Silent Era Information*Progressive Silent Film List*Lost Films*People*Theaters
Taylorology*Articles*Home Video*Books*Store*Search
 
 
Silent Era Home Page  >  Home Video  >  Downhill
 
Silent Era Films on Home Video
Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
Copyright © 1999-2017 by Carl Bennett
and the Silent Era Company.
All Rights Reserved.

Downhill
(1927)

 

Following the success of his third feature film, The Lodger (1926), director Alfred Hitchcock and actor Ivor Novello reteamed for this society drama of honor and sacrifice in the face of greed and deception.

Golden boy Roddy Berwick (Novello), star of his private school’s rugby team and captain of his graduating class, is accused of fathering a shopowner’s daughter’s baby in the place of the actual culprit, his classmate Tim (Robin Irvine). Rather than defend himself or jeopardize the scholarship of his needy friend, Roddy accepts expulsion from school to the horror of his class-conscious father. Quick to condemn his own son for seemingly indecorous and socially-dangerous choices, Roddy’s father disowns him. To make ends meet, Roddy takes a job as a stage extra in a revue. There he is drawn into the circle of a shallow and money-mad pair of actors (Isabel Jeans and Ian Hunter).

After being married to the golddigging actress, who quickly manages to spend a £30,000 inheritance, Roddy becomes a taxi dancer at the famous Moulin Rouge in Paris. Soon, he is starving in derelict rooms inhabited by ne’er-do-wells that nevertheless care enough to put him on a ship travelling back to England. Delirious, Roddy is haunted by visions of his unforgiving father and by those in his life that have abused him and taken him for what little he has had. Back in London, Roddy stumbles home to discover he has been forgiven by his father.

Unintentionally comic in the film is the pansy struggle between Roddy and his rival Archie, and the bizarre sight of a white actress portraying a French mammy in blackface in a film produced as late as 1927.

Not a directorial dazzler like The Lodger, Downhill is of consistent quality when compared to his other films of the 1920s, with a few flashy moments of directorial dare. — Carl Bennett

coverThe Criterion Collection
2017 Blu-ray Disc edition

The Lodger (1926), color-tinted black & white, and color-tinted and color-toned black & white, 91 minutes, not rated,
with Downhill (1927), color-tinted black & white, and color-tinted and color-toned black & white, 111 minutes, not rated.

The Criterion Collection, CC2774BD, spine number 885,
UPC 7-15515-19881-3, ISBN 978-1-68143-317-2.
One single-sided, dual-layered, Region A Blu-ray Disc, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in pillarboxed 16:9 (1920 x 1080 pixels) progressive scan AVCHD MPEG-4 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 11 chapter stops; standard BD keepcase, $39.95.
Release date: 27 June 2017
Country of origin: USA

This Blu-ray Disc edition has been mastered at 2K high-definition from the British Film Institute’s 35mm restoration print materials.

Supplementary material includes Hitchcock’s Downhill (1927) starring Ivor Novello, with a piano score by Brand; a new interview with film scholar William Rothman; a new video essay by art historian Steven Jacobs; excerpts from audio interviews with Hitchcock by filmmakers François Truffaut (1962) and Peter Bogdanovich (1963); a radio adaptation of The Lodger from 1940, directed by Hitchcock; a new interview with Brand on composing for silent film; and insert booklet essays on The Lodger and Downhill by critic Philip Kemp.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region A Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region A Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverThe Criterion Collection
2017 DVD edition

The Lodger (1926), color-tinted black & white, and color-tinted and color-toned black & white, 91 minutes, not rated,
with Downhill (1927), color-tinted black & white, and color-tinted and color-toned black & white, 111 minutes, not rated.

The Criterion Collection, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
One single-sided, dual-layered, Region 1 NTSC DVD disc, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in full-frame (720 x 480 pixels) progressive? scan MPEG-2 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, $29.95.
Release date: 27 June 2017
Country of origin: USA
This DVD edition has been mastered at 2K high-definition from archival 35mm print materials.

Supplementary material includes Hitchcock’s Downhill (1927) starring Ivor Novello, with a piano score by Brand; a new interview with film scholar William Rothman; a new video essay by art historian Steven Jacobs; excerpts from audio interviews with Hitchcock by filmmakers François Truffaut (1962) and Peter Bogdanovich (1963); a radio adaptation of The Lodger from 1940, directed by Hitchcock; a new interview with Brand on composing for silent film; and insert booklet essays on The Lodger and Downhill by critic Philip Kemp.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD disc edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD disc edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Universal Pictures Video (France)
2005 DVD edition

Le chant du Danube [Waltzes from Vienna] (1934), black & white, 78 minutes, not rated,
with Downhill (1927), black & white, 82 minutes, not rated.

Universal Pictures Video (France), 824 771-5,
UPC 5-050582-477153.
Two single-sided, dual-layered, Region 2 PAL DVD 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 mono sound, English language intertitles, French language subtitles, chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, €9,99.
Release date: 1 March 2007.
Country of origin: France

This Region 2 PAL DVD edition has been transferred from 35mm print materials.

