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1. Freaks
$8.93 list($24.98)
2. Dracula
$20.24 $19.97 list($26.98)
3. Dracula - The Legacy Collection
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4. Outside the Law/Shadows
$22.46 list($24.95)
5. Freaks

1. Freaks
Director: Tod Browning
list price: $19.97
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00027JYLC
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 1507
Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (71)

5-0 out of 5 stars An unsettling, yet human, masterpiece.
Tod Browning's Freaks is a prime example of what films used to be and a sad reminder that they will never quite be like this again. Based on the short story 'Spurs' by Tod Robbins, the movie tells the story of a circus midget who falls in love with a beautiful, 'normal' trapeze artist. When she and her strongman lover try to poison him for his money, the 'freaks' exact their revenge on them. Browning, a former circus performer himself, treats his unusual cast of real-life circus freaks with genuine sympathy. They are the true human element of the film. In most ways this is the first truely compassionate horror film ever made. But upon it's release, censors flipped, audiences ran in horror, and the film was yanked from the screen and banned in Europe for 40 years. A shame, indeed, as the film is a true triumph for Browning. A film that makes a convincing argument about our expectations of beauty and humanity. Sure, it's creepy and frightening. But it's also very sad. It shows you that it's not what we look like that makes us human or that we don't have to be beautiful to be respected. A strange argument for a 'horror' film to make. The only downside to this long-lost and vastly underappreciated film is that the sound can sometimes be rather muffled and a few of the actors have thick accents that sometimes make understanding the dialogue a chore. But it's a minor complaint and doesn't really distract from the wonder up on the screen. If you're in the mood for something a little... uh... different... definitely check this one out. You will be thankful you did.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must See Movie
Freaks will always be a unique film. The film is a mix of a fictional story brought to life with real life oddities. The story takes place with a traveling Circus. The Circus people are very much their own community. The "Freaks" of the circus stand out even from the other circus folk. They are still made fun of and lied to. Olga Baclanova plays Cleopatra, an evil trapeze artist. She takes advantage of a midget named Hans, stealing him away from his fiancé and taking his money. Unfortunately she did not consider the loyalty and capabilities of these abnormal people. She and her lover pay a great price for there ignorance. The "Freaks" of the circus eventually live happy and Cleopatra the fate of those she tormented. The Director Tod Browning has brought some the most famous sideshow attractions of that time, including Frances O'Connor (armless girl), Peter Robinson (human skeleton), Daisy and Violet Hilton (siamese twins), and Johnny Eck (boy with no legs), to name only a view. He brings this incredible cast of real-life sideshow freaks for this bizarre and fascinating film. The epilogue was clearly added to the film after its creation by its conflicting words. It made points that were later proven false by the story. It said that the oddities longed to become beautiful but this was never promoted in the film. The story was well based but not acted well, possibly due to the fact most of the cast where not professional film actors. The scenes were often over acted most of the time with more then enough enthusiasm from the characters. The visual scenes themselves where quite pleasing. The sets did a good job of bring out the conditions that the circus people lived in. There was also little make-up and special effects needed to show the audience how real these people are with their genuine flaws. Overall it is a movie that must be scene at least once. It brought to film the lives of the deformed and unwanted for the first time. It has a good point of not taking advantage of those that can not help who they are and the consequences you mite face.

4-0 out of 5 stars You Will Never See Another Movie Quite Like Freaks
Creepy. Disturbing. Difficult to sit through. Compelling. Thought provoking. Touching. Maybe even a little bit brilliant. Only a simpleton could watch this movie and come away completely unaffected. The freaks are a clan and they stick together and look out for each other and woe to the person who harms one of them. The freaks know that, for a normal person, the greatest punishment is to be made a freak. They use this to their advantage in a climax both compelling and frightening. Will stay with you for days.

