Behind the Door (Blu-ray/DVD Dual-Format Edition)
Deluxe Blu-ray/DVD Dual-Format Edition
DVD + Blu-ray
Frequently bought together
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Legendary producer Thomas H. Ince and director Irvin V. Willat made this - "the most outspoken of all the vengeance films" according to film historian Kevin Brownlow - during the period of World War I-inspired American patriotism.
Hobart Bosworth stars as Oscar Krug, a working-class American, who is persecuted for his German ancestry after war is declared. Driven by patriotism, Krug enlists and goes to sea. However, tragedy strikes when his wife (Jane Novak) sneaks aboard his ship and is captured following a German U-boat attack. Krug's single-minded quest for vengeance against the sadistic German submarine commander (played with villainous fervor by Wallace Beery) leads to the film's shocking and brutal climax.
This newly restored edition represents the most complete version of the film available since 1919, thanks to the collaboration of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the Library of Congress, and Gosfilmofond of Russia.
Sourced from the only two known remaining prints and referencing a copy of Willat's original continuity script, this edition recreates the original color tinting scheme and features a new score composed and performed by Stephen Horne. Flicker Alley is honored to present Behind the Door on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time ever.
Bonus Materials Include:
- Russian version of Behind the Door - The re-edited and re-titled version of the film that was distributed in Russia, with musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne
- Outtakes from Behind the Door - Featuring music composed and performed by Stephen Horne
- Restoring Irvin Willat's Behind the Door - A behind-the-scenes look at the restoration
- Kevin Brownlow Spotlights Irvin Willat - Film historian and Honorary Academy Award® winner Kevin Brownlow spotlights director Irvin Willat
- Slideshow gallery of stills and promotional material from Behind the Door
- Souvenir Booklet - Featuring rare photographs and essays by film historian Jay Weissburg, film restorer Robert Byrne, and composer Stephen Horne
Top customer reviews
Made at the end of World War I and released just after it ended, DOOR is good old fashioned, heavy-handed, pro-American, anti-German propaganda that needs to be seen to be believed. It also needs to be seen in this edition for they have given this minor though notorious film a first class restoration and presentation. By they I am referring to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, The Library of Congress, and the Gosfilmofond archive of Russia who all collaborated on providing the film material, the funding, and the expertise to bring this movie back to life. Also thanks again to Flicker Alley for making it available to the general public. Although there are some signs of nitrate decomposition, 98% of the film looks great with the original intertitles recreated and beautiful color tinting and toning. Yes Virginia, there was color back in the silent era just not the vivid Technicolor that would come along later. The new music score by Stephen Horne accompanies the film perfectly.
The movie can essentially be broken down into 3 parts. Part 1 is set in a small town in Maine where anti-German feeling is stirred up against a local man of German ancestry (his name is Krug). After an amazing free-for-all that puts later Western fights to shame (and shows American anti-German hysteria), Krug goes off to enlist after secretly marrying the daughter of town's leading citizen. Part 2 shows him at sea where he is commander of a wartime vessel. He is joined by his wife who has stowed away after being thrown out by her father who has learned of the marriage. When the ship is sunk by a U-Boat the two of them are picked up in a lifeboat by the very same submarine who takes the wife and casts the husband adrift. Part 3 has him miraculously in command of another ship when they encounter the same U-Boat which he sinks but not before rescuing the sub's commander. Pretending to be a German spy (he speaks the language) he finds out what happened to his wife (horrific) and then enacts a brutal revenge (even more horrific)..
Although it's all over-the-top, it's made more than worthwhile by the skill with which it was made and by the movie's 3 leading performances. Hobart Bosworth was a long time character player with a theatrical background. His Captain Krug comes across as a hero on amphetamines. Jane Novak, an actress of Czech descent and who appeared in a number of movies with William S. Hart, is the perfect, demure All-American girl which makes her fate all the more disturbing. Wallace Beery is well known for his later sound movies but he was a first class silent film actor whose facial expressions are a joy to behold. In fact the final sequence between him as the U-boat captain and Hobart Bosworth is just simply delicious. Although other reviewers may tell you Beery's fate, I won't. However it has to do with the film's title and that Bosworth's civilian occupation was as a taxidermist. If that doesn't make you want to see it, then I don't know what will. Additional bonuses include the film's Russian print which is slightly different and how BEHIND THE DOOR was restored.