7 Stars for this BAD film! Yes, because as presented in this particular DVD it is a fascinating look from a historical point-of-view. It is also one of the few of many anti-Mormon films from the silent period to survive. Read on and you will better understand why I consider this release to be something of a gem: On October 3, 2006, after better than a year of working on the project, Grapevine Video releases the DVD version of "Trapped by the Mormons" in a deluxe version that you would only expect to see for a Warner Bros. release. Everything but the picture quality of the film is first rate (and we're lucky to have a print of this film at all). The graphics that make up the DVD cover and the main menu are a knock-out. They come from the original trade ads and handbills used in Great Britain to sell this film. The original score done by Blaine Gale lifts this film to a new realm; and the recording using Ray Kimber's IsoMike system is the finest recording of a theatre pipe organ that I have ever heard! The original commentary track by Film Historian James D'Arc gives insights into the period of time that spawned this anti-Mormon film and compares it with Braum Stoker's "Dracula". The documentary material with newspaper editor and film critics, Chris Hicks and Sean Means is also quite fascinating. There is a wonderful section that lets the viewer actually watch the score being recorded at the restored Egyptian Theatre in Odgen, Utah, while at the same time letting us see Blaine Gale talking about his approach to the music as the film itself is seen in one corner of the frame. WOW! And if that weren't enough -- Winifred Graham's very rare 1911 novel, "The Love Story of a Mormon" (from which the film was based) is included on the DVD. Set up in chapters, it is very easy to read. Now for the first time it is possible to read the source material (which is very rare indeed) and compare it with the film. If the film is over the top, then so is the book! The film plays as though the characters in the novel had stepped off the printed page onto the screen. Also included is the Thomas Edison 1905 release of "A Trip to Salt Lake City", a delightful 2 minute film that pokes fun at a man attempting to get his children and wives settled down for the night in a Pullman car. This little short comes with a choice of three different scores, done by Blaine Gale on a keyboard and two different Wurlitzler Theatre Organs. What a treat! As for the film itself, it is actually better directed and acted than one might think at first viewing. Read the book and compare it with the film -- there are some excellent performances by several members of the cast. It may be a "B" film, but it is a well made "B" film. Today it is of great historical interest -- and this DVD has given it a first-rate treatment! It may be obtained by going to: www.halevideo.com or www.grapevinevideo.com
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