5-0 out of 5 stars browning; an auteur of the most interesting order
todd browning's films too often get compared to james whale's films and, consequently, come up short.
while i am the first to agree that browning's 'dracula' artistically pales to whale's 'frankenstein', i think the point is rather mute.
the quintessential browning film is here in 'freaks' and it does indeed contain the blazing, unique, twisted visison of todd browning.
yes, the film also has his flaws, the main one beingt he stilted dialogue.
browning was a 'silent director' and this film's major flaw
(like 'dracula' )is the fact that it isn't a silent.
in only scene does the dialogue work and that is in the chorus like 'we accept her' scene; a scene to send chills down yuor spine even today.
but, to harp on the flaws, detracts from what this so obviousely is; a flawed masterpeice from a true auteur.
it's history is well knwon.
thalberg ordered browning to come up with a film to outdo frankenstein and dracula.
much to thalberg's chagrin, browning delivered freaks and mgm promptly shelved it.
i recall reading much about the film as a child. when the day of vcrs came round blackhawk films announced they were carrying this for a hundred dollars and i promptly ordered it.
it was one of those films that after reading about it for so long i was a little bit dissapointed and at the same time, floored, which i expected to be.
if you accept the flaws of the film you will be as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Holds up as a disturbing masterpiece...
Too bad there isn't an affordable way to own the DVD of this incredible film. It still manages to shock and disturb nearly a century after its release and has timeless lessons about human compassion, or the lack thereof. For anyone who has ever experienced rejection...for anyone who has ever rejectED, this brilliant "little" movie will haunt you always. ... Read more


2. Dracula
Director: Tod Browning
list price: $24.98
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Asin: B000035Z3K
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 5218
Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (143)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lugosi Live Again !
Dracula has been the subject of numerous films. While many of them are memorable, of many actors who have played Dracula only two stand out as truly superb in their performance of the role. The first one is unmistakably Bela Lugosi who played the role in this 1931 film. While Lugosi's film portrayal has the drawback of being terribly out of date, now that more than 60 years have passed since, his magnetic appeal can still be sensed thru this release. (For those who are interested, the second truly superb actor is of course Christopher Lee, who unfortunately had to play ol' Drac to death in way too many Hammer movies. And Gary Oldman was good too but maybe a little over the top in Francis Ford Coppola's version.) TOD BROWNING's DRACULA was a hit in the early thirties. We can still see why. The film is said to have been restored but very little of this shows, as there are still plenty of signs of wear on the print used for this DVD. However, all the extra's more than make up for that. It is wonderful to be able to compare Bela to his Spanish speaking competitor, Carlos Villarias. Equally interesting is the comparison between Browning's direction and the direction of the Spanish flick, helmed by George Melford. Melford's version has the technical superiority, which cannot be denied, but Lugosi himself is more enthralling in his performance. (I feel a little uncomfortable with the Spanish version as I simply cannot help chuckle at hearing the changed names of Juan Harker and Eva instead of Jonathan Harker and Mina.) Again, the additional information due to special commentaries by David Skal, film historian, Carla Laemmle and Lupita Tovar, and the wonderful photographical montage added make this DVD extremely enjoyable and this not just for classic movie buffs. A note for Philip Glass fans: while Glass's new music score is very interesting to hear, the Kronos Quartet is unfortunately not adequate to the task of bringing the full range of Glass's thematics to life. That is very unfortunate for it makes the new score sound cheap, while it would have been great if it had been performed by a full orchestra.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Stiff Production with Excellent early moments
Tod Browning's production of Dracula made Bela Lugosi's name immortal in the annals of horror film. While Lugosi had played the role many times on stage, he had a difficult time landing this role. He did and so became intensely identified with the role and never really overcame the typecasting. But he was brilliant in the style he portrayed the count. Helen Chandler was excellent as Bela's victim. The production bogged down in mid to late scenes but the early scenes of Castle Dracula and the bleak Carpathian mountain countryside are brilliant, some of the most gothically chilling in cinematic history. Dwight Frye's Renfield was a role of genius, his maniacal laugh still producting chills down the spine. I only rated this movie three stars because it is somewhat dated and does slow down in pace and drama in the last two thirds. The first third place it with the all time greats and if that mood could have been sustained, Dracula with Bela Lugosi would have been unmatched. Edward Sloan as Dr. Van Helsing was brilliant. The only one better was Peter Cushing.

