Silent Era Information*Progressive Silent Film List*Lost Films*People*Theaters
Taylorology*Articles*Home Video*Books*Store*Search
 
 
Silent Era Home Page  >  Home Video  >  Easy Virtue
 
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.

Easy Virtue
(1927)

 

Early in his directing career — during the silent era years — Alfred Hitchcock made an assortment of films that ran the story-subject gamut, from suspense thrillers to love triangle stories. Most of them barely resembled the kind of films he would later become famous for. It was partially his film studio pressuring for a popular product, and partially it was a young filmmaker exploring style and subject matter.

Of Hitchcock’s surviving silent era films, Easy Virtue is easily the least appealing film in a collection of journeyman efforts. Society dramas can be the most trying of silent era genres. The viewer can feel as though we are to be entertained through voyeurism, peering into the rarified world of the rich and opulent. Part of the fault in Easy Virtue lies with the outdated morality-play sensibilities of the story, part with the unappealing casting of the mannish Isabel Jeans in the lead role. Jeans looks every bit — in dress and countenance — like Jack Lemmon in his drag performance from Some Like It Hot (1959). We kid you not.

A woman poses for an oil portrait in an artist’s studio — foretelling the artist’s studio disaster of Blackmail (1929). Her rich but bored and drunken lout of a husband behaves loutishly. The woman is discovered by her husband in the arms of the sympathetic but poor artist. A struggle ensues! A gun appears! The artist shoots the drunken, jealous husband (probably just for having the foppish name Aubrey Filton). Scandal! The rich Filton shot by his wife’s lover in an artist’s studio! Oh, that degenerate den of debauchery frequented by those of debased morals. Oh, that adulterous, hedonistic Filton woman — she-devil temptress of inexorable sin!

An investigation follows. The husband survives. A divorce is brought to court. Larita Filton’s tragic downfall is played out in full in the courtroom for the press to scandalize and the public to salaciously savor. And of course Larita — almost saintlike — sadly endures the slings and arrows of the rabble, both those of high and low standing. Almost Greek tragedy, isn’t it?

Larita escapes to the south of France (apparently still well-to-do after the scandalous divorce) to forget all, only to meet a wonderful (and young) British man of fine standing, John Whittaker. Their whirlwind romance turns to marriage. It’s back home to England and mother! And mommy is a prototypical ringer for Madame Sebastian in Notorious (1946) and Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca (1940). The results are tragically predictable. Mother Whittaker asks her son, “John — who is this woman you have pitchforked into the family?”

Larita’s past threatens to scandalize the Whittaker family and John hasn’t the backbone to oppose his mother. Father Whittaker is only there is be withered by a single glance from his wife. The mother stands, like a single-headed Cerberus, guarding the gates of her monied family’s secret hell from gossip and scandal. Larita suffers, and so do we. After more than an hour of this, the film’s ending is both abrupt and merciful for the viewer. — Carl Bennett

coverFeel Films
2014 Blu-ray Disc edition

Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, 67 minutes, not rated.

Feel Films, 717, UPC 8-436548-867171.
Pillarboxed 16:9 PAL, one single-sided, single-layered Blu-ray Disc, Regions ABC, ? average video bit rate, ? audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono? sound, English language intertitles, optional Spanish, Portuguese and French language subtitles, chapter stops, standard BD keepcase, unknown suggested retail price.
Release date: 2014.
Country of origin: Spain

We have not viewed this Blu-ray Disc edition of Easy Virtue, but we suspect that it has been transferred from the same mediocre quality 16mm reduction prints as the umpteen DVD editions noted below. If true, that would mean that collectors would have a clearer 1080p edition of the contrasty and soft image details of some substandard 16mm print.

Perhaps of greater concern may be the significantly shorter running time of 67 minutes as compared to the DVD editions noted below that tend to run approximately 80 minutes. This may indicate that the film has been transferred at a sound film rate of 24fps and would then playback at a faster than natural pace speed.

Just because we are of a suspicious sort, we also are willing to hazard a guess that the film is accompanied by a soundtrack compiled from preexisting recordings. Meh.

We cannot recommend this Blu-ray Disc edition of Easy Virtue sight unseen. We also note that the edition’s packaging states that the video signal is in the PAL television format rather than in an MPEG-4 AVCHD format, which is common on BD. (Is that possible?) That would mean that North American collectors will need a region-free PAL Blu-ray Disc player capable of outputting an NTSC-compatible signal to view this edition.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Regions ABC PAL Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Regions ABC PAL Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.co.uk. Purchase supports Silent Era.
coverLaserlight Digital
1999 DVD edition

Blackmail (1929), black & white, 85 minutes, not rated,
with Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, 80 minutes, not rated.

Laserlight Digital, DEL82036DVD, UPC 0-18111-99743-0.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 2.5 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese subtitles, 28 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $7.95.
Release date: 20 July 1999.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 4 / audio: 5 / additional content: 6 / overall: 4.

