Directed by Wim Wenders
France / Germany / USA  2005

 

  Twenty years after PARIS, TEXAS, Wim Wenders and screenwriter Sam Shepard reunite, and fans disappointed with the consistency of Wenders' more recent output are sure to love this gentle, surprisingly beautiful tale of a troubled Hollywood cowboy who pulls together a family from the debris of his past. Riding his horse off the Utah set of cheesy western aptly titled "Phantom of the West" in a fit of self-disgust, western wash-up Howard Spence (Shepard, giving a marvelous performance) boards a bus for Elko, Nevada, where is mother (Eva Marie Saint), whom he hasn't seen since leaving for Hollywood more than 30 years earlier, now lives. Dogged by the private detective (Tim Roth) hired by "Phantom"'s producers to drag their star back to Utah Howard hides out in the basement, where his mother has recreated his childhood bedroom and conveniently left our her scrapbook filled with tabloid clippings chronicling all that Howard's been up to since leaving home: drug busts, bar fights, DUI car crashes, allegedly pregnant Playmates. After a night of hellraising in Elko's casinos ends in a jail cell, Howard's mother tells him about the long-ago visit she had from a young woman from Butte, Montana, who claimed he was the father of her son. Howard's stunned: He had no idea he had child. Mom hands Howard the keys his dad's vintage car and, with no set purpose in mind, Howard heads to Montana. He finds Doreen (Jessica Lange, with a new and immobile face), the woman he'd romanced all those years ago while shooting a movie in Butte, exactly where he left her: at the M & M bar and grill, although now she's running of the place. Pointing out the young man performing dark, morose rock tunes at another local bar, Doreen tells him the man on stage is their son, Earl (Gabriel Mann); the whiny young woman on his arm is his girlfriend (Fairuza Balk). In a flash of recognition, Howard can sense in Earl the same kind of emptiness and fear that's driven him much of his life, but Earl wants nothing to do with a guy who couldn't be bothered to stick around long enough to meet his own son. Watching this whole drama unfold is Sky (Sarah Polley), a young woman who recently arrived in Butte toting the ashes of her recently deceased mother. Sky also recognizes something of herself in Howard, and she should: She's Howard's daughter. Once again Wenders' darkly romantic view of the American west dovetails beautifully with Shepard's own interior landscape, in which lost fathers — and in this case, sheltering mothers — loom large as the mesas in the psyches of the their abandoned sons. Beautifully shot in rich colors by Franz Lustig, it's possibly Wenders' most accessible film to date, and among his most emotionally satisfying.

Excerpt from Ken Fox's review at TV Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 19th, 2005 - Cannes Film Festival

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Sony (short version) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision - Region 2 - PAL vs. Sony (short version) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL vs. Kinowelt / Arthaus - Region 2 - PAL

(Sony (short version) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

   

Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC

Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision

Region 2 - PAL

 

(Sony (short version) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL LEFT  vs. Kinowelt / Arthaus - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)

 

DVD Box Cover

Double Disc Special Edition:

Single Disc:

Distribution

Sony

Region 2,4,5 - PAL

Kinowelt / Arthaus

Region 2 - PAL

Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC

Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision

Region 2 - PAL

Sony

Region 2,4,5 - PAL

Kinowelt / Arthaus

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:50:40  1:58:18 (4% PAL speedup) 1:46:29 (4% PAL speedup) 1:58:09 (4% PAL speedup)
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.29 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7,29 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 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: Sony

Bitrate:

 

Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1)  English (Dolby Digital 5.1) English (Dolby Digital 5.1) English (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles French, None Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, None English, English HoH, Hindi, None German, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Wim Wenders Audio Commentary
• New York movie premiere featurette
• Sundance Featurette
• Interview with Wim Wenders and Eva Marie Saint

DVD Release Date: August 8th, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 28

Release Information:
Studio: Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Directors Cut
• Trailer (1:56)

DVD Release Date: 15.11.2006
Keep Case

Chapters 13

 

 

Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
•  Wim Wenders Audio Commentary
• New York movie premiere featurette
• Sundance Featurette
• Interview with Wim Wenders and Eva Marie Saint
• Trailers
• Short version of the film

DVD Release Date: 21 Aug 2006
Keep Case

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Kinowelt / Arthaus

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• DISC ONE (DVD-9)
• Audio commentary by Wim Wenders (In German, NO SUBTITLES)
• Deleted scenes (22:09) English, optional Wenders commentary only in German, NO SUBTITLES)
• Interviews by Wenders, Shepard, Lange, Roth, Polley Mann and Saint. (IN ENGLISH. Wenders interview i
• Trailer (2:18) In German
• Wim Wenders biography (Text in German)
• DISC TWO (Bonus disc/ DVD-9)
• Going Places (1:1.85/4:3) 1:34:27 In English
• Video Diary (4:3) 25:03 In English
• Booklet in German

