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TITLE - Imagica - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM

(aka 'Professione: reporter' or 'El Reportero' or 'The Passenger')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/antonioni.htm
France / Italy / USA / Spain 1975

 

Michelangelo Antonioni takes his own uniquely unanswerable and elliptical look at the basic precepts of identity and truth. Character study, suspense and road picture wrapped up into one intentionally-paced masterpiece of pure cinema. Not unlike Antonioni's L'Avventura and Blow-Up we are introduced to a mystery - soon to uncover an even deeper one hidden under its emotional surface. An international reporter (another of Antonioni's working-class professional heroes - ex. see Il Grido) David Locke, played by a young-ish Jack Nicholson, chances upon the circumstance to switch identities with a similar looking guest of the Hotel he is staying at in Africa. The doppelganger is deceased on his bed. The switch is easy... too easy. Perhaps again, the atmospheric conditions strike influence as a typical Antonioni trapping. The surrounding barren and arid environment spark some unaccustomed behavior - sculpting more of the uncertainties that tie the film together. Included is one of the most memorable, and technically infuriating, tracking shots in the history of film coupled with an important use of natural audio throughout. Again defining Antonioni as arguably the greatest Italian film-maker of all time, The Passenger is simply required viewing. out of

Gary W. Tooze

 

  Posters

Theatrical Release: February 28th, 1975

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DVD Comparison:

Imagica - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC

(Imagica - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

   

(Out-of-Print)

Distribution  Imagica - Region 0 - NTSC  Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC
Runtime 2:05:30  2:05:40 
Video 1.79:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.35 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 
1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.43 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: Imagica

Bitrate: Sony

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles Japanese, None English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Portuguese, Thai, none
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Imagica

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.79:1

Edition Details:

• US Theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: April 5th, 2001

Keep Case
Chapters: 15

Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Jack Nicholson
• Commentary by journalist Aurora Irvine and screenwriter Mark Peploe

• US Theatrical trailer (2:09)

DVD Release Date: April 25th, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 28

 

Comments:

ADDITION: SONY - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC (April 06') - Regarding the image - I don't know that there is much more that I can add from simply looking at the screen captures. The new Sony is anamorphic, darker, a bit saturated, I believe the colors to be more accurate and it has some of the top frame (and left and right) slightly cropped. It is cleaner and doesn't show the damage visible on the washed-out Imagica release. Most importantly to many of us the new Sony has the international version, including the seven extra minutes that are deleted from the 'American edition'. On a tube or projection the Sony image is a vast improvement.

On Jack's commentary: Part of Jack Nicholson's strong off-camera appeal is his total lack of pretence. He never comes across as trying to impress or gloat. In this commentary, his voice is very hoarse and quite gravely. I really enjoyed his anecdotes, relating stories about production, cast, crew and the maestro. He catches himself a couple of times simply narrating the story. It was nice to hear him be so respectful of Antonioni after the spectacle that occurred late last year on stage (in L.A.?). From a technical standpoint the commentary is a bit weak. There are a few short gaps where Jack is obviously just watching the film. Overall it really helped me further my appreciation of this masterpiece, but I think he simply should have let the final scene run instead of breaking in with 'one shot' every 20 seconds or so. 

On Aurora Irvine and Mark Peploe commentary: Of the two commentaries Jack's is far better. Mr. Peploe talks quite slowly in a very mundane tone relating more information about himself than the film. I suppose his influences may be of some interest as it related to his development of the story but he can't relay anywhere near the anecdotal musings that Jack did. I was expecting much more. Aurora Irvine hardly speaks at all occasionally asking a question or giving her $.02 worth. This is one of the least satisfying commentaries I can recall but it does tend to improve as he moves along. I suggest that a more technical individual (or an Antonioni expert) would have been a good counter-commentary to Jack's.  

