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( aka 'Colonel Blimp' or "The Adventures of Colonel Blimp")

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/powell.htm
U.K. 1943

Considered by many to be the finest British film ever made, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is a stirring masterpiece like no other. Roger Livesey dynamically embodies outmoded English militarism as the indelible General Clive Candy, who barely survives four decades of tumultuous British history, 1902 to 1942, only to see the world change irrevocably before his eyes. Anton Walbrook and Deborah Kerr provide unforgettable support, he as a German enemy turned lifelong friend of Candy’s and she as young women of three consecutive generations—a socially committed governess, a sweet-souled war nurse, and a modern-thinking army driver—who inspire him. Colonel Blimp is both moving and slyly satirical, an incomparable film about war, love, aging, and obsolescence, shot in gorgeous Technicolor.

***

"It's almost impossible to define this 1943 masterpiece by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It was ostensibly based on a cartoon series that satirized the British military class, yet its attitude toward the main character is one of affection, respect, and sometimes awe; it was intended as a propaganda film, yet Churchill wanted to suppress it; it has the romantic sweep of a grand love story, yet none of the romantic relationships it presents is truly fulfilled, and the film's most lasting bond is one between the British colonel (Roger Livesey) and his Prussian counterpart (Anton Walbrook)."

Dave Kehr

Excerpt from his review HERE at the Chicago Reader

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 10th, 1943 UK (Premiere)

Reviews                    More Reviews                          DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Carlton - Region 2 - PAL vs. ITV (Restoration Edition) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Also in a Steelbook Blu-ray edition:

Distribution

The Criterion Collection Spine #173

Region 0  - NTSC

Carlton Visual Entertainment
Region 2 - PAL

ITV Studios

Region 'B'  - Blu-ray

Criterion Collection - Spine # 173  - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

(click titles for DVDBeaver reviews)

Criterion (without any extras) also available in The Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films - a 50-disc celebration of international films collected under the auspices of the groundbreaking theatrical distributor. It contains Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ashes And Diamonds (1958), L'avventura (1960), Ballad Of A Soldier (1959), Beauty And The Beast (1946), Black Orpheus (1959), Brief Encounter (1945), The Fallen Idol (1948), Fires On The Plain (1959), Fists In The Pocket (1965), Floating Weeds (1959), Forbidden Games (1952), The 400 Blows (1959), Grand Illusion (1937), Häxan (1922), Ikiru (1952), The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952), Ivan The Terrible, Part II (1958), Le Jour Se Lève (1939), Jules And Jim (1962), Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949), Knife In The Water (1962), The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1943), Loves Of A Blonde (1965), M (1931), M. Hulot's Holiday (1953), Miss Julie (1951), Pandora's Box (1929), Pépé Le Moko (1937), Il Posto (1961), Pygmalion (1938), Rashomon (1950), Richard III (1955), The Rules Of The Game (1939), Seven Samurai (1954), The Seventh Seal (1957), The Spirit Of The Beehive (1973), La Strada (1954), Summertime (1955), The Third Man (1949), The 39 Steps (1935), Ugetsu (1953), Umberto D. (1952), The Virgin Spring (1960), Viridiana (1961), The Wages Of Fear (1953), The White Sheik (1952), Wild Strawberries (1957), Three Documentaries By Saul J. Turell plus the hardcover, full color 240-page book.

Runtime 2:43:25 2:36:35(4% PAL speedup) 2:43:49 .027 2:44:22.894
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.38 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.90 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,434,066,730 bytes

Feature: 39,083,298,816 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 28.00 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,430,958,584 bytes

Feature: 37,458,837,504 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 26.38 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

Criterion

 

Bitrate:

 

Carlton

 

Bitrate: ITV

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: Criterion

Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles English, and none English (Captions),  and none English, and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary featuring director Michael Powell with Martin Scorsese
• Carlton International's 24-minute video profile
• A collection of rare behind-the-scenes and production stills from the collection of Michael Powell
• A collection of David Low's original Colonel Blimp cartoons

DVD Release Date: October 22, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 31

Release Information:
Studio: Carlton Visual Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Documentary A Profile of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, including interviews with Oscar-winning cinematographer Jack Cardiff, Powell and Pressburger biographer Ian Christie and fan of the film Stephen Fry (23:48 min)
• Biographies
• Stills gallery