The film is accompanied by a music score by Christophe Henrotte.

North American collectors will need a region-free PAL DVD player capable of outputting an NTSC-compatible signal to view this edition.

 
France: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 2 PAL DVD edition from Amazon.fr. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Network
2008 DVD edition

Hitchcock: The British Years (1925-1939), black & white and color-toned black & white, 810 minutes total, BBFC Classification PG,
including Downhill (1927), black & white, ? minutes, BBFC Classification PG.

Network, unknown catalogue number, unknown UPC number.
Ten single-sided, dual-layered, Region 2 PAL DVD 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 and mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops; ten slimline DVD keepcases in cardboard slipcase, £59.99.
Release date: 25 February 2008.
Country of origin: England
This Hitchcock boxset contains the Network DVD edition of Downhill.

North American collectors will need a region-free PAL DVD player capable of outputting an NTSC-compatible signal to view this edition.

 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 2 PAL DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
Japan Home Video
2002 DVD edition

Downhill (1927), black & white, 82 minutes, not rated.

Japan Home Video, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
One single-sided, dual-layered, Region 2 NTSC DVD disc, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in full-frame 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, 5.5 Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, optional Japanese language subtitles, 16 chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, ¥20,000?
Release date: 25 July 2002.
Country of origin: Japan

Ratings (1-10): video: 8 / audio: 7 / additional content: 5 / overall: 7.
This Japanese DVD edition of Alfred Hitchcock’s fourth feature film has been mastered from a 35mm source print, which features a broad range of greytones and very-good image detail. The reel beginning at 40:09 is rougher than the rest of the print, with some missing footage at the head of the reel, and some sections with processing issues that create greyish blacks and chemical spotting on the print. It’s all cleared up in a couple of minutes, when seen, so the overall viewing experience is very good.

The film is accompanied a predominately up-tempo stereo jazz score by a small combo, which makes for something of a Jekyll-and-Hyde experience. The second audio tracks encoded into the disc are empty.

The disc inlcudes an overview of Hitchcock’s British cinematic career (in English, with Japanese subtitles).

For those with region-free DVD players, this disc is a good option for its visual quality to collect this hard-to-find Hitchcock silent, if you can ignore the stylistically inappropriate music.
Studio Canal
2008 DVD edition

Downhill (1927), black & white, 82 minutes, not rated.

Studio Canal,
unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
One single-sided, single-layered, Region 2 PAL DVD disc, 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, no sound, English language intertitles, optional Dutch language subtitles, chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, £14.99
Release date: 2008.
Country of origin: Netherlands
This Dutch DVD edition was apparently released without an accompanying soundtrack.

North American collectors will need a region-free PAL DVD player capable of outputting an NTSC-compatible signal to view this edition.

 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
Studio Canal
200? DVD edition

The Classic Hitchcock Collection (1926-1979), black & white, 920 minutes total, Classification 12,
including Downhill (1927), black & white, ? minutes, Classification 12.

Studio Canal,
unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Ten single-sided, single-layered, Region 2 PAL DVD 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 mono sound, English language intertitles, optional Dutch language subtitles, chapter stops; ten slimline DVD keepcases in cardboard slipcase, unknown suggested retail price.
Release date: 200?.
Country of origin: Netherlands
This Dutch DVD boxset includes Downhill, and leaves us wondering whether quality print materials were utilized for the video transfer. We do not know whether this boxset includes the Dutch edition noted just above.

North American collectors will need a region-free PAL DVD player capable of outputting an NTSC-compatible signal to view this edition.

 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 2 PAL DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
Other silent era ALFRED HITCHCOCK films available on home video.

Other BRITISH FILMS of the silent era available on home video.

Alfred Hitchcock filmography in The Progressive Silent Film List
 
 
Silent Era Home Page  >  Home Video  >  Downhill
 

SUPPORT SILENT ERA
USING THESE LINKS
WHEN SHOPPING AT
AMAZON

AmazonUS
AmazonCA
AmazonUK

When Knighthood Was in Flower BD/DVD

The Lodger BD

Silent Era Ads
Early Women Filmmakers: An International Anthology (1902-1943). Films by Blaché, Weber, Dulac and more!
 
AVAILABLE
from Amazon

The Lost World BD

The Last Laugh BD

Dawson City BD

The Champion Documentary

Chaney Before Thousand Faces

Whispering Shadows DVD

The Lost World BD

Beggars of Life BD

Beggars of Life DVD

Variete BD

Metropolis on Blu-Ray Disc

Keaton on Blu-Ray Disc

Chaplin at Keystone

The General on Blu-ray Disc

Battleship Potemkin on Blu-ray Disc

Fairbanks Boxset

Chicago on DVD

Beyond the Rocks DVD

Lloyd Collection

Valentino DVD

Chaplin Mutuals on Blu-ray/DVD

Unknown Chaplin on DVD

*