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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Tempo di divertimento")

directed by Jacques Tati
France 1967

Jacques Tati, the choreographer of the charming, comical ballet that is Playtime, casts the endearingly clumsy Monsieur Hulot as the principal character wandering through modernist Paris. Amid the babble of English, French and German tourists, Hulot tries to reconcile the old-fashioned ways with the confusion of the encroaching age of technology.

***

Jacques Tati’s gloriously choreographed, nearly wordless comedies about confusion in the age of technology reached their creative apex with Playtime. For this monumental achievement, a nearly three-year-long, bank-breaking production, Tati again thrust the endearingly clumsy, resolutely old-fashioned Monsieur Hulot, along with a host of other lost souls, into a bafflingly modernist Paris. With every inch of its superwide frame crammed with hilarity and inventiveness, Playtime is a lasting testament to a modern age tiptoeing on the edge of oblivion.

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 14th, 1967 - France

Reviews          More Reviews          DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. BFI (Dual Format) - Region 'B' Blu-ray vs. Criterion (REISSUE - 2-disc) Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion (original release - Out of Print) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - LEFT

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Criterion - REISSUE 2-disc - Region 1- NTSC THIRD

4) Criterion (original 2001) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution Criterion Collection (REISSUE- Blu-ray Spine # 112
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
BFI (Dual format)
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Criterion Collection (REISSUE- 2-disc) Spine # 112
Region 1 - NTSC

Criterion Collection Spine # 112
Region 0 - NTSC

BFI Video Publishing
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 2:04:34.758 2:04:13.487 2:04:20 1:59:15 Including (00:23) Criterion / Janus Film titles that are not in the BFI disc. 1:59:08 (4% PAL speedup)

Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,161,111,601 bytes

Feature: 24,532,033,536 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.49 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,334,665,668 bytes

Feature: 35,143,016,448 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.14 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.83:1 Cropped on all 4 sides

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.57 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.23 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Criterion (REISSUE - Blu-ray)

 

Bitrate:

BFI Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:

Criterion (REISSUE - 2-disc)

 

Bitrate:

Criterion

 

Bitrate:

 

BFI

 

Audio LPCM Audio French 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz /
192 kbps
LPCM Audio French 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
French and international (Dolby Digital 2.0) French and international (Dolby Digital 1.0)

French and international (Dolby Digital 1.0)

Subtitles English, and none English, and none English, and none English, and none English, and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Criterion
Blu-ray

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,161,111,601 bytes

Feature: 24,532,033,536 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.49 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Video introduction by writer, director, and performer Terry Jones (6:17 in HD)
• Selected scene commentary by film historian Philip Kemp
Au-delà de “Playtime,” a short documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the production
(6:30 in HD!)
Tati Story, a short biographical film
(30:38 in HD!)
• “Jacques Tati in Monsieur Hulot’s Work,” a 1976 BBC Omnibus program featuring Tati (49:28 in HD!)
• Rare audio interview with Tati from the U.S. debut of Playtime at the 1972 San Francisco International Film Festival (Courtesy of Pacifica Radio Archives)
• Video interview with script supervisor Sylvette Baudrot
(12:10 in HD!)
Cours du soir, a 1967 short film written by and starring Tati
(27:41 in HD!)
• Alternate international soundtrack
• 8-page liner notes leaflet with essay by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum

 

Blu-ray Release Date: August 18th, 2009
Thicker, transparent
Blu-ray case
Chapters 25

Release Information:
Studio: BFI Video Publishing

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,334,665,668 bytes

Feature: 35,143,016,448 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Feature commentary by film historian Philip Kemp
• Short Documentary Au-delà de Playtime (DVD only)
• Continuity supervisor Sylvette Baudrot on Tati and Playtime (DVD only)
• Director biography + short film about Tati (DVD only)
• Audio interview with Jacques Tati (23:52)
• Original trailers for Les Vacances de M. Hulot, Mon Oncle and Playtime
• Includes extensive booklet with contextualising essays on the film and its director

