Monday, September 25, 2017

More reviews of the new Beggars of Life DVD

Here are a few more reviews of the new Beggars of Life DVD / Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. I've highlighted what each reviewer or publication said about the film in general, as well as any comments (forgive me, please) about my audio commentary. Clicking on the hyperlinks will bring you to the full review, so those interested can read more.

An earlier round-up of reviews can be found at this earlier entry, "First reviews of the new Beggars of Life DVD from Kino Lorber (starring Louise Brooks)" from September 7th. Otherwise, here are some of the latest....

On WAMC (Northeast Public Radio out of Albany, NY), Rob Edelman (9/11/2017) broadcast "Its title is BEGGARS OF LIFE, and it joins such late-silent-era American classics as THE CROWD and SUNRISE as genuine works of cinematic art.... Kino Lorber has just released the film to home entertainment.... BEGGARS OF LIFE is a poignant, simple-- but never simplistic-- film.... is crammed with stunning, heartrending visuals.... is a pleasure to see, and to savor."

Roy Frumkes wrote on Films in Review (8/9/2017), "Strong to the point of being offensive in its day, such criticism no longer sticks, but this allows for us to enjoy the aesthetic beauty of the film, and the remarkably subtle performances of the entire cast.... It’s also a wonderful opportunity to enjoy Louise Brooks, the cult maverick of nitrate.... The recently recorded score by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra is often lovely and rarely distracting, and there are two commentaries, one favoring Ms. Brooks (by the founding director of the Louise Brooks Society) and another by William Wellman Jr. for balance."

On Stream on Demand at Home, the noted critic Sean Axmaker (9/10/2017) noted, "... featuring a rare integrated cast, its portrait of the armies of hobos is part homeless underworld and part romanticized escape, but it looks ahead to Wellman’s great depression-era dramas Wild Boys of the Road and Heroes For Sale, which presented a much more harrowing and desperate portrait of hobo life.... On Blu-ray and DVD with two new commentary tracks (one by William Wellman, Jr., and the other by film historian and Louise Brooks Society founder Thomas Gladysz) and a booklet with an essay by film historian Nick Pinkerton."

Mike Gebert on (8/21/2017) wrote, "This is an adventure film, fast-paced and able to sweep you along as easily as any silent made, and certainly belongs in that group of end-of-the-era silents that seem to have complete mastery of the form like Sunrise, Seventh Heaven, The Last Command, Lonesome, and a few others.... There are two commentary tracks—one by William Wellman Jr., which based on a spot listen seems to be mostly historical about the production (with some personal reminiscences thrown in), and one by Thomas Gladysz (who I interviewed for NitrateVille Radio), which has more of a focus on Brooks but also covers hobo author Jim Tully and the history of turning his book into this movie."

On It Came from the Bottom Shelf, William T. Garver, aka Garv (9/6/2017) wrote "One of the best examples of the art of late silent visual storytelling is William A. Wellman’s Beggars of Life (1928).... Fans of the silent beauty Louise Brooks, or of the mush-faced character actor Wallace Beery, should consider Beggars of Life required viewing, as it features performances on-par with their best-loved work.... Consult the book Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film by Thomas Gladysz (who is one of the commentators on the Blu-ray)."

Michael Giltz wrote on Huffington Post (9/8/2017), "I was lucky to see Beggars Of Life in a theater. This early hit by director William Wellman has a great turn by Wallace Beery and a magnetic performance by Louise Brooks... It’s got verve."

Author James Neibur (9/21/17) wrote, "Beggars of Life is a film in which everything works at such an impressive level, it truly earns the reputation of screen classic.... Extras include commentary by William Wellman jr. and by Thomas Gladysz.  In fact, there is an affordable and highly recommended book that goes perfectly with the blu ray.  Gladysz, director of the Louise Brooks Society, has written a companion book to the movie that features a wealth of information, insight, and photos.  It really puts this film into historical perspective and helps to further understand and more deeply appreciate its status as a  screen classic."

Bruce Eder of All Movie Guide wrote "Wings (1927) may be William A. Wellman's most renowned silent film -- having won the first Best Picture Oscar -- but Beggars Of Life deserves just about as much recognition within its more modest boundaries..... And beyond Brooks' work, Beggars Of Life has a massive amount going for it, not least of which the visual poetry of Wellman's direction and Henry W. Gerrard's cinematography"

The new Kino Lorber release was also reviewed by a small handful of customers on And among the reviews were these recent comments:

The Movie Man wrote, "Though the subject matter of the film is very dark, director William Wellman (Wings, The Ox-Bow Incident) gives it a good deal of flair.... The 1928 black & white silent film has been digitally restored from 35-mm film elements preserved by the George Eastman Museum. Bonus materials on the unrated Blu-ray release include audio commentary by actor William Wellman, Jr.; audio commentary by the founding director of the Louise Brooks Society; booklet containing a critical essay; and musical score compiled and performed by The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, employing selections from the original 1928 Paramount cue sheet."

M. Britton wrote: "A lost masterpiece! Glad to see Kino get this one for a blu ray release. This silent classic has never looked as good as it does here. Love Louise Brooks and everything she is in. Was beginning to wonder if this film was "lost" like many of her films. Great film and a great blu ray! It even has a few wonderful commentaries that are worthy of a listen." 

An earlier round-up of reviews can be found at this earlier entry, "First reviews of the new Beggars of Life DVD from Kino Lorber (starring Louise Brooks)" from September 7th.

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