The prints used for these 4 short films are generally of horrendous quality. Usually I consider excessive complaints about the less-than-perfect quality of films this old to be rather pedantic, ignoring the big picture for a seemingly relatively minor technical detail, but here I'm going to agree that these prints are horrible. It's embarrassing that anyone would want to put them on DVD in such shabby condition, let alone to charge so much for the disc. In addition to looking very worn and having problems with shadows and lighting, they're also cropped, and the first film, 'Entr'acte,' is even shortened in its actual length. This really is a case where far better prints do exist, but the producers of this DVD were obviously too lazy to use them. These prints would look awful even on VHS. These films aren't exactly mainstream; odds are the terrible prints will turn more people off to Surrealism in film than turn them on to it. And where are supplementary materials? Even someone who's already familiar with and a fan of Surrealism is liable to need some bonus features, like audio commentaries or featurettes, to have a fuller understanding of just what in the world is going on in these films and to get some background on the people who made them.
In spite of the poor picture quality, however, I did like the soundtracks, and the films themselves are pretty interesting even in this mutilated format. 'Ballet Mécanique' and 'Anémic Cinéma' are more in line with what most people associate with Surrealism, using a barrage of bizarre dreamlike images to create a hallucinatory mood, give the viewer a glimpse into the world of the weird. (Although only those who can understand French can really have a full appreciation of everything the latter is all about; none of the jokes and phrases on the rotating discs are translated.) 'Entr'acte' and 'La Coquille et la Clergyman' ('The Seashell and the Clergyman') are loaded with similar bizarre hallucinatory Surreal images, but they also have actual storylines behind them, as hard as it may be to follow them due to the films' bizarre nontraditional natures.
Those who are interested in exploring Surrealism in cinema should be advised to skip this turkey altogether and get the two-disc 'Experimental Cinema' set from Kino, or the seven-disc set 'Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1894-1941.'