Blu-ray Release Date: November 29th, 2010

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion (REISSUE)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Video introduction by writer, director and performer Terry Jones (6:17)
Cours du Soir, a 1967 short written by and starring Jacques Tati (27:39)
• Selected scene commentary by film historian Philip Kemp
Au-delà de "Playtime," a short documentary featuring archival behind-the-scenes footage from the set
Tati Story, a short biographical film about Tati
“Jacques Tati in Monsieur Hulot’s Work,” a 1976 BBC Omnibus program featuring Tati
• Rare audio interview with Tati from the U.S. debut of Playtime at the 1972 San Francisco International Film Festival
• Video interview with script supervisor Sylvette Baudrot
• Alternate international soundtrack
• Liner notes with essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum

DVD Release Date: September 5th, 2006
3 tired digipak inside cardboard sleeve box
Chapters 25

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
• Video introduction by writer, director and performer Terry Jones (6:17)
• Cours du Soir, a 1967 short written by and starring Jacques Tati (27:39)
• Line notes from Kent Jones

DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2001
Keep Case
Chapters 22

Release Information:
Studio: BFI Video Publishing

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Au-dela de Playtime (6:13) - 4:3 - removable English subtitles
• Sylvette Baundrot (script-girl) on Tati and Playtime (12:11) -  4:3 - removable English subtitles
• Biography of tati (20:39)  4:3 - removable English subtitles
• Trailers for 3 Tati films (Playtime, Mr. Hulot's Holiday, Mon Oncle)
• Sleeve notes (1 page) by Philip Kemp

DVD Release Date: September 6th, 2004

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 16

 

Comments: NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

NOTE: Criterion's Complete Jacques Tati Blu-ray Collection is compared/reviewed HERE!

ADDITION: BFI - Region 'B' Blu-ray - (November 2010) - This is another BFI 'dual format' package with the inclusion of a DVD of the feature film - along with the Blu-ray.

It doesn't look like region 'B'ers are giving up much with the video transfer from BFI vs.  the Criterion 1080P release. Actually, the BFI may be a bit superior with cooler skin tones - but being a shade greener (this may be accurate) to the Criterion's blue-leaning. It does have the superior file-size (over 10 Gig larger) for the feature and hence the higher bitrate as well. The UK disc looks very strong - similar in most visual respects to the US counterpart.

Statistically audio is exactly the same with a linear PCM 2.0 lossless track at 2304 kbps (precisely as is the Criterion). It differs only in that Kemp commentary is giving a lossless treatment as well by the BFI (where it is standard Dolby on the Criterion). Of course, BFI also supply optional English subtitles and my Momitsu informs me that this, like Mr. Hulot's Holiday, is region-locked to 'B'.

Extras include the same Philip Kemp commentary as found on the Criterion (I only briefly sampled). Also on the Blu-ray is an audio only interview - with photos of Tati - for 24-minutes in conversation with Kenneth Brownlow at the NFT November 17th, 1958. Also included is the dual-layered DVD with those extras present on the last release; Au-dela de Playtime (6:13) - 4:3, Sylvette Baundrot (script-girl) on Tati and Playtime (12:11), Biography of Tati (20:39) and trailers for 3 Tati films (Playtime, Mr. Hulot's Holiday, Mon Oncle). Also available is an extensive booklet with contextualising essays on the film and its director.

Dependant on your desire for the difference in extras (and the included DVD) - the BFI makes for an excellent purchasing decision. Equivalent to, and ion some areas exceeding, the Criterion. We give a healthy endorsement - buy with confidence!

***

ADDITION: Criterion Blu-ray - July 09': The improvement in the video is very apparent if you look, even moderately, close. I believe it utilizes the same HD source as the 2-disc DVD and hence the superiority is more in the way that 1080P handles the film transfer. This will be a case where the larger the projection of Tati's film - the more apparent the better resolution will represent Playtime. Film grain is far more notable with it transferring much smoother in motion. Colors don't come alive but everything is much tighter. The only 'flaw' the presentation really has are some light vertical scratches in the opening credits - otherwise this Blu-ray has a reasonably perfect appearance and this masterpiece has NEVER looked so good for your personal enjoyment at home via digital.

