Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

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Rodney
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Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Rodney » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:19 pm

I watched the Kino-Lorber BluRay of Old Ironsides over the weekend. As the pianist for the disc, I hesitate to weigh in on the quality of the score, but it's been out for well over a month, and until this morning I have seen no detailed reviews of the release anywhere. That apparent lack of interest troubles me for the future of such releases from Kino-Lorber, so I'm going to weigh in with my observations in the hopes that encourages more people to check it out.

The video is a 2K scan of the Paramount print preserved by the Library of Congress. Kino-Lorber followed the projector-speed changes indicated in the original score for the film, such as slowing the film down during the "Hail, Columbia" sequence so that the appropriate music can be played at a singable speed for the sing-along.

The film was originally exhibited with "Magnascope," which could be defined as "use the biggest screen practical." The new scan is a revelation compared to previous 16mm or VHS releases of the film, with far greater quality of detail. This is particularly clear in shots of the ships sailing, and in the complicated battle sequences. It's hard to imagine previous home-video releases being expanded to "Magnascope" sizes, but this release looks beautiful on a large TV screen.

The score used on the release is the music originally compiled and composed for the New York premiere by Hugo Riesenfeld and J.S. Zamecnik. It took quite a lot of effort from many people at the Library of Congress, Kino, and myself; but we were able to make a complete reconstruction that replaces several missing pages from the piano/conductor score, and I was able to fit the score to the existing print. The score reveals that several short scenes were deleted after the premiere, seemingly to tighten up the battle sequences.

A solo piano is not going to compete with Gaylord Carter's theater organ in volume, but I believe it makes up for it in the authenticity of the selections, and the care Riesenfeld gave to character themes and musical development over the course of the score. This new recreation proves again that the use of leitmotiv character themes was not invented for King Kong in 1933, as is often taught, but had a long history in film scoring before that.

The screenplay wisely takes the focus off the purely heroic (and therefore somewhat insufferable) Stephen Decatur, and distributes it among more interesting fictional characters. The historical figures in this story were so revered as American patriots that anything less that hagiography would have upset some of the audience, and hagiographies are often boring. The fictional characters include a naive but handsome (and often shirtless) hero played by Charles Farrel, Esther Ralston as an ingenue who could teach the Black Pirate's princess a thing or two about assertiveness, the two cynical sniping sailors played by Wallace Beery and George Bancroft, and the capable though anti-woman sea-cook played by George Godfrey. This gives most of the film a rascally undertone that provides the most enjoyable and relatable parts of the story.

The film is marred by a perfectly-understandable-for-the-story-it-is-telling animus against middle-Easterners. The depicted threats of violence and rape against White women and the desecration of the American flag are troubling in an era when similar racist nationalism is on the rise in America and Europe; with some of the same targets. These concerns were likely invisible at the time, but those sequences can leave a sour taste in the mouth in 2018.

That racism is notably offset by the character of the cook, played by African-American boxer George Godfrey, who despite a few stereotypical angles to his character in terms of dialect and superstitions, is clearly accepted as an equal by the other crew members and by the screenwriter and director. It reminded me a bit of the respect shown through most of Beggars of Life to a similar boxer, Blue Washington.

Some of the escapades don't bear much close analysis... how far could four men swim while bound together by iron chains? But that bothers us only because the film purports to be historical. We don't worry as much about how far Doug Fairbanks' troops can swim underwater.

The model work is capable but fairly obvious in the 2K scan (modeling boats on water has always been tricky), but the clarity of the new scan makes certain scenes that were NOT done with models that much more impressive -- the sinking of an Algerian ship with dozens of extras swimming away from it, or the Algerians swarming behind the walls of a large fort (built on Catalina Island), and the explosion of several full-sized ships. Tripoli is a model in some of the long shots, but there are plenty of scenes that make it clear that there was a huge construction with real people running around on it, firing lots of cannons. Paging John Bengston! Catalina is not that far from L.A.!

The editing by Dorothy Arzner is crisp and efficient, and solidifies her reputation in that area. In fact, the essay in the booklet provided spends much of its space on Arzner's contributions to the film (she got no screen credit at all). Director James Cruz, struck by her competence at editing Blood and Sand, apparently allowed her considerable influence over the screenwriting, co-directing, and cutting of Old Ironsides.

