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Silent Era Films on Home Video
Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
Copyright © 1999-2014 by Carl Bennett
and the Silent Era Company.
All Rights Reserved.
Hula
(1927)
 

Released to American theaters just after the New York premiere of World War I epic Wings (1927), Hula (1927) is one of six feature films released in 1927 that Clara Bow appeared in for Paramount. The film’s Hawaiian location is an exotic backdrop to this comedy-romance that is sparked by Bow’s effervescent performance.

Hula Calhoun (Clara Bow) is a young woman who has grown up on her widower father’s Hawaiian ranch. Not cultured in the ways of the ‘civilized’ world, the childlike Hula nonetheless captures the affections of visiting British engineer Anthony Haldane (Clive Brook). Hula professes her love, but Haldane keeps the fact that he is married to himself and is forced to give her a cold shoulder. Intruding in the middle of it all is the shameless and well-named Mrs. Bane (Arlette Marchal) who is also trying to capture the eye of Haldane. Confused and hurt, Hula resolves to break through his chilliness. Haldane is forced to level with her, but when he admits that he does not lover his wife, Hula encourages him to abandon his reserve and love her. In stoic British resolve, Haldane refuses to lose his honor and violate his wedding vows — it wouldn’t be sporting, you know.

Hula then throws herself into all the recklessly fun-loving situations she can manage in an attempt to evoke jealousy from Haldane, including flirting with shallow Harry Dehan (Arnold Kent) and performing a smouldering Betty-Boopish hula dance. Well, it works, and Haldane punches out the drunken, lustful Dehan and is forced to admit his love to the delighted Hula.

After months of attempting to obtain a divorce, Hula and Haldane are shocked by the arrival of his wife (Patricia Dupont) and her mercenary refusal to grant a divorce. Hula then schemes to scare off the money-hungry wife.

Director Victor Fleming gives Bow a number of close-ups throughout the film that give full play to her entertainingly expressive face. — Carl Bennett

2014 Grapevine Video DVD edition

Hula (1927), black & white, 63 minutes, not rated.

Grapevine Video, no catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD-R 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, standard DVD keepcase, $14.95.
DVD release date: 14 February 2014.
Country of origin: USA
This edition has likely been mastered from a 16mm reduction print.

The film is likely to be accompanied by a compiled music score of preexisting recordings.

 
This Region 0 NTSC DVD-R edition is available directly from . . .
2010 Classic Video Streams DVD edition

The Actors: Rare Films of Clara Bow, Volume 2 (1925-1927), black & white, ? minutes total, not rated,
with Hula (1927), black & white, 61 minutes, not rated.

Classic Video Streams, no catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD-R disc, 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, standard DVD keepcase, $16.99.
DVD release date: 9 March 2010.
Country of origin: USA
This edition has likely been mastered from a 16mm reduction print.

The film is likely to be accompanied by a compiled music score of 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.
2009 Sunrise Silents DVD edition

Hula (1927), black & white, 61 minutes, not rated.

Sunrise Silents, HUL2-N (NTSC) and HUL2-P (PAL), no UPC number.
Windowboxed 4:3 NTSC or PAL, one single-sided, single-layered DVD-R disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 8 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $21.95.
DVD release date: 1 October 2009.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 6 / audio: 6 / additional content: 0 / overall: 6.

This remastered DVD-R edition from Sunrise Silents features a faster than natural-speed, windowboxed video transfer from a very-good 16mm reduction print, which is soft of image details and is marked with the usual amount of speckling, dust, occasional scuffing and scratches.

While the print is slightly contrasty, with burnt-out highlights and plugged up shadows, the print holds a passable range of graytones and care has been taken to compile the best-looking transfer footage into one video master, holding slightly more image detail in highlights and shadows — all keeping the film watchable in this improved edition.

The 16mm projection aperture does slightly crop some of the picture image at the edges of the frame that would be seen in a 35mm print, but the tops of heads and edges of intertitles are intact.

The film is accompanied by a MIDI-driven digital piano score, which allows for some customization of the accompaniment to the film’s action. This approach is economical for small-budget home video producers who want to workaround the totally inappropriate option of simply running prerecorded music under the film without tailoring it to the action it accompanies.

While not of ideal quality (few public-domain companies can afford to produce better), this disc is still collectible given its modest production costs and the passable quality of the source print. The edition maintains reasonable visual quality on high-definition systems with resolution upscaling. While waiting for a high-quality home-video edition of Hula to be prepared from 35mm materials, we recommend this DVD-R disc to fans of Clara Bow and romantic comedies.

 
SUNRISE SILENTS has discontinued business and this edition is no longer available.
2004 Sunrise Silents DVD edition

Hula (1927), color-tinted black & white, 81 minutes, not rated.

Sunrise Silents, HULA-N (NTSC) and HULA-P (PAL), no UPC number.
Windowboxed 4:3 NTSC or PAL, one single-sided, single-layered DVD-R disc, Region 0, 4.5 Mbps average video bit rate, 1536 kbps audio bit rate, PCM 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 6 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $21.95.
DVD release date: 1 November 2004.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 5 / audio: 6 / additional content: 3 / overall: 6.

This 2004 DVD-R edition from Sunrise Silents features a slightly slower than natural-speed video transfer from a very-good 16mm reduction print, which has been presented edition producer Rich Oliver in windowboxed format to allow the maximum image area present in the print to be seen on all televisions.

The source print appears to be the same as that utilized for the remastered edition noted above. Color-tints have been digitally added, and they keep the print’s contrastiness from being as noticeable to viewers.

The film is accompanied by a serviceable MIDI digital piano score, sequenced by Rich Oliver.

We recommend the remastered edition of Hula noted above.

 
SUNRISE SILENTS has discontinued business and this edition is no longer available.
Other silent era CLARA BOW films available on home video.
 
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