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directed by Robert J. Flaherty
USA/Canada 19
22

 

Robert Flaherty made Nanook Of The North, a film of Eskimo (Inuit) lif, following six years as an Arctic explorer for the Canadian Northern Railway. During journeys often lasting months at a time with only one or two Inuit as companions, he developed a deep regard for these indigenous people and after two unsuccessful filming attempts, Flaherty seized upon the idea of structuring his movie around characters who reenacted episodes of their lives and participated in the shaping of the film. He was not trained as an anthropologist, but Flaherty wisely guides our discovery of the people and their activities, and ninety years later, Nanook remains as completely engaging as it was in 1922, a huge influence on many ethnographic films that followed. This edition is mastered in high definition at the visually correct speed from the painstaking 35mm restoration of 1972, with a lovely orchestral score composed, compiled and conducted by Timothy Brock. Selected for the National Film Registry, 1989. The Wedding of Palo (Palos Brudefaerd) (1934), Nanook s obvious successor, is the last beautiful work of the famed Danish polar explorer and anthropologist Dr. Knud Rasmussen. Filmed in sound with an Inuit cast from the Angmagssalik district of east Greenland, Palo, like Nanook, documents a vanished lifestyle and uses Flaherty s device of an appealing narrative; in this case, a story of two men who desire the same woman as wife. It is mastered in high definition and digitally restored from an original 35mm nitrate print in the collection of George Eastman House. This Blu-Ray also contains six extraordinary bonus films. Nanook Revisited (Saumialuk) by Claude Massot. made in the same locations used by Flaherty, shows how Inuit life changed in the intervening decades (it s not that different from ours), how Flaherty consciously depicted a culture which was then already vanishing, and how Nanook is used today to teach the Inuit their heritage. Nanook Revisited was produced in 1988 on standard definition video for French television. Dwellings of the Far North (1928) is the igloo-building sequence of Nanook re-edited and re-titled as an educational film; Arctic Hunt (1913) and extended excerpts from Primitive Love (1927) are by Arctic explorer Frank E. Kleinschmidt; Eskimo Hunters of Northwest Alaska (1949) by Louis deRochemont shows many activities seen in Nanook thirty years after, and Face of the High Arctic (1959) depicts the ecology of the region.

Poster

Theatrical Release: June 11th, 1922

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Comparison:

Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Flicker Alley - Region FREE - Blu-ray

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Box Cover

   

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 33 - Region 0 - NTSC

Flicker Alley

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:18:15 1:18:24.241
Video 1.31:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.75 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 36,962,221,262 bytes

Feature: 18,594,238,464 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.95 Mbps

Codec: MPEG4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate:

Audio Music (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)  Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles None (Intertitles in English) None (Intertitles in English)
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.31:1

Edition Details:

• Excerpts from TV Documentary "Flaherty and Film" (8:13)
• Stills Gallery of Flaherty's Arctic Photos

• 6 page liner notes by Dean Duncan

DVD Release Date: January 26th, 1999
Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Flicker Alley

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 36,962,221,262 bytes

Feature: 18,594,238,464 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.95 Mbps

Codec: MPEG4 AVC Video

 

 

Edition Details:
• Nanook Revisited (Saumialuk) by Claude Massot. made in the same locations used by Flaherty, shows how Inuit life changed in the intervening decades (it’s not that different from ours), how Flaherty consciously depicted a culture which was then already vanishing, and how Nanook is used today to teach the Inuit their heritage. (1:05:39 in 1080P)
Nanook Revisited was produced in 1988 on standard definition video for French television.
• Houses of the Arctic (1928) is the igloo-building sequence of Nanook re-edited and re-titled as an educational film (10:56 in 1080P)

Blu-ray Disc 2

• The Wedding of Palo (Palos Brudefaerd) (1934) Nanook’s obvious successor, is the last beautiful work of the famed Danish polar explorer and anthropologist Dr. Knud Rasmussen. Filmed in sound with an Inuit cast from the Angmagssalik district of east Greenland, Palo, like Nanook, documents a vanished lifestyle and uses Flaherty’s device of an appealing narrative; in this case, a story of two men who desire the same woman as wife. It is mastered in high definition and digitally restored from an original 35mm nitrate print in the collection of George Eastman House (1:12:06)
• Arctic Hunt (1913) - 15:52 and extended excerpts from Primitive Love (1927) - 32:25 are by Arctic explorer Frank E. Kleinschmidt
• Eskimo Hunters of Northwest Alaska (1949) - 20:27 by Louis deRochemont shows many activities seen in Nanook thirty years after, and Face of the High Arctic (1959) 12:50 depicts the ecology of the region.
• A 32-page booklet contains extended excerpts from My Eskimo Friends by Robert Flaherty on his time spent making the film and an new essay on The Wedding of Palo by Lawrence Millman.)

