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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

( aka "Der Pianist" or "Pianista" or "Le Pianiste" )

 http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/polanski.htm
France 2002

The title is an understatement, and so is the film. Roman Polanski's "The Pianist" tells the story of a Polish Jew, a classical musician, who survived the Holocaust through stoicism and good luck. This is not a thriller, and avoids any temptation to crank up suspense or sentiment; it is the pianist's witness to what he saw and what happened to him. That he survived was not a victory when all whom he loved died; Polanski, in talking about his own experiences, has said that the death of his mother in the gas chambers remains so hurtful that only his own death will bring closure.

The film is based on the autobiography of Wladyslaw Szpilman, who was playing Chopin on a Warsaw radio station when the first German bombs fell. Szpilman's family was prosperous and seemingly secure, and his immediate reaction was, "I'm not going anywhere." We watch as the Nazi noose tightens. His family takes heart from reports that England and France have declared war; surely the Nazis will soon be defeated and life will return to normal.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert's review at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

Posters

Theatrical release : May 24th, 2002 - Cannes Film Festival

Reviews       More Reviews       DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Universal Region 1- NTSC vs. Universal - Region 2 - PAL vs.  TVA - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Optimum (Studio Canal Collection) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Enrico for the Region 1 Universal captures and  Ole Kofoed and Gregory Meshman for the other DVD Screen Caps!

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) TVA - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Optimum (Studio Canal)  - Region 'B' Blu-ray RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

Universal Studios

Region 1 - NTSC

Universal (UK)

Region 2  - PAL

TVA / Lions Gate (Canada)
Region 1 - NTSC

Optimum Home Entertainment

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Optimum (Studio Canal Collection)

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Runtime 2:28:55 2:22:40 2:22:37 2:28:44.916 2:28:44.041
Video

1.84:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.9 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.84:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.83 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.84:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.77 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 24 fps Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,537,627,628 bytes

Feature: 24,266,127,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 16.97 Mbps

Codec: VC-1 Video

1080P / 24 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,739,173,743 bytes

Feature: 40,195,393,536 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.001 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Universal -R1

 

Bitrate:

Universal R2.

Bitrate:

TVA

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (5.1 DTS ES), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround) English DD 5.1.

English DD 5.1 / DTS 5.1 (768kbps) / French DD 5.1.

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1791 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1791 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1746 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1746 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1923 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1923 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1968 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1968 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles Spanish, French, English, None English for deaf and hard of hearing, English when there is spoken German or none. French or none (German language in the movie is subtitled in English and French and is not removable). None English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Universal Studios

 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1



Edition Details:
• Color, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound
• Theatrical trailer
• "Story of Survival" featurette on the making of the film
• Archival war footage
• Widescreen anamorphic format

• DVD14 - Extras on opposite side
 

Keep Case

Chapters: 20

 

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1


 

Edition Details:
• "A Story of Survival" (39:43)
• Poster / photo gallery
• Trailer (1:31)
• Filmography of Polanski, Brody and Kretchmann.
• 2-DVD set.

Keep Case

Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: TVA

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1
 


Edition Details:

• "A Story of Survival" (39:28)
• 3 trailers (1:31)(1:20)(1:27)
• 8 TV spots
• Poster / photo gallery
• 2 Samples from CD soundtrack
• Soundtrack TV Spot
• Director's Notes (Text)
• 12 Q & A with Roman Polanski (Text)
• The Warsaw Ghetto (Text)
• About Szpilman (Text)
• Biography and Filmography of Cast and Crew.
• 2-DVD set.

Keep Case

Chapters: 24

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

 

1080P / 24 fps Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,537,627,628 bytes

Feature: 24,266,127,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 16.97 Mbps

Codec: VC-1 Video


Edition Details:

None

Standard (thick) UK Blu-ray Case

Blu-ray Release Date July 20th, 2009

Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Studio Canal Collection

 

1080P / 24 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,739,173,743 bytes

Feature: 40,195,393,536 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.001 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

Original Trailer (1:31 in SD)
  A story of survival: behind the scene of the pianist (39:44 in SD)
  Interview with writer Ronald Harwood (20:45 in SD)
  Interview with Andrzej Szpilzman (29:50 in SD)
  Interview with Daniel Szpilzman (2:29 in SD)

18-page liner notes booklet with photos, vast information and an essay by Anwar Brett

Custom Digi-book-style cardboard Blu-ray Case

Blu-ray Release Date September 13th, 2010

Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Optimum / Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - September 2010:

Firstly, Optimum came out with a Blu-ray of The Pianist in July of 2009. It was single-layered, bare-bones and utilizing the VC-1 encode. Under the 'Studio Canal Collection' umbrella - a newer Blu-ray edition of the film has been released. This European Blu-ray - when inserted - gives the choices for 'Danmark', 'France', 'Italia', 'Netherland', 'Norge', 'Suomi', 'Sverige' or 'United Kingdom'. Then after the enjoyable Studio Canal Collection advert then get the menu and options for your selected country/language preference.