DVD Release Date: May 13th, 2002
Transparent
Keep Case

Chapters 19

Release Information:
Studio:
ITV Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

 

Edition Details:
• Documentary A Profile of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, including interviews with Oscar-winning cinematographer Jack Cardiff, Powell and Pressburger biographer Ian Christie and fan of the film Stephen Fry (24:00)
• Text Biographies
• Stills gallery

Martin Scorsese Restoration Piece(4:39)

PAL - R2 DVD of the Film

Steelcase contains 4 postcards

Blu-ray Release Date: October 22nd, 2012
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 19

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,430,958,584 bytes

Feature: 37,458,837,504 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 26.38 Mbps

Edition Details:
Audio commentary featuring director Michael Powell and filmmaker Martin Scorsese
• New video introduction by Scorsese (13:51)
A Profile of “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp,” a documentary from 2000 (24:04)
• Restoration demonstration, hosted by Scorsese (4:50)
• Optimism and Sheer Will, a 2012 interview with editor Thelma Schoonmaker Powell, Michael Powell’s widow (29:14)
• Gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes production stills
• Gallery tracing the history of David Low’s original Colonel Blimp cartoons
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Molly Haskell

Blu-ray Release Date: March 19th, 2013
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 30

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Criterion Region 'A' Blu-ray - (March 2013) - There is not significant difference between the two Blu-ray images. The Criterion may be a shade darker in some scenes - has a slightly lower bitrate, but this is from the same restoration, dual-layered and looks wonderful. Many of the large captures look exactly the same when toggling back and forth.

My ears weren't capable of detecting differences in the audio either - both lossless - the ITV may be shade more robust than the 1.0 channel mono Criterion. Both Blu-rays offer optional English subtitles and are coded for their respective regions.

Criterion vaults ahead with their supplements. We get the previous audio commentary featuring director Michael Powell and filmmaker Martin Scorsese from the 2000 DVD release, as well as the same 24-minute A Profile of “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp,” and the gallery of stills (behind-the-scenes and David Low’s cartoons). What is new from the older Criterion DVD is a new 14-minute video introduction by Scorsese, the 1/2 hour Optimism and Sheer Will 2012 interview with editor Thelma Schoonmaker Powell, Michael Powell’s widow. We also get the 5-minute Restoration demonstration, hosted by Scorsese as found on the ITV DVD. The Criterion package also has a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Molly Haskell.

This is a magnificent to have for Region 'A'-locked Blu-ray audiences. A magnificent release that Powell and Pressburger fans will hold tightly with both hands. Recommended!

***

ADDITION: ITV - Region 'B' Blu-ray - December 2012: Wow, we are treated to a highly impressive image from ITV's 1080P transfer of the restored version of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. Colors are finally aligned, bright and true. Detail advances - as does the presentation as a closer film-like recreation. Contrast is superior with deep, rich, black levels. This is one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.

Audio is a reasonably robust linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 2304 kbps. Allan Gray's score including pieces like "The Mill Went Round and Round" and the traditional march of "The British Grenadiers", plus Schubert, Mendelssohn, Offenbach and Lohengrin all benefit from the lossless rendering. There is a crispness and perceived range tucked in there. English subtitles are optional on the region 'B'-locked disc.

Included in the supplements is the 24-minute documentary A Profile of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, including interviews with Oscar-winning cinematographer Jack Cardiff, Powell and Pressburger biographer Ian Christie and fan of the film Stephen Fry. There are text biographies, a stills gallery and 4.5 minutes with Martin Scorsese discussing the restoration with a few split screen examples. The package comes with a, second disc PAL - R2 DVD of the Film and the steelcase Blu-ray contains 4 postcards.

Wonderful to see this Powell and Pressburger gem done correctly - an easy recommendation and this should make some noise on our end-of-year poll!

***

ON THE DVDs: This comparison was previously posted on DVDBeaver from Markus of Chiaroscuro HERE. I had supplied him with the Criterion screen captures. I have recently purchased this DVD (in the Powell/Pressburger Boxset) so am doing a new comparison since I have had the opportunity of seeing both versions on one system. Using the "First Frame" technique I am confident that the frames are matched correctly.