5-0 out of 5 stars DON'T REPLACE YOUR COPY!
While I fully understand the urge to swap this older release for one of the new Universal sets (Dracula or the deluxe Monster Legacy box), I implore you not to do it. Not only is the sound much better on this earlier release, but the new set contains the censored print that was originally released in 1931 in which Dracula's "death groans" are highly abbreviated. The contents of the two disks seem to be identical but the quality isn't. If you can put up with the very real possibility of having to repeatedly return sets in order to obtain one that performs perfectly, the Monster Legacy box is a good deal (especially at Amazon's price) and its transfers of the other films in the Universal series are very good, but this film is the exception. THIS ONE'S A KEEPER!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best DVDs I own...
I love all of the old Universal Monster Movies and I love all the DVD versions that Universal has issued. They have done it right, giving us deluxe editions of The Wolf Man and The Mummy with all the bells and whistles. Of all of these, my favorite is Todd Browning's Dracula. Dracula may not be considered the best of the Universal films (that title usually goes to Bride of Frankenstein) but it certainly is the best DVD.

EVERYTHING is on this DVD. There is a wonderful DOCUMENTARY, The Road to Dracula. Amazingly, this is hosted by Carla Laemmle - the niece of the producer who actually ACTED in the movie. (She is the girl in the stagecoach who had the first line of dialogue in the film - indeed, in any sound horror film.) Clive Barker also adds valuable commentary. Although Barker is at the cutting edge (pun not intended) of hard-core horror, he still has great appreciation and insight about the classics.

FEATURE COMMENTARY: This is provided by David J. Skal, the noted Dracula/Vampire expert. Along with the documentary, this should tell you everything you ever wanted to learn about Dracula.

SPANISH LANGUAGE VERSION: It is now a famous story that, after Browning and his crew finished work for the day, a Spanish cast and crew would come in at night to film the same movie for the Spanish-speaking markets. The Spanish crew was very competitive and many critics say that the Spanish version is actually better. I do not agree with this. True, there are more interesting camera moves, but most of what we come to Dracula for is the Bela Lugosi performance - not to mention Dwight Frye as Renfeild with his inimitable laugh. The Spanish version is also great because it is a more accurate realization of the shooting script.

NEW SCORE: The old Universal movies did not yet have scored music. A few years ago, Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet were commissioned to write a full score. It is excellent and it is also included on the disc. You can watch it with or without. I usually prefer without - I'll always think of the opening set to Swan Lake.

5-0 out of 5 stars This movie is the all time classic universal monster movie!!
I am Drac-u-la , I bid you welcome, I never drink ... Wine
The 3 lines that famoused (new word of mine) Bela Lugosi and made him The Infinitive Count Dracula

Mr Reinsfield travels to transylvania to sail sum property to Dracula in england
Dracula welcomes him in for a feast and wine
while reinsfield is collectin all of the papers he accidently paper cuts his finger (which he really did in real life!)
Dracula goes for his neck but notices the crucifix on reinsfield's neck so he waits until reinsfield goes to bed and he pulls the chain off
all of a sudden reinsfield feels faint and passes out
leaving a feast for dracula

The next part of the film is the part of the ship which is very short
all of the passengers on board perrish from the hurricane or whatever as it travels to england accept for a mad man named reinsfield and a undead freak in the coffin named dracula (haha)

so dracula arrives to england and start's puttin the bite on the british

a classic i tell u and every1 who loves horror movies should have this!!!! ... Read more


3. Dracula - The Legacy Collection (Dracula / Dracula (1931 Spanish Version) / Dracula's Daughter / Son of Dracula / House of Dracula)
Director: Tod Browning
list price: $26.98
our price: $20.24
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Asin: B0001CNRLG
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 1374
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Description

