(aka 'Cradle of Fear')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/dreyer.htm
Denmark 1964

Carl Dreyer’s last film neatly crowns his career: a meditation on tragedy, individual will and the refusal to compromise. A woman leaves her unfulfilling marriage and embarks on a search for ideal love—but neither a passionate affair with a younger man nor the return of an old romance can provide the answer she seeks. Always the stylistic innovator, Dreyer employs long takes and theatrical staging to concentrate on Nina Pens Rode’s sublime portrayal of the proud and courageous Gertrud.

****

Arguably Dreyer's masterpiece, Gertrud, his final film, centres on a woman, loved by four different men, who rejects the compromise of her marriage, suffers disappointment in her younger lover and retreats into a serene isolation.

Adapted from a 1906 play by Hjalmar Söderberg, Gertrud is the story of a woman's search for a romantic ideal of total and perfect love. A once famous singer now in her early forties and retired in Stockholm, Gertrud makes the decision to leave Gustav, her lawyer husband for her lover Erland, a young composer. Discovering the next day that Erland has betrayed her, and that he cannot make a total commitment to her, Gertrud rejects both husband and lover, choosing a life of solitude and study over the compromise of love that is merely half-measure.

With masterly restraint and understatement, concentrating on small nuances, Dreyer suggests that Gertrud's peace has been bought at the cost of much emotional pain. He used extremely long takes throughout the film and a constantly gliding camera. Every detail of every shot was so meticulously planned that he needed only three days to edit the film. The actors speak and move in a manner so controlled and stylized that they almost seem to be living statues.

'Gertrud is a film I made with my heart', said Dreyer and its rigorously pared-down structure and stylized slowness, intricate camera movements and lighting effects show superbly how the art of his films were his truly great passion.

 

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 19th, 1964

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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 # 127 - Region 0 - NTSC  BFI - Region 2- PAL
Runtime 1:56:32  1:51:20 (4% PAL speedup) 
Video

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.89 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.61:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.2 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

Aspect Ratio:
1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Deleted footage of interviews from Torben Skødt Jensen’s documentary Carl Th. Dreyer—My Metier, with actors Baard Owe and Axel Strøbye
• Archival footage from the time of Gertrud’s production
• Stills gallery

DVD Release Date: August 21st, 2001

Keep Case inside The Dreyer 4-disc Cardboard Box
Chapters: 25  

Release Information:
Studio: BFI Video

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.61:1

Edition Details:

• Carl Th. Dreyer und Gertrud (Christiane Habich / Reinhard Wulf, 1994, 29 mins) – a documentary on the making of Gertrud, including footage from the premiere in Paris and interviews with Dreyer, members of the cast and crew and others
• The Village Church (Dreyer, 1947, 14 mins)
• Fully illustrated booklet with essays by Dreyer scholar Casper Tybjerg (University of Copenhagen) and Ilona Halberstadt (editor of PIX)

DVD Release Date:
April 10th, 2006
Transparent Keep Case

Chapters: 14 

 

 

Comments:

ADDITION: BFI - March 06':  Well I don't know what to say - the new BFI release is non-anamorphic but a shade closer to the correct aspect ratio of 1.66 - clocking in at around 1.61:1. It shows a bit more at top and bottom and less off both sides. I can only conclude they used the same print/negative as the damage marks are exact (see below). Detail looks about an exact match as well with possibly the non-16x9 enhanced BFI appearing sharper in some scenes. I am surprised as I thought BFI would have nailed the 1.66 and made it anamorphic, but it seems some production companies still have issues getting the 1.66 ratio, and its prominently visible side black bars, converted comfortably to DVD. Aside from this, debatably niggling, critique the image on both editions looks grand. In minor points the subtitles are a shade less intrusive on the BFI and the translation is negligibly different at times. In the BFI extras they include another rare Dreyer short - The Village. The liner notes booklet is again a nice touch with an essay - Amor Omnia by Ilona Halberstadt and another; Film as Art by Dreyer expert Casper Tybjerg.  Like Day of Wrath (digitally produced by BFI) I would have cherished a commentary but with the inclusion of The Village BFI help round-out most of Dreyer's output onto the digital format.

****

About the Criterion: A definite blunder here by our heroes at Criterion. The original ratio of this film is 1.66 (Criterion even states it on the box!) but this DVD is in anamorphic 1.78 ratio. It is wonderfully sharp but must be cropped a certain amount - if we ever get a sampling of the proper AR of the film we will show here and compare. It would be idealistic to consider that they might re-release this in proper ratio, but it does mar an other wise monumentally perfect package. Aside from this we have a beautifully sharp image with tight lines, original audio and well-translated subtitles.      

Gary W. Tooze

 





DVD Menus

 

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


 

 


Subtitle Sample

 

NOTE: Not exact frame

 

(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)

 

NOTE: Exact Damage marks

 

 


(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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Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

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