This budget edition has been transferred from a contrasty 16mm reduction print, but turning down the contrast level of your TV monitor can help hold highlight details a bit. The print utilized is a few dupes away from an original, being both grainy and soft of detail. And grainy silent films running at less than 24 frames per second can be a challenge for MPEG-2 video compression. A discerning eye can detect compression artifacts in the middle to light greytones of the picture, and a freeze frame is a horror on an HD monitor. The print is marked by light scratches, scuffing, dust and speckling. But, that being said, this DVD is the best-looking of three home video editions of Easy Virtue we have seen. Most of the intertitles are easy to read and are framed properly. A better source print would reveal if it is indeed Alfred Hitchcock standing and leaving the courtroom gallery after the divorce verdict is read, 18 minutes into the film.

The canned orchestral music soundtrack is, like the other silent Hitchcock DVDs from Laserlight, intelligently selected from tape and LP record sources.

While this DVD is far from an ideal edition, it is a welcome improvement over previous VHS editions of Easy Virtue. The accompanying edition of Blackmail appears to be transferred from a tightly-cropped 35mm print, marked with some light speckling. For the money, this edition of Blackmail is acceptable for most collectors. We recommend the DVD, with the understanding that this substandard Easy Virtue is the best that we have viewed available on home video until a better edition is released.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverLaserlight Digital
2003 DVD edition

Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, 80 minutes, not rated,
with Blackmail (1929), black & white, 85 minutes, not rated, and Rich and Strange (1932), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Laserlight Digital, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, two single-sided, single-layered DVD discs, Region 0, 2.5 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese subtitles, chapter stops, two-disc standard DVD keepcase, $13.99.
Release date: 6 February 2003.
Country of origin: USA
This boxset of two of Laserlight’s previous Hitchcock DVD releases is merely a repackaging of the same dreary content as reviewed above.

The people at Laserlight obviously didn’t know that these “Hollywood Classics” were produced in England.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Delta Entertainment
2004 DVD edition

Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, 80 minutes, not rated,
with The Lodger (1926), black & white, 89 minutes, not rated, and Sabotage (1936), black & white, 76 minutes, not rated.

Delta Entertainment, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, two? single-sided?, single-layered? DVD discs, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese subtitles?, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $20.99.
Release date: 23 July 2004.
Country of origin: USA
More repackaging of the same content as the above from Delta Entertainment, parent company of the former Laserlight Digital imprint.

More of the same substandard stuff.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverDelta Entertainment
2005 DVD edition

Alfred Hitchcock Collection, black & white, ? minutes total, not rated,
including Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, 80 minutes, not rated.

Delta Entertainment,
unknown catalog number, UPC 0-18111-92439-9.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, eight single-sided, single-layered DVD discs, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese subtitles?, chapter stops, DVD trays in book style case, unknown suggested retail price.
Release date: 7 June 2005.
Country of origin: USA
Even more repackaging of the same content as the above from Delta Entertainment, parent company of the former Laserlight Digital imprint.

More of the same substandard stuff.

coverMiracle Pictures/Movie Ventures
2004 DVD edition

Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, 79 minutes, not rated,
with Jamaica Inn (1939), black & white, 99 minutes, PG-13.

Miracle Pictures/Movie Ventures, no catalog number, UPC 0-90328-30860-5.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one dual-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 6 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, unknown suggested retail price.
Release date: 31 August 2004.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 4 / audio: 5 / additional content: 5 / overall: 4.

This budget edition has been mastered from the same readily-available contrasty and blurry video transfer from the same low-quality 16mm reduction print, with the same canned musical accompaniment, utilized for as the Laserlight/Delta and Brentwood editions noted above. Is there to be no decent home video edition of this film — laughable as it is — available to Hitchcock collectors?

The disc is so cheaply manufactured it does not play in all DVD players. We do not recommend this edition.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverMill Creek Entertainment
2007 DVD edition

Alfred Hitchcock: The Legend Begins (1926-1962), black & white, 1614 minutes total, not rated,
including Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, 80 minutes, not rated.

Mill Creek Entertainment, no catalog number, UPC 6-83904-20031-0.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, four dual-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo and mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 4 chapter stops, four-disc DVD keepcase, $14.98.
Release date: 25 September 2007.
Country of origin: USA

This edition has been transferred from a good to very-good 16mm reduction print.

The film is accompanied by a soundtrack compiled from preexisting recordings.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
coverSt. Clair Vision
2007 DVD edition

The Ultimate Hitchcock Collection (1926-1962),
black & white, 1695 minutes total, not rated,
including Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, 80 minutes, not rated.

St. Clair Vision, unknown catalog number, UPC 7-77966-86149-4.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, six dual-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 0, ? 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, six slimline DVD keepcases in cardboard slipcase, $16.98.
Release date: 19 November 2007.
Country of origin: USA

This edition has been transferred from a 16mm reduction print.

