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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.
Tillie’s Punctured
Romance

(1914)
 

Keystone Film Corporation produced what is reputed to be the world’s first feature-length comedy motion picture in 1914 with Tillie’s Punctured Romance, starring Marie Dressler, Charles Chaplin and Mabel Normand.

The film was a combination of stage-play adaptation and Keystone slapstick, with more punches and slaps thrown perhaps than in any other silent comedy.

Tillie, a simple farm girl, is enticed to run away to the city with her father’s money by Charlie, a city slicker con man. In the city, Tillie’s money is taken by Charlie until he reads of her impending inheritance of her uncle’s three-million dollar estate. — Carl Bennett

2010 Flicker Alley DVD edition

Chaplin at Keystone (1914), black & white, 590 minutes total, not rated
including Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914), black & white, 85 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: 8 / audio: 8 / additional content: 8 / overall: 8.

This quality edition has been mastered from the 35mm restoration positive of the 2004 cooperative restoration project between the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the British Film Institute, with additional digital restoration by Lobster Films, Paris. Conflated from incomplete prints held by world film archives, the resulting restoration print is good to excellent (mostly excellent), with numerous examples of frames missing from the very-good to excellent 35mm key source print now restored from other prints. On monitors that display the entire picture content on the DVD, edge to edge, the restored footage can often be spotted by differing framelines at the edges of the picture and a slight to significant difference in image quality. A spectacular job was performed by the UCLA restoration staff of digitally matching the geometry of the differing prints to minimize the potentially jarring transition from one print to another, to achieve as seamless (as possible) a presentation of the film’s total surviving footage.

The film is accompanied by an original music score performed by Ken Winokur (of The Alloy Orchestra) with the Tillie’s Nightmare, a five musician ensemble.

Now viewable with nearly all of its original footage, we highly recommend this presentation as the best available edition of Tillie’s Punctured Romance on home video.

 
USA: Click the logomark at right to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase helps support the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark at right to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase helps support the Silent Era website.
1999 Image Entertainment DVD edition

Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914), black & white, 72 minutes, not rated,
with Mabel’s Married Life (1914), black & white, 14 minutes, not rated.

Film Preservation Associates, distributed by Image Entertainment, ID4670DSDVD, UPC 0-14381-46702-4.
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, snapper DVD case, $24.99.
DVD release date: 24 August 1999.
Country of origin: USA
We have not viewed this disc, but we have seen the program material in its laserdisc edition.

The films are accompanied by music scores performed by Gaylord Carter and John Muri.

 
USA: Click the logomark at right to purchase
a Region 0 NTSC DVD of this edition from Amazon.com.
 
Canada: Click the logomark at right to purchase
a Region 0 NTSC DVD of this edition from Amazon.ca.
1999 Laserlight Digital DVD edition

Charlie Chaplin Marathon (1914-1917), black & white, 133 minutes total, not rated
including Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914), black & white, 73 minutes, not rated.

Laserlight Digital, 82 028, UPC 0-18111-99883-3.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 3 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $7.95.
DVD release date: 12 October 1999.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 3 / audio: 4 / additional content: 5 / overall: 4.

For the video transfer, LaserLight utilized a very contrasty 16mm reduction print prepared by RAS Films in the 1960s. The reduction print was prepared from at least two different source materials, and features three different typefaces for the intertitles.

Highlights are blasted out much of the time and shadow detail lost in this substandard 16mm print. The transfer itself seems to have been adequately done and runs at the original camera speed of approximately 15-16 frames per second (FPS). What graytones remain in the image are grainy (the fault of the print) and are replete with compression artifacts (very difficult not to get with grainy, low-quality prints). The cropping of the picture image is tight (probably, again, the fault of the print), with heads sometimes cropped off at the top and proportionately more of the picture lost at the left. The film is a strain to watch much of the time. The print also features a soundtrack with hokey music and sound effects, and with a persistent narration of the story.

This edition is not worth the less-than-ten-dollars it can be had for.

 
USA: Click the logomark at right to purchase
a Region 0 NTSC DVD of this edition from Amazon.com.
 
Canada: Click the logomark at right to purchase
a Region 0 NTSC DVD of this edition from Amazon.ca.
2002 Delta Entertainment DVD edition

Charlie Chaplin Marathon (1914-1917), black & white, 133 minutes total, not rated
including Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914), black & white, 73 minutes, not rated.

Delta Entertainment, 82 365, UPC 0-18111-23659-1.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 3 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $7.95.
DVD release date: 5 February 2002.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 7 / video: 3 / audio: 4 / overall: 4.
This budget edition is nothing more than a 2002 repackaging of the same substandard content reviewed above.

Shameless, huh?

 
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.
2000 Koch Vision DVD edition

Chaplin: Early Masterpieces (1914), black & white, ? minutes total, not rated,
including Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Koch Vision, KOC-DV-6301, UPC 7-41952-63019-7.
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 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, three standard DVD keepcases in cardboard slipcase, $19.98.
DVD release date: 19 December 2000.
Country of origin: USA
The Keystone film Tillie’s Punctured Romance was included in this budget-priced multidisc set.

We have no indication as to the quality of this edition of the film, and cannot recommend it at this time.

 
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.
2012 Grapevine Video DVD edition

Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914), black & white, 42 minutes, not rated,
with Tillie Wakes Up (1917), black & white, 47 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 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $14.95.
DVD release date: 14 April 2012.
Country of origin: USA
This public-domain edition has likely been mastered from a 16mm reduction print.

The film is likely accompanied by prerecorded music.

 
This Region 0 NTSC DVD-R edition is available directly from GRAPEVINE VIDEO.
200? Front Row Features DVD edition

Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914), black & white, ? minutes, not rated,
with A Burlesque on Carmen (1916), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Front Row Features, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 1, ? 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, unknown suggested retail price.
DVD release date: 200?.
Country of origin: USA
We have not seen this DVD. This budget edition will show up on eBay and in grocery stores, so be wary of its likely low-quality that would be consistent with other releases by this company.
200? unknown video company DVD edition

Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914), black & white, ? minutes, not rated,
with The Gold Rush (1925), black & white, ? minutes, not rated, The Immigrant (1917), black & white, ? minutes, not rated, and A Burlesque on Carmen (1916), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Unknown video company, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, two single-sided, single-layered DVD discs, Region 1, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, unknown suggested retail price.
DVD release date: 200?.
Country of origin: unknown
Where do these budget discs come from? This budget edition of two features and two short Chaplin films could source from the same company as the Front Row edition above. Don’t count on the quality of the film prints being very high.
Other silent era CHARLES CHAPLIN films available on home video.

Other MABEL NORMAND films available on home video.

Other KEYSTONE comedy films available on home video.
Charles Chaplin filmography in The Progressive Silent Film List
 
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