The music is well-chosen, with the theme for Charles Ferrell and the Ferrell / Ralston love theme being particularly pretty and apt. Many of the biggest battle "cues" from silent film library music are included, including Gabriel Marie's "La Foret Perfide," Borch's "Battle Music," Ilynski's "Orgies of the Spirits," and Wagner's "Rienzi Overture."

The commentary track by Peter Lobuza lasts for the first 45 minutes of the film. He gives detailed biographical information on the principal cast and crew, interrupting himself from time to time to comment on a particular action or location in the film as it goes by. I passed along some information on the musical score, which made it into the commentary.

I recommend this film, as with all of the recent wealth of releases of Paramount films from Kino-Lorber. And many of them, including Old Ironsides, happen to be on sale at the moment through their website.
Rodney Sauer
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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Battra92 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:00 pm

Sounds like a good release and on my wishlist.

The funny thing about Hail Columbia is while it's a nice little marching band piece, really did make for a poor national anthem. I'm glad we went with To Anacreon in Heaven (which some lyrical changes by one Francis Scott Key) even if it did have more British origins.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Rodney » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:17 pm

If you don't know "Hail Columbia" well, the film gives the lyrics AND four-part harmony in title cards so you can sing along! However, unlike Napoleon with La Marseillaise, it doesn't have it sung three times running for a chance to get it well practiced.

As I mentioned in my interview on the Nitrateville podcast about this score, Riesenfeld did include some quotes from The Star Spangled Banner (at least six years too early for the action of the film) and the Marines Hymn (which, since it references "the shores of Tripoli," must have been written after the events depicted in the film, though perhaps the music was around before those lyrics) as well as a hornpipe called "Hull's Victory" (Hull was the commander of the USS Constitution during its gallant action in the war of 1812; so, the right ship, the wrong captain). There was even a brief quote of Dixie (!) in the original score, but it was in a part of the score that I cut for other reasons, so it needs less apology...

Fortunately, those who are not music geeks will not be distracted by these trivial anachronisms.
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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Big Silent Fan » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:25 pm

Rodney wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:19 pm

A solo piano is not going to compete with Gaylord Carter's theater organ in volume, but I believe it makes up for it in the authenticity of the selections, and the care Riesenfeld gave to character themes and musical development over the course of the score. This new recreation proves again that the use of leitmotiv character themes was not invented for King Kong in 1933, as is often taught, but had a long history in film scoring before that.
Thanks Rodney for introducing another obscure word that I found interesting.

According to the sometimes unreliable Wikipedia, the term leitmotif was first applied to the operas of Richard Wagner to describe a recurring melody that is associated with a certain character, people, object, place, emotion, or idea. This might be correct.

The film, as with "Ben Hur," is an example of brief female nudity used in epic films, but most importantly, the character played by African-American, George Godfrey is a wonderful example where there wasn't any use of stereotype. I certainly wasn't offended with the few words representing his character, and he's an equal player in the story. I saw nothing of typical stereotyping.
The part he played, especially when working (side by side) with Wallace Beery to execute their escape from the Arabs, could have been played by any good actor.
I was so struck by his performance when I first saw this (back in the days of VHS), that I searched his name to learn (as you wrote); he was a heavyweight champion boxer, and not an actor when he appeared in this film. His public exposure made him well suited to play this part so convincingly. I can't help but wonder if Godfrey might have assisted Beery when he later starred in King Vidor's film, "The Champ."

George Godfrey was in this, and just two other films from 1926 to 1937, not including the film, "The Big City" (1937) where Godfrey's role was just appearance with Joe Dempsey at a boxer's banquet in the story.

The original organ score worked well, but it often seemed a bit overwhelming. Music is ideal when it simply supports a story.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Rodney » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:45 pm

Big Silent Fan wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:25 pm
George Godfrey is a wonderful example where there wasn't any use of stereotype. I certainly wasn't offended with the few words representing his character, and he's an equal player in the story. I saw nothing of typical stereotyping.
The part he played, especially when working (side by side) with Wallace Beery to execute their escape from the Arabs, could have been played by any good actor.
I was so struck by his performance when I first saw this (back in the days of VHS), that I searched his name to learn (as you wrote); he was a heavyweight champion boxer...
The slight stereotyping I refer to is his making a little triangle with his hands and spitting through it to avoid bad luck whenever women appear on his ship... I see that as a reference to the kind of "bad juju" or "evil eye" superstitions that I lump together with the inordinate fear of ghosts that often mark Black characters in silent films. But, both of those traits were, I'm sure, observable fact, along with the Southern dialect, in many Black people at the time.