Blu-ray Release Date: March 19th, 2013
Transparent Blu-ray case

Chapters 14

 

Comments:

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

 

ADDITION: Flicker Alley - Region FREE - Blu-ray (March 2013): There is a significant improvement in all visual areas of Flicker Alley's 1080P over the 14-year old Criterion DVD. The screen captures will bear out the superior contrast, more information in the frame, supportive grain and the duplicate damage marks.

The audio is not lossless (orchestral score composed, compiled and conducted by Timothy Brock), but it is the only less-positive thing I can say about the set which includes Nanook Revisited (Saumialuk) by Claude Massot and described much better than I can by Flicker Alley:
"...made in the same locations used by Flaherty, shows how Inuit life changed in the intervening decades (it’s not that different from ours), how Flaherty consciously depicted a culture which was then already vanishing, and how Nanook is used today to teach the Inuit their heritage. (1:05:39 in 1080P)
Nanook Revisited was produced in 1988 on standard definition video for French television. Houses of the Arctic (1928) is the igloo-building sequence of Nanook re-edited and re-titled as an educational film (10:56 in 1080P). Blu-ray Disc 2 has The Wedding of Palo (Palos Brudefaerd) (1934) Nanook’s obvious successor, is the last beautiful work of the famed Danish polar explorer and anthropologist Dr. Knud Rasmussen. Filmed in sound with an Inuit cast from the Angmagssalik district of east Greenland, Palo, like Nanook, documents a vanished lifestyle and uses Flaherty’s device of an appealing narrative; in this case, a story of two men who desire the same woman as wife. It is mastered in high definition and digitally restored from an original 35mm nitrate print in the collection of George Eastman House (1:12:06). Arctic Hunt (1913) - 15:52 and extended excerpts from Primitive Love (1927) - 32:25 are by Arctic explorer Frank E. Kleinschmidt, Eskimo Hunters of Northwest Alaska (1949) - 20:27 by Louis deRochemont shows many activities seen in Nanook thirty years after, and Face of the High Arctic (1959) 12:50 depicts the ecology of the region and the package includes a 32-page booklet contains extended excerpts from My Eskimo Friends by Robert Flaherty on his time spent making the film and an new essay on The Wedding of Palo by Lawrence Millman.)
"

 

Magnificent set with so much attention to detail. Flicker Alley have outdone themselves and it deserves strong consideration for any keen on this incredible documentary (Selected for the National Film Registry, 1989.). The Blu-ray is strongly recommended! 

***

ON THE DVD: Okay from the horse's mouth - this transfer was created from a fine-grain master positive made from a 35mm restoration negative, derived from five positive nitrate prints from the camera negative. Robert Flaherty's personal print, preserved since 1939 by the British Film Institute, is the primary source and also the matrix for the tinting, which is electronically recreated here. The editing follows the original director's cut, and at a running speed of 21.5 frames per second, this edition matches the original projection time. Timothy Brock’s score was digitally recorded in May 1998. Film restoration and transfer supervised by David Shepard.

Now saying all this one cannot possibly fault the appearance of the film, as it is better than one could possibly hope for... BUT, where I do have a small issue is with the DVD, which has a black border surrounding it, hence not maximizing the full resolution to fill the screen (Yes, some people may actually project on a large screen). I don't know how much of a difference that would make, but I'll wager if it was re-done today (highly unlikely) it would fill the full 720 resolution. It is a minor point and one that I am sure an expert could somehow refute. The "Flaherty on Film" extra is short but a very worthwhile addition. The audio is wonderful. I'm sure this does not sell as well as "The Lord of the Rings" but for those keen on the historical nature of this entire production (the film), it is mind-blowing. Do yourself a favor and read-up on it before you indulge - you will be riveted at entering a whole new cinematic world. So fascinating you have trouble turning away... honestly.  out of  

Gary W. Tooze

 


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Box Cover

   

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 33 - Region 0 - NTSC

Flicker Alley

Region FREE - Blu-ray



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