Feature titles include:Dracula (1931), Dracula (1931) - Spanish Version, Dracula's Daughter, House of Dracula, Son of Dracula ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Saturday morning Blood-sucking Creatures!
THE DRACULA LEGACY collection is a nice package including the original DRACULA starring Bela Lugosi in an iconic movie that endures on. Also included are the Spainish version of DRACULA (shot on the same sets at night as Bela's version!), the sequels -- DRACULA'S DAUGHTER, SON OF DRACULA, and HOUSE OF DRACULA (all three monsters show up for the finale). You get five movies, and some great extras. Like many reviewers I found one disc rolling around the inside of the package. Fortunately it was not scratched! That's the only downside to these collections I have found.

You get the 1931 original appearance of a cinematic DRACULA! With two soundtrack options - listen to it in its original almost silent version, or chose the revamped Phillip Glass soundtrack version. Todd Browning who directed this classic was foremost a silent film maker, and DRACULA was designed to be shown in theatres with and without sound. So its almost creepier and more effective to see it with its long spooky silences intact. But Glass is a great musician, and I appreciate his soundtrack as well. It really depends on mood. And for fun check out the SPAINISH version which used the same sets. Beautifully shot, and considered by some technically superior to Browning's film! It uses more camera moves and visual effects.

The other films are a string of B sequels that are still a lot of fun. Gloria Holden as DRACULA'S DAUGHTER is surprisingly creepy and troublingly lesbian in tone. She only attacks women! SON OF DRACULA is campy fun with Lon Chaney Jr. sailing through smokey swamps. HOUSE OF DRACULA is the ultimate monster mash with Frankenstein, the Wolfman, and Dracula making appearances in this last sequel to the Universal monster franchise before they all appeared in an Abbot and Costello movie that killed them for a while.

But they live on! My only beef with the extras is one where Stephen Sommers talks about how DRACULA influenced VAN HELSING. I don't want to tie my 1931 version of a classic to this year's Summer Hit. But in a way it proves ...
legends never die.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fangs for the memories, Universal Studios
It is unfortunate that this collection of Universal Dracula films were only released in this mega-DVD collection as a means of promoting the film Van Helsing, but the important thing is that they were released - including the inimitably weird House of Dracula on DVD for the first time. This collection inspired its own kind of bloodlust in my Dracula-loving heart, and I imagine all fans of Dracula and Universal's classic monsters movies of the 30s and 40s have either already purchased this set or are saving up the money to do so. Just look at the bounty of riches included here: the original 1931 classic Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, which you can view with both its original score as well as the modern score composed by Philip Glass and performed by the Kronos Quartet; the incredible and technically superior Spanish language version of Dracula; Dracula's Daughter (1936); Son of Dracula (1943) starring Lon Chaney, Jr.; House of Dracula (1945); an original documentary, The Road to Dracula, discussing the making of the English and Spanish versions of the original film; a commentary by film historian David J. Skal on the original film; theatrical trailers for the films; and, last and certainly least, a look at how the original Dracula franchise influenced director Stephen Sommers in the making of his new film Van Helsing.

I waited a long time to watch the Spanish version of the Dracula, and it lived up to its reputation. A much more complete and compelling version of the film, aided by an additional half hour running time, this movie equals or excels the English language version of the film in all ways - except, of course, for the performance of Bela Lugosi, who simply is Count Dracula. As for the Lugosi version, I'm torn between the two scores. As a traditionalist, I tend to favor the original score, but certain scenes, particularly those involving Dracula's predatory approach to his victims are made much more powerful with the addition of the Glass score. Either way, though, Bela Lugosi is the main attraction, and his iconic performance defines Count Dracula to this very day.

