Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film
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1894-1941, Image, unrated, $100

Seven thematically organized DVDs, 19 hours, 155 selections.

Back story: If you think preserving standard Hollywood features can be arduous, what about rarely seen jewels for which only one print exists? Spearheaded by New York's Anthology Film Archives and Frankfurt's Deutches Filmmuseum, this set is packed with goodies film students have read about but never seen (Robert Florey's The Life and Death of 9413 — A Hollywood Extra; Charlton Heston at 17 in Peer Gynt). There are dance sequences, glitzy montages, grim looks at the Depression, fantasies and early works by famed directors (including Josef von Sternberg's debut, The Salvation Hunters). One of the discs, Picturing a Metropolis, is available separately for $25.

Extras, extras: A 60-page booklet of annotation.