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(aka 'The Magic Flute" or "Trollfl÷jten')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/bergman.htm
USA 1975

 

Hailed by many as the "finest screen version of an opera ever produced", Ingmar Bergman's The Magic Flute is something that is guaranteed to hold through several viewings. Cinematic master Sven Nykvist and only the finest Nordic singers of its time contribute to this fabulous production of Mozart's opera. Bergman, an accomplished organist and musicologist, lovingly brings one of the most intimate and joyful operas to life... as his personal peaen to classical music. Some 25 years ago, Bergman had the idea to evoke the original 1791 production of The Magic Flute in an anniversary of the Swedish Radio. Having originally planned to shoot it at the theatre in Drottingholm Palace, he had found that the delicate sets could in no way accommodate a film crew. He then decided to move production to the studios of the Swedish Film Institute. Henny Noremark and her team replicated the original theatre to the most innocuous stage device. Meanwhile, Bergman and conductor Eric Ericson, using what is known as the playback method, prerecorded the audio, later to be played over the visual. The actors concentrated more then on acting, etc.. Bergman spent many hours carefully editing so that the sung words would be in perfect time with the actor's mouth. He made sure that all of the dynamics and tempi were perfect.

 

I could go on about this movie for a long time. Rarely does one see a movie that has such visual flair and sincere emotions that it fills the viewer with so much excitement. It is Excellent in that way. However, as any movie, it has its own shortcomings. The Overture, though different from any I've seen, becomes tedious, and Bergman's message in that sequence becomes immediately obvious. This edition is Not for Mozart purists. It is performed in Swedish, with many bits of dialogue filtered out, as I have heard. There are some sing-along moments that take away from the film's energy, but it is, for the most part, charming.  out of     

Mark Blumberg

Posters

 January 1st - 1975 - Sweden (television premiere)

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Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC vs. BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

 

 

 

 

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 71 - Region 0 - NTSC BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:15:20 2:17:10.208 2:18:04.693
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.72 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 42,306,660,647 bytes

Feature Size: 30,524,834,688 bytes

Average Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Disc Size: 49,700,117,426 bytes

Feature Size: 25,970,227,200 bytes

Average Bitrate: 21.57 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate BFI Blu-ray

Bitrate Criterion Blu-ray

Audio Swedish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby)  LPCM Audio Swedish 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit LPCM Audio Swedish 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion / Home Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• 6 page liner notes 

DVD Release Date: May 16th, 2000

Keep Case
Chapters: 24

Release Information:
Studio: BFI

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Disc Size: 42,306,660,647 bytes

Feature Size: 30,524,834,688 bytes

Average Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 

 

Edition Details:
• Papageno (1935, 11:06): Lotte Reiniger s enchanting silhouette-animation inspired by Mozart's opera
• In Mozart's Footsteps (1938, 11:01): fascinating post Anschluss travelogue by roving aristocrat Lady Dunn
• On Such a Night (1955, 37:09): the colourful adventures of an American opera buff on his first visit to Glyndebourne, directed by Antony Asquith
• UK theatrical trailer (2 mins)
• Illustrated booklet with new writing by Sameer Rahim and Vic Pratt, and full film credits

Blu-ray Release Date: April 23rd, 2018
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

Disc Size: 49,700,117,426 bytes

Feature Size: 25,970,227,200 bytes

Average Bitrate: 21.57 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• shares the Blu-ray Disc with After the Rehearsal

 

Interview with Ingmar Bergman (29:27)
Peter Cowie (18:15)
Tystnad Tagning TrollFlojten (1:05:27)


Blu-ray Release Date: November 20th, 2018

Custom Blu-ray Case

Chapters 24

 

 

Comments:

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

The Criterion Blu-ray of Crisis is part of their Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema 100th Anniversary 30 Blu-ray Boxset (reviewed, as a work in-progress, HERE). The Magic Flute shares this Blu-ray with After the Rehearsal. See comparative captures, a listing of technical details, extras etc., on this page.

We've compared it here and it is significantly different from the BFI 1080P with colors appearing far more authentic, there is also more information in the 1.37 frame but it can look softer in some scenes. It starts with this source-screen:

Overall I would say it is superior to the BFI that can look very video-like but the Criterion HD image is far from ideal but, we expect that the source is compromised. It does start with the same 'Overture' sequence:

Criterion also use a linear PCM track in the original Swedish and there are, what appears to be, sync issues but generally the sound and songs are pleasing in the uncompressed. There are optional English subtitles (see sample) on the Region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Criterion

***

ON THE BFI Blu-ray: The BFI HD is a very welcome, massive, update to the 18-year old Criterion DVD as the screen captures can attest. Briefly, the BFI did show some unusual artifacts in the first few minutes - almost like snow falling and I was trying to see if it was intentional as an overlay - but I will please ignorance - it definitely showed a few artifacts in the faces but I wouldn't call the 1080P flawed because of it. This is from a different source and has the Trollfl÷jten title and has the 'Overture' (hence the time discrepancy? I don't recall if it is on the Criterion DVD):

Colors jump to life, skin tones normalize and tints are richer and it shows more information in the 1.33:1 frame. There is grain and it is on a dual-layered disc with a supportive bitrate.

There are optional English subtitles on the Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Extras include Papageno: Lotte Reiniger's 1935 enchanting silhouette-animation inspired by Mozart's opera running 11-minutes. In Mozart's Footsteps is from 1938. Described as a fascinating post Anschluss travelogue by roving aristocrat Lady Dunn and On Such a Night is from 1955; the colorful adventures of an American opera buff on his first visit to Glyndebourne, directed by Antony Asquith. Also included is a UK theatrical trailer and the package has an illustrated booklet with new writing by Sameer Rahim and Vic Pratt, and full film credits.

Even with slight imperfections - likely due to the source - this is such a wonderful production to see in 1080P. I will cherish this Blu-ray - thank you BFI!

***

ON THE DVD: This may be, dare I say, Criterion worst image - certainly in the bottom 10. Taken from television standard, its highlights are the stereo score in uncompressed PCM. NOTE: Due to an authoring error on the first printing of Criterion’s The Magic Flute, the left and right audio tracks are reversed. This flaw has been corrected on all subsequent printings of this DVD.

RE: The Stereo effect: It is almost as if the sound effects were designed with DVD technology in mind. Atmospheric details such as footsteps approaching across the stage, Papageno's chewing of cakes as he shows Pamina the picture of her prince, and the sly, lecherous whispers of Monostatos (sung by Ragnar Ulfung, well-known to Met audiences in the '70s) all contribute to the vivid impression of the Bergman/Ericson recording. The single most arresting moment comes when Monostatos suddenly hisses "Nu stilla, stilla, stilla, stilla!" from the left-hand speaker, and the Queen of the Night, skirts rustling ominously, advances.

The image is dull, soft and hazy for most of the performance. Color balance looks poor as well (orange skin tones). I suspect it is the best print that could be obtained. Even for TV from 1975 this looks rather poor. There are excellent subtitles and no DVD extras. A Criterion rarity, but a pleasure to own for its unique charm.

Gary W. Tooze

 


DVD Menus

 

Extras BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


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

 

Subtitle Sample

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Box Covers

   

 

 

 

 

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 71 - Region 0 - NTSC BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Criterion (Ingmar Bergman's Cinema) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 





 

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Gary Tooze

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