Re: First American Features LD set

From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups: alt.movies.silent
Date: Sunday, May 24, 1998 5:37 AM

Scott Cleveland wrote in message <6k8m5h$>…
>I recently purchased this remarkable set a couple of weeks ago, and
>have almost finished it (I still have to see From Manger to Cross).
>My favorites are, Regeneration, a very excellent film, The Cheat,
>wonderful photography, and a beautiful print. A Modern Romance, a
>charming little treat, and A Girl's Folly, what a shame that it exists
>only in this abridgement.

"A Girl's Folly" does exist in its six-reel format, and is available as a low-price tape from Video Yesteryear ( Having seen the complete Video Yesteryear version and the laserdisc excerpt (but not the Kino videotape), I can report that the laserdisc omits the last two reels (actually, the information that comes with the discs says this much), and trims the first four reels to about three reels. Most of the snipped footage depicts Doris Kenyon and is quite charming. Her daydreams of romance set up the story for the encounter with the movie folk that follows; other cuts remove references to this. As trimmed, Kenyon no longer seems the central character, and her motivations are not so apparent.

("A Girl's Folly" was released to videotape by Kino on the same cassette as "The Cheat" and as part of the same series of "First American Features" as the laserdisc. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the videotape edition contains the entire first four reels without the snips made on the laserdisc edition, but I do not have this information. "A Girl's Folly" on the laserdisc set occupies the half-hour of disc space left over after "Civilization." Now if only David Shepard had sped up the intertitles on "Civilization" so that they weren't on screen three times as long as the slowest readers would need, but… I shouldn't gripe on such a small matter… it is still a very worthwhile laserdisc set,… and I've digressed.)

The last two reels of the complete "A Girl's Folly" seem to be a "won't naive girls ever learn" morality tale, and seems forced, contrived, not worthy of the preceding scenes.

The pictorial quality of the laserdisc transfer is infinitely better than that on the Video Yesteryear tape (which probably comes from 16mm), yet the VY tape actually has more of the original film frame. Yes, even though the laserdisc is windowboxed to have the full frame of the source material, it nonetheless is missing much along the edges that is visible on the VY tape, a tape that does not have windowboxing and therefore most certainly lacks pictorial information from the sides. This can be explained by the laserdisc (and presumably Kino tape) releases coming from a 35mm copy made in the early 1970s from a 35mm nitrate. Evidently, when the film was preserved onto 35mm safety stock, it was (unintentionally, I assume) cropped, and thus no amount of effort to have the complete image will render a full frame from that source material.

David Hayes


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