A film that has long been associated with horror due to its strikingly grotesque central image, Paul Leni's touchingly melodramatic adaptation of author Victor Hugo's novel of the same name arrives on DVD courtesy of the folks at Kino. Presented in 1.33:1 full-frame, the image, without question, shows signs of age. This is not to say it is not entirely unacceptable as presented; on the contrary, for a film that was released in 1928, the image is presented commendably. The only real complaints one could make in terms of image quality is that it certainly shows obvious signs of wear, the print contains notable traces of debris, and the image itself jitters just a bit. The last complaint could almost be dismissed, though, as it gives the viewer a sort of artificial, nostalgic sensation of watching the film via projection instead of through a video source. Likewise, the musical score cracks and pops a bit here and there, but is evenly mixed and suits the image well. Curious viewers will no doubt be drawn to this disc courtesy of some tempting extras, as well. In addition to including a rare clip of the popular "At Home With..." series featuring star Conrad Veidt cavorting with the likes of Greta Garbo and Dolores Del Rio, an original documentary on the film's production offers rare insight concerning attempts to recreate the magic of The Hunchback of Notre Dame by luring in star Lon Chaney. An excerpt from the original Italian-language release offers a curious look at a foreign release print with hand-painted title cards; a gallery of production photos is also extensive and well presented. If viewers are up for a little reading, liner notes include an informative essay by John Soister detailing, among other things, the release of the film at the advent of sound. In addition, an excerpt from Hugo's original novel offers viewers a chance to see how the written word was translated for the silver screen.
Original 20-minute documentary on the making of the film; Candid home-movie footage of Conrad Veidt and fellow European émigrés Greta Garbo, Emil Jannings, and Camilla Horn; Gallery of rare photographs and art; Booklet essay by John Soister, author of "Conrad Veidt on Screen"; Excerpt of the Italian release version, with unique hand-painted title cards; Excerpt from Victor Hugo's original novel
Side #1 -- 1. Opening Titles [3:48] 2. A Father's Fate [3:21] 3. Abandoned Child [8:02] 4. Traveling Players [4:40] 5. Southwark Fair [4:56] 6. A Word for the Duchess [6:00] 7. The Scandal Starts [10:46] 8. Command Performance [8:46] 9. A Chance for Love [9:05] 10. A Private Audience [10:00] 11. Under Arrest [7:31] 12. The Show Must Go On [7:36] 13. A Peer of England [5:51] 14. A Little Surprise [7:35] 15. Gwynplaine's Flight [12:41]
Side #1 -- Start Film Scene Selection Special Features The Story Behind The Man Who Laughs At Home With Conrad Veidt Excerpt of the Italian Version Excerpt of Hugo's Novel About the Restoration Gallery of Photographs Gallery of Promotional Material