This collection of Norma Talmadge short films (plus a feature film exerpt) focuses on her years as a supporting and featured player at The Vitagraph Company of America. Ranging from historical dramas through contemporary light comedy, the films become a showcase for standout Norma Talmadge, who by 1916 would be a leading lady in feature films. — Carl Bennett
Grapevine Video, no catalog number, UPC 8-42614-10278-3.
One single-sided, single-layered, Region 0NTSC DVD-R disc, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in windowboxed 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 32 chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, $14.95.
Release date: 2007.
Country of origin: USA
This edition has been mastered from an older analog video master that was prepared for release on VHS videotape in the 1990s. The source prints appear to range from 16mm reduction positives to 8mm reduction positives. And, as would be expected, the visual quality ranges from good (The Devil’s Needle) to poor (John Rance, Gentleman). Several of the source prints have little highlight or shadow detail and are soft in their image details.
The films are accompanied by compiled music scores of preexisting recordings.
This collection is likely to be rough going for most viewers, with the dedicated Talmadge fan being the most forgiving viewer of all. Unfortunately, the charming Norma Talmadge isn’t quite enough to buoy this collection above its so-so source prints.
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