Perils of the New Land: Films of the Immigrant Experience (1910-1915)

by popegrutch

Perils of the New Land

This will be a somewhat “mixed” review, because there were things I liked about this collection, and others I really didn’t care for. First, the entry on Worldcat says there’s a booklet included, but the version I came with no textual information at all; that’s a failure on Multnomah County Library’s part. Second, I was disappointed that 3 out of the five films on here were actually 1915, so there really isn’t much to the “1910-“ part of the time range. Finally, only one of the movies (“The Italian”) really has anything to do with the “immigrant experience,” and even that was really more about middle America’s view of immigrants. The good news is that the prints of these movies are of high quality, and there’s good piano scores on every one of them – I particularly liked the score on “Traffic in Souls,” which captures the tension perfectly. Finally, both “The Italian” and “Traffic in Souls” have very good commentary tracks by appropriate historians: Giorgio Bertellini for the former, Shelley Stamp for the latter. These are thoughtful, informative, and well-structured. I’m often disappointed by commentaries, which seem to be often created off-the-cuff without preparation, but it’s clear in this case that the historians made a real effort to create good, relevant material for the bonus track.

Worldcat Link: