have access to is great.  They have released several terrific films, including a few you never thought would see the light of day like Gloria Swanson's Stage Struck (it's my favorite of her silent films) and the above You Never Know Women.  If we want KINO to keep releasing these films, DO support them.  Each of the films in the series have something to recommend them and I am hoping they will go back and do a new bluray version of Blood and Sand.  You can check them all out here.

Shameless in self-promotion, I have also produced the annual Rudolph Valentino themed calendar for 2019.  You can see a full preview and order it here.  It's a great stocking stuffer for the Valentino fan.

Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, I do not care what holidays we can celebrate, the gift of giving benefits the giver far more than the recipient.  If you have a silent film fan loved one, you cannot go wrong with giving anything I've listed.  I guarantee, they will love it! 

If you have a special book, dvd or other silent related gift idea, please post it in the comments, I want to know about it!


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