(aka 'Les Dents du diable' or 'Ombre bianche')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/nicholas_ray.htm
USA 1959

 

  Nicholas Ray's epic 1959 film about Eskimo life was unfairly victimized on release, censored at the UK cinema, and neglected by both TV and home video for decades. The Savage Innocents continued Ray's fascination with alternative lifestyles — examining the life of Eskimos and their remoteness from "civilized" values. It represents Ray's first and most ambitious attempt to break free from Hollywood and forge his own route.

Anthony Quinn (La Strada, Zorba the Greek) stars as Inuk, an Eskimo whose daily routine is a constant struggle to survive in one of the most hostile and hauntingly beautiful of climates. As Inuk's family grows in number (and mouths to feed) a new society of white trappers with new weaponry begin to encroach Inuit land, making it harder for Inuk to live. When the clash of cultures results in the accidental death of a missionary, Inuk must use all his skills to keep one step ahead of the two Mounties (Peter O'Toole and Carlo Giustini) determined to bring the killer to justice.

With award-winning colour 'Scope photography by Aldo Tonti (Fellini's Nights of Cabiria, Rossellini's India), The Savage Innocents is one of Ray's most shocking explorations of custom and honor. Adapted by Ray, Franco Solinas (The Battle of Algiers) and Hans Ruesch (author of the controversial 1979 anti-vivisection tract, Slaughter of the Innocents) from Ruesch's best selling novel, Top of the World, and featuring a score by the Italian composer Angelo Francesco Lavagnino (Chimes at Midnight) the film remains as fresh and exotic as the year in which it was released.

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 1st, 1960

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DVD Review: Eureka (The Masters of Cinema Series) - Region 0 - PAL

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Distribution Eureka - Master's of Cinema Spine # 26 - Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:49:16 
Video 2.27:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.10 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

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

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio:
Eureka  Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.2.27:1

Edition Details:

• Full-length audio commentary by critics David Ehrenstein and Bill Krohn
• Promotional material gallery
• 32-page booklet replete with copious original promotional materials

DVD Release Date: January 23rd, 2006

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 16

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: Unfortunately, there appears to be a dispute over the rights for this film and MoC have withdrawn their DVD edition from all stores - it being replaced by a shoddy ITV edition (see comparison capture below). The ITV is 4:3 pan and scan (of a 2.35:1 film!), and it's cut. Terrible print, and they've spelt Anthony Quinn's name wrong on the front sleeve "Antohny".

"It's hard to believe that this DVD of Nicholas Ray's THE SAVAGE INNOCENTS has been released by a major company, in England, in 2007. Its quality shows nothing but contempt for the format and for the filmmaker. It has scenes missing (it's the cut version), it is framed at 1.33:1 (it's pan and scan instead of the luminous 2.35:1 Scope
that Nicholas Ray intended), and it's from a terrible 1980s era transfer made for TV. There are no extras, and to really kick the film in the teeth --- ITV DVD have spelt "Anthony Quinn"'s name wrongly on the front cover.

One look at the screengrab of the ITV DVD below, compared to the MoC Series edition, makes it clear which version should be tracked down. Not only is half of the image lost horizontally on the new ITV DVD edition, but the top and bottom is cropped too. It really is a dreadful DVD and one of the worst I've seen in a long, long time.

I only hope that a fine company like Criterion can do the film justice in the USA... Nicholas Ray is not in the Criterion Collection yet. Meanwhile, the MoC Series edition, anamorphic 2.35:1, with commentary track, and 28-page booklet, seems to still be available at cd-wow or amazon.co.uk marketplace for those that are interested...
"
 

-Nick Wrigley, Masters of Cinema

NOTE: re: THE SAVAGE INNOCENTS, you might want to add that the MoC edition is 10 minutes longer than the Spanish SUEVIA FILMS edition (that edition is also 2.35:1 but is non-anamorphic). (Thanks Steve!)

****

This Eureka DVD is progressive and anamorphic with bright intense colors. The print used for the first 15 minutes seems to have had some limitations and shows some haziness. There are fairly slim back borders at the edges indicating a minimizing of horizontal resolution. I also see this DVD image exhibiting some moiring and it can appear quite heavy in spots. Although perhaps a notch below MoC's other releases in image quality, this still looks quite acceptable to me. The commentary is very good - both Ehrenstein and Krohn are intelligent film scholars and they bring up many prevalent issues and genuinely seem to be having a good time relating other films to The Savage Innocents. Clearing up details regarding the actress Anna May Wong playing Hiko who is not THE Anna May Wong (from Shanghai Express and Piccadilly) although she was originally desired for the role, are details that are relatively unknown by most film fans. It is great to hear things like that discussed. A wonderfully appointed booklet is included and a digital gallery of posters and lobby cards. I applaud Eureka for bringing this masterpiece film to their digital lineup and taking the effort that they have (commentary, booklet). Film fans should be very appreciative of their efforts. We strongly recommend!   

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Subtitle Sample

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 


Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. ITV - Region 2- PAL BOTTOM - see comments above
 

 


 

 

 


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Distribution Eureka - Master's of Cinema Spine # 26 - Region 0 - NTSC




 

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Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

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