DVD Release Date: 21. April 2006
Digi Pack

Chapters 18

 

Comments:

NOTE: SEE IDENTIFIED DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE LONG AND SHORT VERSIONS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS COMPARISON

 

ADDITION - Kinowelt - PAL - January -07': The KINOWELT (R2) edition is the definitive version. It contains the original cut of the film and has loads of bonus material. Unfortunately the audio commentary by Wim Wenders is this time in German and does't have English subtitles! Though most of the extra material is in English, approx. 2:40 h on the disc. The best image is possible on the Sony (UK) PAL disc, but it's the short version of the film. They are all almost equal. Note! There's also a ONE disc edition from KINOWELT - same video/audio quality but no second disc of supplements.

 - per-Olof Strandberg

 

***

ADDITION: SONY (UK) pal - The UK disc has the shorter US cut of the film (SEE IDENTIFIED DIFFERENCES AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS COMPARISON). The DVD is almost identical with the Sony R1 disc. Some subtitle options are different. The image is similar on all three disc's, but possibly the Sony R2/4/5 disc is the sharpest. It seems that the short version is distributed in those countries that Sony has the distribution rights. The screen frames are not all the exact
frame (The Sony disc had some troubles with the VLC player).

 

***

The main reason for these comparison is that the Nordic disc contains a "Director's Cut" of the film (1:58:18 / PAL). The difference is approx. 12 minutes. The Finnish DVD has the same length that is listed on IMDb. The "director's cut" didn't have anything that I thought shouldn't be there, so I wonder what is missing from the shorter version? On the DVD cover is the text: This version has more extraordinary scenes from Howard's runaway! Fans of Wim Wender shouldn't miss this version. The UK (R2) version is listed as 1:46:14 (PAL), so appears to be the shorter one as well. The image is slightly brighter and sharper on the R1 disc, but the Nordic isn't especially poor. The sound is flawless. The Region 1 has a director's commentary that is absent from the Nordic release.

 

NOTE: SONY Classics was convinced that a shorter version of the film would work better for a US audience.
As the film came out in America 8 months after its European premiere, the produce, Peter Schwartzkopff together with myself decided to go ahead with SONY'S request.I made these cuts myself together with the editor of the film, Peter Przygodda. It is not unusual that films have a different running time in the US. And SONY Classics did not demand it, they just suggested it, with good arguments. And they know what they do. In other cases, SONY Classics actually released LONGER versions of my films in the US than in Europe. (Yes, believe it or not!) "Faraway, so Close!" was several minutes longer in the US version...

Wim Wenders

 - Per-Olof Strandberg  

****

There is some edge enhancement (possibly due to infinitesimal contrast boosting) on this transfer but for the most part Franz Lustig's cinematography looks quite stunning on this Sony release. It is a beautiful film making the, even minor, manipulation totally unnecessary and rather frustrating. Contrary to other reviews I found this very sharp with excellent detail on the tightly rendered 2.35 anamorphic, progressive image. There are no glaring artifacts (actually none at all that I can recall) - sky scenes are exceptionally smooth and colors brilliant (noted especially in the casino/bar scenes in the film). Audio, hardly tested, is even better - dynamic 5.1 adds something special to this film experience. There are only French subtitles (no English) offered.

Extras are acceptable - another informative commentary by Wenders, Sundance and NY Premiere featurettes and a short 5 minute interview with Wenders and Eva Marie Saint that should have been much longer.

The film was not greeted well by critics, but Wenders recent output seems to be met with this same level of indifference. Like Paris, Texas the reunification of Shepard/Wenders is an intentionally paced film of personal inventory and familial redemption. I enjoyed it, but I can see how many might not. One wonders if there is not a lot of Shepard's personal life in the role - certainly it offers that speculation.

Gary W. Tooze

 

Kinowelt Special Edition -Double Disc Package

 



DVD Menus

 

(Sony (short version) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)


 
 
 

 

 

(Sony (short version) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL LEFT  vs. Kinowelt / Arthaus - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)
 

 

DVD Menus - Kinowelt - 2nd disc
 

 


Screen Captures

 

(Sony (short version) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision - Region 2 - PAL 2nd vs. Sony (short version) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL 3rd vs. Kinowelt / Arthaus - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Sony (short version) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision - Region 2 - PAL 2nd vs. Sony (short version) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL 3rd vs. Kinowelt / Arthaus - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Sony (short version) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision - Region 2 - PAL 2nd vs. Sony (short version) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL 3rd vs. Kinowelt / Arthaus - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Sony (short version) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision - Region 2 - PAL 2nd vs. Sony (short version) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL 3rd vs. Kinowelt / Arthaus - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Sony (short version) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision - Region 2 - PAL 2nd vs. Sony (short version) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL 3rd vs. Kinowelt / Arthaus - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(Sony (short version) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision - Region 2 - PAL 2nd vs. Sony (short version) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL 3rd vs. Kinowelt / Arthaus - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)
 

