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(aka "Le Voyeur" or 'Face of Fear" or "The Fotographer of Panic')

directed by Michael Powell
UK 1960

A frank exploration of voyeurism and violence, Michael Powell’s extraordinary film is the story of a psychopathic cameraman—his childhood traumas, sexual crises, and murderous revenge as an adult. Reviled by critics upon its initial release for its deeply unsettling subject matter, the film has since been hailed as a masterpiece.

 

NOTE: The cameras in Mark Lewis' room include director Michael Powell's first film camera, a hand operated Eyemo, made by Bell and Howell, that he won in a competition.

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 7th, 1960 - London, England

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Comparison:

Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL vs. Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Studio Canal DVD captures!

1) Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT

2) Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 58 - Region 0 - NTSC

Studio Canal

Region 2 - PAL

Optimum Home Entertainment (UK)l

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:41:24  1:37:09 (4% PAL speedup) 1:41:39.500
Video

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.58 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

1.74:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: ? mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 34,177,607,488 bytes

Feature Size: 27,537,199,104 bytes

Average Bitrate: 31.92 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

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

Bitrate:  Criterion

Bitrate: Studio Canal

Bitrate: Optimum Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby)  English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French dub (Dolby Digital 1.0) LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English, None French, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion / Home Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by film theorist Laura Mulvey
• Channel 4 U.K. documentary A Very British Psycho directed by Chris Rodley
• Production stills gallery
• Theatrical Trailer
• 6-page liner notes by Laura Mulvey

DVD Release Date: November 16th, 1999

Keep Case
Chapters: 27

Release Information:
Studio: Studio Canal

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.74:1

Edition Details:
• Filmographies
• Picture Gallery
• Trailer (2:26)
• Featurette 'L'etrage regard de Monsieur Mark' (24:55)

DVD Release Date: February 19, 2007
Thinpack

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum Home Video

Disc Size: 34,177,607,488 bytes

Feature Size: 27,537,199,104 bytes

Average Bitrate: 31.92 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Edition Details:

 Introduction by director Martin Scorsese (2:05)
 Commentary by critic Ian Christie
 Eye of the Beholder - (18:47 in HD)
 The Strange Gaze of Mark Lewis (24:50)
 Interview with Thelma Schoonmaker (10:19)
 Restoration Comparison (6:13) shows correction of the fading
 Trailer (2:27)
 Stills Gallery


Blu-ray Release Date: November 22nd, 2010
Standard
Blu-ray thicker UK Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Optimum 'Special Edition' Region 'B' Blu-ray - (November 2010) - Where's the grain? Bad news here - this has strong DNR and the image has lost almost all of its grain! I can't speak to the colors which look a bit boosted and funky at times but the visuals have been 'res'ed down' significantly and it has lost detail and the important texture that makes it look like actual 'film'!. Skin tones often move from fleshy-white/red (in both DVD releases) to ghastly orange. This is an over-manipulated transfer and it has not taken advantage of the new format's beneficial attributes. There is no depth at all. We are not saying it looks worse than the DVDs - but to those who can identify the waxiness of DNR - it will be hard to watch. Actually the Criterion SD-DVD shows more grain. This is a real shame for serious film fans who like to project. On a more positive note - it is in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio but contrast is also weak - which essentially controls detail (note the eye - the wrinkles under the eye in the Criterion are more prominent than on the Blu-ray). I'm disappointed. Thumbs down to the image.

Optimum redeem themselves somewhat with a lossless liner PCM 2.0 channel stereo track at a healthy 2304 kbps. It seems flawless with some depth and perceived buoyancy. While never robust it sounds the best I have ever heard the film. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked disc.

Extras appear to duplicate the existing Optimum DVD package with an optional 2-minute Introduction by director Martin Scorsese, an excellent commentary by critic Ian Christie (author of Arrows of Desire: The Films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell: International Perspectives on an English Film-maker and A Matter of Life and Death (BFI Film Classics, among others). He is extremely professional and detailed examining and discussing extensively-researched information about the film and director - he was a pure pleasure to listen to. If I had known it was this good - I would have bought the Optimum DVD set HERE. We get a fascinating documentary entitled Eye of the Beholder - for almost 20-minutes with Christie again and Laura Mulvey (who did the Criterion commentary), Thelma Schoonmaker and others. In The Strange Gaze of Mark Lewis - we get 25-minutes of a overview of Peeping Tom (made in France I believe) with input from director Bertrand Tavernier, Charles Drazin, and others. There is a 10-minute interview with Thelma Schoonmaker and she discusses the effect the film had on Powell's reputation - especially in the UK. There is a 6-minute 'Restoration Comparison' showing correction of the color fading mostly (common for a film 50-years old), a trailer and a stills gallery.

If you are sensitive to DNR and/or love film grain then this release won't be very visually pleasing. The extras are magnificent and I have no complaints with the audio but being a Michael Powell devotee I must say I am highly disappointed with the over-processed image transfer.

***

ADDITION: Studio Canal - February 2010: We have heard great things about Optimum's UK's 2-disc Special Edition of Peeping Tom HERE - which seems like a great deal right now - but we haven't had the opportunity to compare.

I think I'd give the Criterion a slight edge visually, over the French edition, with better detail, more depth and a greater amount of visible grain. Colors, however, at times, lean to the Studio Canal. Both are dual-layered and anamorphic but the Criterion shows a shade more information on the side edges and neither are in the 1.66 original aspect ratio.

Supplements, similarly, lean to the Criterion with the Mulvey commentary and 'A Very British Psycho' documentary.

Hopefully we will take a look at the Optimum's UK's 2-disc Special Edition to make a definitive statement about the best release of Peeping Tom on DVD.

***

ON THE CRITERION: This is a fairly early Criterion and certainly not up to their current standards. It is improperly advertised as having the proper aspect ratio of 1.66 and this disc is most definitely 1.78 anamorphic. I don't know what the source print was like but colors on this issue are a bit dull and faded. Sharpness shows itself very infrequently but the contrast is rather good. Its is great to have a commentary on this rather rare and cultish Michael Powell film as well as a featurette. Overall this is a fine DVD with a few notable weaknesses. out of  

Gary W. Tooze





DVD Menus

Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT

 
 

 

Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

Screen Captures

 

1) Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Associated Reading (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)


DVD Box Cover

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 58 - Region 0 - NTSC

Studio Canal

Region 2 - PAL

Optimum Home Entertainment (UK)l

Region 'B' - Blu-ray



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Gary Tooze