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Two reasons why this great DVD could've been even better...
on April 24, 2001
This is a review of the Kino DVD release of "It". Let's start by saying this is one of the most enjoyable silent films I've seen. This is entirely due to the presence of Clara Bow, whose dynamic performance never lets up for a second. This makes "It" one of the few silents that still works as entertainment rather than just an interesting slice of history. The reasons I think this DVD could have been even better lie with the fact that Kino has used the 1978 restoration version of this movie rather than the improved 1992 restoration. Whilst this 1978 restoration is still very good, the picture is slightly cropped. In other words, a small part of the picture at both the left & right and top & bottom of the screen is missing. This blemish is barely noticeable and does not really affect your viewing pleasure, especially as the picture quality itself is very impressive. Sure, there are marks and scratches here and there, but far less than you'd expect for a film well over 70 years old. The picture is generally quite sharp with decent contrast that only occasionally seems a little too harsh. I would rate the picture as being in the top 5% for movies of this age. The second reason this DVD could have been better is the music score. The 1992 restoration features a Carl Davis composition which is quite simply the best music score for a silent film you will ever hear...Unfortunately this DVD features a totally different score by William Perry. Whilst William Perry manages a perfectly adequate piano score that fits well with the movie it isn't a patch on Carl Davis' version. The "only" extra on this DVD is a documentary entitled "Discovering The It Girl". This only covers Clara Bow's life and career in a superficial way but we are treated to a wealth of movie clips. Contributions from people who knew Clara Bow also help make this a very enjoyable documentary. It's also worth noting that Kino previously released the movie and documentary on two separate VHS tapes. By buying them both on this one DVD instead of two videos you're actually saving yourself a few dollars! Notwithstanding the minor shortcomings, I definitely rate this DVD as a worthwhile purchase.