The Blu-ray's linear PCM track is dutiful in exporting the film's 2.0 channel audio. There is, obviously, no dynamic separation to applaud but the lighter music cues (original score by Francis Lemarque) had a fairly crisp response and, again, I could detect no demonstrative flaws. The superfluous “international” track in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo remains. Of course, Criterion supply excellent optional English subtitles and my Momitsu informs me that this, like all Criterion Blu-rays to date, is region-locked to 'A'.

Supplements (see below) are duplicated from the 2-disc DVD edition with the 6 video extras being in 1080P now. The Blu-ray can also boast having all supplements accessible on one disc.

The 'cut' segments noted by Per-Olaf from the original Criterion DVD (the 'International version') seem far less important now but we'll leave them for anyone who may be keen on knowing those differences.

I don't know that there is really too much to say - this is definitely one of those magical films you want to have in the best possible presentation. It just continues to grow on you with repeat viewings and unless you have capabilities to view 70mm in your home - this is it! A recommendation seems like stating the obvious...      

***

 

ON THE DVDS: ADDITION - Criterion - REISSUE DVD - Region 1- NTSC (written in 2006) - WOW - what an incredible improvement in the new REISSUED 2-disc Criterion!

Many Tati fans were very disappointed at Criterion's initial release, but it appears as though we now have the 'full 70 mm version' (not, what has been called, the shorter - international version - see cuts identified at the very bottom). So this is a vast improvement for fans - also the image is no longer severely cropped (we calculated it at about 17% in the original Criterion release). Tack onto to this the superior sharpness, loss of the greenish/steely tinge, improved subtitles, perfectly muted colors and a second disc of extras... and what  we have is Criterion proving once again their commitment to the cinematic art - fittingly appropriate for this particular Tati film. This REISSUE looks brilliant!

From the supplements we have, duplicated from the original edition - the video introduction by writer, director, and performer Terry Jones and the 1967 short film written by and starring Tati called Cours du soir (on the second disc). On top of that we have an informative selected scene commentary by film historian Philip Kemp running just over 45 minutes - I particularly enjoyed his insights. On the second disc we have Au-delà de "Playtime," a short documentary featuring archival behind-the-scenes footage from the set - it runs about 6 minutes, Tati Story (20 minutes), a short biographical film about Tati, a 1976 BBC Omnibus program - “Jacques Tati in Monsieur Hulot’s Work” (about 50 minutes), a rare audio interview with Tati from the U.S. debut of Playtime at the 1972 San Francisco International Film Festival, a 12 minute homage short video interview with script supervisor Sylvette Baudrot and a new 8-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum.

All-in-all an exciting package and one infinitely superior to the original and besting all other digital editions available.

NOTE: This release is NOT pictureboxed!

 - Gary W. Tooze

***

The original Criterion DVD is the shorter - international - version of the film and the BFI is the 'full 70 mm version' - same as the Nordic Future Film compared HERE. So most of the comments are the same - the BFI has a greenish tinge but the Criterion (as well as being the shorter film) is heavily cropped on all 4 sides. The Criterion is sharper with better contrast but I think the integrity of the film is heavily worn by being the "condensed version' AND by being so heavily cropped (about 17%) . Trouble with the Nordic version is there were no English subtitles. This make the BFI version the only one I am aware of that is correctly done for English audiences (subtitled extras). The BFI extras are very complete and I rate them higher than I do the Criterions. The Criterion subtitles seem superior and more complete (although lets remember the film has hardly any dialogue at all), but we are going with the BFI release as a recommendation in this comparison.

 - Gary W. Tooze

 

Criterion - REISSUE DVD package

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 CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

Menus

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Criterion (REISSUE 2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

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Criterion (REISSUE 2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC - Disc 2

 


(Criterion- Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 Screen Captures

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Criterion - REISSUE 2-disc - Region 1- NTSC THIRD

4) Criterion (original 2001) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Criterion - REISSUE 2-disc - Region 1- NTSC THIRD

4) Criterion (original 2001) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Criterion - REISSUE 2-disc - Region 1- NTSC THIRD

4) Criterion (original 2001) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Criterion - REISSUE 2-disc - Region 1- NTSC THIRD

4) Criterion (original 2001) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 

MISSING FROM ORIGINAL CRITERION DVD - for more see below

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Criterion - REISSUE 2-disc - Region 1- NTSC THIRD

4) Criterion (original 2001) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


WHAT IS MISSING FROM THE ORIGINAL CRITERION ?

