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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Eyes Without a Face' or 'The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus' or 'House of Dr. Rasanoff' or 'Occhi senza volto')

directed by Georges Franju
France / Italy 1960

Secluded in the French countryside, a brilliant, obsessive doctor attempts a radical plastic surgery to restore his beloved daughter’s once-beautiful face, but at a horrifying price. Lauded as a true rarity of horror cinema, Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux sans visage) has influenced countless films in its wake and stunned audiences around the world with its shocking yet poetic imagery.

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Theatrical Release: March 2nd, 1960 - Paris, France

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Comparison:

Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

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

 

Box Covers

   

 

Distribution Criterion Collection Spine # 260 - Region 0 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine #260
Region 'A' -Blu-ray
Runtime 1:30:27 1:30:27
Video 1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.86 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s  
1.66:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,146,341,585 bytes

Feature: 26,499,870,720 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.02 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio French (Dolby Digital 1.0 Dolby)  LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.66:1

Edition Details:

• Blood of the Beasts (Le Sang des bêtes), Georges Franju’s graphic but beautiful poetic 1949 short documentary about Paris slaughterhouses
• Theatrical trailers
• Stills gallery of rare production photos and promotional material
• New essays by acclaimed novelist Patrick McGrath (Spider, Dr. Haggard’s Disease) and writer/film historian David Kalat (Fear Without Frontiers: Horror Cinema Across the Globe, The Strange Case of Dr. Mabuse: A Study of the Twelve Films and Five Novels)

DVD Release Date: October 19th, 2004

Keep Case
Chapters: 21

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:

1.66:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,146,341,585 bytes

Feature: 26,499,870,720 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.02 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Blood of the Beasts (Le Sang des bêtes), Georges Franju’s graphic but beautiful poetic 1949 short documentary about Paris slaughterhouses (22:08)

• Edith Scob (8:39)

• Le Fantastique (5:31) - archival interviews with Franju on the horror genre, cinema, and the making of Blood of the Beasts

• Boileau-Narcjac (7:10)
• Theatrical trailers (French - 3:46 / English - 3;25)
• Stills gallery of rare production photos and promotional material
• Liner notes booklet featuring essays by novelist Patrick McGrath and film historian David Kalat


Blu-ray Release Date: October 15th, 2013
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 13

Comments:

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

 

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (September 2013): Firstly, our original SD captures of the Criterion DVD have been compromised and I have removed them. I don't recall who made them, over 9 years ago, but I can tell by the bitrate graph that it wasn't myself. So let's forget the DVD but keep it's stats.

 

I had a twinge of uneasiness seeing the Gaumont logo and some of the initial image quality looked waxy and soft - including the titles. But I hope the majority of the screen captures indicate how strong the 1080P gets. It definitely improves as the film runs to completion. The last half of the film's visuals can be quite stunning (close-ups of Valli) with a very high level of detail, and more even grain, not present in the first 45-minutes or so. Generally I think the transfer provides a good representation and an enjoyable video presentation.

 

A linear PCM mono track in original French at 1152 kbps is used and exports the film's audio consistently. The original music by Maurice Jarre (The Tin Drum, The Man Who Would Be King, The Damned) via the lossless rendering adds another layer onto the film's atmosphere. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

 

On the supplements - we lose the Stills gallery of rare production photos and promotional material found on the DVD but gain a (2013) 9-minute interview with actor Edith Scob (Christiane Génessier in the film). Retained are Franju’s Blood of the Beasts, 1949 documentary about the slaughterhouses of Paris running 22-minutes in restored HD. There is an archival interviews with Franju on the horror genre, cinema, and the making of Blood of the Beasts - entitled Le Fantastique running 5.5 minutes and excerpts from Les grands-pères du crime, a 1985 documentary about Eyes Without a Face writers Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac lasting only 7-minutes. We get two trailers (US and French) and a liner notes booklet featuring essays by novelist Patrick McGrath and film historian David Kalat.

 

Eyes Without a Face is an incredibly creepy film experience. This is exemplified in the higher Blu-ray resolution with the operation sequence being virtually stomach-turning. The pace and tone of the film also made me feel very uneasy - which is probably the sign of a great horror. I see much was taken in Almodovar's 2011 The Skin I Live. This is a keeper - even having seen it before my gaze was riveted to the screen - kudos to the improved image and audio. Recommended!

Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

The Films in My Life
by Francois Truffaut, Leonard Mayhew

French Cinema: A Student's Guide
by Philip Powrie, Keith Reader
Agnes Varda by Alison Smith Godard on Godard : Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard The Art of Cinema by Jean Cocteau French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno
French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present
by Remi Fournier Lanzoni
Truffaut: A Biography by Antoine do Baecque and Serge Toubiana

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Box Covers

   

 

Distribution Criterion Collection Spine # 260 - Region 0 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine #260
Region 'A' -Blu-ray


 

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Gary Tooze