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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "The Blank Wall" )

 

directed by Max Ophuls
USA 1949

 

Having concealed her daughter's accidental killing of her seedy older lover, upper middle class housewife Joan Bennett finds herself being blackmailed by a loan shark; fortunately for her, the man he sends - small-time crook and loner Mason - becomes infatuated with Bennett, and ends up killing his partner. Ophüls' noir melodrama, like his previous film, Caught, can be seen as a subtle, subversive critique of American ambitions and class-structures: in committing the moral and legal transgression of concealing a corpse, Bennett is merely protecting the comfort and respectability of her family life, and the irony is that Mason's self-sacrifice, made on her behalf, simply serves to preserve the status quo that has relegated him to the role of social outcast. This sense of waste, however, is implied rather than emphasized by Ophüls' elegant, low key direction, which counterpoints the stylization of Burnett Guffey's shadowy photography with long, mobile takes that stress the everyday reality of the milieu. A marvelous, tantalizing thriller, it also features never-better performances from Mason and Bennett.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 17th, 1949

Reviews                                                                     More Reviews                                                               DVD Reviews

 

 Comparison:

Second Sight (The Max Ophuls Collection) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Carlotta - Region 2 - PAL vs. Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) Second Sight (The Max Ophuls Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) Carlotta - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

Distribution

Second Sight

Region 2 - PAL

Carlotta
Region 2 - PAL
Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray
All 4 Second Sight Ophuls Films/DVD
Runtime 1:18:40 (4% PAL Speedup) 1:18:40 (4% PAL Speedup) 1:22:03.335
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.56 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.90 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,510,841,898 bytes

Feature: 25,565,273,472 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Second Sight (The Max Ophuls Collection)

Bitrate:

 

Carlotta

 

Bitrate:

 Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)

English or French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Isolated Score:

LPCM Audio Undetermined 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles None French English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Second Sight

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Introduction by Todd Haynes (22:01)
• Commentary by Lutz Bacher
• Production Stills Gallery

DVD Release Date: September 18th, 2006
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Carlotta

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Faire un Film Americain (41:49)
• Maternal Overdrive (22:01)

 

DVD Release Date: April 7th,2010
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio:
Indicator

 

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,510,841,898 bytes

Feature: 25,565,273,472 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Making an American Movie (2010, 44:04): an in-depth analysis by Lutz Bacher, author of Max Ophuls in the Hollywood Studios
Maternal Overdrive (2006, 22:58): award-winning writer-director Todd Haynes discusses one of his favourite films
James Mason as Homme Fatal (2018, 26:23): illustrated lecture by academic Adrian Garvey, recorded as part of the Focus on James Mason event held at Birkbeck, University of London
Focus on James Mason: Audience Discussion (2018, 39:21): Q&A session hosted by academics Adrian Garvey and Sarah Thomas following a screening of The Reckless Moment
James Mason: Watching the Violence Unfold (2018, 32:34): illustrated lecture by academic Sarah Thomas, recorded at Birkbeck, University of London
Isolated music & effects track
Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by Samm Deighan, an introduction to Max Ophuls by celebrated film critic Andrew Sarris, archival articles by Max Ophuls, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits

Limited Edition of 3,000 copies


Blu-ray Release Date:
April 22nd, 2019
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 10

 

 

Comments

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

Indicator bring the world premiere of Max Ophuls "The Reckless Moment" to a dual-layered Blu-ray with a max'ed out bitrate. It improves dramatically over the DVD in all the anticipated areas - more grain texture, better layered contrast and notably more information in the frame. The image is now not as squeezed with the elongated facial distortions of the SD transfer - and it now looks more realistic. The 1080P resolution exports a much more film-like presentation with texture. There are a couple of less stellar sequences that can tend to look frail and thin, but overall this is a massive improvement over SD. I was extremely pleased.

The film's audio is presented in a linear PCM 2.0 channel mono (24-bit) that is adept clean and services the presentation well. There is not much in the way of effects - a boat and cars sequences that doesn't test the depth much. 
There score is by by Hans J. Salter (Magnificent Doll, Bend of the River, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T., Man Without a Star, Cover Up, The Wolfman, The Mole People) sounding reasonably strong via a lossless adding tension in spots. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on this Region FREE Blu-ray.