The three Dracula sequels vary in quality, none of them living up to the reputation of the original. Dracula's Daughter takes the story in an interesting direction, giving us a vampire who seeks help in freeing herself of the Dracula curse, and Gloria Holden gives a formidable and nuanced performance as the daughter of the Count. Son of Dracula, on the other hand, pretty much lays an egg in my opinion. The only interesting thing about this movie is the debate over the true identity of the Count - is he Dracula? the son of Dracula? a relative of Dracula? In the end, it really doesn't matter, but it seems obvious that the blood of Bela Lugosi's Count Dracula certainly doesn't run in the veins of "Count Alucard" because this new bloodsucker on the block isn't the smartest vampire in the castle. Many Dracula fans will of course be aware of the fact that Lon Chaney, Sr., was the original choice to play Dracula in the 1931 film; his death opened the way for the relatively unknown Bela Lugosi to take on the role he had already played hundreds of time on stage. In Son of Dracula, Lon Chaney, Jr., gets the chance to don the cape; Chaney earned his spot of fame in the Universal monster pantheon, but he didn't earn it as the Count - his performance is nothing short of boring, aided not one iota by a surprisingly weak script from the hand of Curt Siodmak.

The addition of House of Dracula to The Dracula Legacy Collection is a very big deal, for this is the first time this film has found its way to DVD. House of Dracula is a really weird film, as this sequel of sorts to House of Frankenstein features not only Count Dracula, but Frankenstein's monster and the Wolf Man as well. John Carradine plays a quite pedestrian Count Dracula, while Lon Chaney, Jr., plays the Wolf Man; Frankenstein's monster is played by Glenn Strange, but the monster plays only the most minor of roles in the story. The action takes place in Vasaria (wherever that is), where Dr. Franz Edelman (Onslow Stevens) is pursuing his own rather wacky scientific experiments, placing great hope on some new kind of spore he is growing in his private little hothouse. Both Count Dracula and Larry Talbot (the Wolf Man) come seeking his help; Talbot's wish to banish the Wolf Man manifestation from his life is understandable, but Dracula's reasons for seeking help are never made clear. In the course of trying to help these two special patients, Edelman runs into the body of Frankenstein's monster in a cave underneath his sanitarium (in a rather ho-hum fashion, no less). As you might expect, this association with three monsters turns out to be a bad thing, leaving Edelman in a pretty bad fix himself. It's somewhat difficult to take this movie seriously, but it does provide some wacky good fun in a campy sort of way.

There is a slight risk involved with purchasing The Dracula Legacy Collection, but the rewards are worth the risk. Just be careful opening the case - even if both of the DVDs (one of which is double-sided) remain in position, you are likely to find a little knob underneath each one just dying for the chance to scratch a disc.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bela And Company Are Back!
Finally, DRACULA is put into a serious collection! Here we have not only the original classic DRACULA (w/ the incomparable Bela Lugosi), but four more toothy vampire thrillers! DRACULA concerns the Transylvanian Count and his trip to his new digs, where he quickly takes a big bite out of his neighbors. Can Von Helsing stop this evil undead plague, or will Dracula win the night? DRACULA- THE SPANISH VERSION was filmed simultaniously with Bela's feature. It is quite good on it's own merit, with actors that took pride in their work. Some things are different in nuance as well as some actual (subtle) changes to the props, dialogue, action, etc. It's fun to watch! DRACULA'S DAUGHTER is about a woman who seeks the aid of a psychiatrist in dealing with her vampirism. Can a supernatural curse be broken by scientific / psychological means? Hmmm. SON OF DRACULA has Lon Chaney jr. as the returning nosferatu. Posing as Count Alucard, he terrorizes the countryside! HOUSE OF DRACULA has Lon jr. back as the wolfman, looking for a cure for his canine affliction. John Carradine is along for the ride as Count Dracula (w/ a snappy moustache). Frankenstein's monster doesn't get much screen time, just sort of lumbering around aimlessly. Not a bad monster bash though! This collection is superb and should be bought before Universal re-seals their rusty old vaults once more...

