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Silent Era Home Page  >  Home Video  >  Why Change Your Wife?
 
Silent Era Films on Home Video
Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
Copyright © 1999-2017 by Carl Bennett
and the Silent Era Company.
All Rights Reserved.

Why Change
Your Wife?

(1920)

 

This domestic comedy stars Thomas Meighan, Gloria Swanson and Bebe Daniels. Something of a Cecil B. DeMille sequel to his Don’t Change Your Husband (1919), this examination of spousal fickleness is quite charming and Swanson stands out among a first-class cast that includes Theodore Kosloff, Clarence Geldert, Sylvia Ashton and Maym Kelso.

While the talented Mitchen Leisen was one of the costume designers, modern audiences will likely get a laugh out of what passes for innovative 1920 fashion design. The swimming costumes are, both intentionally and unintentionally, a hoot.

coverImage Entertainment
2005 DVD edition

Why Change Your Wife? (1920), color-toned black & white and black & white, 91 minutes, not rated,
with Miss Lulu Bett (1921), color-tinted black & white, 71 minutes, not rated.

Film Preservation Associates, distributed by Image Entertainment,
ID1990DSDVD, UPC 0-14381-19902-4.
One single-sided, dual-layered, Region 0 NTSC DVD disc, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in windowboxed 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, 5 Mbps average video bit rate, 224 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 10 chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, $24.99.
Release date: 19 November 2005.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 6 / audio: 9 / additional content: 7 / overall: 7.

This DVD edition has been mastered from a 35mm preservation negative prepared from Cecil B. DeMille’s personal print of the film and held by George Eastman Museum. The source material features a broad range of greytones (partially colored in sepiatones), with reasonable image details in shadowy areas of the picture. The slightly windowboxed, natural-speed video transfer was great when the DVD was released, but it is now aging badly.

This being an older analog video transfer, edge sharpening is present which can be a distraction when viewing the disc on high-resolution television systems. In the days of standard-resolution VHS videotape and laserdisc, edge sharpening in a video transfer made image details seem sharper when viewed on cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions. Edge sharpening created a thin band of white on lighter picture details, such as the edges of a shirt sleeve, next to a thin band of darker grey or black, such as a background of darker wallpaper. This is not a concern if you view DVDs on computer monitors or even on older HD systems. However, on today’s 4k HD monitors such edge sharpening visually jumps out and can pull you out of the viewing experience. Also apparent on UHD systems is the lattice-like pattern of DVD image compression artifacts that can plainly be seen in still frames and, in motion, in middle greytones of the picture.

Mentioned for the sake of nitpicking, there is a one second repeat of footage at 1:24:56.

The presentation features an excellent musical accompaniment from a score compiled by Rodney Sauer and Susan Hall and performed by The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

This is still our recommended home video edition of the film, but we can’t wait for a Blu-ray Disc edition to be released.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website. AmazonUS
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website. AmazonCA
coverPassport Video
2007 DVD edition

The Cecil B. DeMille Classics Collection (1914-1926), black & white, 1622 minutes total, not rated,
including Why Change Your Wife? (1920), black & white, 91 minutes, not rated.

Passport Video, DVD-5090, UPC 0-25493-50900-0.
Five single-sided, dual-layered, Region 0 NTSC DVD discs, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in windowboxed 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 1.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 13 chapter stops; five-disc DVD keepcase, $19.98.
Release date: 12 June 2007.
Country of origin: USA

This edition has been mastered from a very-good 16mm reduction print that is flat in its greytone range.

The film is accompanied by canned music from a variety of audio sources.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website. AmazonUS
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website. AmazonCA
coverPassport Video
2007 DVD edition

The Gloria Swanson Collection: 10 Fabulous Films (1915-1931) black & white, 675 minutes total, not rated,
including Why Change Your Wife? (1920), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Passport Video, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Five single-sided, dual-layered, Region 0 NTSC DVD discs, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in windowboxed 4:3 (720 x 480) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, ? 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, $19.98.
Release date: 13 February 2007.
Country of origin: USA
This edition has likely been mastered from 16mm reduction prints, and this presentation of Male and Female may be identical to the Cecil B. DeMille Classics Collection noted above. Identifying logomarks are likely superimposed over a lower corner of the picture to discourage video transfer piracy.

The silent films are likely accompanied by a soundtrack compiled from preexisting recordings.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website. AmazonUS
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website. AmazonCA
Other silent era GLORIA SWANSON films available on home video.

Other silent era CECIL B. DeMILLE films available on home video.

 
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