Indicator add both the 23-minute 2006 Maternal Overdrive video appreciation by award-winning writer-director Todd Haynes (found on both DVDs) as well as the 3/4 hour Making an American Movie from 2010 in-depth analysis by Lutz Bacher, author of Max Ophuls in the Hollywood Studios found on the 2010 Carlotta DVD. But they don't stop there, new are James Mason as Homme Fatal - a 26-minute illustrated lecture by academic Adrian Garvey, recorded as part of the first part of the Focus on James Mason event held at Birkbeck, University of London, on May 26th, 2018. Following it is the second part of the Focus on James Mason event with a 40-minute audience discussion Q&A session hosted by academics Adrian Garvey and Sarah Thomas following a screening of The Reckless Moment. In James Mason: Watching the Violence Unfold a new 1/2 hour illustrated lecture by academic Sarah Thomas, also recorded at Birkbeck, on the same day we get further investigative analysis into Noir and melodrama with Mason. Be aware that the discussion contains plot spoilers for The Deadly Affair (1966) and The Flower in His Mouth (1975). Indicator add the option of listening to an isolated music & effects track and there is an image gallery of on-set and promotional photography. The package contains a limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by Samm Deighan, an introduction to Max Ophuls by celebrated film critic Andrew Sarris, archival articles by Ophuls, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits - this is limited to 3,000 copies.

What a beautifully crafted noir feature - a perfectly building thriller from the masterful Ophuls. The Reckless Moment has it all including one of my favorite 'Dark Cinema' gals,
Joan Bennett. The Blu-ray a/v is a huge improvement over the SD releases plus we get the valued documentary and highly interesting 'James Mason' and Noir focused lectures and Q+A. No-brainer for devotees of Film Noir. Another fabulous job by Indicator - the Criterion of the UK!

Gary W. Tooze

***

Update: Carlotta: May 2010: Carlotta's recent release of Ophul's noir stacks up nicely against the 2006 Second Sight edition, but does suffer from some image problems. In some ways, the prints look identical, but the Carlotta disc is a shade or two softer and has a few noticeable artifacts. Nowhere is this more obvious than straight lines. Where as the Second Sight disc has no problems with them, the Carlotta often suffers from a bad case of the jaggies probably a compression issue due to the disc having more supplements. I suspect that the audio is largely the same, but we do get the choice of a French track and English subtitles now. Finally, the Todd Haynes intro is here (renamed "Maternal Overdrive'), but the still and commentary have been replaced with a great documentary. After watching both discs, I can say that the superior image on the Second Sight disc makes it the one to choose, but the wonderful documentary may make Ophuls fans think about taking the double dip.

 - Brian Montgomery

***

ON THE SECOND SIGHT: Strong progressive image with only a few minute scratches and blemishes. Contrast and detail are very acceptable and there is some light grain in spots. I would have appreciated optional subtitles, but the audio track is clean and clear enough that dialogue is consistent and easy to decipher.

Todd Haynes gives a great introduction impressing with his in-depth knowledge of the Ophuls and The Reckless Moment and how he paid homage with characters names in his own films. The Lutz Bacher commentary was very interesting as well, although I'd have loved to hear Haynes as backup.

I'm very appreciative that this and the other Ophuls DVDs came out - quality is better than I anticipated and the films are must-owns for serious films fans. We recommend!  

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus
(
Second Sight (The Max Ophuls Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Carlotta - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

 

 

 

 

Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

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

 

Subtitle Sample - Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Second Sight (The Max Ophuls Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Carlotta - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Second Sight (The Max Ophuls Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Carlotta - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Second Sight (The Max Ophuls Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Carlotta - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Second Sight (The Max Ophuls Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Carlotta - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Second Sight (The Max Ophuls Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Carlotta - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Second Sight (The Max Ophuls Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Carlotta - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Second Sight (The Max Ophuls Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Carlotta - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray Captures


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

 

Distribution

Second Sight

Region 2 - PAL

Carlotta
Region 2 - PAL
Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray
All 4 Second Sight Ophuls Films/DVD



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