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http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/cassavetes.htm
USA 1974

John Cassavetes has been called a genius, a visionary, and the father of independent film. But all this rhetoric threatens to obscure the humanism and generosity of his art. The five films included here represent his self-financed works made outside the studio system of Hollywood, on which he was afforded complete control. While about beatniks, hippies, businessmen, actors, housewives, strippers, club owners, gangsters, and children, all of them are beautiful, emotional testaments to compassion. Cassavetes has often been called an actor's director.

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John Cassavetes’ devastating drama details the emotional breakdown of a suburban housewife and her family’s struggle to save her from herself. Starring Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands (in one of the greatest and most harrowing screen performances of the 1970s) as a married couple, deeply in love, yet unable to express their love in terms that the other can understand, A Woman Under the Influence is an uncompromising examination of mental illness and an honest portrayal of domestic life. A benchmark film of the American independent cinema—a heroic document from a true maverick director.

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Posters

Theatrical Release: October 12th, 1974 - New York Film Festival

Reviews                      More Reviews                   DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Optimum (The John Cassavetes Collection) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Pioneer - Region 0 - NTSC (*DVD10) vs. Criterion Boxset (8 discs) - Region 0 - PAL vs. BFI (Dual Format) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

* A DVD10 is DVD with two-single layered sides

 

1) Optimum (The John Cassavetes Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) Pioneer - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Criterion (Cassavetes - 5 Films) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) BFI - Region FREE - Blu-ray FOURTH

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

 

Box Covers

Only available in the Boxset listed below:

 

 

Only available in the Boxset listed below:

Only available in Criterion John Cassavetes: Five Films Blu-ray set:

The 6 - disc John Cassavetes Collection from Optimum includes: Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under The Influence, The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie, Opening Night with THESE LISTED EXTRAS.

The 8 - disc Criterion John Cassavetes - Five Films includes - Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under The Influence, The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie, Opening Night with THESE LISTED EXTRAS.

            

Distribution

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL 

Pioneer Video

Region 0  - NTSC

Criterion Collection - Boxset- Spine # 250 / individual spine # 253
Region 0 - NTSC
BFI (UK)
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Criterion Collection - Spine #253
Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:20:26 (4% PAL speedup) 1:23:09 + 1:02:36 = 2:25:45 2:26:50 2:26:26.694 2:27:03.022
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.24 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.58 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.25 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 38,979,539,284 bytes

Feature: 37,209,876,480 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,849,621,951 bytes

Feature: 37,636,380,672 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Optimum

Bitrate:

Pioneer (side 1)

Bitrate:

 

Criterion

 

Bitrate: BFI

 

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: Criterion

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital English English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby) 

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby) 

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 None None English, and none English, and none English, and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Elaine Kagan interviewed by Tom Charity (19:00 / 16x9)
• Audio interview with John Cassavates (1:15:00)

Boxset has THESE LISTED EXTRAS.

DVD Release Date: September 12, 2005
Digipack Box

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Pioneer Video

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 2 page liner notes by Ray Carney

DVD Release Date: March 24th, 1998
Keep Case

Chapters 7 + 4 = 11 in total

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Part of Boxset that also includes 'A Constant Forge' (Documentary on Cassavetes by Charles Kiselyak) , 'Shadows', 'Faces', 'The Killing of a Chinese Bookie', 'Opening Night', and  includes THESE EXTRAS.
• Audio commentary by longtime Cassavetes collaborators Mike Ferris (camera operator) and Bo Harwood (sound recordist/composer)
• New video interview with actors Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk
• Original TV spots
• Stills gallery featuring dozens of behind-the-scenes production photos 

DVD Release Date: September 24th, 2004

Packaging - (see below photos)
Chapters: 23

Release Information:
Studio: BFI

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 38,979,539,284 bytes

Feature: 37,209,876,480 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Original Trailer (2:58)
Alt 16mm Trailer (2:21) 

DVD of Feature included with extras:

• Falk on Cassavetes - Husbands and Wives (14:42)

• Elaine Kagan interviewed by Tom Charity (19:00)

28-page liner notes booklet

 

Blu-ray Release Date: September 17th, 2012
Transparent thick Blu-ray case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by longtime Cassavetes collaborators Mike Ferris (camera operator) and Bo Harwood (sound recordist/composer)
• New video interview with actors Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk
• Trailer
• Stills gallery featuring dozens of behind-the-scenes production photos 

Blu-ray Release Date: October 22nd, 2013
Custom
Blu-ray package
Chapters: 19

 

Comments:

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

 

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (September 2013): Well, perhaps even less difference in 1080P video than Shadows or Faces! Comments for the BFI still hold true! - wonderful grain rich colors... I doubt anyone could distinguish between the two Blu-ray visuals. LPCM audio and optional subtitles, plus Criterion's extensive extras from the 2005 DVD package - audio commentary by sound recordist and composer Bo Harwood and camera operator Mike Ferris, Rowlands, Falk video interview, TV spots and Still gallery. I don't know that I'll ever tire of revisiting these five films (Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Opening Night).