***

NOTE: Antonioni in Il Messaggero 31. August 1983:
"There has not been a film of mine that has completely satisfied me. Well, The Passenger would have completely satisfied me if I had been able to include all of the parts I was forced to cut out because of its length. And lets not talk of the final version for the English-speaking market which I can not accept, and would have removed my name from, if I could have. But the even the European edition- which is the one I signed, and which I consider the acceptable version of the film- even that version, I believe, is mutilated because the story is not well explained. For example, a sequence is omitted that explains the relationship between the protagonist and his wife, thus making it possible to understand how the failure of their marriage has an impact. If I could have included that sequence, the narrative would have been much better Another example might be the brothers who produced The Eclipse and cut the films ending without letting me know. The ending might have seemed a little long, but it actually worked because it left the viewer certain feelings, a lingering sense of the whole story that has just been told."

***

NOTE: The phasing problem on THE PASSENGER Japanese DVD is there. Never did figure out what it is, but yes, something is goofed up for the first 10 minutes or so and there's some sort of inadvertent doubling of the mono channels in the master. There's no way to correct it via a "mono" button or anything, either. (Thanks Peter!)

***

This Japanese DVD is both NTSC and Region 0 making it playable with normal US/Canada players. Perhaps this is the reason that it is Out-of-print, but being a DVD5 (single layered job) copies are floating around everywhere from EBay to pirate websites.

The non-anamorphic image isn't exceptionally poor. There is a black border around the frame inhibiting full horizontal resolution and there are some scratches and damage marks, but neither are catastrophic in terms of view-ablity. It is agreeably sharp enough.  I didn't find any fatal manipulations and colors appear accurate if somewhat dull.

What makes this so appealing is that it is the complete European print, including the seven extra minutes that are deleted from the American edition. Which, if this ever does come officially to Region 1, will undoubtedly be represented as the "cut" edition. We strongly encourage you to obtain a copy of this DVD for personal viewing purposes. The film is more of Antonioni's contemplative treatise on identity by displacing our narrative perceptions. A wonderful and unforgettable film.

****

NOTE: Jack Nicholson owned the North American (and rumored world) rights to the film and, for his own reasons, is kept it shelved for all these years but he has recently negotiated the rights of The Passenger to Sony who plan a release (cut version) later this year.

Clifford says: "Gary, can you confirm that there are some problems with the sound for the first five or ten minutes (at least) on this DVD ... e.g., a "phasing" problem as if some stereo/mono screwery had been attempted."

I listened twice but only found it very quiet as there is not a lot of dialogue in the first 10 minutes or so. I didn't find it a problem. Background sounds did shift a bit but I couldn't determine it as being a major flaw.

Gary W. Tooze

 




DVD Menus

 (for Sony)

 

 


Subtitle Sample for the Sony

 

 


Screen Captures

 

NOTE: The Sony have been reduced from 960 width to 800 - the Imagica are native

 

(Imagica - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(Imagica - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(Imagica - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(Imagica - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Imagica - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

 


(Imagica - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(Imagica - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(Imagica - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(Imagica - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 


 

Michelangelo Antonioni films on DVD (NTSC) - CLICK COVERS or REVIEW BUTTON for more information


Recommended Books for Michelangelo Antonioni reading (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

That Bowling Alley on the Tiber: Tales of a Director
by Michelangelo Antonioni
Antonioni, Or, the Surface of the World
by Seymour Chatman
My Time With Antonioni: The Diary of an Extraordinary Experience
by Wim Wenders, Michael Hofmann
Antonioni: The Poet of Images
by William Arrowsmith, Ted Perry
Antonioni
by Sam Rohdie
The Films of Michelangelo Antonioni (Cambridge Film Classics)
by Peter Brunette, Ray Carney
Michelangelo Antonioni
by Seymour Chatman, Paul Duncan
L'Avventura (B.F.I. Film Classics)
by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith

Check out more in "The Library"


Report Card

 

Image:

Sony

Sound:

-

Extras: Sony

 

DVD Box Cover

   

(Out-of-Print)

Distribution  Imagica - Region 0 - NTSC  Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

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