Both versions have strengths in certain areas. Although the sharpness is very similar - it is also quite different. The Carlton looks saturated next to the Criterion and its softer palette. I think it actually is saturated to a small degree but beside the Criterion it looks worse. I think the Criterion is slightly sharper in most of the film. The Criterion has a greenish haze to some of its image as well as skin tones appearing very red. Again, as with The Red Shoes, I won't comment on my perception of the directorial intent of the film. It may very well have been meant to look exactly as Criterion is showing... or as the Carlton is showing. I think we could spend hours speculating on which is "more right", but it comes down to personal preference. To me, the skin tones of the Carlton look much more realistic. The colors certainly appear more vibrant in the Carlton, but others may prefer the softness of the Criterion. The Carlton DVD does show more damage than the Criterion - but it is not extensive. The Carlton seems to look better the more the film progresses. The contrast is so deep in the Carlton, I began to look for Edge Enhancement - but I found none to my naked eye. The Criterion is more evenly brighter (look at outdoor scenes) and the Carlton black levels are much deeper. The Criterion is cropped on both sides and the top - the Carlton has some missing information on the bottom. Criterion shows some film grain.

For these reasons is quite difficult to state that one is the definitive image - winning out over the other. Your vision can tend to adjust to image color characteristic very quickly and as long as the pattern is consistent - it won't affect your enjoyment of this fine film. Both release exhibit consistency in their image color. So the final conclusion is that they are both acceptable to DVDBeaver. Personally I almost always lean towards the sharpest version - in this case the Criterion - but the Carlton is strong in many other areas (black levels, cropping, realistic color etc. ) that I am going to sit on the fence.

The Extras are good on both discs, but the Criterion nudges ahead with its Commentary featuring Powell and Scorsese.

One additional point - the Carlton menus are wonderfully animated! Both releases get top marks!

 - Gary W. Tooze


Menus

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


 

ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


 

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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

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



1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

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


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

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

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

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

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

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

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

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

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

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

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

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

 

More Blu-ray Captures

1) ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

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

 

 

1) ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

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

 

 

1) ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

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

 

 

1) ITV - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

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

 


Associated Reading (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Box Covers

Also in a Steelbook Blu-ray edition:

Distribution

The Criterion Collection Spine #173

Region 0  - NTSC

Carlton Visual Entertainment
Region 2 - PAL

ITV Studios

Region 'B'  - Blu-ray

Criterion Collection - Spine # 173  - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

(click titles for DVDBeaver reviews)

Criterion (without any extras) also available in The Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films - a 50-disc celebration of international films collected under the auspices of the groundbreaking theatrical distributor. It contains Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ashes And Diamonds (1958), L'avventura (1960), Ballad Of A Soldier (1959), Beauty And The Beast (1946), Black Orpheus (1959), Brief Encounter (1945), The Fallen Idol (1948), Fires On The Plain (1959), Fists In The Pocket (1965), Floating Weeds (1959), Forbidden Games (1952), The 400 Blows (1959), Grand Illusion (1937), Häxan (1922), Ikiru (1952), The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952), Ivan The Terrible, Part II (1958), Le Jour Se Lève (1939), Jules And Jim (1962), Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949), Knife In The Water (1962), The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1943), Loves Of A Blonde (1965), M (1931), M. Hulot's Holiday (1953), Miss Julie (1951), Pandora's Box (1929), Pépé Le Moko (1937), Il Posto (1961), Pygmalion (1938), Rashomon (1950), Richard III (1955), The Rules Of The Game (1939), Seven Samurai (1954), The Seventh Seal (1957), The Spirit Of The Beehive (1973), La Strada (1954), Summertime (1955), The Third Man (1949), The 39 Steps (1935), Ugetsu (1953), Umberto D. (1952), The Virgin Spring (1960), Viridiana (1961), The Wages Of Fear (1953), The White Sheik (1952), Wild Strawberries (1957), Three Documentaries By Saul J. Turell plus the hardcover, full color 240-page book.

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Blu-rays

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Blu-rays

Extras: Criterion Blu-ray



 

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Gary Tooze