Most sailors had superstitions about women on ships, of course, but I don't think the spitting ritual would have been part of it. So it doesn't bother me, but I'm hardly the one to decide whether these "stereotypes" should be considered offensive stereotypes or not.

As for George Godfrey being a boxer, it's notable that Blue Washington, a Black actor who has a similarly sympathetic role in Beggars of Life (1928), was also a boxer. I had to wonder whether it was the great respect that these men commanded as boxers in boxing-mad Hollywood that extended the respect to their screen characters. There probably isn't any way to answer that, this long afterwards.
Last edited by Rodney on Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:02 pm

Were any of the deleted scenes restored or preserved?

I caught up with OLD IRONSIDES three-and-a-half years ago, and found it a rattling good yarn, quite unworthy of the opprobrium heaped upon it it later years. This was possibly a result of poor copies, shown at incorrect speeds, whereas it is now a splendid entertainment...

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Rodney » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:36 pm

I'm not sure where the deleted scenes would be found, and really, my only evidence for them at all is cues left in the score that don't seem to be in the film -- and that only indicates that the scenes were deleted after the score was prepared. They may have even been deleted before opening night, and may have never been in any releases. So, it may be a case where the film-makers realized that those scenes SHOULD be deleted, and even if found, should still be left out of the film.

The film is in excellent shape, so it seems unlikely that the scenes would have been lost to decomposition. Also, I'd emphasize that except for a few bits, the score fits the film quite well, so I doubt there's much lost.

Getting into the weeds a bit, this is my evidence for a missing scene at one point, just before the Constitution's attack on Tripoli Harbor.

Cue 134: Action: Sailors break ranks.
This is clearly seen in the film after the pre-battle prayers and saluting the flag. The sailors clearly hear some command and all start getting busy, and then start firing cannons. The music goes on for 17 bars. In the last bar of the music, there's a written cue "Mast breaks," which is easy to find in the film. Then immediately after the mast breaks:

Cue 135: Title: "What do you think?"
There's no such title in the film we have today. The music is an eight-bar quote of the song "The Old Oaken Bucket," which would have been easily recognized by a 1920s audience. Is it maybe an ironic reference to the ship? Maybe a lost answering title reads "I wonder whether this old bucket will stay afloat" or words to that effect? Or maybe there was an actual bucket in the missing scene? We don't know. In any case, I left the music out of the score, since it certainly didn't fit the next sequence.

Cue 136 has no indication of a screen cue, but it's clearly battle music. So I just started playing it after the mast falls, as the sailors rush to get the masts stabilized, and it fit pretty seamlessly.

If I had to guess, it's that Cue 136 was a comic relief aside, probably between Beery and Bancroft, after the mast was shot down and before the sailors rush to repair it. Someone decided that it broke the pacing of the film, and deleted it from the film, and then the pit orchestra scratched cue 136 out from their parts. But it remains as a "ghost" in the published score.

Other "missing scenes" are far more vague:

During Decatur's raid, the score seems to have more music than can comfortably be played between one screen cue and the next. Maybe I can't keep up with the Capitol Orchestra's tempos? Or is there missing footage?

In the "sudden squall" sequence after the Esther takes to sea, the music quotes the theme for Esther Ralston twice when Esther shows on screen, but then once at a time where she doesn't appear. These composers were better than that -- is there a missing shot of Esther? I think so, but that's pretty tenuous evidence.

If this sort of thing interests you, you should also check my program notes on the cue sheet to Chicago, where I theorize that the cue sheet was prepared to a print that had already been butchered by censors. In that case, the print that survives has scenes that weren't in the cue sheet.

Not only does each silent film have a history, each individual PRINT of a silent film has a history. Often, we can only do our best to approximate the film. Fortunately, in the case of Old Ironsides, it's clear that we've got a good representation of the original film, with a complete story.
Rodney Sauer
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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Petebain » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:04 pm

I had the pleasure of viewing this for the first time yesterday. I found the film very enjoyable (I love a good nautical adventure). My compliments to Mr. Sauer - I thoroughly enjoyed the score and your performance of it.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by SilentEchoes57 » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:24 pm

I haven't had the chance yet to see Old Ironsides, but note that an October 31, 1926 LA Times article about movie filming on Catalina Island reports that this movie was filmed at the Isthmus on Catalina.

