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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom' or 'Salo ou les 120 journées de Sodome')

directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Italy 1975

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s notorious final film, Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, has been called nauseating, shocking, depraved, pornographic . . . it’s also a masterpiece. The controversial poet, novelist, and filmmaker’s transposition of the Marquis de Sade’s 18th-century opus of torture and degradation to 1944 Fascist Italy remains one of the most passionately debated films of all time, a thought-provoking inquiry into the political, social, and sexual dynamics that define the world we live in.

***

Set in the Nazi-controlled, northern Italian state of Salo in 1944, four dignitaries round up sixteen perfect specimens of youth and take them together with guards, servants and studs to a palace near Marzabotto. In addition, there are four middle-aged women: three of whom recount arousing stories whilst the fourth accompanies on the piano. The story is largely taken up with their recounting the stories of Dante and De Sade: the Circle of Manias, the Circle of Shit and the Circle of Blood. Following this, the youths are executed whilst each libertine takes his turn as voyeur.


Posters (Click to enlarge where applicable)

Theatrical Release: November 25th, 1975 - Paris, France

Reviews          More Reviews          DVD Reviews R1          DVD Reviews R2

Comparison:

Gaumont Columbia Tristar - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion (REISSUE) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

BFI Screen captures courtesy of Ashirg and Vincent Bouche of DVD Compare for the Gaumont screen captures

and Chris (CDNChris of Criterion Forum) for the Criterion REISSUE Caps!

 

1) Gaumont Columbia Tristar - Region 2 - PAL TOP LEFT

2) Criterion (original) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP CENTER

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - TOP RIGHT

4) Criterion (REISSUE) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM LEFT

5) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM MIDDLE

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

  
 

Distribution
GCTHV (Gaumont Columbia Tristar Home Video)
Region 2 (France)
Criterion Collection - Spine #17
Region 1 - NTSC 
BFI Video Publishing Catalogue No: BFIVD510
Region 2 

  
Criterion Collection - Spine #17 (REISSUE)
Region 1 - NTSC
BFI Video 
Region 'B'
Blu-ray 
Criterion Collection - Spine # 17 
Region 'A'
Blu-ray 
Distribution
GCTHV (Gaumont Columbia Tristar Home Video)
Region 2 (France)
Criterion Spine #17
Region 1 - NTSC 
BFI Video Publishing Catalogue No: BFIVD510
Region 2 
Criterion Collection - Spine #17 (REISSUE)
Region 1 - NTSC
BFI Video 
Region B
Blu-ray 
Criterion Collection - Spine # 17 
Region 'A'
Blu-ray
Runtime1:51:32 (4% PAL Speedup)1:56:241:51:46 (4% PAL Speedup) 1:56:32 1:56:38 1:56:43.413
Video
1.66 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate : 6.14 Mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
1.85:1  Widecreen
Average Bitrate: 4.56 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s
1.85:1  Widecreen
Average Bitrate: 4.76 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
1.85:1  Widecreen 16X9
Average Bitrate: 8.34 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s
Feature 20.5 Gig

Catalog - BFIB1001, 1080P Single-layered, Region B Blu-ray

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,796,360,140 bytes

Feature: 26,199,060,480 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps

Audio
- Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (Mono)
- French Dolby Digital 1.0 (Mono)
- Movie was shot in Italian but French dub was considered by Pasolini as the "official" version.
Italian (Dolby Digital 1.0)

Italian (Dolby Digital 1.0)  

Italian (Dolby Digital 1.0), English DUB (Dolby Digital 1.0) Italian PCM mono, English DUB (Dolby Digital 1.0) LPCM Audio Italian 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
SubtitlesFrench or noneEnglish or noneEnglish (burnt in) English or none English or none English or none
Features
Release Information:
Studio: GCTHV
Production Company : Carlotta Films
 
 
Aspect Ratio :
Widescreen letterbox - 1.66:1

Discographic information :
 
- DVD encoding : region 2
- Layers : dual
- Available Audio Tracks: Italian (Dolby Digital 1.0) and French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
- Available subtitles : French and none
- Limited numbered collector's edition (only 50 000 ex.)
 
