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Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
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Through the
Back Door



This comedy-drama, directed by Alfred E. Green and Jack Pickford, stars Mary Pickford and Adolphe Menjou, with Peaches Jackson, Gertrude Astor, Elinor Fair and Wilfred Lucas.

The Milestone Collection
2005 DVD edition

Through the Back Door (1921), color-tinted black & white and color-toned black & white, 89 minutes, not rated,
with Cinderella (1914), color-tinted black & white, 53 minutes, not rated.

Milestone Film and Video, distributed by Image Entertainment, ID1981MLSDVD, UPC 0-14381-19812-6.
One single-sided, dual-layered, Region 0 NTSC DVD 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, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 10 chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, $29.99.
Release date: 3 May 2005.
Country of origin: USA

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

This DVD edition has been mastered from very-good 35mm print that is presented in slightly windowboxed video transfer. The print itself has the usual amount of speckling, a few scratches and a greater amount than usual of dust, black spots and schmutz, but it also features a broad range of tones from highlights to shadows. There are a few noticeable snippets of missing footage, likely lost to print breaks.

However good the print may be, the disc encoding is a bit coarse as there are compression artifacts that are visible when the picture is in motion on high-definition monitors and very apparent in any still frame. The visual quality is representative what was being produced on DVD in the late 1990s, not in 2005.

The film is accompanied by an excellent orchestral music score arranged and conducted by Robert Israel. The music adds considerably to the presentation appeal of this edition.

The disc’s supplemental material includes the early Mary Pickford feature Cinderella (1914) accompanied by music composed by Donald Sosin, and a still image gallery (34 images).

This disc is recommended until a better-looking edition can be produced, remastered in high-definition and released on Blu-ray Disc.

USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Other silent era MARY PICKFORD films available on home video.

Other silent film music scores by ROBERT ISRAEL available on home video.

Mary Pickford filmography in The Progressive Silent Film List
Silent Era Home Page  >  Home Video  >  Through the Back Door



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