The film is presented with a soundtrack compiled from preexisting recordings.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website. AmazonUS
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
coverBrentwood Home Video
2005 DVD edition

The Essential Alfred Hitchcock Collection (1927-1939),
black & white, ? minutes total, not rated,
including Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, 80 minutes, not rated.

Brentwood Home Video, 46304-9, UPC 7-87364-63049-3.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, five double-sided, single-layered DVD discs, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 8 chapter stops, five-disc DVD keepcase, $19.95.
Release date: 23 August 2005.
Country of origin: USA

Our first look at this edition from this budget collection of early Hitchcock films reveals that the video transfer, music and all, has been lifted from the Laserlight/Delta editions reviewed above. There is no improvement in quality of presentation with this edition, other than a barely perceptible smoothing of the coarseness present in the previous editions.

With this edition is of similar quality to those above, this collection may be of interest due to the number of films in it.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverEntertainment One
2011 DVD edition

The Great Alfred Hitchcock Movie Box (1925-1928),
black & white, 215 minutes total, not rated,
including Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Entertainment One,
unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, three single-sided, single-layered DVD discs, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, three-disc standard DVD keepcase, $16.98.
Release date: 8 November 2011.
Country of origin: USA
This inexpensive three-disc edition has likely been mastered from 16mm reduction prints, but we open for surprises.

The film is likely to be accompanied by a soundtrck of preexisting recordings.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverWestlake Video
2004 DVD edition

Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Westlake Video, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $4.98.
Release date: 10 February 2004.
Country of origin: USA
This edition has likely been mastered from a 16mm reduction print, based on its low price.

The film is likely accompanied by a soundtrack compiled from preexisting recordings.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverMill Creek Entertainment
2007 DVD edition

Alfred Hitchcock Collection (1927-1939), black & white, 1083 minutes total, not rated,
including Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Mill Creek Entertainment,
unknown catalog number, UPC 6-83904-20031-0.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, six dual-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 0, ? 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, six-disc DVD keepcase, $14.98.
Release date: 4 December 2007.
Country of origin: USA
This collection has likely all been transferred from 16mm reduction prints.

The film is likely accompanied by a soundtrack compiled from preexisting recordings.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
coverWHE International
2006 DVD edition

Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, 80 minutes, BBFC Classification U.

WHE International,
unknown catalogue number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 PAL, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 2, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, unknown suggested retail price.
Release date: 26 June 2006.
Country of origin: England
This inexpensive edition of Easy Virtue sounds as if it may not be worth tracking down. It is likely that subpar 16mm reduction print materials were utilized for the video transfer.

The film is likely accompanied by a soundtrack compiled from preexisting recordings.

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.
coverEcho Bridge Home Entertainment
2008 DVD edition

Alfred Hitchcock Classics (1927-1962), black & white, 720 minutes total, not rated,
including Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Echo Bridge Home Entertainment,
unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, four dual-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 0, ? 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, four-disc DVD keepcase, $15.99.
Release date: 2 September 2008.
Country of origin: USA
This collection has likely all been transferred from 16mm reduction prints.

The film is likely accompanied by a soundtrack compiled from preexisting recordings.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
coverMiracle Pictures
2003 DVD edition

Easy Virtue (1927), black & white, 79 minutes, not rated.

Miracle Pictures,
unknown catalog number, UPC 0-90328-30062-3.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, slimline DVD keepcase, $4.98.
Release date: 2003
Country of origin: USA
This edition, from the look of its packaging, may have been produced by ultra-cheap Digiview Productions and is likely the same 16mm reduction print, if not the same video transfer, as the other budget editions above.

Of course, the tone of the packaging has nothing to do with the tenor of the film. But we have noted that this edition’s packaging features nearly the same artwork as for the DVD menus of the Miracle Pictures edition reviewed above, indicating a slimy dog disregard for any extra creative effort.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
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  >  Easy Virtue
 

SUPPORT SILENT ERA
USING THESE LINKS
WHEN SHOPPING AT
AMAZON

AmazonUS
AmazonCA
AmazonUK

Sherlock Holmes (1916) BD/DVD Combo

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

Early Women Filmmakers BD/DVD Combo

Behind the Door BD/DVD Combo

Steamboat Bill Jr/College on Blu-ray

General/Three Ages on Blu-ray

Wagon Tracks on Blu-ray

Children of Divorce BD/DVD Combo

Napoléon on Region B Blu-ray

Dr Mabuse on Blu-ray

Metropolis on Blu-Ray Disc

Complete Metropolis on DVD

Keaton on Blu-Ray Disc

Chaplin at Keystone

The General on Blu-ray Disc

Battleship Potemkin on Blu-ray Disc

Georges Méliès DVD

Fairbanks Boxset

Chicago on DVD

Beyond the Rocks DVD

Valentino DVD

Miss Mend on DVD

Chaplin Mutuals on Blu-ray/DVD

La Roue on DVD

The Last Laugh DVD Restored

Unknown Chaplin on DVD

*