4-0 out of 5 stars Poor Audio Quality
As other people have said the audio on this DVD release of Dracula is the 1931 censored version. In this version you don't hear Renfield scream when Dracula kills him and Dracula screams only once when he dies. WHY Unverisal deemed these screams too intense or scary for 2004 viewers is a mystery to me. It doesn't distract from the film too much, but the overall quality of the audio in this DVD release is very bad. But it's better than nothing. If you have the first DVD release of Dracula KEEP IT because it is the uncensored version and the audio is much more clear. Would have given this 5 stars because it's a very good deal (5 movies), but it's obvious flaws made me bump that amount down to a 4.

5-0 out of 5 stars Again, It is about time!
What can I say about this one that I did not already say in my review of the Frankenstein collection. Long OVERDUE UNIVERSAL! God bless the Laemmle's! They must be looking down with sheer joy to see their productions in all of this digital glory! The Count(and Countess Zaleska) does his thing to ladies of the evening until he meets his match in good ol' Edward Van"WE MUST DESTROY IT!!" Sloan. They might as well have included the 1932 Karl Fruend Mummy on here because it is essentially the same story as the very stagy 1931 Dracula with 2 of the actors reprising characters under different names(Manners and Sloan as the romantic and scientist respectively), but I feel that the Mummy collection is coming so lets move on.
Superior(maybe technically) Spanish version is on here and so is English version with the Kronos score. I, personally, can do without the Kronos score but there are those who were enchanted by this addition. Son of Dracula was a cut above the other WW2 era Universal monster vehicles as was Frank Meets Wolf!
Dracula's daughter could have been a Whale. One does wonder what James Whale would have done to this one. Actually, I feel that Dracula's Daughter(1936), which by the way was the last of its type from Universal before the slick assembly line productions came into being(starting with Son of Frank), is superior to the original. The score is superb, the acting far above the 1931 film, and well, lets face it how do you top Vampire lesbianism in the 1930's post flapper era??
House of Dracula and House of Frankenstein almost seem to resemble what would become the staple of the blood-curdling technicolor productions from Hammer, and that was the BRAIN TRANSPLANTS. A deady body here and there, a brain pickled in a jar , a transplant to this one and this one, a suspicous burgomaster, a little decay and blood, you know the deal!
By the way, do you know how to tell when the first era of Universal horror ended?
ANSWER:Dracula's Daughter was the last Universal horror flick to utilize the pre-titles Earth-Globe with the old bi-plane circling. The slicker assembly line Universal horror began with the orbiting black and transluscent Earth-Globe to the 'Buy Bonds-support the troops' music in the background. ... Read more


4. Outside the Law/Shadows
Director: Tod Browning
list price: $24.99
our price: $22.49
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Asin: 6305871353
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 26270
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Description