In the box, you find a huge booklet (about 50 pages) with photos and many notes about the film (in French)
 
Extras :
- "Salo d'hier à aujourd'hui", documentary (31:55) (Italian with French subtitles and French)
- "Enfants de Salo", documentary (18:28) (French)
- Image gallery
- Original theatrical trailer (Italian with French subtitles)
 

DVD release date : October 22, 2002

Amaray Case
Chapters : 9
Release Information:
Studio: Criterion
 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.85:1


Extras :

There is an inset by John Powers that briefly covers the controversy behind Pasolini and his final film. It was quite informative and gives valued insight into the film.

DVD Release Date: August 11, 1998
Keep Case
Chapters: 29


Release Information:
Studio: BFI Video Publishing
 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.85:1

Extras :

There is an inset by John Powers (same as Criterion)

Pasolini’s own introduction to his film, is presented both as on-screen text and read aloud by the actor Nickolas Grace. It does a very good job of explaining in broad brushstroke terms what Pasolini was attempting.

A brief biography of Pasolini, a couple of poster images and the news that three more Pasolini DVDs are coming out in summer 2001. The only other extra is a link to the BFI website and their collection of Salò-related papers, Click Here to access.

DVD Release Date: April 2, 2001
Unique Cardboard Box Case
Chapters: 9
 

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• "Salò": Yesterday and Today, a 33-minute documentary featuring interviews with director Pier Paolo Pasolini, actor-filmmaker Jean-Claude Biette, and Pasolini friend Nineto Davoli
• Fade to Black, a 23-minute documentary featuring directors Bernardo Bertolucci, Catherine Breillat, and John Maybury, as well as scholar David Forgacs
• The End of "Salò", a 40-minute documentary about the film’s production
• New interviews with set designer Dante Ferretti and director and film scholar Jean-Pierre Gorin
• Optional English-dubbed soundtrack
• Theatrical trailer
• 80-page liner notes booklet featuring new essays by Neil Bartlett, Catherine Breillat, Naomi Greene, Sam Rohdie, Roberto Chiesi, and Gary Indiana, and excerpts from Gideon Bachmann’s on-set diary

DVD Release Date: August 26th, 2008
Keep Case
Chapters: 2
4

Release Information:
Studio:
BFI Video

 

Feature 20.5 Gig

Catalog - BFIB1001, 1080P Single-layered, Region B Blu-ray

 

DISC ONE (DVD & Blu-ray)

·          Fully Complete & Uncut, telecined from original Italian restoration negatives

   

·          BD: 1.856:1 (1080p, 24fps) / BD25 / PCM mono

·          Original Italian language version (with optional English subtitles)

·          Original English language version (with optional HoH subtitles)

·          Original Italian trailer (with optional English subtitles)

·          Coil - Ostia (the Death of Pasolini) The original 1987 track from Coil's celebrated second album, Horse Rotorvator, with a newly created video accompaniment, shot especially for this release, by Peter Christopherson.

 

DISC TWO (Standard Def PAL DVD Disc, to be included in both DVD & BD editions)

·          On set footage and interviews (1974, 25m) – newly created documentary using full colour footage shot in 1974 by acclaimed film journalist and Pasolini expert Gideon Bachmann.

·          Featurettes: Open Your Eyes and Walking With Pasolini

·          Whoever Says the Truth Shall Die (1981, 58m) Philo Bregstein's classic documentary on the life and death of Pier Paolo Pasolini.

·          Fade to Black (2001, 25m) – documentary with Mark Kermode exploring the ongoing relevance and power of Pasolini's controversial masterpiece, with Bernardo Bertolucci and other leading directors.

·          Ostia (1991, 25m, with optional director commentary track) – Julian Cole's short film about the last days of Pasolini, starring Derek Jarman.

 

Fully illustrated booklet

·          Newly commissioned essay by Sam Rohdie (Italian film scholar and author on Pasolini)

·          Sight & Sound article by Gideon Bachmann incorporating his on-set diary

·          1979 review of the film by Gilbert Adair

·          James Ferman letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions

·          Cast and credits for the film

·          Pasolini biography by Italian film specialist Geoffrey Nowell-Smith

·          Photographs of Pasolini at work on set

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,796,360,140 bytes

Feature: 26,199,060,480 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps

Edition Details:

