The first compilation from Grapevine Video of selections from D.W. Griffith’s films for American Mutoscope & Biograph Company, made in 1908-1909, are a mix of dramas and comedies. Some of these films are not available elsewhere on home video. Among the recognizable Biograph players are Florence Lawrence and Mack Sennett.
Grapevine Video, no catalog number, UPC 8-42614-00116-1.
One single-sided, single-layered, Region 0NTSC 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, PCM 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 11 chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, $16.95 (reduced to $14.95).
Release date: 2003.
Country of origin: USA
This DVD-R collection has been mastered from 16mm reduction print materials prepared in the 1950s from the Library of Congress paper print collection, which means that the image quality is lower than would normally be expected, with some of the prints quite soft, flat and grey, and others of good contrast and soft image quality — all with some greater or lesser degree of frame movement. The older full-frame analog video master was originally prepared for VHS videotape release in the 1990s. The quality exception is Those Awful Hats (1909), which has been transferred from a very-good 16mm reduction print originally prepared from film-based source elements.
The films are accompanied by a music score compiled from old low-fidelity recordings.
There is much room for improvement of quality here, but some of the films are available nowhere else on home video.