The masterful Lon Chaney stars in these two classic silent films. "Outside the Law" (1920, 75 min.) - In this early collaboration with director Tod Browning (Dracula, Freaks), Chaney delivers a dual performance of dramatic intensity, starring as Ah Wing, a kind-hearted student of Confucian philosophy, and Black Mike Sylva, a murderous rake of the San Francisco underworld. Like night and day, Ah Wing and Sylva are physical representations of the opposing factions of light and dark that weigh upon the moral conscience of the film's protagonist, Molly Madden (Priscilla Dean), who must choose between lives of crime and domesticity. "Shadows" (1922, 68 min.) - In one of the most challenging performances of his illustrious career, Chaney stars as a Chinese laundryman caught in a web of small-town jealousy and extortion. Both films features new orchestral scores. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Priscilla Dean stars in, but Lon Chaney steals, this film
Despite the prominent presence of Lon Chaney, "Outside the Law" is actually a Priscilla Dean 8-reeler. In 1921 Chaney was still a featured character actor and two years away from becoming a full-fledged star in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," while Dean was at the height of her career. Dean stars as Molly "Silky Moll" Madden, an experienced society thief who has convinced her crooked father, "Silent" Madden (Ralph Lewis) to go straight. But her father is framed and sent to prison by "Black Mike" Sylva (Chaney), who then plots to frame "Silky Moll" as well in another jewel robbery. "Black Mike" involves his henchman "Dapper Bill" Ballard (Wheeler Oakman, who was Dean's husband in real life) in the plot, but he falls for the girl and the couple flees from the mobster. Of course, he pursues them and the climatic shootout takes place in Chinatown, as does the rest of the film actually, where Chaney ends up, somewhat surprisingly, facing himself because the actor also plays Ah Wing, a Chinese servant. This makes for one of the more interesting instances of a man shooting himself in cinema history. Certainly Chaney steals most of the scenes that he is in as the villain, but Deans performance is quite good. She has expressive eyes and manages to avoid exaggerated gestures, unlike many heroines in silent screen melodramas. Tod Browning had directed both Dean and Chaney in a couple of 1919 melodramas, "The Wicked Darling" and "Paid in Advance." However, to the best of my knowledge, "Outside the Law" is the only one of Priscilla Dean's films available.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good value Lon Chaney double feature
I have now seen 10 of Lon Chaney's films and I would say that they are nearly all enjoyable. The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame are masterpieces, the rest vary in quality, but Chaney's varied performances always make them interesting. The two films on this DVD are relatively minor works. Strangely, the one by the more famous director Tod Browning, Outside the Law, is the lesser of the two. This is, in part, because it is not really a Chaney feature at all. He plays two roles, one a sympathetic Asian character, the other an evil criminal out to destroy the leading characters. This is the problem, for Chaney's supporting characters disappear for long stretches of the film. The main story is thus a rather dull affair about two somewhat colourless lovers trying to go straight and return the jewels they have stolen. The film only really comes alive with Chaney. The biggest difficulty with this film however, is the print quality. It is a black and white print which, for the most part is fine, but towards the end there is some serious damage, so much so that at times the picture all but disappears. There are furthermore some frames missing so that sometimes the story jumps rather abruptly. The second film on this DVD, Shadows, is much better. The story is interesting and keeps the viewer guessing, so it is best not to read any synopses before hand. Chaney has a major role as a Chinese laundry man and shows how he could contort his body and face into a role. Some people might have a problem with the titles attempting to imitate his speech patterns. But it must be remembered that it was typical of silent films to try to portray visually the differences in the way people speak. The same happens, in other films, with French or Cockney characters and was not considered to be derogatory. The print of this film is fine. It is a sepia tinted and for the most part free from damage. Again there are a few frames missing, but these do not affect the story continuity. I would recommend this DVD for Shadows alone, the fact that it includes Outside the Law as well makes it good value indeed. ... Read more


5. Freaks
Director: Tod Browning
list price: $24.95
our price: $22.46
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Asin: B00005JH9W
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 32279
Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (71)

