(aka "MikaŽl" or "Chained: The Third Sex" or "The Inverts" or "The Heart's Desire" )

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/dreyer.htm
Germany 1924

"NOW I MAY DIE content, for I have seen great love." This is not, as one might suspect, a quotation from Gertrud, but from Michael, made in 1924 and probably the first of Dreyer's films that one can watch today without having to make allowances for its age or status as an apprentice work. True to his discovery after the setback of Der Var Engang, Dreyer made this a story exclusively about people, and although the film is suffused with the overpoweringly exotic atmosphere of German Expressionism (not unnaturally, since it was made in Germany with the collaboration of such stalwarts as Thea von Harbou, Karl Freund and Erich Pommer), everything in it from acting to dťcor and camerawork is so rigidly subordinated to this concern with people that Michael emerges as pure Dreyer. Probing deep down for the fears and longings that were to become a recurring refrain in his work ≠ fear of death, fear of solitude, fear of love and its uncanny powers to either summon or drive those fears away - Dreyer somehow coaxed, chiseled and molded an unruly narrative with almost as many wayward strands as the plot of Love One Another into a perfect unity illustrating the almost religious mystery concealed behind the hero's dying words, which are also used as an epigraph for the whole film: "Now I may die content, for I have seen great love."

Michael is perhaps Dreyer's first masterpiece, assured, reticent, and radiant with subtle inner connections...

- Tom Milne, The Films of Carl Dreyer (Tantivy Press, 1971)

Pages from original Danish programme (Thanks to MoC - more HERE)

 

Theatrical Release: September 1924

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DVD Comparison:

Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 1, USA VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 2, EUROPEAN VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL

(Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 1, USA VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 2, EUROPEAN VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)

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Distribution

Eureka

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:26:02 1:29:55
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1Original Aspect Ratio
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Audio Neal Kurz 2004 piano score

Pierre Oser 1993 piano/clarinet/cello score

Subtitles new English intertitles only German intertitles with optional English subtitles
Features Release Information:
Studio: Eureka

Aspect Ratio:
Original 1.33:1

Edition Details:

DISC ONE has a full length 2004 commentary by Casper Tybjerg, Dreyer scholar with the University of Copenhagen.


DVD Release Date: October 25th, 2004
Transparent single sized, double Keep case

18 Chapters

Release Information:
Studio: Eureka

Aspect Ratio:
Original 1.33:1

Edition Details:

DISC TWO has a 26-minute, illustrated audio interview with Dreyer from 1965
 

DVD Release Date: October 25th, 2004

Transparent single sized, double Keep case

18 Chapters

 

 

Comments
The film itself has not undergone a full restoration but both transfers here are quite acceptable regardless of the lesser resolution of the USA version and the chroma noise in the European version, but it isn't terribly distracting. It is interesting to compare the slight damage spots and it should be noted that this is an 80 year old film. Resolution is best on the European version (disc two) - as can clearly be seen from the screen captures below. Apparently, Eureka were torn between going with one version over the other and decided (thankfully) to go for both. I do notice (as with the Eureka 'M') that the European version looks 'thin' and appears to have Edge Enhancement but I zoomed in quite extensively without identifying.

David Shepard's "USA version" has removed the German intertitles and replaced them with new English intertitles which are not on the screen for the same length of time as the German intertitles. This results in over 3 minutes time difference across the entire film when compared to disc two (the "European version" with German intertitles). This prevented the super-imposition of the scores over one of the transfers without time-stretching. More worryingly, the "USA version" takes liberties by airbrushing screen information, such as the foreign writing in the magazine (2nd subtitle sample) which is replaced with modern English typography. This may have a negative effect on some intrepid viewers. This is dealt with more succinctly on the European version, where optional English subtitles are used and Dreyer's original shot is left intact.

 

The package is very pleasing, super menus, an exhaustive 20-page booklet including numerous salient reprints, and a new essay as well.

 

Although I enjoyed Neal Kurz's piano score on disc one, I have to say that the score on disc two by Pierre Oser (piano, clarinet, cello) is quite stirring and, as the booklet describes, is "psychologically correct".

 

The full length commentary by Casper Tybjerg is a meaty extra, maintaining the quality of his superb The Passion of Joan of Arc and Haxan commentaries on their respective Criterion discs. The 26 minute audio interview with Dreyer from 1965 is illustrated with stills, and is an important document for Dreyer historians. I was surprised to hear Dreyer's excellent English! A worthy addition to any cinephiles collection despite the image quality being less than perfect. out of   

-Gary W. Tooze

 

 





DVD Menus

(
Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 1, USA VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 2, EUROPEAN VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)

 

 


 

Subtitle Samples

 

Here's four shots. Two of the intertitles, and two of a particular part of the film where the USA VERSION is not as good as the EUROPEAN VERSION. Looks as if David Shepard choose to airbrush the original German text from the frame....

(Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 1, USA VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 2, EUROPEAN VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

(Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 1, USA VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 2, EUROPEAN VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 

 


Screen Captures

(Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 1, USA VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 2, EUROPEAN VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 1, USA VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 2, EUROPEAN VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 1, USA VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 2, EUROPEAN VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 1, USA VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 2, EUROPEAN VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 1, USA VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 2, EUROPEAN VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 1, USA VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 2, EUROPEAN VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 1, USA VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Eureka (MoC #3, Disc 2, EUROPEAN VERSION) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


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Image:

Disc 2 (European version)

Sound:

Disc 2 (European version)

Extras: Disc 1 (USA version)
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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...