As you can see these 1080P editions are different transfers. My eye prefers the Studio Canal Collection - colors seem more true (see reddish flesh tones of the original Optimum.) As we stated about the original UK Blu-ray - "...it could have probed deeper with a higher bitrate and a dual-layered rendering". Technically the Studio Canal Collection version bests the older rendering on all fronts.  There are far less artifacts and it is smoother. This is much more apparent in motion. Details rises and it just looks more like film. Matching screen captures have been provided for you to make your own decisions though.

I couldn't distinguish any difference in the audio - both are lossless with a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at just over 1700 kbps. Aggression has respectful bass when called upon. As we said about the original Optimum: "Wojciech Kilar's score and the soundtrack of Chopin, Beethoven and Bach produces a gentle resonating charm in the mix." The new Studio Canal has 2 foreign language DUBs (also in lossless) and there are a handful of subtitle options - corresponding to the original menu choice.

Supplements on the Studio Canal are much better (the original Blu-ray had none) with the same 40-minute ' A Story of Survival: Behind the Scene of the Pianist - as found on a couple of the DVDs. You may also find almost an hours worth of interviews with writer Ronald Harwood (20:45 in SD), Andrzej Szpilzman (29:50 in SD), and Daniel Szpilzman (2:29 in SD). We get a theatrical trailer (also in SD only). Lastly, enclosed in the handsome cardboard case is an 18-page liner notes booklet with photos, vast information and an essay by Anwar Brett.

So, it elevates to a more acceptable Blu-ray edition in Studio Canal Collection's nice packaging. Considering the supplements as well - I wouldn't waste my time with the older Optimum. This newer is the one to own.

 

***

ADDITION: Optimum (original) - Region 'B' Blu-ray - October 09: Funnily here the TVA Films (a Canadian - NTSC based country) has the film in an unconverted PAL source - running 4% faster - complete with ghosting and related artifacts. While the Optimum (from the UK - a PAL broadcast based region) has the film in it's proper theatrical running time on Blu-ray.

The 1080P transfer improves upon many areas of the DVDs. The Studio Canal company logo recedes the HD presentation and while it is vastly improved I don't find it stellar. Noise still exists and while the overall image tightens up - it seems it could have probed deeper with a higher bitrate and a dual-layered rendering. The resulting visuals are not dynamically sharp but produce a decent presentation - a healthy upgrade from the SD-DVD transfer.

Audio too improves with a reasonably strong lossless DTS-HD track at just shy of 2000 Kbps. Wojciech Kilar's score and the soundtrack of Chopin, Beethoven and Bach produces a gentle resonating charm in the mix. There is a 2.0 channel PCM track included and although my software idicates optional English subtitles - there are none that I could access. My Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player has identified this as being region 'B'-locked.

There are no extras at all - which, for a film of this magnitude, seems wholly inadequate. The improved resolution benefits the image and the lossless track does the same for the audio. Fans of the film may wish to indulge as there is no sign of it coming out elsewhere in high-definition and the price is relational to value at the writing of this review.  

***

ADDITION (Oct 2003) Universal DVD: The Region 1 Universal has a very strong picture. To my eye just slightly brighter and sharper than the corresponding Region 2 Universal. We have totally discounted the Region 1 TVA for its PAL-NTSC 'ghosting'. So with the Universal Region 1 you get the film without the PAL speedup. In region 1 its an easy choice, but those without may wish to consider the Universal Region 2 for its alternate Extras. The Region 1 is a DVD14 with Extras on the opposite side of the disc.

We have already indicated HERE how the TVA version has noticeable PAL-NTSC "ghosting" (blurred image during onscreen movement ), but this Region 1 release does have substantial Extras (there is also a 3 disc set with a CD). Aside from the ghosting the image quality is quite similar with the edge going to the Universal Region 2 for slightly better shadow detail and contrast. The colors seems accurate for both editions or at least are the same. The Universal exhibits a strong anamorphic picture. Ole has informed me that the audio goes to the TVA release and I trust his judgment. Die-hard fans of this film should get both editions for the added Extras on the TVA. Most of the rest of us can suffice with the Universal.  

 - Gary W. Tooze



DVD Menus

(
Universal - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Universal - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs.  - TVA - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

Original Optimum Blu-ray Menu

 

 

Studio Canal Collection Blu-ray Menus

 

 


 

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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) TVA - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Optimum (Studio Canal)  - Region 'B' Blu-ray BOTTOM


 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) TVA - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Optimum (Studio Canal)  - Region 'B' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) TVA - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Optimum (Studio Canal)  - Region 'B' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) TVA - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Optimum (Studio Canal)  - Region 'B' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) TVA - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Optimum (Studio Canal)  - Region 'B' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Universal - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) TVA - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Optimum (Studio Canal)  - Region 'B' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Optimum (1st edition) Blu-ray captures

More Studio Canal Blu-ray captures

 


 Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Studio Canal Collection Blu-ray

Sound:

Studio Canal Collection Blu-ray

Extras:

Studio Canal Collection Blu-ray

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

Universal Studios

Region 1 - NTSC

Universal (UK)

Region 2  - PAL

TVA / Lions Gate (Canada)
Region 1 - NTSC

Optimum Home Entertainment

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Optimum (Studio Canal Collection)

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 




 


 

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Gary Tooze

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