Well, we’ve been waiting with eager anticipation to discover which silent film would be the first to get the Blu-Ray treatment, with speculation upon speculation as to what, say, Criterion, might eventually be able to offer us. And now we have what I think is the first silent film to be offered commercially in High Definition, and the winner is… The Story of Petroleum.
Yes, the 25mins 1923 US Bureau of Mines and the Sinclair Oil Company documentary which was included as a surprise extra on the DVD release of Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood (previously reported here) has been given the HD treatment, scratches and damaged sections coming out at the viewer in all their heightened glory.
There’s a review of the disc, which gives mention to the silent short, on Audiophile Audition. There is no HD-DVD release scheduled, as Paramount have announced they will no longer be producing HD-DVD titles.
In fact, I believe the first silent to have been given any sort of HD transfer was Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger, produced by Granada International, which was scheduled to have a screening on the MGMHD channel before being mysteriously withdrawn at the last minute and replaced by Paul Morrissey’s The Hound of the Baskervilles (again, as reported earlier). This I have seen, but only a DVD copy, and where and in what form it will eventually appear in public I don’t know. But first out commercially, and definitely first on Blu-Ray is The Story of Petroleum. The bookies will have made a killing.
Unless anyone knows differently?
Speaking as probably the only bookie who regularly tunes in here, I can safely say we didn’t make a killing on this market. A pity, as the way the European Cup is going, we may need all the help we can get…I think the semi’s and the final coincide with Cinema Ritrovata, Bologna, as per the last World Cup two years ago; but after tonight it looks doubtful the Italians are going to have an interest in the latter stages…
I’m finding the European Cup wonderful entertainment. These competitions are so much more fun when you don’t have to agonise about how badly England are playing (I enjoyed the 1994 World Cup for much the same reason). If you want to have an idea of how dreary they might have been, just watch the Greeks.
Indeed. I can barely watch England these days without a medical team on standby. Anticipating when David James is going to drop another clanger has taken the joy out of the proceedings…instead, for these few weeks I’m a proper neutral, enjoying the sport for sport’s sake. Mind you, that last minute Spanish goal today cost us a few thousand, my language was atrocious….look out for the Holland/Romania carve-up next week though…there will be tears in Italy and France, Mr Platini will not be amused.
It just been announced that Kino will be issuing METROPOLIS on Blu-Ray early in 2009. http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=1424.
The Story of Petroleum‘s special status as Blu-Ray silent no. 1 is now recognised by a review on Silent Era: