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News from Milestone/THE DUMB GIRL OF PORTICI

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Film Pioneer Lois Weber’s
The Dumb Girl of Portici
Starring Anna Pavlova!
Newly restored and premiering on
DVD & Blu-ray on February 6, 2017!
For Immediate Release:

The Milestone Cinematheque is proud to announce that following successful worldwide theatrical runs — including a European premiere at the 2017 BFI London Film Festival — the extraordinary restored masterpiece by Lois Weber will be available on DVD and Blu-ray.


Anna Pavlova and Lois Weber, the star and director of The Dumb Girl of Portici
“Once upon a Hollywood time, one of filmdom’s biggest directors was Lois Weber. Woodrow Wilson was president, and women couldn’t have voted for him even if they had wanted to, but inside the movie industry, women thrived, and Weber thrived above all others. An auteur before that word entered the cinematic lexicon, she wrote, directed and edited films and was admired for her sensitive work with actors, her on-set meticulousness and her stories about women. Her name was invoked alongside the likes of D. W. Griffith, yet, like most female directors of that era, she faded into obscurity.”
— Manohla Dargis, New York Times
The official trailer for THE DUMB GIRL OF PORTICI
“A Great Ballerina’s Explosive Movie Performance”  
— Richard Brody, New Yorker
December 15, 2016
Official Website

 “Pavlova’s artistry is something that we are often asked to take on faith,
something where you had to be there. Watching
The Dumb Girl, you are there!”
Joan Acocella, The New Yorker

The Dumb Girl of Portici has been long overdue for recognition as one of pioneer filmmaker Lois Weber’s finest creations and a landmark in women’s cinema. The blockbuster film was Universal’s most expensive to date and featured an enormous cast, large-scale sets, and an ambitious story.
For Weber, The Dumb Girl of Portici represented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with the incomparable prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova. Pavlova was appearing with the Boston Opera Company in D. F. E. Auber’s 1829 La Muette de Portici, portraying Fenella, a wordless fisher-girl living during the Spanish occupation of Naples in the mid-17th century, who is seduced and abandoned by a Spanish nobleman. In the opera and in Weber’s stirring drama, the betrayal of Fenella and the oppression of her people inspire her brother to foment a revolution.
Sadly, over the years The Dumb Girl of Portici has fallen out of distribution. This restoration, with a dazzling new score by the acclaimed composer John 
Sweeney, offers audiences a chance to experience the energy, brilliance, and the talents of maestras Pavlova and Weber.

Bonus Features:
  • The Immortal Swan, 1935 feature documentary by Pavlova's partner Victor D’Andre with amazing footage of the great ballerina
  • Anna Pavlova in Newsreels
  • Anna Pavlova's own 9.5mm home movies!
  • Films of Anna Pavlova dancing her most famous roles
DVD UPC: 784148015149
Order #: Mile00151
ISBN: 978-1-933920-86-3.
Retail: $29.95

Blu-ray UPC: 784148015156
Order #: MileBD00151
ISBN: 978-1-933920-87-0.
Retail: $34.95
“Lois Weber, Eloquent Filmmaker of the Silent Screen”
— Manohla Dargis, New York Times
  December 15, 2016
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this has also been announced:

Milestone is thrilled to announce that The Dumb Girl of Portici and Shoes — another Weber masterpiece created in the same year — are restored and available on DVD and Blu-ray for Milestone newsletter subscribers only — NOW! 
— Manohla Dargis, New York Times

Selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress 

Lois Weber weaves a beautifully simple story of one shop girl’s struggles into a heartbreaking cinematic masterpiece. Filmed on the streets of Los Angeles — including a remarkable scene in Pershing Square and another in front of Woolworth’s on Broadway — Weber follows the daily travails of Eva Meyer, whose meager wages from her job at a five-and-dime store are the sole financial support for three younger sisters, a struggling mother, and a father who prefers beer and penny dreadfuls to work. When there is barely enough to cover the grocer’s bill, Eva is forced to patch the holes in the soles of her shoes with cardboard. But with each rainy day and every splinter, her plight becomes more painful, and finally intolerable. With no solution in sight, Eva is forced to consider other options.

The Shoes restoration by the EYE Filmmuseum combined a Dutch nitrate print and a 1930s “comedic” short reissue of the film found at the Library of Congress. Thanks to the recent discovery of the original script and intertitles in the 16mm microfilm files at NBC/Universal, the Milestone edition more closely reflects the original film. Prominent musicians and composers Donald Sosin and Mimi Rabson have created a mesmerizing and moving score.
Bonus Features:
  • Commentary track by Lois Weber biographer Shelley Stamp
  • 1932 spoof Unshod Maiden
  • 1971 audio interview of Mary MacLaren
  • Richard Koszarski on Unshod Maiden 
  • Shoes: Before-and-after video
  • 1911 short film, Lost Illusions written by and starring Weber
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this now in:




Dear friends of Milestone,

For those who have already purchased (or will be purchasing) Lois Weber's THE DUMB GIRL OF PORTICI, we goofed. Through a chain of human error that ended with me, the second disc (both DVD and Blu-ray) with all the Anna Pavlova bonus features was not replicated and added to the release. For those who have already received the film, my apologies. We will be shipping you the second disc in the next month along with a 2-disc case. 

If you haven't purchased the DVD or Blu-ray yet, we will be moving the new release date for the complete set sometime in late February hopefully. Again, my apologies. In a month of big mistakes (see Hawaii: button) and other mistakes (see White House: Big Button), I hope you'll be able to keep this in perspective. 

For me, this was a release that I have been trying to bring out since 1989. I'm disappointed, but proud to be releasing this amazing film. We'll be back in touch when the swan is ready again to fly!


Dennis Doros

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Disc 2 of this package has now been completed and has been sent out to those who initially got the title without the 2nd disc, the contents, as noted above, are as follows:

Bonus Features:

  • The Immortal Swan, 1935 feature documentary by Pavlova's partner Victor D’Andre with amazing footage of the great ballerina
  • Anna Pavlova in Newsreels
  • Anna Pavlova's own 9.5mm home movies!
  • Films of Anna Pavlova dancing her most famous roles
Link to comment
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