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Silent Era Home Page  >  Home Video  >  Nanook of the North
 
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Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
Copyright © 1999-2016 by Carl Bennett
and the Silent Era Company.
All Rights Reserved.

Nanook of
the North

(1922)

 

Most everyone who has sat through a high school English or social studies class has seen this film, the most widely recognized silent documentary.

Director/cameraman Robert J. Flaherty endured years of hardship in frozen Canada to produce this initimate portrait of an Eskimo fisherman and his family, Nanook of the North (1922). — Carl Bennett

coverFlicker Alley
2013 Blu-ray Disc edition

Nanook of the North, The Wedding of Palo and Other Films of Arctic Life (1913-1959), black & white and color, 281 minutes total, not rated,
including Nanook of the North (1922), black & white, 79 minutes, not rated,
with Captain Kleinschmidt’s Arctic Life (1913), black & white, 15 minutes, not rated, Primitive Love (1927) [excerpts], black & white, 32 minutes, not rated, Dwellings of the Far North (1928), black & white, 11 minutes, not rated, The Wedding of Palo [Palos Brudefaerd] (1934), black & white, ? minutes, not rated, Eskimo Hunters of Northwest Alaska (1949), black & white, 20 minutes, not rated, Face of the High Arctic (1959), black & white, 14 minutes, not rated, and Nanook Revisited (Saumialuk) (1988), black & white, 64 minutes, not rated.

Flicker Alley, FA0028, UPC 6-17311-67809-7, ISBN 1-893967-80-8.
Pillarboxed 16:9 1080p MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, two single-sided, dual-layered Blu-ray Discs, Regions ABC, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, dual-disc BD keepcase, $44.95.
DVD release date: 19 March 2013.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 8 / audio: 9 / additional content: 8 / overall: 8.
This edition has been mastered from the 1972 35mm restoration print materials, from which many of today’s prints have sprung. The restoration was conflated from Robert Flaherty’s personal 35mm print which was struck from the original negative now held by the British Film Institute, and nitrate prints held by the Museum of Modern Art and the Royal Film Archive of Belgium, and fine-grain nitrate materials used to produced the 1946 sound rerelease. The materials themselves are very-good to almost excellent, with some footage surviving in slightly rougher form and some footage, which is sharper than the bulk of the print, is compromised by deep, nearly plugged up, shadow details. Additional digital restoration was done to balance the greyscale ranges of the various prints and to remove dust, speckling, processing flaws and print damage.

The results are very-good, with some differences in the amount of film grain which is generally less pronounced than in other silent films on recent high-resolution home video.

The film is accompanied by a small orchestra music score composed and compiled by Timothy Brock, who directed the Olympia Chamber Orchestra in 1998.

This edition of Nanook of the North is highly recommended as it has never looked better on home video.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Regions ABC Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Regions ABC Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverThe Criterion Collection
1999 DVD edition

Nanook of the North (1922), black & white, 79 minutes, not rated.

The Criterion Collection, CC1549D, UPC 7-15515-00982-9.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD 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, 12 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $29.95.
DVD release date: 26 January 1999.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 7 / audio: 8 / additional content: 7 / overall: 7.

This early DVD edition, produced by David Shepard of Film Preservation Associates, has been digitally transferred from high-quality 35mm print materials.

The presentation features a music score composed and directed by Timothy Brock.

Supplemental features include exerpts from an National Educational Television documentary series on Robert J. Flaherty featuring an interview with his wife Frances Flaherty (8 minutes), and still photos.

 
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.
coverEditions Montparnasse
2006 DVD edition

Robert Flaherty (1922-1948), black & white, 278 minutes total, not rated,
including Nanook of the North (1922), black & white, ? minutes, not rated,
with Man of Aran (1934), black & white, ? minutes, not rated, The Land (1942), black & white, ? minutes, not rated, and Louisiana Story (1948), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Editions Montparnasse,
unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 PAL, three single-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 2, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo? and mono sound, English language intertitles?, optional French language subtitles?, chapter stops, three standard DVD keepcases in cardboard slipcase?, €33,99.
DVD release date: 11 August 2006.
Country of origin: France
This French boxset of Nanook of the North also includes three other Flaherty documentaries.

North American collectors will need a region-free PAL DVD player capable of outputting an NTSC-compatible signal to view this edition.

coverReel Enterprises
2006 DVD edition

Nanook of the North (1922), black & white, 55 minutes, not rated.

Reel Enterprises, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, 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, standard DVD keepcase, $9.95.
DVD release date: 13 November 2006.
Country of origin: USA
This budget-edition disc may be mastered from 16mm reduction print materials. A logomark may appear in the bottom right-hand corner of the picture throughout.

Better to consider the Criterion edition noted 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.
Other DOCUMENTARY FILMS of the silent era available on home video.
 
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