We here at The Fictosphere like to celebrate things (at least when said celebration doesn’t require too much work from us), and one of those things is Black History Month. Though African Americans in Hollywood have never had an easy time of things, they have provided casual movie goers and bonafide filmfreaks alike with some of the best experiences committed to nitrate and celluloid. With this in mind, I’ve reproduced for this Throwback Thursday an unboxing as originally posted at Crane’s Cabinet of Kinetographic Curiosities, this one dealing with the Uncle Tom’s Cabin silent double-feature as offered via Kickstarter by Grapevine Video.
Though the subject–the novel on which the film is based–certainly fits the theme of Black History Month, the movie ironically does not, as I’m not sure that a single African American actor (extra or otherwise) is featured in it. But, more on that in the post detailing 1903 film version of the novel.
Originally posted February 3, 2018.
First, a little background. Back in late November (or possibly early December) 2017, I pledged to a Kickstarter run by Grapevine Video, a relatively well-known but relatively small classic film distribution company. Their offer via Kickstarter was a silent double-feature centered around the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. If the Kickstarter succeeded, we would get a DVD or blu-ray (our choice; I chose blu-ray) of the 1903 Thomas Edison production of the novel (a two-reeler lasting around thirteen or fourteen minutes) and of the 1914 adaptation of the novel as directed by William Robert Daly (5 reels long, so around 50 minutes in duration). It met its goal within a day or two, and even exceeded it.
At about the halfway point during the Kickstarter campaign, Grapevine Video announced that it was going to throw in a silent 1926 Hal Roach Our Gang short entitled Uncle Tom’s Uncle as a bonus and a thank you for pushing the campaign beyond its goal.
Well, two weeks ago I got an email that the package had been sent, and within three days of said email (much faster than expected), I received the blu-ray. It came in a brown padded mailer. The case was not in a slipcover, but was shrink-wrapped like a blu-ray or DVD you’d find in a retail store.
The case’s front cover art is pretty much the poster for the 1914 version of the film:
The case’s back cover contains a synopsis of the contents, laid against an image of the eponymous cabin:
And then we have the inside of the case, which contains the blu-ray disc itself (decorated with the same 1914 poster as the case’s front cover):
And that’s about it. It came packed with a printer-paper thank you note and 10% off coupon for online orders, but the same is true of every movie I’ve bought from Grapevine Video (which numbers around five or ten right now, mostly Universal silents and serials).
What Grapevine Video lacks in special features, they make up for in content. So, instead of giving us a booklet or an audio commentary track as a bonus for the Kickstarter, they threw in a short that’s related to the theme of the double-feature. I love booklets and audio commentaries, but I love content as well, so I’m happy either way.