THE MACK SENNETT COLLECTION VOL.1 Blu-ray Review

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Unless you are a cinema fanatic like I am, you may not have heard of Mack Sennett. He is one of the original filmmakers ever and he was a game changer. Sennett is a Canadian born actor/director of cinema who lived from January 17th, 1880 – November 5th, 1960. He has been called the king of comedy and creator of the slapstick in film. When he opened Keystone Studios in Edendale, CA, it was the first completely enclosed film stage and studio in history. Many of the most recognizable names in film during the 1900s began their careers at Keystone Studios. These names include Norm Sterling, the Keystone Cops, Mabel Normand, Charlie Chaplin, WC Fields and Bing Crosby. Sennett even won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short in 1932.

Flicker Alley is known for restoring and releasing classics in cinema from a lot of early movie makers and founders of the business. Mack Sennett is one of the earliest movie makers and Flicker Alley has gathered and restored his films to make THE MACK SENNETT COLLECTOR VOL. 1. The movies have been digitally restored by Keystone and CineMuseum with care and a lot of work.

Discs 1 and 2 have a catalog of his films, but the third disc might be one of the best gems in the set. It has a restored episode of Ralph Edwards honoring Mack Sennett as “The King of Comedy.” What they did on the program was they surprised Mack and showed him their admiration for the founder of comedy in films. They brought out many people from his past like old friends, actors and actresses he has worked with and they told him how he has touched all of their lives. He seemed like an incredible man and a hard worker to bring cinema to life.

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Film Listing:
Disc 1
-The Curtain Pole
w/ Commentary
Source: The Blackhawks Films Collection, Mark Roth, George Willerman, The Fort Lee Film Commission

-The Manicure Lady
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Roberts

-A Dash Through the Clouds
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Roberts, Robert Arkus

-The Water Nymph
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Roberts

-A Grocery Clerk’s Romance
Source: Gierucki Studios, LLC, The Fort Lee Film Commission

-On His Wedding Day
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Morris

-Bangville Police
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Morris

-A Fishy Affair
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Roberts

-The Speedy Kings – Earl Cooper and Teddy Tetzlaft
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Morris

-A Thief Catcher
w/ Commentary
Source: Gierucki Studios, LLC, CineMuseum, LLC

-The Great Toe Mystery
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Roberts

-Recreation
w/ Commentary
Source: Doug Sulpy, Stan Taffel, Ed Watz, Gierucki Studios, LLC, Special Thanks to David Shepard, Phil Posner, and Thierry G Mathieu

-Shot in the Excitement
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Roberts

-The Noise of Bombs
Source: Richard M Roberts

-Ambrose’s First Falsehood
Source: Richard M Roberts

-A Bird’s A Bird
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Roberts

-Gussle’s Day of Rest
Source: Richard M Roberts

-DO-RE-MI-BOOM!
Source: Richard M Roberts

-A Lover’s Lost Control
Source: Richard M Roberts

-A Submarine Pirate
Source: The Blackhawk Film’s Collection

-Fatty and Mabel Adrift
Source: The Blackhawk Film’s Collection, Lobster Films, Gierucki Studios, LLC

-His Bitter Pill
Source: Richard M Roberts

-Madcap Ambrose
Source: Richard M Roberts

-Teddy At The Throttle
Source: The Blackhawk Film Collection, Richard M Morris

Disc 1 Bonus Features
-The Water Nymph & Bathing Beauties
silent outtakes and studio rushes
Source: Robert Arkus, Gierucki Studios, LLC

-The Mack Sennett Studio
Rare and Silent footage of the Edendale Studio exterior in 1920
Source: Richard M Morris

-The Crossroads of New York
Original 1922 Trailer
Source: David Shepard

-The Sennett Story
By Joe Adamson

Disc 2
-Her Torpedoed Love
Source: The Blackhawk Collection

-A Clever Dummy
Source: The Blackhawk Films Collection, Lobster Films

-Heart and Flowers
Source: The Blackhawk Films Collection

-Down on the Farm
Source: MoMA, Library of Congress, Richard M Roberts

-Don’t Weaken
w/ Commentary
Source: Lobster Films

-Gymnasium Jim
Source: The Blackhawk Films Collection, Lobster Films

-The Extra Girl
Source: Gierucki Studios, LLC

-The Dare-Devil
w/ Commentary
Source: The Blackhawk Film Collection

-Black Oxfords
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Morris

-Galloping Bungalows
Source: Richard M Morris

-His Marriage Wow
Source: Bruce Lawton

Disc 2 Bonus Features
Mack Sennett on the Air
Texaco Star Theater (30:00)
December 13, 1939. Complete Show

-Lawrence Welk Show (3:00)
1949. Excerpt
Source: Rob Farr

-Meet The Stars: Stars – Past and Present (6:39)
July 24, 1941. Dedication of the Mabel Normand Sound Stage
Source: Richard W Bann

