That Certain Thing (1928) was the first of a series of several films Frank Capra cranked out in the latter 1920s at Columbia Pictures, and ultimately it is nothing more than a sweet trifle. But despite his quick work and the film’s frugal production budget, Capra took this innocuous comedy material and infused it with his bright personality. Getting warm and winning performances from his cast was Capra’s forte, even this early in his career. Ralph Graves is an appealing hero and we especially liked Viola Dana’s comedic performance in this film. That Certain Thing still plays well to modern audiences.
That Certain Thing has been preserved by Sony Pictures in a new 35mm preservation print duped from the only surviving original 16mm reduction print of the film. We assume that plans to restore That Certain Thing may follow the example of Sony’s digital restoration of Frank Capra’s The Matinee Idol (1928). — Carl Bennett
TeleVista, 74944, UPC 0-29502-74944-6.
One single-sided, single-layered, Region 0NTSC 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, 12 chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, $19.95.
Release date: 4 December 2007.
Country of origin: USA
This DVD edition has been mastered from a 8mm reduction print and the results are predictably awful. The print and/or the video transfer is so poor that even the print scratches in the original source material are blurry.
The film is accompanied by an embarrassing soundtrack of preexisting recordings.
Not at all recommended, but this is currently the only home video edition of the film that is available.
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Sunrise Silents, TCTV-N (NTSC) and TCTV-P (PAL), no UPC number.
One single-sided, single-layered, Region 0NTSC or PAL DVD-R disc, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in windowboxed 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, 1536? kbps audio bit rate, PCM 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, $17.95.
Release date: 2005.
Country of origin: USA
This DVD-R edition from Sunrise Silents has likely been mastered from a 16mm reduction print, and likely features a music score performed on a MIDI synthesizer.
Known 35mm prints of the film originate from an interim 35mm preservation negative duped from an original 16mm reduction print, with the state of the original 16mm print being generally good. Its defects range from shutter jitters to prolonged print scratches, and the framing of the 16mm print seemed to be close to that of the original 35mm frame dimensions. All of the title cards had generous neutral space surrounding the intertitles and characters’ heads were not cropped off due to bad 16mm reduction print duping.
SUNRISE SILENTS has discontinued business and this edition is OUT-OF-PRINT.