Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on July 31st, 2008
Cult Epics continues its erotic archival work with these two collections of short films. Volume 1 consists of pieces from the 1940s (with at least one from 1938 thrown in), while Volume 2 deals with the 50s. The former has such amusing “documentary” shorts as “They Wear No Clothes” (*gasp*) and various comedy routines. The latter has the inevitable Irving Klaw shorts. None of these films are by any definition “good,” but they are fascinating records of the state of American sexuality at that time. Watching all of these at one sitting would be quite the chore, but then, when was the last time you read an encyclopaedia straight through? There is a similar documentary value here.
The sound is a mixture. Where an original track exists, it is present, in mono, naturally, and the quality is that of the prints – in other words, it can be rough, but that is to be expected. Where the films were silent, a new, stereo score has been added, which in its style is very much in keeping with the sprit and period of the films. Said music is in 2.0, but a 5.1 mix would be out of place in this context.
Pretty much what you would expect. After all, these are have hardly been lovingly preserved and restored. The prints show their age with varying degrees of grain and damage. Some look better than others. None look great, but all are watchable, which is really the most one could expect. This is, once again, another case where a star rating for the video quality is meaningless.
It’s always awkward providing a rating for this kind of release. But normal standards, but quality of the films, picture and audio is pretty low. But normal standards don’t apply for this sort of thing. As part of what seems to be an ongoing effort on the part of Cult Epics to preserve what was designed as ephemeral, however, these are valuable efforts.