Cheers, John

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Rodney » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:26 am

SilentEchoes57 wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:24 pm
I haven't had the chance yet to see Old Ironsides, but note that an October 31, 1926 LA Times article about movie filming on Catalina Island reports that this movie was filmed at the Isthmus on Catalina.

Cheers, John
That was going to be my guess, just based on the fact that we often see a distinctive cliff with a small peak in the background behind the ships, while the foreground has the fort set. That means a pretty deep harbor (or an island), and the isthmus was the likely spot. But looking at pictures taken at the isthmus online I never did see that peak, and I would have thought such a photogenic cape would show up in tourist pictures.

The image embedding codes aren't working for me today, but here's a screen capture from my pre-production video.

Image
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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by tuffy » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:08 am

I thought I replied here, but in brief Kino duplicated every 16th frame so the whole movie has a minor pause every 16th frame - in the opening shot a horse drawn carriage crosses from left to right but it lurches it's way in fits and starts - the VHS version is a direct frame for frame transfer so plays as smoothly as a movie should. The duplication was done to artificially extend the movie's run time by five minutes but it was unnecessary and not worth doing.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Mitch Farish » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:23 am

tuffy wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:08 am
I thought I replied here, but in brief Kino duplicated every 16th frame so the whole movie has a minor pause every 16th frame - in the opening shot a horse drawn carriage crosses from left to right but it lurches it's way in fits and starts - the VHS version is a direct frame for frame transfer so plays as smoothly as a movie should. The duplication was done to artificially extend the movie's run time by five minutes but it was unnecessary and not worth doing.
I noticed that in the opening, but not after that. The ships glide over the waves as smoothly as you could wish. The clarity of the image is fantastic, as is the score. Thanks, Rodney.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Big Silent Fan » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:32 am

tuffy wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:08 am
I thought I replied here, but in brief Kino duplicated every 16th frame so the whole movie has a minor pause every 16th frame - in the opening shot a horse drawn carriage crosses from left to right but it lurches it's way in fits and starts -
Thanks for clarifying that your issue was not about the score, but about how the Blu-ray apparently plays on your equipment. Perhaps most have noticed the same thing, but just didn't care? There are often flaws in new releases.
I've just ordered the DVD version and will let you know in a PM what I think about it once I've been able to see it. It's long been a favorite of mine.

BTW: Welcome to the group.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by tuffy » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:38 pm

Mitch Farish wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:23 am
tuffy wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:08 am
I thought I replied here, but in brief Kino duplicated every 16th frame so the whole movie has a minor pause every 16th frame - in the opening shot a horse drawn carriage crosses from left to right but it lurches it's way in fits and starts - the VHS version is a direct frame for frame transfer so plays as smoothly as a movie should. The duplication was done to artificially extend the movie's run time by five minutes but it was unnecessary and not worth doing.
I noticed that in the opening, but not after that. The ships glide over the waves as smoothly as you could wish. The clarity of the image is fantastic, as is the score. Thanks, Rodney.
It's all through the film - smoke doesn't drift but starts and stops, as do the ships on the waves, people walking or speaking or doing anything - the whole film looks like it's about to jam in the projector. It's a mess and a disgrace. The VHS version is clear enough for me and is smooth, which the Blu-ray isn't. If you're going to do a 2 or 4k digital scan get it right or don't bother.

As to the score - it sounds like it's being played off a with no attention paid to what's actually happening onscreen - it doesn't seem tailored or nuanced and to me doesn't feel connected to the film, it's just there playing in the background. When I watch the VHS version I know Gaylord Carter was looking at the screen.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Rodney » Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:04 pm

Thanks for explaining your problem with the video. This sort of thing (I've found) is more obvious on some BluRay/TV systems than others. And some viewers are more sensitive to it than others. Once you had pointed it out, I did notice it in the sequence of a horse carriage arriving at the Philadelphia hall, but I did not notice it after that.

In fact, I would bet that if you step through your VHS frame by frame, you'll find every fifth or sixth frame is duplicated, though you're obviously not noticing it at running speed (perhaps because of the lower resolution). it's an artifact of the difference between film rates (usually 24 fps) and video rate (30 fps), and it was the only way to transfer any movie to VHS. So it's a "feature" of every VHS movie, not just silent films. Some silent films (those transferred at slower frame rates) have even more duplicated frames.