5-0 out of 5 stars An unsettling, yet human, masterpiece.
Tod Browning's Freaks is a prime example of what films used to be and a sad reminder that they will never quite be like this again. Based on the short story 'Spurs' by Tod Robbins, the movie tells the story of a circus midget who falls in love with a beautiful, 'normal' trapeze artist. When she and her strongman lover try to poison him for his money, the 'freaks' exact their revenge on them. Browning, a former circus performer himself, treats his unusual cast of real-life circus freaks with genuine sympathy. They are the true human element of the film. In most ways this is the first truely compassionate horror film ever made. But upon it's release, censors flipped, audiences ran in horror, and the film was yanked from the screen and banned in Europe for 40 years. A shame, indeed, as the film is a true triumph for Browning. A film that makes a convincing argument about our expectations of beauty and humanity. Sure, it's creepy and frightening. But it's also very sad. It shows you that it's not what we look like that makes us human or that we don't have to be beautiful to be respected. A strange argument for a 'horror' film to make. The only downside to this long-lost and vastly underappreciated film is that the sound can sometimes be rather muffled and a few of the actors have thick accents that sometimes make understanding the dialogue a chore. But it's a minor complaint and doesn't really distract from the wonder up on the screen. If you're in the mood for something a little... uh... different... definitely check this one out. You will be thankful you did.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must See Movie
Freaks will always be a unique film. The film is a mix of a fictional story brought to life with real life oddities. The story takes place with a traveling Circus. The Circus people are very much their own community. The "Freaks" of the circus stand out even from the other circus folk. They are still made fun of and lied to. Olga Baclanova plays Cleopatra, an evil trapeze artist. She takes advantage of a midget named Hans, stealing him away from his fiancé and taking his money. Unfortunately she did not consider the loyalty and capabilities of these abnormal people. She and her lover pay a great price for there ignorance. The "Freaks" of the circus eventually live happy and Cleopatra the fate of those she tormented. The Director Tod Browning has brought some the most famous sideshow attractions of that time, including Frances O'Connor (armless girl), Peter Robinson (human skeleton), Daisy and Violet Hilton (siamese twins), and Johnny Eck (boy with no legs), to name only a view. He brings this incredible cast of real-life sideshow freaks for this bizarre and fascinating film. The epilogue was clearly added to the film after its creation by its conflicting words. It made points that were later proven false by the story. It said that the oddities longed to become beautiful but this was never promoted in the film. The story was well based but not acted well, possibly due to the fact most of the cast where not professional film actors. The scenes were often over acted most of the time with more then enough enthusiasm from the characters. The visual scenes themselves where quite pleasing. The sets did a good job of bring out the conditions that the circus people lived in. There was also little make-up and special effects needed to show the audience how real these people are with their genuine flaws. Overall it is a movie that must be scene at least once. It brought to film the lives of the deformed and unwanted for the first time. It has a good point of not taking advantage of those that can not help who they are and the consequences you mite face.

4-0 out of 5 stars You Will Never See Another Movie Quite Like Freaks
Creepy. Disturbing. Difficult to sit through. Compelling. Thought provoking. Touching. Maybe even a little bit brilliant. Only a simpleton could watch this movie and come away completely unaffected. The freaks are a clan and they stick together and look out for each other and woe to the person who harms one of them. The freaks know that, for a normal person, the greatest punishment is to be made a freak. They use this to their advantage in a climax both compelling and frightening. Will stay with you for days.

5-0 out of 5 stars browning; an auteur of the most interesting order
todd browning's films too often get compared to james whale's films and, consequently, come up short.
while i am the first to agree that browning's 'dracula' artistically pales to whale's 'frankenstein', i think the point is rather mute.
the quintessential browning film is here in 'freaks' and it does indeed contain the blazing, unique, twisted visison of todd browning.
yes, the film also has his flaws, the main one beingt he stilted dialogue.
browning was a 'silent director' and this film's major flaw
(like 'dracula' )is the fact that it isn't a silent.
in only scene does the dialogue work and that is in the chorus like 'we accept her' scene; a scene to send chills down yuor spine even today.
but, to harp on the flaws, detracts from what this so obviousely is; a flawed masterpeice from a true auteur.
it's history is well knwon.
thalberg ordered browning to come up with a film to outdo frankenstein and dracula.
much to thalberg's chagrin, browning delivered freaks and mgm promptly shelved it.
i recall reading much about the film as a child. when the day of vcrs came round blackhawk films announced they were carrying this for a hundred dollars and i promptly ordered it.
it was one of those films that after reading about it for so long i was a little bit dissapointed and at the same time, floored, which i expected to be.
if you accept the flaws of the film you will be as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Holds up as a disturbing masterpiece...
Too bad there isn't an affordable way to own the DVD of this incredible film. It still manages to shock and disturb nearly a century after its release and has timeless lessons about human compassion, or the lack thereof. For anyone who has ever experienced rejection...for anyone who has ever rejectED, this brilliant "little" movie will haunt you always. ... Read more


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