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Lonesome (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

4.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The early Hollywood gem Lonesome is the creation of a little-known but audacious and one-of-a-kind auteur, Paul Fejos (a filmmaker/explorer/anthropologist/doctor!), who bridged the gap between the silent and sound eras. Fejos pulled out all the stops for this lovely New York City symphony set in antic Coney Island during the Fourth of July weekend—employing color tinting, superimposition effects, experimental editing, and a roving camera (plus three dialogue scenes, added because of the craze for talkies). For years, Lonesome has been a rare treat for festival and cinematheque audiences; it’s only now coming to home video. Rarer still are the two other Fejos films included in this release: The Last Performance (featuring a new score by Donald Sosin) and a reconstruction of the previously incomplete sound version of Broadway, in its time the most expensive film ever produced at Universal.

Special Features

  • New digital restoration, featuring uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Audio commentary featuring film historian Richard Koszarski
  • The Last Performance, director Paul Fejos's 1929 silent starring Conrad Veidt
  • Reconstructed sound version of Broadway, Fejos's 1929 musical
  • Fejos Memorial, a 1963 visual essay produced by Paul Falkenberg
  • Audio excerpts about Broadway from an interview with cinematographer Hal Mohr
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critic Phillip Lopate

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Barbara Kent, Glenn Tryon
    • Directors: Paul Fejos
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: Unrated
    • Studio: Criterion Collection
    • DVD Release Date: August 28, 2012
    • Run Time: 69 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B0083V2VZK
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,678 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: Blu-ray
    Even though I have been a silent film enthusiast for 50 years now (I started very young) and have read a number of books on the subject as well as having amassed a rather large collection of silent movies on DVD, I can't remember ever having run across the name of Hungarian born director Paul Fejos. I'm sure there must have been something but I simply can't recall it. After watching this Criterion release, it seems unbelievable that his Hollywood films could have been lost for as long as they were. Two of the three films are welcome additions to the silent film catalog while one is a curious early sound offering. All 3 films on this disc were made for Universal so it's only fitting that they reappear in time for the company's 100th anniversary.

    The true prize of the collection is LONESOME, a 1929 film that recalls both SUNRISE and 7th HEAVEN in its storyline and in its cinematic expression of that story. Glenn Tryon (who I knew from some Hal Roach comedy shorts) and Barbara Kent (the sister in FLESH & THE DEVIL) play a pair of lonely blue collar workers who discover each other during a visit to Coney Island. They meet, fall in love, and then are separated by a massive rainstorm without knowing their last names. A simple enough story but it's what Fejos does with the material that makes LONESOME so remarkable. Technically this film goes far beyond SUNRISE in its camerawork and editing resulting in an eye opening cinematic experience that the director called a "Coney Island of the mind".

    The other two films on an additional DVD make for an interesting evening. THE LAST PERFORMANCE stars Conrad Veidt as a jealous stage magician whose love for his young assistant (Mary Philbin in her best performance) leads to tragedy.
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    Format: Blu-ray
    Silent film enthusiasts ought to be thrilled with Criterion's release of LONESOME, a 1928 Universal feature from director Paul Fejos, a unique Hungarian who also, in addition to filmmaker, counted doctor and anthropologist among his many lifelong pursuits.

    The film's subject matter isn't anything out of the ordinary for the genre - "Lonesome" tells the story of a lonely man (Glenn Tryon) and equally single woman (Barbara Kent) living in the urban chaos of New York City, who find one another while on an outing to Coney Island but then become separated when a fire breaks out on one of the rollercoasters. What makes "Lonesome" fascinating are the real locations matched with Fejos' ahead-of-its-time direction, which employs a moving, "inquisitive" camera, plus color-tinted sequences, unconventional editing and even several sound sequences that were added after the fact to appeal to Hollywood's transition out of the silent era.

    Those dialogue sequences may be limp, but the film itself otherwise is one of the more unusual silent films I've ever seen: instead of being static and stilted, the picture has an energy that's a testament to Fejos' style, in addition to an interesting, overriding theme of individuals being lost in the day-to-day world of contemporary life -- something that gives the film a timelessness that holds true today.

    A film festival favorite, "Lonesome" makes its home video debut with Criterion's Blu-Ray release (also on DVD). The 1080p B&W/color tinted 1.
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    Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
    Fantastic film on Criterion blu-ray.... Great disc with 3 films by Fejos including The Last Performance and Broadway.... The main feature is the best of the the lot and well worth the price all by itself.... The only problem is that during the few dialogue scenes the main characters make it clear why they never became stars after the silent era....those scenes look like they were taken out of a high school play....nevertheless, this is a great film.... Great city scenes with fantasy elements thrown in here and there....hand-tinted color.... There is also original sound throughout the whole film, as it came out in 1928 when sound was available....it's just that part of the film was made as a silent, so there are title cards to cover the dialogue, but there is a soundtrack and some effects...Good stuff....plus an interesting short doc on the special crane made just for Fejos for some of his innovative camera work.... get it....
    Comment 10 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: Blu-ray
    It is known that over 90% of silent films created between the 1900′s through the 1920′s are lost.

    From nitrate damage, decomposition and many being burned in fires caused by neglect, the fact is that back then, a lot of films were made and never preserved. But a few were, especially those that were blockbuster hits starring Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, Arbuckle, Fairbanks, Pickford, Bow, Talmadge, Barrymore, Laurel & Hardy and also films by directed by Griffith, Murnau, Borzage, Fox, Ford, Capra, Lubitch, Lang, DeMille, to name a few.

    And while many of these films have made it onto home video, there have been titles that have been restored but yet have only been seen during screenings. And some that are looked at as rare gems that have yet to be released to the public after all these years.

    One of those titles is "Lonesome", a 1928 film which is mostly silent but also a hybrid film with a few scenes with dialogue (an early experimentation of talkie utilization) by filmmaker Paul Fejos.

    Fejos may not be a name as easily recognized like Murnau, Griffith or DeMille but that is because Fejos was a jack of all trades. Born in Hungary, while he has directed films and may documentaries in the United States and other countries, he has held many jobs and is best known for his highly respected work as an anthropologist. Teaching at Stanford, Yale and Columbia University.

    But for a long time, many have wondered if "Lonesome" or Fejos's other films would be released on video. Problem at the time was that the only surviving print that many people saw back in the '90s was the surviving print from Cinematheque francaise with no English titles, although the dialogue that was seen was in English.
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    Lonesome (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
    This item: Lonesome (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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