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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "A Venezia... un dicembre rosso shocking" )

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/roeg.htm
UK / Italy 1973

Widely acclaimed as one of the greatest horror films ever made, Nicolas Roeg’s (The Man Who Fell To Earth, Bad Timing) masterful Don’t Look Now is based on Daphne Du Maurier’s shattering short story.

Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie give career-best performances as John and Laura Baxter, an art restorer and his wife struggling to recover from the trauma of their daughter’s accidental drowning. To assuage their grief, the young British couple travel to wintry Venice, on a working holiday to restore a church. Once there, they get involved with two otherworldly sisters, Heather and Wendy (Hilary Mason and Clelia Matania), one of whom is a blind medium who insists she can get them in touch with their late daughter and warns them of danger.

A truly original work that blends psychological thriller with a disturbing sense of the macabre, Don’t Look Now also offers a profound and poignant mediation on love and loss. Making evocative use of its disquieting, out-of-season setting, an emerging generation of directors (not least Steven Soderbergh) have cited the film as an influence, ensuring that its reputation as a modern classic continues to grow.

***

A girl in a red raincoat, a boy on a red bike, the girl throwing a red ball into water, which reflects her red raincoat, which becomes fire by a cut from exterior to interior, where a book with a red cover is on the table, where the man watches a slide in which there is a red hood figure, cutting to the reflection of the girl with the red raincoat, cutting to interior again, where the woman is looking for her red label cigarettes, which is found by the man, who throws them to her, as the girl outside throws the red ball into the water, as the man inside tips a glass of water onto his slides, cutting himself, allowing blood to flow onto the slide of the red hooded figure, making him run out of the house as the girl in the red raincoat is drowning. And as the blood on the slide forms a whirlpool, so does the water as the man rises from below it with the lifeless girl with the red raincoat in his arms.

So opens Nicholas Roeg’s masterpiece “Don’t Look Now”.

One of the most beautifully constructed opening sequences ever, edited by Graeme Clifford, it does not only set up the theme of colour red – which throughout the film stalks the images – and of time / space disorder, linked by the colour red; Roeg even cuts in the cover of the book Beyond the fragile geometry of space, as if to stress how space, time and reality are connected in disorderly ways, a theme he so elegantly sets up thru editing, by constantly cutting back and forth between the outside and inside, and by inverting elements. The very first image of raid outside becomes light reflecting in glass spheres inside, as water outside becomes fire inside, as the woman’s tapping of her lips inside becomes the girls giggle behind her fingers outside, the boy looking for a splinter in his wheel mimics the woman searching for her cigarettes inside, and so forth. This being an intellectual montage, the images are not directly linked to create an idea, but more linked in a way, which appears unrelated, allowing for linkage by paranormal or mystic means.

Both do play a significant role in the story. John is able to see things that not yet have happened, so does the blind sister, and Roeg sets up fate as a force, both by imagery of the laughing gargoyles and by events, such as the blind sister having visions during epileptic seizures, which in ancient times was thought to be either demonic possessions or visions evoked by the gods. In the scene, where John almost falls to his death, Roeg inserts the image of the blind sister laughing, who earlier warned Laura about her husband being in danger. It is, as if the death of John and Laura’s daughter – the girl in the red raincoat – is a forewarning of the death of John by the red hooded figure in the end; she even is the opposite of a little girl, being an old dwarfed woman.

“Don’t Look Now” is a masterpiece of psychological horror, and arguable Roeg’s best film. It is as fresh today as it was more than thirty years ago, as provocative, as intelligent. Its casting appears more and more perfect with the years, so does its editing and direction.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 9, 1973 (New York City, New York)

Reviews        More Reviews        DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Warner / Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL vs. Optimum (Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Ole Kofoed and Henrik Sylow for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Warner / Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) Optimum (Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Warner / Studio Canal

Region 2 - PAL

Optimum
Region 2 - PAL
Paramount
Region 1 - NTSC
Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:45:2 (4% PAL speedup) 1:45:43 (4% PAL speedup) 1:49:5 1:50:11.000
Video

1.81:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.14 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.80:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.26 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.40 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,690,886,578 bytes

Feature: 31,222,358,016 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

 

Warner / Studio Canal

 

Bitrate:

 

Optimum (Special Edition)

 

Bitrate:

 

Paramount

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono

2.0 Dolby Digital English Mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, French Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (dub)

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Subtitles No Subtitles No Subtitles English, French, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner / Studio Canal

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.81:1

Edition Details:
• Looking Back - Featurette (19:31 / 16x9)
• Campaign Book (DVD-ROM PDF)
• Trailer - Fullscreen (2:14)

DVD Release Date: July 29, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.80:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Nicholas Roeg
• Introduction by Alan Jones (7:12 / 16x9)
• Looking Back (19:31 / 16x9)
• Death in Venice: Interview with Pino Donaggio (17:36 / 16x9)
• Trailer (2:32)

