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Silent Era Home Page  >  Home Video  >  The Ring
 
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.

The Ring
(1927)

 

Alfred Hitchcock was still a novice film director when he directed his first classic, The Lodger (1926). He bounced around different types of stories and created diverse films throughout his brief silent era phase (nine feature films). The Ring (1927), his sixth film, is among the better of Hitchcock’s silent era films.

A circus sideshow boxer (Carl Brisson) is known for knocking out his average citizen opponents in less than one round, until one day he goes four rounds with and is defeated by a big strapper (Ian Hunter). Brisson has planned to marry the tickettaking gal (Lilian Hall-Davis), but his defeat means his reputation is shot and is out of a job. The strapping Australian stranger identifies himself as the heavyweight boxing champion and offers Brisson a job as his sparring partner. Brisson and Davis go ahead and get married. Meanwhile, Hunter takes a shine to Hall-Davis. Brisson begins to build his career as a professional boxer by fighting through low card bouts. His time is taken with the training and bouts. His wife passes her time with Hunter and begins to feel some affection for the suave brute. By the time Brisson has reached the heavyweight championship, he is forced also to fight Hunter for the love of his wife. Yes, it’s a boxing film. Yes, it’s a love triangle film. Yes, it’s still a Hitchcock film, and still an entertaining film.

Hitchcock continues the creative visual storytelling he experimented with in The Lodger. Most of it is intriguing. The film features, however, more views of bad British teeth than contemporary audiences may be able to tolerate. Hitchcock makes his appearance at 1:30 into the film as the first close-up of a circus barker’s mouth. — Carl Bennett

coverLions Gate Entertainment
2007 DVD edition

Alfred Hitchcock 3-Disc Collector’s Edition (1927-1931), black & white, ? minutes total, not rated,
including The Ring (1927), black & white, 90 minutes, not rated.

Lions Gate Entertainment, 20860, UPC 0-12236-20860-0.
Two single-sided, dual-layered, Region 1 NTSC DVD discs and one single-sided, single-layered, Region 1 NTSC DVD disc, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in full-frame 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, 6.5 Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 25 chapter stops; plastic trays in cardboard wrapper in cardboard slipcase, $39.98.
Release date: 6 February 2007.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 8 / audio: 7 / additional content: 8 / overall: 8.

After years of cheap home video editions mastered from lousy 16mm reduction prints, we now have a quality home video edition mastered from an excellent 35mm print. While the print has the usual amount of flaws inherent in one from the silent era — light speckling, dust, and mild print flaws — the presentation is an absolute pleasure to view, with a broad range of greytones and fine image detail. On high-definition equipment capable of upscaling the standard NTSC signal of DVDs to 1080p HD, the disc generates a filmlike picture that really only compromised by the shortcomings of the print source material.

The film is accompanied by a stereo piano score by an unidentified performer. The silent films are listed with incorrect release years on the packaging. And, the three sound films appear in their best-ever presentations on DVD home video.

Ultimately, this edition is what we had hoped for these many years, a quality presentation from an excellent 35mm print, laying to rest fears that Hitchcock’s silents had survived only in mediocre reduction dupes. Throw away your cheapies, this is the DVD edition you’ll want for your collection.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverOptimum Home Entertainment
2007 DVD edition

The Early Hitchcock Collection (1927-1932), black & white and color-toned black & white, 810 minutes total, BBFC Classification PG,
including The Ring (1927), black & white, ? minutes, BBFC Classification PG.

Optimum Home Entertainment, unknown catalogue number, unknown UPC number.
Nine single-sided, single-layered, Region 2 PAL DVD discs, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in full-frame 4:3 (? x ? 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, chapter stops; nine slimline DVD keepcases in cardboard slipcase, £34.99.
Release date: 26 February 2007.
Country of origin: England
This Hitchcock boxset contains the Optimum DVD edition of The Ring. It has been noted that the music accompanying the film is not the best.

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.
coverLaserlight Digital
1999 DVD edition

Number Seventeen (1931), black & white, 66 minutes, not rated,
with The Ring (1927), black & white, 89 minutes, not rated.

Laserlight Digital, 82031, UPC 0-18111-99793-5.
One single-sided, single-layered, Region 0 NTSC DVD disc, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in full-frame 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, 3 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese subtitles, 16 chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, $7.95.
Release date: 20 July 1999.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 3 / audio: 4 / additional content: 5 / overall: 4.

This disc is a series of shortcomings and disappointments: First and foremost, cropping problems are due to bad framing of the 16mm reduction print utilized for the video transfer, with cropped off heads and intertitles being the most distressing flaws of this budget edition. The print of The Ring, which appears to be a Janus Films product, is cropped too much on the top, bottom and left sides of the frame. Occasionally, viewers are presented with acting torsos and knees. Heads are often cut off and, worse, the left side of intertitles and credits are rendered all but unreadable by bad framing, and is not helped much by the lack of overscan cropping on an HD monitor. At times, the picture is excessively contrasty, with highlights and faces blasted out and night scenes too dark. Videotape master glitches show up in the transfer throughout both films on the disc.

