Douglas Fairbanks came to the movies in 1915, when high salaries were luring well-known stage performers to the new feature-length productions. Although most of these performers failed to “register” on camera and soon returned to New York, Fairbanks quickly became a supernova. His energetic, optimistic character, ingratiating smile and graceful, acrobatic style rapidly made Fairbanks one of the most admired stars in the world. By 1917, he had established his own production company. In 1919, along with Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford and D. W. Griffith, Fairbanks formed United Artists Corporation.
This five-disc DVD collection includes eleven of the delightful modern-dress comedies, westerns, satires, dream-fantasies and romances which made Fairbanks a popular hero, before he launched into the costume spectacles for which he is best remembered.
The set begins with four films produced in 1916 through Triangle-Fine Arts: His Picture in the Papers, The Mystery of the Leaping Fish, Flirting With Fate and The Matrimaniac. The collection continues with three films produced by Fairbanks for Artcraft / Famous Players-Lasky Corp. in 1917 and 1918: Wild and Woolly (1917), Reaching for the Moon (1917) and A Modern Musketeer (1918). Finally, four wonderful features that Fairbanks produced for United are included: When the Clouds Roll By (1919), The Mollycoddle (1920), The Mark of Zorro (1920) and The Nut (1921).
In addition to Fairbanks’s great talent, these ebullient films are also informed by gifted collaborators, including scenario writer Anita Loos and directors Allan Dwan and Victor Fleming, among others. This body of work showcases the lively “All-American” character that Fairbanks would continue to draw upon in his later 1920s epics.
Douglas Fairbanks: A Modern Musketeer will coincide with the release of a new book, Douglas Fairbanks by Jeffrey Vance, the first critical analysis of Fairbanks’s body of work in over twenty-five years as well as the first full scale biography in over a half century. This extensively researched, engagingly written and sumptuously designed book goes behind Fairbanks’s public persona to thoroughly explore his art and far-reaching influence. Utilizing access to Fairbanks’s personal and professional papers, Douglas Fairbanks is a superb portrait of a true pioneer, critically important to the creation of cinema as the defining art form of the 20th-century. (With Tony Maietta. Robert Cushman, Photographic Editor - University of California Press. Co-Published with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences).
Many of the films in this collection have been digitally mastered from 35mm or original-negative sources with music scores created for these editions by Eric Beheim, Philip Carli, Frederick Hodges, Robert Israel, the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra and Franklin Stover. A Modern Musketeer, long thought to survive only as a fragment, is finally complete in a new restoration by the Danish Film Institute with an optional audio essay by Jeffrey Vance and Tony Maietta. The Mark of Zorro is digitally re-mastered from an original 35mm fine grain.
FLICKER ALLLEY: Douglas Fairbanks Set in November
Posted by David K. at 8/12/2008 05:14:00 PM