• "Salò": Yesterday and Today, a 33-minute documentary featuring interviews with director Pier Paolo Pasolini, actor-filmmaker Jean-Claude Biette, and Pasolini friend Nineto Davoli
• Fade to Black, a 23-minute documentary featuring directors Bernardo Bertolucci, Catherine Breillat, and John Maybury, as well as scholar David Forgacs
• The End of "Salò", a 40-minute documentary about the film’s production
• New interviews with set designer Dante Ferretti and director and film scholar Jean-Pierre Gorin
• Optional English-dubbed soundtrack
• Theatrical trailer
• 80-page liner notes booklet featuring new essays by Neil Bartlett, Catherine Breillat, Naomi Greene, Sam Rohdie, Roberto Chiesi, and Gary Indiana, and excerpts from Gideon Bachmann’s on-set diary

Blu-ray Release Date: O
ctober 4th, 2011
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 2
3
 

 

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

Bitrate:  Criterion (REISSUE)

Bitrate:  Gaumont

 

 

Bitrate:

Criterion

Bitrate:

BFI

Bitrate:

BFI Blu-ray

NO BITRATE FOR BFI BLU-RAY YET

Bitrate:

Criterion Collection - Spine # 17 
Region 'A'
Blu-ray

Comments

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

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - September 11': This comparison need not be as confusing as we have made it. We have relied on our initial reference review(s) from well over a decade ago. As opposed to redoing the captures to match our current standards - I ended up selling my original Criterion DVD for some un-Godly amount of money many years ago - so it was not possible. To quote a ginormous understatement - the film always left a sour taste in my mouth <pun intended) and I only revisit to perpetuate this comparison page. I'll make some quick comments - and perhaps we can move on:

1) Yes, the Criterion Blu-ray shows edge-enhancement (just like the BFI - although less prominent). It was probably on the reissue DVD but the 1080 resolution makes it easier to identify. I suspect that it is on D1 master - no fault of the disc transfers.

2) the dual-layered Criterion image seems to me to have more balanced colors. The BFI varies from overly pale to occasionally reddish.

3) There is movement in the frame but I think the BFI shows more information in the right and bottom edges.

4) The BFI frequently looks green - but have no idea of how authentic this is to theatrical.

5) Audio seems a wash with both having the PCM - exporting mono, but I honestly didn't do any testing. Ditto for both of the English DUBs.

6) The Criterion Blu-ray is still without the 25-second sequence at roughly 42-minutes into the film during the first wedding ceremony, where one of the masters quotes a poem by Gottfried Benn.  

Both Blu-ray editions have extensive supplements - both have 'The End of Salo' documentary and other, different extras. The BFI have most on a second disc PAL DVD where Criterion house the same ones as found on the Reissue DVD but now all on the lone dual-layered Blu-ray disc - in HD.

With both editions being region-locked, I suspect the number of fans capable of 'choosing' for their home theater presentation is at the low end. Making a more black-and-white judgment than usual - I'd take the Criterion Blu-ray for image, the BFI for the extras - and for those in need of the missing 25-seconds - the BFI is there for your option.

***

BFI RELEASE IS DEFINITELY REGION 'B" ONLY! BFI - Blu-ray - Region NOTE: I HAVE RECEIVED A CHECKDISC Blu-ray SCREENER FROM BFI - IT IS DEFINITELY REGION FREE ALTHOUGH WE'VE BEEN TOLD THAT THE FINAL Blu-ray RELEASE WILL BE REGION 'B' ONLY. THIS IS CONTRARY TO OUR INITIAL INFORMATION BUT I BELIEVE IT WILL BE CODED FOR THAT Blu-ray REGION ONLY! (Africa, Southwest Asia, Europe - except Russia and Kazakhstan - Oceania and their dependencies.)

I was only sent the first disc - hence, this is all I can review at this point. The full listing of disc two is above. Detail on the single-layered BFI  Blu-ray is as good as we expected. It towers above the new Criterion in that regard. It looks quite stunning although I did detect some edge enhancement (see below) in certain outdoor scenes. There is still some noise but I also see grain. The big difference is in the color scheme. Directly beside the Criterion - that edition look to have been boosted with the BFI showing a much softer palette. I prefer this more subdued look, which I suspect is more accurate, but I'd like to do some further analysis this weekend perhaps simultaneous viewings toggling back and forth between the 2 transfers. I'm sure I'll get abundant advice on which is more 'true' in email.