That being said, the DVD is virtually identical in quality to the 2003 Brentwood edition. Incidently, we noticed that a German intertitle remained in the print of The Ring, appearing for three frames at 50:46 in the film. Also, the introduction by Tony Curtis features a reproduction of Madacy Entertainment’s DVD edition of Number Seventeen — what’s going on with that?

The music score for The Ring has been cobbled together from a variety of canned sources, including hissing tape recordings and crackling LP records, in a thoughtful but roughly-edited medley.

We cannot recommend this disc without qualification. The transfer of Number Seventeen from a 16mm print features a higher number of artifacts due to over-compression. Number Seventeen is a marginal improvement over the Madacy DVD edition; it is a film that has had a rocky home video history, with transfer problems and hard-to-hear audio that has been the result of the substandard audio recording of the original film. We recommend viewers with audio/video amplifiers set their tone levels to a flat setting (or further reducing the treble) to get the most intelligible audio results from Number Seventeen. The quality of the materials used for the transfer of The Ring and its final visual results are subpar even for a budget-line DVD. For the time being, collectors will want to acquire the Lions Gate edition noted above.

 
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.
coverBrentwood Home Video
2003 DVD edition

Alfred Hitchcock: The Master of Suspense (1926-1961), black & white, ? minutes total, not rated,
including The Ring (1927), black & white, 82 minutes, not rated.

Brentwood Home Video, 45011-9, UPC 7-87364-50119-9.
Five double-sided, single-layered, Region 0 NTSC DVD discs, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in full-frame 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, 5 Mbps average video bit rate, 384 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 mono sound, English language intertitles, no subtitles, 7 chapter stops; five-disc DVD keepcase, $19.98.
Release date: 7 October 2003.
Country of origin: USA

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

Another budget edition of Hitchcock’s The Ring doesn’t bring any improvement for Hitch collectors. With framing, tonal quality and source print virtually the same as the Laserlight edition noted above, the only difference between this disc and its counterpart is value for the money. This collection pulls together ten Hitchcock films for yet another cheap DVD release. For dollars to the number of films, this is marginally a better value than the Laserlight edition.

The source material for The Ring is a Janus Films 16mm reduction print that has the same flaws as the print used for the Laserlight edition. Close inspection reveals that the tight misframing is present in the print not the video transfer — although a windowboxed transfer would have minimized the loss of picture information to overscan cropping on many televisions. The lack of overscan cropping on most HD monitors helps marginally. The picture has also been slightly less compressed for DVD storage than the Laserlight edition, resulting in a nearly-imperceptable improvement in visual quality.

The musical accompaniment is another annoying mish-mash of preexisting orchestral recordings of varying quality, which only serves to fill silence, and is presented in 2.0 and 5.1 mono sound — go figure.

Many of the other films in this collection are presented in transfers that are slightly more contrasty than other available DVD editions. Read our review of the Brentwood edition of The Lodger (1926).

 
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.
Mill Creek Entertainment
2011 DVD edition

Alfred Hitchcock: A Legacy of Suspense (1926-1962), black & white, 1737 minutes total, not rated,
including The Ring (1927), black & white, 89 minutes, not rated.

Mill Creek Entertainment, no catalog number, UPC 6-83904-52427-0.
Four single-sided, dual-layered, Region 0 NTSC 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, no foreign language subtitles, 4 chapter stops; four-disc tin keepcase (rereleased in four disc envelopes in holder within standard DVD keepcase), unknown suggested list price.
Release date: 1 November 2011.
Country of origin: USA

This DVD collection has been transferred from a 16mm reduction print produced by Janus Films and Films, Incorporated. As with most of these cheap home video editions, the left-side of the picture has been excessively cropped out.

The film is presented with a soundtrack compiled from preexisting recordings that are for the most part inappropriate to the film’s action.

The supplementary material includes a ‘documentary’ The Story of Alfred Hitchock in 16:9 widescreen (22 minutes) and a collection of Hitchcock film trailers (39 minutes).

 
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 The Ring (1927), black & white, 89 minutes, not rated.

St. Clair Vision, BX86149-6VD, UPC 7-77966-86149-4.
Six dual-sided, dual-layered, Region 0 NTSC 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; six slimline DVD keepcases in cardboard slipcase, $16.98.
Release date: 19 November 2007.
Country of origin: USA

This DVD edition has been transferred from a 16mm reduction print that is overcropped on the left-hand side of the picture.

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.
 
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

The Ring (1927), black & white, 89 minutes, BBFC Classification U.

WHE International, unknown catalogue number, unknown UPC number.
One single-sided, single-layered, Region 0 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, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, unknown suggested retail price.
Release date: 24 April 2006.
Country of origin: England
This inexpensive edition of The Ring may or may not be worth tracking down. It is unknown whether 35mm or 16mm materials were utilized for the video transfer.

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.
coverSynergy Entertainment
2009 DVD edition

The Ring (1927), black & white, 72 minutes, not rated.

Synergy Entertainment, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
One single-sided, single-layered, Region 0 NTSC DVD-R 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, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, $9.99.
Release date: 10 June 2009.
Country of origin: USA
This edition has likely been transferred from a 16mm reduction print.

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

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD-R 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
 
 
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