 

***

 

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

 

ADDITION: BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (August 2012): As anticipated, the story here is all about the grain and the marvelous textures that give the 1080P a 'substance' - devoid in the flatter SD format. This is dual-layered with a high bitrate and probably can't look any better in the digital format. The Blu-ray brings a grittiness to the surface that adds greatly to the v้rit้ appeal. It is not a different film in hi-def but a subtly more emotionally bonding viewing experience. Colors are slightly richer and contrast adds layers that marginally benefit detail. The aspect ratio is 1.85:1. Full marks to BFI on the visual rendering.

 

Audio is authentically transferred via a linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 2304 kbps. Background noises add prominence immersing the audience in atmospheric realism. There is notably more depth than the DVDs and dialogue is consistent and clear. There are optional English subtitles. The Blu-ray disc is region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras: On the Blu-ray are only both a 3-minute original trailer and the Alt 16mm Trailer running about 2.5 minutes. Being 'Dual Format' we get a DVD of the Feature with a couple of additional supplements - Falk on Cassavetes - Husbands and Wives is 15-minutes with the actor discussing his friend's strengths and abilities. We also get the same 19-minute Elaine Kagan interview by Tom Charity piece found on the 2005 Optimum DVD. BFI have generously included a 28-page liner notes booklet in the package.

Impressive release by the BFI - an essential for Cassavetes fans - one of his most impacting films in the best a/v available for your home theater. Strongly recommended!

NOTE: A ListServ member tells us in email "As good as the releases both are, the sad fact remains that WOMAN got a full (and truly fantastic) restoration/preservation by Ross Lipman at UCLA, who has been working through the entire Cassavetes catalog, but that print was not used for either disc release. Apparently, it was not available to BFI. (Same deal, unfortunately, on their recent FACES Blu-Ray, also restored by Ross and not used here. Sigh.)

The sound on WOMAN is what really shines through on the restoration; a huge amount of work was done to normalize and clean up a very erratic track. I hope eventually Criterion will reissue these all on
Blu-Ray from the preservation masters." (Thanks!)

***

ADDITION: Optimum - Region 2- PAL (September 05') - Again we pass on the early Pioneer disc. It is Open Matte. It is much duller. No digital extras but the included liner notes essay by Ray Carney is a great read.

The image quality of the two are very similar. Criterion has removable subs, the Optimum doesn't. Obviously those sensitive to PAL speed-up will have this as an issue in the Optimum.

The Criterion extras here are very strong and exceed the Optimum's.

***

This film has been shown theatrically at both aspect ratios and we can only conclude that the 1.85 Criterion is correct. Close observers can see boom microphones in the Pioneer version giving us cause to believe it was the Open Matte print. It is sharper than the Pioneer and it should be noted that the Pioneer is a DVD10 with two single layered sides.

NOTE: There is a French Release out of this film  Reviewed HERE, but it is also in 1.33 Open Matte... 

 - Gary W. Tooze

 


CRITERION BOXSET - CLICK TO ENLARGE

    

 

DVD Menus
Optimum (The John Cassavetes Collection) - Region 2 - PAL BELOW

 


Menus

(Pioneer - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 
 

 

 

 

 

 

BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

BFI - PAL - Region 2 DVD included with Blu-ray

 

 

Criterion Blu-ray

 


 

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920 X 1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Optimum (The John Cassavetes Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Pioneer - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Criterion (Cassavetes - 5 Films) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) BFI - Region FREE - Blu-ray FOURTH

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



 

1) Optimum (The John Cassavetes Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Pioneer - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Criterion (Cassavetes - 5 Films) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) BFI - Region FREE - Blu-ray FOURTH

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

 


1) Optimum (The John Cassavetes Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Pioneer - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Criterion (Cassavetes - 5 Films) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) BFI - Region FREE - Blu-ray FOURTH

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

 


1) Optimum (The John Cassavetes Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Pioneer - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Criterion (Cassavetes - 5 Films) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) BFI - Region FREE - Blu-ray FOURTH

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

 


 

1) Optimum (The John Cassavetes Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Pioneer - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Criterion (Cassavetes - 5 Films) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) BFI - Region FREE - Blu-ray FOURTH

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

 

 

More BFI - Blu-ray Captures

 

More Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Captures

 


Recommended Reading on Cassavetes (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Check out more in "The Library"


Box Covers

Only available in the Boxset listed below:

 

 

Only available in the Boxset listed below:

Only available in Criterion John Cassavetes: Five Films Blu-ray set:

The 6 - disc John Cassavetes Collection from Optimum includes: Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under The Influence, The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie, Opening Night with THESE LISTED EXTRAS.

The 8 - disc Criterion John Cassavetes - Five Films includes - Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under The Influence, The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie, Opening Night with THESE LISTED EXTRAS.

            

Distribution

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL 

Pioneer Video

Region 0  - NTSC

Criterion Collection - Boxset- Spine # 250 / individual spine # 253
Region 0 - NTSC
BFI (UK)
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Criterion Collection - Spine #253
Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...