Navarre Corporation has released a line of budget triple feature DVDs whose collective content spans from the silent era to latter day camp classics. The quality ranges from the usual budget video 16mm reduction prints to transfers of surprising quality (for budget video) from 35mm prints.
This collection focuses on swashbuckling action films. — Carl Bennett
2002 DVD edition
Triple Feature Drama Classics, Volume 2 (1926-1934), black & white and color toned black & white, 253 minutes total, not rated,
including The Iron Mask(1929), black & white, 72 minutes, not rated, The Black Pirate (1926), color-toned black & white, 83 minutes, not rated, and The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), black & white, 98 minutes, not rated.
Navarre Corporation, 1624, UPC 7-41027-16249-3.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 1, 3 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $9.98.
Release date: 12 March 2002.
Country of origin: USA
The Technicolor version of The Black Pirate has also been released on DVD in a quality edition by Kino International.
The third film in the set is Alexander Korda’s sound film production of The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) starring Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon. The video transfer has been prepared from a contrasty and blurry 16mm reduction print. The film can be tough going for viewers used to transfers from quality 35mm prints.
Oddly, the disc’s main menu features artwork from the Kino International home video editions of The Iron Mask and The Black Pirate, and also the Madacy Entertainment DVD edition of The Scarlet Pimpernel. A viewer familiar with those home video editions might at first assume that this collection is a repackaging of those transfers. Such is not the case for The Black Pirate and The Iron Mask. Having not seen Madacy's edition of The Scarlet Pimpernel, we cannot say with certainty that the Navarre and Madacy transfers are the same.
By far, the best-looking film in this collection is The Black Pirate. For collectors who might want to supplement their DVD copies of the Technicolor edition of The Black Pirate with the black & white version, we recommend this disc. The rerelease edition of The Iron Mask with its narration by Douglas Fairbanks Jr. is a curiosity item and The Scarlet Pimpernel is a sound film plus, despite its substandard print. Certainly, this DVD collection is worth its modest cost for serious and casual collectors of silent films.
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.