(aka 'The Word')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/dreyer.htm
Denmark 19
55

 Carl Theodor Dreyer made only 14 full-length feature films in a career spanning almost 50 years, but they are among the most intensely wrought works in the history of the cinema. Dreyer's films have always been much admired by critics, theorists and filmmakers for the way in which they generate a luminous beauty with artfully constructed sets, deep respect for period detail and a masterly ability to conjure up an empathy for physical and emotional suffering.

Ordet (The Word), one of Dreyer's most liked and admired films, is one of the most beautifully photographed films ever made. It contains just 114 shots, averaging 65 seconds each (its spellbinding simplicity enabled it to be edited in just five days.)

Based on a 1932 play by Danish playwright and Lutheran country priest Kaj Munk (1898-1944), Ordet is a tale of miraculous resurrection brought about by human love. It is an extraordinary expression of spiritual optimism that is neither sentimental nor pious.

Religious intolerance and family tensions within a Danish farming family lie at the heart of the film, which explores the clash between orthodox religions and true faith. Dreyer achieves its powerful effects in deceptively simple ways, and has produced, in its closing moments, one of the most extraordinary scenes in all cinema.

****

A farmer’s family is torn apart by faith, sanctity, and love—one child believes he’s Jesus Christ, a second proclaims himself agnostic, and the third falls in love with a fundamentalist’s daughter. Putting the lie to the term “organized religion,” Ordet (The Word) is a challenge to simple facts and dogmatic orthodoxy. Layering multiple stories of faith and rebellion, Dreyer’s adaptation of Kaj Munk’s play quietly builds towards a shattering, miraculous climax. 

Posters

Theatrical Release: January 10th, 1955

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DVD Comparison:

 Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC vs. BFI Region 2 - PAL

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. BFI Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)

Covers

Only available in Criterion's Carl Theodor Dreyer Special Edition Box Set which includes Day of Wrath, Ordet, Gertrud and Carl Th. Dreyer - My Métier

Production Criterion Collection - Spine # 126 - Region 0 - NTSC  BFI - Region 2- PAL
Runtime 2:05:48  2:00:08 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.64 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.4 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate:

Criterion

Bitrate:

BFI

Audio Danish (Dolby Digital 2.0)  Danish (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion / Home Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Deleted footage of an interview from Torben Skjřdt Jensen’s documentary Carl Th. Dreyer—My Métier, with actress Birgitte Federspiel
• Stills gallery

DVD Release Date: August 21st, 2001

Keep Case inside The Dreyer 4-disc Cardboard Box
Chapters:
33 

Release Information:
Studio: BFI Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Ordet Og Lyset (Helga Theilgaard, 2001, 33 mins) - a documentary about cinematographer Henning Bendtsen and the making of Ordet
• Thorvaldsen (Dreyer, 1949, 10 mins)
• Storstrom Bridge (Dreyer, 1950, 7 mins)
• Fully illustrated booklet including essays by Dreyer scholar Casper Tybjerg (University of Copenhagen) and Philip Horne (University College London)

DVD Release Date:
March 13th, 2006
Transparent Keep Case

Chapters: 12 

 

 

Comments:

ADDITION: BFI - March 06': Great to see such a masterpiece treated so well on both sides of the pond. The new BFI release looks very solid. The major differences from the Criterion are the richer black levels (probably minutely boosted) by the Criterion and the extra damage marks that one can very infrequently see on the BFI release. This gives the Criterion a slight edge in sharpness but only the most intrepid of viewing systems will notice the marginal difference. In minor points the subtitles are a shade less intrusive on the BFI and the translation is negligibly different at times. Where the BFI has shown a marked improvement are in the extras -  Ordet Og Lyset is a great documentary with keen footage of Ordet's production - quite interesting. Also included are two shorts by Dreyer - Thorvaldsen and Storstrom Bridge but I was quite enamored with the included booklet - beautifully done with photos and essays. Seeing the film with some slight earmarks but in such an exceptional package is like watching it again for the first time. I strongly recommend this DVD for fans of Dreyer and all cineastes worldwide - like the original Criterion Boxset - I feel like locking it in my safe at night. 

****

Most of us could never have dreamt that Ordet would look this perfect on DVD. It again makes me thankful that the Criterion company exist. Sharp, piercing blacks, moderate grain. I can't say enough. It defines the Dreyer Box as a must-own DVD for everyone who loves and understands film! It will one day go out of print, so don't wait.  out of      

Gary W. Tooze

 





DVD Menus

 

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. BFI Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)


 
 
 

 


Subtitle Sample

 

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. BFI Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. BFI Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. BFI Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. BFI Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. BFI Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. BFI Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


Recommended Film reading (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

Covers

Only available in Criterion's Carl Theodor Dreyer Special Edition Box Set which includes Day of Wrath, Ordet, Gertrud and Carl Th. Dreyer - My Métier




 

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