(aka 'The Witches" or "Witchcraft Through the Ages')

directed by Benjamin Christensen
Sweden 19
22

 

  Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath: Benjamin Christensen’s legendary film uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that the witches of the middle ages suffered the same hysteria as turn-of-the-century psychiatric patients. But the film itself is far from serious—instead it’s a witches’ brew of the scary, gross, and darkly humorous.

Gary W. Tooze

Posters etc.

Theatrical Release: September 18th, 1922 - Sweden

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 134 - Region 1- NTSC

(click titles for DVDBeaver reviews)

Criterion (without the 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 1:45:04
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.71 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate:

Audio Music: (Dolby Digital 5.0), (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles on Intertitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion / Home Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Häxan (1922):
• New digital, speed-corrected transfer of the Swedish Film Institute’s tinted restoration
• Music from the original Danish premiere, arranged by film music specialist Gillian Anderson and performed by the Czech Film Orchestra, presented in Dolby Digital 5.0
• Commentary by Danish silent film scholar Casper Tybjerg
• Benjamin Christensen’s introduction to the 1941 re-release
• A short selection of outtakes
• Bibliothèque Diabolique: a photographic exploration of Christensen’s historical sources
• Stills gallery
• New English translation of intertitles
• Witchcraft Through the Ages (1968): The 76-minute version of Häxan, narrated by William S. Burroughs, with a soundtrack featuring Jean-Luc Ponty


DVD Release Date: October 16th, 2001

Keep Case
Chapters: 22

 

 

Comments:

The Swedish Film Institute’s restoration of Häxan began with the creation of a fine-grain master made from the original camera negative. The intertitles, most of which had been lost, were replaced with new film titles. Then, the SFI recreated the tinting that had originally been present in theatrical prints of Häxan, bringing this version much closer to what audiences might have seen at the time of its original release.

Criterion's new digital transfer was made from a 35mm low-contrast print, at the Swedish Film Institute’s recommended speed of 20 frames per second. During shots of rapid motion, there is a “tracer” effect; this is present in the original film image. If not for this knowledge I would have said that this was the first non HD-sourced Criterion DVD I had ever seen, but the "combing" that I saw is the 'tracer' effect due to the frame speed noted above.

You can't really have any fault with the image once you become aware of the detail and effort that went into producing this print. It shows damage - yes, but at time it looks remarkable as evidenced by the screen captures below.
The audio 5.0 mix makes the experience a truly haunting one and the DVD is rife with extras including the 76 minute 1968 version and a commentary on the feature. Again Criterion goes above and beyond. out of

Gary W. Tooze

 





DVD Menus

 


Subtitled Intertitle Sample

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 


 

 


 

 

 


 

 


DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 134 - Region 1- NTSC

(click titles for DVDBeaver reviews)

Criterion (without the 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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