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Silent Era Home Page  >  Home Video  >  Cruel, Cruel Love
 
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Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
Copyright © 1999-2014 by Carl Bennett
and the Silent Era Company.
All Rights Reserved.
Cruel, Cruel Love
(1914)
 

Produced in the first year of his film career, this Keystone comedy features a familiar (though a non-Tramp) Charles Chaplin character attempting to woo a well-to-do young woman (Minta Durfee). When he is innocently caught in the arms of the maid, she calls off their courtship. When the gardener, the maid’s sweetheart, explains the circumstances leading to the offending situation to his employer, she resolves to forgive Charlie.

Meanwhile, Charlie has returned to his apartment and drinks what he believes is poison, and is tormented by visions of his destiny in the netherworld. When the gardener arrives with an apologetic note from Minta, Charlie is doubly distressed at the approach of his impending death.

Charlie calls the doctor and the gardener runs to fetch Minta, with all soon racing to Charlie’s side. When it is divulged that Charlie has only consumed a glass of water, he rains retribution on those laughing at his foible and is reunited with Minta.

Surviving prints of Cruel, Cruel Love all appear to originate from a 35mm nitrate positive with Spanish language intertitles, recognizable by the small white spots of beginning decomposition seen throughout the film. — Carl Bennett

2010 Flicker Alley DVD edition

Chaplin at Keystone (1914), black & white, 590 minutes total, not rated
including Cruel, Cruel Love (1914), black & white, 10 minutes, not rated.

Flicker Alley, FA0018, UPC 6-17311-67579-9, ISBN 1-893967-57-3.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, four single-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, four slimline DVD keepcases in cardboard slipcase, $79.95.
DVD release date: 26 October 2010.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 6 / audio: 9 / additional content: 8 / overall: 8.

This quality edition has been mastered from two very-good fine-grain 16mm reduction prints held by Film Preservation Associates and Lobster Films, Paris. The natural-speed high-definition video transfer represents the source prints in detail, but the graytones range is on the light side several times in the film. At other times, the graytone range is well-balanced with very-good image detail.

The film is accompanied by a fine music score performed by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

Although the film has been transferred from 16mm prints, this edition of Cruel, Cruel Love is recommended as the best available on home video.

 
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.
1999 Madacy Entertainment DVD edition

Chaplin: Collector’s Choice Double Feature (1914-1918), black & white, 91 minutes total, not rated,
including Cruel, Cruel Love (1914), black & white, 9 minutes, not rated.

Madacy Entertainment Group, DVD9 9103, UPC 0-56775-03619-5.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one double-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 3 Mbps average video bit rate, 448 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 2 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $11.98.
DVD release date: 2 March 1999.
Country of origin: USA

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

This edition of Cruel, Cruel Love (1914) has been transferred at a slightly faster than natural speed rate from a highly-spotted, grayed-out, but otherwise good 16mm reduction print. A freeze frame will reveal exactly how coarsely this edition has been video encoded. The intertitles in the source print are not the Keystone originals.

The film is accompanied by a soundtrack of preexisting jazz recordings.

Mastered from the same 16mm print as the other cheap editions noted below, the results here are at least slightly more watchable than those editions.

 
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.
1999 Madacy Entertainment DVD edition

Chaplin (1914-1918), black & white, ? minutes total, not rated,
including Cruel, Cruel Love (1914), black & white, 9 minutes, not rated.

Madacy Entertainment Group, 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, no foreign language subtitles, 2 chapter stops, two-disc standard DVD keepcase, unknown suggested retail price.
DVD release date: 1999.
Country of origin: USA

A repackaging of the same Madacy DVD program reviewed above was also issued under a different title and on two discs, with a slipcase wraparound, as Chaplin: Hollywood Classics.

No doubt, this edition is just as rough.

 
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.
1998 Madacy Entertainment DVD edition

Chaplin: The Collection (1914-1918), black & white, ? minutes total, not rated,
including Cruel, Cruel Love (1914), black & white, 9 minutes, not rated.

Madacy Entertainment Group, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, five 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, 2 chapter stops, five standard DVD keepcases in cardboard slipcase, unknown suggested retail price.
DVD release date: 1998.
Country of origin: USA

The original Madacy packaging of their Chaplin editions, the edition of Cruel, Cruel Love in this boxset is reviewed 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.
2005 Delta Entertainment DVD edition

The Essential Charlie Chaplin Collection (1914-1916), black & white, 700 minutes total, not rated,
including Cruel, Cruel Love (1914), black & white, 9 minutes, not rated.

Delta Entertainment, 89 246, UPC 0-18111-92269-6.
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, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, plastic trays in bookwrap, unknown suggested retail price.
DVD release date: 7 June 2005.
Country of origin: USA

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

This budget edition follows suit with other cheap editions by transferring from the same good to very-good Blackhawk Films 16mm reduction print. Although coarsely encoded to DVD, and sometimes too much on the contrasty side, this edition fares just slightly better than those noted below.

The film is accompanied by a soundtrack of vintage jazz recordings.

Not a recommended edition with the Flicker Alley edition noted above now available. Why be cheap? Buy quality instead.

 
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.
2004 Brentwood Home Video DVD edition

Charlie Chaplin: 57 Classics (1914-1921), black & white, 5948 minutes total, not rated,
including Cruel, Cruel Love (1914), black & white, 9 minutes, not rated.

Brentwood Home Video, 45340-9, UPC 7-87364-53409-8.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, five dual-sided, single-layered DVD discs, and 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, five-disc DVD keepcase in cardboard slipcase, $19.98.
DVD release date: 27 April 2004.
Country of origin: USA

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

This budget edition has been mastered from an analog videotape transfer of a good to very-good 16mm reduction print. It is similar in quality to the other cheap editions of Cruel, Cruel Love on home video. At times the picture is too contrasty to hold highlight details. The DVD itself is crudely encoded, rendering coarse picture details.

The disc is supplemented with the documentary The Chaplin Puzzle, written by Joe Adamson and featuring narration by Burgess Meredith.

Not a recommended home video edition of this film. Buy the Flicker Alley edition noted above instead.

 
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.
2005 St. Clair Vision DVD edition

Charlie Chaplin: 51 Features (1914-1921), black & white, 870 minutes total, not rated,
including Cruel, Cruel Love (1914), black & white, 9 minutes, not rated.

St. Clair Vision, 45340-9, UPC 7-87364-53409-8.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, three single-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, three-disc DVD keepcase, $19.98.
DVD release date: 27 July 2005.
Country of origin: USA

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

This budget edition is poorly encoded to DVD, with its coarsely rendered, low-resolution picture further compromised by analog videotape glitches at the top of the picture. As with the other cheap editions noted above, this transfer loses highlight details to unnecessary contrastiness and image detail to overcompression of the video information. Poorly executed.

The film is accompanied by a soundtrack of preexisting recordings.

Perhaps the worst-looking example of all DVD home video editions, this edition of Cruel, Cruel Love should be avoided given that a far better video transfer can be had in the Flicker Alley 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.
Other silent era CHARLES CHAPLIN films available on home video.

Other KEYSTONE comedy films available on home video.

Other SHORT COMEDY FILMS of the silent era available on home video.
Charles Chaplin filmography in The Progressive Silent Film List
 
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