La Sirene Des Tropiques

Overview

Mario Nalpas' and Henri Étiévant's Siren of the Tropics (1928), starring Josephine Baker, has arrived on DVD in a complete edition that is unexpectedly handsome, as well as being a delightful and exciting adventure film. Mastered from generally sharp materials and illuminated by beautiful tints, the movie looks as good as any late-era silent that you would care to name, and with Donald Sosin's rousing score accompanying, this is a bracing viewing experience, in which Baker's magnetic screen persona is only one of...
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DVD (B&W / Colorized)
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Overview

Mario Nalpas' and Henri Étiévant's Siren of the Tropics (1928), starring Josephine Baker, has arrived on DVD in a complete edition that is unexpectedly handsome, as well as being a delightful and exciting adventure film. Mastered from generally sharp materials and illuminated by beautiful tints, the movie looks as good as any late-era silent that you would care to name, and with Donald Sosin's rousing score accompanying, this is a bracing viewing experience, in which Baker's magnetic screen persona is only one of an array of virtues. The full-screen image (1.33-to-1) is a delight to the eye, and there's enough to enjoy in the presentation of the movie alone to justify the purchase (especially as Siren of the Tropics, as a silent, hasn't been nearly as widely seen or shown as Baker's other two movies (from the sound era), Zouzou and Princess Tam Tam). For supplements, the producers have included the 20-minute documentary Josephine Baker: The Performer, featuring comments by actress Lynn Whitfield, critic Margo Jefferson, historian Elizabeth Kendall, and Baker's biographer and adopted son Jean-Claude Baker, all of whom put Baker's entire career into context with history on both sides of the Atlantic. We also get one piece, "Oh, Papitou," written for Baker in connection with Siren of the Tropics and performed here by cabaret performer Steve Ross at New York's Chez Josephine; "The Fireman of the Follies Bergere, an eight-minute silent short depicting the drunken revelings of an off-duty fireman -- with lots of female nudity -- that marked Baker's earliest film appearance; a clip of Baker performing "The Charleston"; and a 1927 video clip of Baker shot at an interview during the filming of Siren of the Tropics, coupled with a stills gallery. The disc opens automatically on a multi-layer menu that is very easy to maneuver around, offering easy access to each of the features.
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Special Features

"Josephine Baker: The Performer" (2005, 18 min.) Includes interviews with Lynn Whitfield (actress, The Josephine Baker Story), Margo Jefferson (New York Times theatre critic), Elizabeth Kendall (dance critic and historian) and Jean-Claude Baker, Josephine Baker's adopted son and biographer; "Oh, Papitou" NY Cabaret impresario Steve Ross performs a musical number written for Siren of the Tropics; Josephine at the Folies Begère; - "The Fireman of the Folies Bergère" (8 min.) a rare silent comedy that features Josephine Baker's first appearance on film; - "The Charleston," song and performance; - A Folies Bergère stills gallery; The Memoirs of Josephine Baker; - A rare behind-the-scenes video clip; - The Memoir Illustrations: A Stills Gallery
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/21/2005
  • UPC: 738329039929
  • Original Release: 1928
  • Rating:

  • Source: Kino Video
  • Presentation: B&W / Colorized
  • Sound: silent
  • Time: 1:26:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 94,196

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Josephine Baker
Pierre Batcheff
Georges Melchior
Technical Credits
Henri Etievant Director
Mario Nalpas Director
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. An Unhappy Marriage [4:39]
2. A Suitor's Threat [5:05]
3. In the Tropics [6:19]
4. Denise in Distress [5:59]
5. André Saves Papitou [6:56]
6. Papitou Saves André [7:40]
7. Alvarez's Secret [8:21]
8. The Race for Happiness [7:30]
9. The Siren Howls [10:05]
10. Papitou in Paris [7:43]
11. At the Olympic Palace [9:05]
12. Sacrifice for Joy [7:19]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Scenes
   Extras
      Josephine Baker: The Performer - 2005, 20 min.
      "Oh, Papitou" A Piano Performance by Steve Ross
         Play
      Scrapbook
         The Memoirs of Josephhine Baker
            Play Clip
         Josephine at the Folies Bergère
         "The Charleston"
            Play
      Trailer
   Credits
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