 

DVD Release Date: November 13th, 2006
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (3:15 / 16x9)

 

DVD Release Date: August 19, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 15

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,690,886,578 bytes

Feature: 31,222,358,016 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Nicholas Roeg
• Introduction by Alan Jones (7:12 / 16x9 in 576i)
• Looking Back (19:31 / 16x9 in 576i)
• Death in Venice: Interview with Pino Donaggio (17:36 / 16x9 in 576i)

• Compressed Version of Don't Look Now by Danny Boyle for Bafta Tribute (4:31)

• Nothing as it Seems (15:37 in 576i)

• Interview with Danny Boyle (15:10 in 576i)

• Interview with Donald Sutherland (23:14 in 567i)

• Interview with Screenwriter/Producer Alan Scott (14:31 in 576i)

• Interview with Cinematographer Tony Richmond (23:48 in 576i)
• Trailer (2:32 in 576i)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: July 4th, 2011
Thicker (UK) Blu-ray Case inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters 16

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - July 11': Plenty of positives here with Optimum's 'Special Edition' Blu-ray of Roeg's masterful Don't Look Now. It is notably brighter, with more vibrant colors and significantly more in formation in the frame. The dual-layered 1080P handles the textures so much better than the DVDs where it often came off as noise. There is a lot of soft-focus shots in Don't Look Now but the hi-def transfer doesn't export this as inferior - or less detailed. Overall this looks quite good and I was very curious to see how the new format would handle this film and Tony Richmond's cinematography. I'd declare it a big success - visually - and is director-approved.

The audio is in faithful stereo via a linear PCM Audio track at 2304 kbps. Some of the creepier moments benefit from the lossless audio transfer. Pino Donaggio's score seems all the more mysterious and dark. There are optional English subtitles (see sample below) on the region 'B'-locked disc.

Supplement have all the extras of the 2006 Optimum SE DVD - but add even more. Retained is the informative audio commentary by Roeg, the 7-minute introduction by Alan Jones, the 20-minute Looking Back featurette and the 'Death in Venice' interview with composer Pino Donaggio. The trailer also stays. What is new are over an hour's worth of additional interviews with Danny Boyle (15:10 in 576i PAL - as are all video extras), Donald Sutherland (23:14), Screenwriter/Producer Alan Scott (14:31) and cinematographer Tony Richmond (23:48), plus a delightful 5-minute 'Compressed Version' of Don't Look Now by Danny Boyle for BAFTA Tribute.

I'd say this is another in a long list of Region 'B'-locked discs that make consideration for a region FREE Blu-ray player all the more pressing for region 'A'-locked audiences. Don't Look Now is dramatically more impacting in 1080P and this Optimum package is one of their best. It gave me a memorable viewing presentation. We give this a resolute recommendation.

***

ON THE DVD: Henrik Sylow on the Optimum
The transfer of Optimum is stunning. No visible artefacts, sharp details, strong - original palette - colours. It is however slightly more overscanned than the previous R2, by apprx. 1%. Compared to both the Warner R2 and the Paramount R1, it stands out an improvement in all departments.

The sound is, as on the other versions, the original 2.0 Mono track. Nothing to be said about it.

What makes the Optimum even better is its additional features. While it ports Warners featurette, it has an added introduction by critic Alan Jones, an interview with composer Pino Donnagio (produced by Blue Underground for Optimum) and an audio commentary by Roeg and critic John Smith, where Roeg ranges between anecdotes and reflections upon influences and production.

Gary Tooze on the Warner and Paramount
Some really bad color manipulation has gone on with one of these DVDs. Looking solely at skin tones I would suggest that the Region 1 Paramount disc is the culprit for the more obvious altering. They both look to have the negligible differences in sharpness and contrast levels with both leaning a shade towards the NTSC version. The Paramount is cropped on the top and left edges more than we would appreciate - less so for the Warner on the bottom and right. The Paramount offers a French DUB option along with the original English audio. The Warner audio has some audio distortion and is less polished than the Paramount. The Warner offers no subtitles where the NTSC gives an English/French choice. Extras go the way of the PAL edition as the Paramount offers only a trailer. Overall the NTSC has badly altered the colors to such an extent that we are going with the Warner-PAL for the image. With the Warner audio problem, we feel overall the Paramount is the version to buy, regardless of its flaws (color and lack of extras).
 



DVD Menus
(Warner / Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Optimum (Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


 

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

 

Subtitle Sample - Blu-ray

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Warner / Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Optimum (Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner / Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Optimum (Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner / Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Optimum (Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner / Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Optimum (Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner / Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Optimum (Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


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Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Warner / Studio Canal

Region 2 - PAL

Optimum
Region 2 - PAL
Paramount
Region 1 - NTSC
Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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