The BFI Blu-ray has the missing scene (see capture #6 - 25-second sequence during the first wedding ceremony, where one of the masters quotes a poem by Gottfried Benn) and the UK Blu-ray has an immediate option for the English credit sequence (as well as that DUB).

Extras include the 6:54 Death of Pasolini featurette that some may find as bewildering as the man himself. This is presented in HD - 1080P resolution. There is also an Italian trailer in HD (4:09).

I will post more as soon as I have some of that rare commodity; time.

Gary Tooze

***

ADDITION - Criterion (REISSUE): Big thanks to CDNChris of Criterion Forum for extensive effort he went to for the, PC-obtained, screen grabs.

NOTE: Our original comparison was done many years ago but the new captures were obtained utilizing the exact same method. It appears as though the Criterion has, both, the most detail and more information in the frame (side edges) - even more so than the BFI. It is cleaner and smoother - damage removed but is still missing the short 25-second sequence at 0:42:24 (see below) during the first wedding ceremony, where one of the masters quotes a poem by Gottfried Benn. The sequence is intact on the Region 2 BFI DVD.

The Criterion seem to have used the 'Alchemist' method of transfer - with brief interlacing between chapter stops - as noted in the screen grab below.

An optional English DUB is offered as well as extensive extras. We will comment further once we have it in our possession but the Criterion easily appears to be the definitive edition at present.

Gary Tooze

***

ON THE ORIGINAL CRITERION, Gaumont and BFI: the (old) Criterion and Gaumont have been slightly cropped on both vertical sides (see captures # 1-5) and the Criterion has deleted a scene (25-second sequence during the first wedding ceremony - see capture # 6). the Criterion shows more edge enhancement and the color is strangely yellow/greenish compared to the BFI version. The Gaumont is miles ahead of both of these version in image clarity and color adherence although looks slightly vertically stretched - see the titles below!. The BFI subtitles are clear. BFI DVD image shows the most damage (see 'black hole' in capture # 3) and occasional fluctuations in brightness. The Criterion image is sharper than the BFI which appears soft at times especially noticeable for a film with many medium to long shots. The BFI and Gaumont have just nine chapter stops, which are timed to coincide with Pasolini’s own chapter divisions. The Criterion has 29 chapters accessible in a nice DVD menu. The Criterion sub-titles are removable but not as clear as the BFI ones which are burnt in. The Gaumont only has French subtitles.



Criterion (REISSUE DVD) Package:

 

 

BFI Extras

 

 

DVD Menus

Criterion (REISSUE)

 


 

(Gaumont Columbia Tristar - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


Edge enhancement HALO on the BFI Blu-ray

Title

1) Gaumont Columbia Tristar - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion (original) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion (REISSUE) - Region 1 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) BFI (Blu-ray) - Region 'B' title - English opening credits 1 (3:15)  - FIFTH

6) BFI (Blu-ray) - Region 'B' title - Italian opening credits 2 (3:15) - BOTTOM

 

 

Criterion REISSUE DVD appears to have utilized 'alchemist' transfer method with combing between chapter stops!

 

 


Screen Captures

 

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

 

1) Gaumont Columbia Tristar - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion (original) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion (REISSUE) - Region 1 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  - FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Gaumont Columbia Tristar - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion (original) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion (REISSUE) - Region 1 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  - FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Gaumont Columbia Tristar - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion (original) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion (REISSUE) - Region 1 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  - FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Gaumont Columbia Tristar - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion (original) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion (REISSUE) - Region 1 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  - FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Print damage Frame ( 0:05:56 ) - restored on Gaumont, Criterion and BFI Blu-ray

 

1) Gaumont Columbia Tristar - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion (original) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion (REISSUE) - Region 1 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  - FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


Capture # 6

Scene at around 42 minutes (below) is missing from the Criterion and Gaumont discs.
IMDB - The Criterion and Gaumont DVD omit a short 25-second sequence during the 
first wedding ceremony, where one of the masters quotes a poem by 
Gottfried Benn. The sequence is intact on the Region 2 BFI DVD
(BOTTOM) and the BFI Blu-ray (TOP).

 

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray
Menu:-

  
Criterion Collection - Spine #17 (REISSUE)
Region 1 - NTSC
BFI Video 
Region 'B'
Blu-ray 
Criterion Collection - Spine # 17 
Region 'A'
Blu-ray 

 



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Gary Tooze