InformationProgressive Silent Film ListLost FilmsPeopleTheaters
TaylorologyArticlesHome VideoBooksStoreSearch
Nosferatu on Blu-Ray Disc
 
Silent Era Home Page  >  Home Video  >  Pool Sharks
 
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.
Pool Sharks
(1915)
 

Pool Sharks (1915) is a standard comedy of its day, being the story of two rivals for the affections of a young woman. The two mashers decide to settle their dispute at a pool table. Things fall apart for both of them when the object of their affections discovers them in the pool hall.

The film was one of two films W.C. Fields made for the American division of Gaumont. The films constituted Fields’ film debut. — Carl Bennett

2000 Criterion Collection DVD edition

W.C. Fields: 6 Short Films (1915-1933), black & white, 115 minutes total, not rated,
including Pool Sharks (1915), black & white, 10 minutes, not rated.

Criterion Collection, CC1557DVD, UPC 7-15515-01072-6.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 1, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles (Pool Sharks only), no foreign language subtitles, no chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $29.95.
DVD release date: 15 August 2000.
Country of origin: USA

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

This disc from the Criterion Collection, originally prepared for and released on laserdisc and VHS videotape, features the best-available edition of Pool Sharks on home video.

Utilizing an excellent 35mm preservation print from the Raymond Rohauer collection that features new main titles and intertitles, with excellent image detail and grayscale range, the video transfer has been made at sound speed and so plays back at too fast. This is our only criticism of this edition.

This is a far better disc than the horrid Madacy DVD editions (noted below) of the same six films. A couple of the sound films have been mastered from 16mm reduction prints.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
1999 Madacy Entertainment DVD edition

W.C. Fields Collector’s Choice Double Feature (1915-1933), black & white, 120 minutes total, not rated,
including Pool Sharks (1915), black & white, 15 minutes, not rated.

Madacy Entertainment, DVD9 9112, UPC 0-56775-03709-3.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one double-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 5 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: 2 / audio: 4 / additional content: 2 / overall: 2.

This disc will be a complete disappointment to any W.C. Fields fan. To begin with, the 16mm print used for the video transfer of Pool Sharks is blurry and contrasty. I have personally projected a 16mm print of this film and can vouch for the lousy quality of that dupe, so I suspect that Madacy’s print probably originated from the same supplier. Nonetheless, the picture quality is made far worse by bad video mastering. All the of the films on the second side of this disc (The Pharmacist, The Barber Shop and Pool Sharks) look as though they have been transferred from of one of Madacy’s EP videocassette copies of these films. The results are just awful.

As for the sound films in this collection: All are transferred from 16mm reduction prints, some originally made for television distribution. All prints are tightly-cropped on all edges of the frame. In the tee-off scene in The Golf Specialist, heads are completely cut off by the tight framing. The sound synchronization is off by about half a second in both The Dentist and The Fatal Glass of Beer, with the sound leading the picture. The picture quality on these films are OK at best, but with the sound synchronization problems they are rendered almost unwatchable. Thoroughly unpleasant.

We do not recommend this DVD.

Contents: Pool Sharks (1915), The Golf Specialist (1930), The Dentist (1932), The Fatal Glass of Beer (1932), The Pharmacist (1933) and The Barber Shop (1933).

 
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

W.C. Fields Hollywood Classics, Volume 1 & 2 (1915-1933), black & white, 120 minutes total, not rated,
including Pool Sharks (1915), black & white, 15 minutes, not rated.

Madacy Entertainment, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one double-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 5 Mbps average video bit rate, 448 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, two standard DVD keepcases in cardboard slipcover, $11.98.
DVD release date: 2 March 1999.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 2 / audio: 4 / additional content: 2 / overall: 2.
Madacy also issued the same material on two DVDs under another package design, with wraparound slipcase as W.C. Fields Hollywood Classics Volume 1 & 2 on 2 March 1999. This version uses the same DVD masters as the DVD reviewed above.
1999 Madacy Entertainment DVD edition

W.C. Fields Hollywood Classics, Volume 2 (1915-1933), black & white, 55 minutes total, not rated,
including Pool Sharks (1915), black & white, 15 minutes, not rated.

Madacy Entertainment, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 5 Mbps average video bit rate, 448 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $9.98.
DVD release date: 1 April 1999.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 2 / audio: 4 / additional content: 2 / overall: 2.
On 1 April 1999, Madacy again released a portion of the same program material on two separate DVDs, W.C. Fields Hollywood Classics, Volume 1 and W.C. Fields Hollywood Classics, Volume 2, with volume 2 containing Pool Sharks (1915). These constant repackaging efforts smack of an attempt to pull a fast one on the DVD purchasing novice.
2005 Passport Video DVD edition

W.C. Fields Extravaganza (1915-2005), black & white, 240 minutes total, not rated,
including Pool Sharks (1915), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Passport Video, DVD-3330, UPC 0-25493-33309-1.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, three single-sided, single-layered? DVD discs, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 1.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, three standard DVD keepcase in cardboard slipcase, $19.99.
DVD release date: 8 March 2005.
Country of origin: USA
This budget edition of Pool Sharks has likely been mastered from a 16mm reduction print, and may be of similar quality to the Madacy editions noted above.

We recommend the Criterion edition noted above.

Contents: Pool Sharks (1915), Sally of the Sawdust (1925), The Golf Specialist (1930), The Dentist (1932), The Fatal Glass of Beer (1933), Cupid Gets His Man (19??), W.C. Fields Film Follies Festival (????), An Affectionate Look at W.C. Fields (2005).

 
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 W.C. FIELDS films available on home video.

Other SHORT COMEDY FILMS of the silent era available on home video.

W.C. Fields filmography in The Progressive Silent Film List
 
Silent Era Home Page  >  Home Video  >  Pool Sharks   ||   Top of Page

The Big Parade on Blu-ray

Silent Era Ads
You Can Reach
more than 25,000
Silent Era readers
each month for less
than a dollar a day
with your
text ad here.
Advertise on
Silent Era

The General on Blu-ray Disc

Keaton on Blu-Ray Disc

Chaplin at Keystone

Metropolis on Blu-Ray Disc

Complete Metropolis on DVD

Josef von Sternberg DVD

Battleship Potemkin on Blu-ray Disc

Georges Méliès DVD

Beyond the Rocks DVD

Valentino DVD

Miss Mend on DVD

Chaplin Mutuals on DVD

La Roue on DVD

The Last Laugh DVD Restored

Unknown Chaplin on DVD

Advertise