Presented as three volumes entitled, More Early Thanhouser, The Genius of Charles J. Hite, and Edwin and Gertrude Return, this is the latest collection of Thanhouser films, which includes the feature films Joseph in the Land of Egypt (1914) and Silas Marner (1916).
The Actor’s Children (1910), the first Thanhouser production, is a tale of an actor who is unable to pay rent for his apartment, and while seeking work with his wife, the actor’s children are cast onto the streets when the landlady rents to someone else. The wandering children are lured by an organ grinder into forced street dancing. Meanwhile, the actor receives news of a huge inheritance. The children are rescued by the police and inexplicably are taken to the office of a theatrical manager. Unable to find their children, the actor and his wife look for them in theater crowds, only to recognize them dancing on stage.
Young Lord Stanley (1910) is a melodramatic story of the disinheritance of old Lord Stanley’s young son. Cast off by his father, the young man emigrates to America where he obtains a job as a family’s horse groomer. In course, he begins to fall in love with his employer’s daughter but is fired to alleviate the possibility of her marrying a lowly groom. In England, the dying Lord Stanley forgives his son, reinstating the inheritance — surprise! The inevitable outcome is apparent.
In The Pasha’s Daughter (1911), an American (William Garwood) traveling abroad meets a Turkish man on a train and they strike up an acquaintance. The Turk invites the man to his home for a stay, but when he is arrested as a conspirator, the American is arrested as an accomplice. The man stages an escape from prison and hides in a pasha’s compound, where he is protected from capture by the beautiful daughter. A year later, in America, the man is surprised by a visit from the pasha’s daughter.
Thanhouser Company Film Preservation
2009 DVD edition
The Thanhouser Collection, DVD Volumes 10, 11 and 12 (1910-1916), black & white and color-toned black & white, 384 minutes total, not rated,
including The Actor’s Children (1910), black & white, 14 minutes, not rated, Young Lord Stanley (1910), black & white, 14 minutes, not rated, The Pasha’s Daughter (1911), black & white, 14 minutes, not rated, His Great Uncle’s Spirit (1912), black & white, 15 minutes, not rated, The Portrait of Lady Anne (1912), black & white, 15 minutes, not rated, The Voice of Conscience (1912), black & white, 14 minutes, not rated, In a Garden (1912), black & white, 15 minutes, not rated, Her Nephews from Labrador (1913), black & white, 12 minutes, not rated, His Uncle’s Wives (1913), black & white, 9 minutes, not rated, Seven Ages of an Alligator (1913), black & white, 4 minutes, not rated, The Farmer’s Daughters (1913), black & white, 15 minutes, not rated, [In de Tropische Zee] (1914), black & white, 13 minutes, not rated, Joseph in the Land of Egypt (1914), color-toned black & white, 41 minutes, not rated, The Center of the Web (1914), black & white, 27 minutes, not rated, Zudora [Episode 2, “The Mystery of the Sleeping House”] (1914), black & white, 36 minutes, not rated, Old Jane of the Gaiety (1915), black & white, 16 minutes, not rated, In the Hands of the Enemy (1915), black & white, 26 minutes, not rated, and Silas Marner (1916), black & white, 33 minutes, not rated.
Thanhouser Company Film Preservation Incorporated, no catalog number, no UPC number.
Three single-sided, single-layered, Region 0NTSC DVD-R discs, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in full-frame 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo? sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops; three-disc DVD keepcase, $24.95.
Release date: 1 October 2009
Country of origin: USA
Our first look at this collection of surviving Thanhouser films that have been mastered from prints held by world film archives. The full-frame video transfers range from very-good to excellent, from 35mm print materials. In many cases, these films have been mastered from the sole known surviving prints.
The Actor’s Children (1910) has been transferred full-frame from a good to very-good 35mm print from the Academy Film Archive that is highly speckled in places, jittery, and missing bits of footage to splices, with sections of advanced decomposition that momentarily obscures the picture.
Young Lord Stanley (1910) has been transferred full-frame from a projection-worn but excellent 35mm print from the Library of Congress that is quite speckled, with some original processing flaws, dust and schmutz, but otherwise in very-good condition.
The Pasha’s Daughter (1911) has been mastered from a very-good 35mm print from the Museum of Modern Art. The full-frame, natural-speed video transfer has visible double-image ‘tweening’ (an averaging of picture content of slower silent film frame rates to that of the faster frame rate of NTSCtelevision, usually by a single television frame that combines overlapping picture information from two film frames) that produces a ghostly strobing within fast, lateral movement. The video transfer house could have done a better job. The strobing is quite distracting from the film’s narrative.
The discs feature musical accompaniment performed by Ben Model on a Miditzer virtual (computer-based) theatre pipe organ. Excellent.