-Erskine Johnson’s Hollywood Reel (2:57)
1950 Television newsreel featuring Mack Sennett’s 70th Birthday Party
Source: Joe Lauro, Historic Films Archive, LLC

-Mack Sennett’s 70th Birthday Party (5:18)
1950 Silent newsreel outtakes
Source: Richard M Roberts

Disc 3
-Super-Hooper-Dyne Lizzies
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Roberts, Gierucki Studios, LLC

-A Rainy Knight
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Roberts

-Saturday Afternoon
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Roberts

-A Sea Dog’s Tale
Source: Richard M Roberts

-Hoboken to Hollywood
Source: Ronald Larimore, Richard M Roberts

-Ice Cold Cocos
Source: Richard M Roberts

-Broke in China
Source: Richard M Roberts

-The Pride of Pikeville
Source: The Blackhawk Films Collection

-Fiddlesticks
Source: Richard M Roberts

-Run, Girl, Run
w/ Commentary
Source: Eric Grayson

-Taxi for Two
w/ Commentary
Source: Richard M Roberts

-The Bluffer
Source: Richard M Roberts

-The Dentist
Source: The Blackhawk Films Collection

-Don’t Play Bridge with your Wife
Source: Eric Grayson

-The Fatal Glass of Beer
Source: The Blackhawks Film Collection, Eric Grayson, Gierucki Studios, LLC

Disc 3 Bonus Features
-This is Your Life: Mack Sennett (28:32)
March 10, 1954, NBC Kinescope
Ralph Edwards surprises Sennett at the El Captain Theater in Hollywood
Source: Stan Taffel

-People in the News – Keystone Cops Reunion (1:09)
1962 Newsreel outtakes, silent & sound
Source: Richard M Roberts

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For films that are over 100 years old, these look really good. The restoration didn’t add any false added images or frames. Some of the blacks look good, but at times they do look exquisite. They’re obviously not going to be perfect. There are going to be scratches and dirt on the film with speckles or things of that nature, but overall, I am very impressed with how well these films were preserved and then restored by Keystone CineMuseum.

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This was a very hard release to rate. For the most part, the audio is a mono-track with either a score or an audio commentary. The commentaries break down and explain things from the actors, the settings, film techniques, etc. For what it’s worth, band music sounds great. It’s strong and separated and makes the instruments easy to distinguish. Either track makes the films enjoyable.

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The extras throughout the release are substantial. Not only are the commentaries noteworthy, but the featurettes are educational. It has earned absolutely top marks on the release.

Bonus Features:
Disc 1
-The Water Nymph & Bathing Beauties
Silent outtakes and studio rushes
Source: Robert Arkus, Gierucki Studios, LLC

-The Mack Sennett Studio
Rare and Silent footage of the Edendale studio exterior in 1920
Source: Richard M Morris

-The Crossroads of New York
Original 1922 Trailer
Source: David Sheppard

-The Sennett Story
By Joe Adamson

Disc 2
-Mack Sennett on the Air
Texaco Star Theater (30:00)
December 13, 1939. Complete Show

-Lawrence Welk Show (3:00)
1949. Excerpt
Source: Rob Farr

-Meet The Stars: Stars – Past and Present (6:39)
July 24, 1941. Dedication of the Mabel Normand Sound Stage
Source: Richard W Bann

-Erskine Johnson’s Hollywood Reel (2:57)
1950 Television newsreel featuring Mack Sennett’s 70th Birthday Party
Source: Joe Lauro, Historic Films Archive, LLC

-Mack Sennett’s 70th Birthday Party (5:18)
1950 Silent newsreel outtakes
Source: Richard M Roberts

-Full color booklet filled with rare images, production information, restoration notes, and Keystone – Sennett player biographies

-New music scores from silent film accompanists Philip Carli, Ben Model, Dennis Scott, Andrew Simpson, and Donald Sosin

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Disc Details
3 Blu-ray Discs
1 Film Guide

Edition Ratings
Not Rated

Region Coding
Region Free

Video Resolution
1080p AVC MPEG-4
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio Mixes
English Dolby AC-3

Subtitles
N/A

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It really is an honor to review such an important piece of cinematic history. Not only did I watch history unfold from film to film, but I also learned a lot about the man. He had a lot of imagination, making the films never stale or repetitive. Flicker Alley has released some films that probably haven’t been seen in decades. The restored films have a great picture and fairly good sound during the score playing over the silent films. He had an extraordinary life and this pays beautiful tribute to his life’s work. This is well worth picking up for those who have interest in old cinema.

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mack sennett cover

About the author

MEDIA JOURNALIST & STAFF WRITER | Michael is a fanatic about all cinema. He collects many things from movies to Steelbooks to 1/6 Scale Collectibles and vinyl collectibles. He loves pop culture, writing, reviewing films & collectibles, and journalism. Anything that is even slightly related to these things are always on his radar and most definitely a comic book nerd. He is also, of course, a Batman junkie and will chat it up about pretty much anything.