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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Callejón sin salida" or "Djävulsk gisslan")

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/polanski.htm
UK 1966

Roman Polanski orchestrates a mental ménage à trois in this slyly absurd tale of paranoia from the director’s golden 1960s period. Donald Pleasence and Françoise Dorléac star as a withdrawn couple whose isolated house is invaded by a rude, burly American gangster on the run, played by Lionel Stander. The three engage in role-playing games of sexual and emotional humiliation. Cul-de-sac is an evocative, claustrophobic, and morbidly funny tale of the modern world in chaos.

***

A couple (Pleasance and Dorleac) retreat from the world by living on an isolated island. Their peace is shattered, however, by two gangsters on the run...

In many respects, Cul-de-Sac resembles the brilliant Death and the Maiden, Polanski's most recent film. Most of Polanski's films bear marks of his main themes - sexual perversity, humiliation, and fear (nowhere better analyzed than in Repulsion), corruption, the cracking of the thin veneer of normality which hides the seething chaos beneath, and his knife theme which appears in all his films to some extent But they seem to be realized in similar ways in Death and the Maiden and Cul-de-Sac. The same notion of claustrophobic isolation prevails in both, while the sense of tension and uneasiness is skilfully captured.

Cul-de-Sac is a dark and powerfully pessimistic work, yet one which retains a sense of surreal wit and very black humour. Perhaps not Polanski's best, but still very watchable.

Review by Matthew Bull at the Edinburgh University Film Society located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 1966

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Comparison: 

Anchor Bay (Roman Polanski Collection) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Arvid for the DVD Review!

1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

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

 

DVD Box Cover

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Boxset:

or individually

Distribution

Anchor Bay

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection, spine #577 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:47:16 (4% PAL speedup) 1:52:14.728
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.45 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,347,532,743 bytes

Feature: 32,924,485,632 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.02 Mbps

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

Bitrate

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1 LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• In boxset with Knife in the water, Repulsion and 8 Polanski short films
• Extras for Cul-de-sac:
• Two Gangsters and an Island featurette
• Theatrical trailer
• Liner notes
• Talent bios
• Poster and stills gallery

DVD Release Date: 2003-08-29
Digipack

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,347,532,743 bytes

Feature: 32,924,485,632 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.02 Mbps

Aspect Ratio: - 1.66:1

 

Edition Details:
• Two Gangsters and an Island, a 2003 documentary about the making of Cul-de-sac, featuring interviews with Polanski, producer Gene Gutowski, and cinematographer Gilbert Taylor (23:26 in 1080i)
• Television interview with Polanski from 1967 (27:04 in 1080i)
• Theatrical trailers (2:42 + 2:49 in 1080P)
• Liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic David Thompson

 

Blu-ray Release Date: August 16th, 2011
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - July 11': Criterion's high-definition digital transfer is 'approved by director Roman Polanski' which probably indicates that this is the best Cul-de-sac is likely to look for your home theater enjoyment. The 1080P exports from a dual-layered disc with a high bitrate. I think it looks fairly modest but beside the Anchor Bay DVD we can now see the edge-enhancement halos (see sample below) contrast manipulation applied to the SD. The Criterion is darker but presumably more accurate and shows more information in the frame with the 1.66:1 theatrical aspect ratio (as compared to the 1.78:1 SD). With the Criterion being darker it shows more information in many instances (see the line on the lampshade behind Françoise Dorléac's finger under Donald Pleasence's chin in the third large capture.) Despite the Blu-ray image not being particularly crisp it is not digitally manipulated to give the impression of sharpness. It's authenticity in aspect ratio and image quality is a undeniable positive.

Criterion sticks with the original mono with a linear PCM Audio track at 1152 kbps. It is clean and clear, front-centric but there are a few instances of perceived depth. The Blu-ray also offers optional English subtitles and the disc is, like all Criterion BDs, region 'A'-locked.

The Criterion Blu-ray has the same 23-minute Two Gangsters and an Island, 2003 documentary about the making of Cul-de-sac, featuring interviews with Polanski, producer Gene Gutowski, and cinematographer Gilbert Taylor. It is in 1080i and was originally produced by Blue Underground. There is also a 1/2 hour long television interview with Polanski from 1967, two theatrical trailers (2:42 + 2:49 in 1080P) and a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic David Thompson.

I always found this an odd film - but feel I can appreciate it much more after seeing in via 1080P resolution. Say what you will about Polanski - he makes highly interesting cinema - you know you will never be bored. Fans should definitely pick this up as the definitive edition of the Cul-de-sac.  

 - Gary Tooze

***

ON THE DVD: A much heralded boxset upon its release, and with good reason, Polanski followers had been waiting for a decent edition of Repulsion and any of Cul-de-sac and for almost the price of the Criterion "Knife in the Water" you get three films including that one and 8 Polanski shorts in decent, if not Criterion-level stellar, condition.

With the decent extras this has proven to be Anchor Bay's best release in a number of years. Its failings are having no subtitle options but the image is progressive but has moments of sharpness. A must-own for Polanski fans and film students alike. 

 - Arvid

 


Menus
 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

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

 

 

 


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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

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

 

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

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

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

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

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Edge Enhancement halo on Anchor Bay DVD - MIDDLE

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

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

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

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

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

 


 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

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

 

More Blu-ray Captures


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Boxset:

or individually

Distribution

Anchor Bay

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection, spine #577 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 




 

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Gary Tooze

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