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Criterion - REISSUE 2-disc - Region 1- NTSC THIRD

4) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Criterion - REISSUE 2-disc - Region 1- NTSC THIRD

4) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

CRITERION ORIGINAL DVD (FROM 2001) OMISSIONS


ADDED From Per-Olof Strandberg:
The original Criterion disc is cut by approx. 6-8 minutes (pal speed-up) and also cropped by 17% of the original frame (Gary's comment). The shortening is also made very rough handed! Who on earth want this DVD!

I know that this film has had several versions, but still....
The original Criterion DVD misses the following scenes (nine):

1)  On the original Criterion disc at time 6:48. AIRPORT. The reporters are following "the short" man. The cut is a continuity cut. They have cut from the one scene with "the short man" directly to the next, so that we are following a straight story. The original cut drops the man, and at short after a "false" Hulot appear in the picture. Because the film has only static , with actually no leading characters in it,  this cut destroys the feeling of many persons doing something at the same time. Also Tati has implant several false Huolot's in the film, and this takes away one!

MISSING FROM ORIGINAL CRITERION APPROX. 10 SECONDS. See below;

Criterion original - Left - BFI - Right

 

2)  On the original Criterion Disc at 17:33. OFFICE. A rough cut, where Hulot is waiting for the director. The original Hulot appearance to a empty picture, first his shadow and the himself playing with his pipe. In the Criterion disc this is cut with no rhythm, suddenly from the middle. 

(see picture below left).

MISSING 10 SECONDS


 

3) On the original Criterion disc at time 17:38. OFFICE. Direct after the last cut, there is shortened the scene. In the longer version Hulot walks to the chair, test, and estimate it before he sits. The original Criterion version is cut, when he already sits, and for speeding the rhythm, the directors comes in at the same time (see middle picture).

MISSING 10 SECONDS


 

4) On the original Criterion disc at 19:16. OFFICE. When waiting for the director, Hulot walks around in the office. Before he comes to the window where there are busses, we se a refection off him in the window. The Criterion version has cut this away.

(see picture below right)

MISSING 8 SECONDS

 

 

5)  On the original Criterion disc at 22.47. OFFICE.  Hulot search for the director. This scene has been shortened in the Criterion version, and it's the only place that you can find a different cut in these versions. The Criterion has a short scene were Hulot is running that misses from the longer version. (see large captures above HERE)

MISSING FROM THE ORIGINAL CRITERION VERSION APPROX. 94 SECONDS

 

6)  On the original Criterion disc at 24:12. EXHIBITION. Here's a very forced jump-cut. The Criterion version have taken away 19 seconds from the middle of a scene. You see in the examples, that in the Criterion cut the man has an black jacket, and suddenly he is changed with a man that has a brown jacket. The examples from the Criterion disc are the two following frames. (see pictures below right)

MISSING 19 SECONDS

 

 

7)  On the original Criterion disc at 24:16. EXHIBITION. Directly after the last cut, there are missing a scene where a man demonstrate a chair for Hulot. ( see left picture below)

MISSING 34 SECONDS


 

8)  On the original Criterion disc at 25:42. TRAVEL AGENCY / STREET.  There's a scene where a group of women walks out from the buss. One woman stops at a poster. In the originalCriterion version the scene starts in the middle, and the first 12 seconds are missing. (see right picture below)

MISSING 12 SECONDS

 

 

9)  There are longer end music in the Future film version.

 

Because all the cuts are in the first 26 minutes, they seems very forced, and quickly made.

 

 


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DVD Box Covers

Distribution Criterion Collection (REISSUE- Blu-ray Spine # 112
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
BFI (Dual format)
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Criterion Collection (REISSUE- 2-disc) Spine # 112
Region 1 - NTSC

Criterion Collection Spine # 112
Region 0 - NTSC

BFI Video Publishing
Region 2 - PAL

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-rays tie

Sound:

 Blu-rays tie

Extras: Criterion (REISSUE) / Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...