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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Silent > Literature > Independent > Classical Music > Peer Gynt (1941/VCI)

Peer Gynt (1941/VCI)

 

Picture: C†††† Sound: C†††† Extras: C†††† Film: C+

 

 

Set in Norway, 1871, David Bradley made a silent version of Henrik Ibsenís Peer Gynt in 1941 complete with title cards.That was unusual at this point, but the biggest attraction is the debut of Charlton Heston at only 17 years old.He takes a journey to Morocco at one point and the film may sometimes look rough and amateurish, but most of it holds up very well.

 

Even then, the camera liked Heston and there is no doubt Bradley knew then he had a potential star on his hands.This is a fantasy piece trying to say something and though we will not compare it to the play, it stands up pretty well 66 years later as an impressive early independent work.Running 100 minutes, it makes impressive use of locations and money obviously went farther then.Bradley next directed Heston in Julius Caesar (also from VCI, reviewed elsewhere on this site) and competent Film Noir Talk About A Stranger (1952 with Nancy Davis, the future Mrs. Ronald Reagan) before making B-films like Dragstrip Riot, 12 To The Moon and all-time wacky wreck They Saved Hitlerís Brain.This is definitely worth a look.

 

The 1.33 X 1 image was shot in 16mm black and white stock and looks good, though this is a soft transfer.In real life, 16mm from that time is sharper and clearer, so an HD version will yield better results.The section that is supposed to be tinted is not, so beware.Despite the softness, the Video Black is pretty good and this 1965 print is noted as re-edited.What those changes are are unknown, but Bradley co-shot the cinematography with Richard Roth and Robert Cooper.The Dolby Digital 2.0 is monophonic and has some background noise and that is Edvard Griegís music scoring the film.Extras include stills from a press book on the filmís release, two text bios and three trailers for other VCI product.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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