 

 


(Sony (short version) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision - Region 2 - PAL 2nd vs. Sony (short version) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL 3rd vs. Kinowelt / Arthaus - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)
 

 


(Sony (short version) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision - Region 2 - PAL 2nd vs. Sony (short version) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL 3rd vs. Kinowelt / Arthaus - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)
 

 


DVD Box Cover

   

 

Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC

Cinema Mondo / Pan Vision

Region 2 - PAL

 
DVD Box Cover

Double Disc Special Edition:

Single Disc:

Distribution

Sony

Region 2,4,5 - PAL

Kinowelt / Arthaus

Region 2 - PAL

 

DIFFERENCES WITH THE LONG AND SHORT CUTS

 

NOTE: "SONY Classics was convinced that a shorter version of the film would work better for a US audience. As the film came out in America 8 months after its European premiere, the produce, Peter Schwartzkopff together with myself decided to go ahead with SONY'S request.I made these cuts myself together with the editor of the film, Peter Przygodda. It is not unusual that films have a different running time in the US. And SONY Classics did not demand it, they just suggested it, with good arguments. And they know what they do. In other cases, SONY Classics actually released LONGER versions of my films in the US than in Europe. (Yes, believe it or not!) "Faraway, so Close!" was several minutes longer in the US version..."

Wim Wenders

 - Per-Olof Strandberg  

 

 

 

1) Evening falls, and Howard is tired. Howard is lost and don't have a clue what to do next. The film has many Western pasties, and these is one. A lone rider and a fire place, but these time it's almost a parody: The Lone Rider is lost. This is the one of the few times Wim Wender's use a close-up. The scene's importance is showing that Howard didn't plane to escape, he didn't know his next movement.

 

 Screen Captures

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

 

2) The Bank Automat. Howard pick up all the money from the Credit Cards. Two characters' have waited a long time for their turn. On of the character thinks he recognize Howard. Howard walks out and in the square a fountain start's to function just when he is in the middle of it. Except that these scene show's were Howard have got the Money to pay the Motel bills, there's also a side characters help to build the picture of America, and one of the characters' think he has seen Howard somewhere (creates a feeling his constantly watched and someone is tailing him).

 

 Screen Captures

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

 

3) BUS RIDE. In the short version the bus drive is only a plot driven scene. Howard changes his cloths. In the original version it's more a mental scene of Howard state. People in the Bus is staring at him when he changes cloths. When he looks out of the window, there's a lone man with Golf clubs, talking to himself about God. The atmosphere is very odd. Together with these sequence the first scene with Sky and the scene where the actress don't want to shoot the film without Howard is shortened, to obtain a rhythm with the shortened Bus scene.

 

 Screen Captures

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

 

4) THE CASINO. When Howard is drunk and angry he walks to the next Casino. In the original cut he's coming in, takes a new drink, dash against an officer, and discover a machine that promise: Are you ready for the fight of your life! When he's arrested there's missing an important scene: When the police men take him to a police car, Howard says: I grove up in this town, you aren't from here, don't you know I'm an actor. These scene is not only absurd, it gives important background information of Howard life.

 

 Screen Captures

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

5) Howard goes to a Motel where Manicurist's have a meeting. These long sequence is entirely disposed from the short version, tough the DVD cover has picture's of it. Howard stops at a Motel. At the Motel there's a Manicurists meeting. Howard pays a room with the money he took from the Bank automat. He phone's to his Mother asking questions of his presumable son. When the girl's found out Howard is a famous actor, everyone want's to spend a night with him. In the Morning the cleaner chases the three girls away from his bed, and Howard is left alone with a TV set and a picture that could have something to do with him! This long scene is not only funny, it also tells about Howard's character. His alone and suddenly because his an famous actor, he finds himself surrounded with beautiful girls. These scene tells in short terms the reason (in a funny way) why Howard possible have Children all over America. The lonely moment in a Hotel room and a open TV is not only a Edward Hopper image. It's similar with Wender's An American Friend.

 

 Screen Captures

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

 

6) THE INDIAN AND A GUN. The Indian is planted beforehand, and this is the pay off of that scene. An Indian wants Howard's money, and when Howard don't have it, the Indian shoot the tires of his car.

Also several scenes have the first two pictures cut away, to make the story faster -or because of the rhythm of the picture before.

 

Screen Captures

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 




 

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