Bluray uses a different video standard, but also cannot do variable frame rates. The video that I received for working on the score has 24 frames per second, but in order to follow the film speeds requested by the projection notes, some frames needed to be duplicated. I haven't tried stepping through the BluRay to look for duplicated frames, but I don't doubt they're there.

Since the frame rate changes throughout the film in this transfer, the frequency of doubled frames probably changes too; but unless you watch the movie from actual film, it's hard to imagine how you'd get rid of this.
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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Nick_M » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:30 pm

All BD releases of silents that are speed-corrected and encoded at 24fps suffer from stuttering. There are old threads here about the issue. It's because the people in charge refuse to interlace or otherwise use 60fps (in the case of DCPs). That VHS is interlaced- every frame is repeated, but the motion is smooth because each image is held for roughly the same amount of time. We can't discern the additional 1/60th of a second, but a frame held for 1/12th stands out like a broken toe. It annoys me so much, that, if I have to watch the movies on these affected discs, I'll delete the duplicated frames and re-encode to 60fps.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by tuffy » Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:10 am

When Knighthood Was In Flower and The Roundup are scanned frame for frame, no duplications, and are smooth as silk. I don't care what the original minutes per reel for any given silent film was, it's foolhardy to try to replicate that. Make the film look good - the two discs I mentioned prove this can be done without the film appearing to gallop.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:33 am

Needless to say, many films would suffer grievously from being shown at 24 fps when they were shot at 16-18 fps. The whole thing about silent films being quaint and ludicrous, which has been a major cultural meme since the 1940s, is due to people seeing things like Intolerance moving at jitterbug speed.

There are only so many technical solutions. It is also clear that there are vast differences in how people view the solutions. Some barely notice them. Some sit there sputtering and fuming at them. Some players may be better at hiding it than others, too.

As said, it's something we've had many rancorous debates about in the past. I don't mean to discourage further talk, but I will express my personal doubt that anyone will convince anybody of anything.
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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by tuffy » Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:39 pm

NO silent from 1926 needs frames added. I would even say that 99% of silent from 1920 on fare perfectly well without frames being added. There's no sense in being slavish about projection speeds since we aren't dealing with a projected media - make the film look right. Jerkiness - if that's a word - is another cliché about silent films and adding frames creates just that.

I'm through talking.

...except to say that if you have the VHS of Old Ironsides and a working VHS player then you don't need the Blu-ray.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:53 pm

Most fans like the increased clarity that dvd and Blu-ray have over VHS. I have to agree with you that the jerkiness of a poor transfer makes a big difference. At such times, I also prefer a lower-quality but smoother-running image.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Big Silent Fan » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:14 pm

boblipton wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:53 pm
Most fans like the increased clarity that dvd and Blu-ray have over VHS. I have to agree with you that the jerkiness of a poor transfer makes a big difference. At such times, I also prefer a lower-quality but smoother-running image.

Bob
Christmas has come early for me this year. I received my DVD copy of Kino's "Old Ironsides" today, when I ordered it earlier this week (and that was standard shipping). I chose the DVD version because often, I cannot see any high definition effect on any film made originally in standard definition so long ago.
On the new DVD, I cannot see any issue with a skipping picture (when the carriage crosses in the very beginning), even playing it on three different machines and watching for it.
However, I didn't find the image quality all that impressive, so I decided to compare it with my old VHS copy (converted long ago to DVD-r).

With the old VHS, or new DVD, Picture quality was virtually the same, but my older recording has a brighter contrast.
More importantly, the titles seen in the VHS copy were all larger white lettering, covering the screen on a solid black background. On the restored film, the lettering is not as bright, it's smaller, and the background is more of a dark grey, as if they filmed it through linen. Wonder why they did that, since most restorations I've seen feature brighter titles like I have on my older copy. Perhaps they wanted it to look old?

Perhaps I can have a look on Christmas day and check out the entire video with the new score.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Nick_M » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:17 pm

The way to check is to step frame-by-frame through at least a full second of video, not trying different hardware. That said, if you're happy and you can't see it even when you look for it...once you do, you'll never unsee it.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Big Silent Fan » Sat Dec 22, 2018 4:13 pm

Big Silent Fan wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:14 pm

With the old VHS, or new DVD, Picture quality was virtually the same, but my older recording has a brighter contrast.
More importantly, the titles seen in the VHS copy were all larger, bright white lettering, covering the screen on a solid black background. On the restored film, the lettering is not as bright, it's a little smaller, and the background is more a dark grey, as if they filmed it through linen. Wonder why they did that, since most restorations I've seen feature brighter titles like I have on my older copy. Perhaps they wanted it to look old?

Perhaps I can have a look and check out the entire video with the new score.
I watched the nearly two hour film today. Very familiar for me, except I'd forgotten the film would be nearly half over when the excitement begins. I remembered the 'love story' element, and the 'commodore' teasing, but this began to look like a 'chick flick' after so many gushing scenes between Esther Ralston and a very young looking Charles Farrell. All the scenes aboard ship seemed very real.
I found myself singing with the 'sing-along' words, once Congress commissioned the building of the War Ship. The Gaylord Carter organ score played the same music in the old VHS, but to my untrained ear, I never tried to sing along until today. The music here did a fine job supporting this properly without overwhelming what's on the screen. That can be difficult in films like this. There are some slow parts in the story.

There's nothing wrong with the DVD copy. Everything ran smoothly and there weren't any flaws in the film like I've found in other restorations.
The biggest surprise (and I went back to be certain), was that big tattoo on George Bancroft's forearm. It said, "Master Gunner," U. S. S. Constitution with artwork depicting Old Ironsides. On the top, was, "G Bancroft" in very big letters. Funny little trivia.
Of course, George Bancroft was the name of the actor playing 'The Gunner' in the film.

The booklet, describing the film work of Dorothy Arzner was very interesting. We've recently watched "The Covered Wagon" and my friend is currently reading the novel the film was based on.

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Rodney
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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Rodney » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:32 pm

Our own Jim Neibaur has posted his review of Old Ironsides.
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The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by maliejandra » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:44 am

I bought a copy but haven't watched it yet. I saw the film at my first Cinevent in 2007 and loved it so I was happy to see it get a formal release.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by silentfilm » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:32 pm

A review from Pop Matters

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by tuffy » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:51 am

www.silentfilmmusic.com/sponable-105

Maybe the word of Ben Model regarding frame rates and such will be respected more than mine. I would also suggest reading Walter Kerr's 'The Silent Clowns,' chapter 5, pages 34-38, and James Card's 'Seuctive Cinema,' chapter2, pages 52-55.

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Rodney » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:14 am

tuffy wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:51 am
www.silentfilmmusic.com/sponable-105

Maybe the word of Ben Model regarding frame rates and such will be respected more than mine. I would also suggest reading Walter Kerr's 'The Silent Clowns,' chapter 5, pages 34-38, and James Card's 'Seuctive Cinema,' chapter2, pages 52-55.
We're all familiar with Model's excellent work on under-cranked frame rates (especially for comedy and action films), and James Card's and Walter Kerr's works, both of which have places of pride on my bookshelf.

But I don't know what this has to do with Old Ironsides?

Model is talking about choosing film speed rates for films where the original projection speed was not known, or where there has been divergent opinion in recent times about what a good and historically appropriate projection speed is.

But for Old Ironsides, we know precisely what the projection speed was at the Capitol Theater premiere, because it's specified on the score. It may have been run at any number of different speeds elsewhere in the country during wide distribution, but because Kino-Lorber was using the Capitol Theater's premiere score, we used the Capitol Theater's film speeds.

Perhaps Hugo Riesenfeld and J.S. Zamecnik also deserve "respect" regarding appropriate frame rates on a film they worked on?

Here's the microfilm of the speed indications on the original score, for anyone curious. (And yes, the whole score is about this blurry, which makes reading the dots fun!)

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by nolisome » Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:31 pm

I've been familiar with the excellent Risenfeld/Zamacenick score since having presented it on a 40-ft. wide screen alongside the namesake ship in 1997 with 35mm projection. For that show Dennis James played the LOC scan (including the missing pages) on a rather horrible electronic organ. But it was loud enough and big enough for nearly 2,000 people to enjoy. The ship came alive with gunners during the final battle scene. I've been waiting for this release along time, knowing how well the original material had been preserved.

Rodney did a fine job on the piano...as he always does, but maybe he should take up a sampler keyboard too....

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Re: Old Ironsides (1926) Kino BluRay release

Unread post by Rodney » Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:15 pm

That must have been a fantastic show. Dennis James is one of the finest theater organists working today. While I have played organ in the past, I’m not particularly talented at it, so I’ll leave that in the fine hands of Mr James, Ben Model, and their compatriots.
Rodney Sauer
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
www.mont-alto.com
"Let the Music do the Talking!"

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