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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


(aka "Der Himmel über Berlin" or "Les Ailes du désir" or "The Sky Above Berlin")

directed by Wim Wenders
Germany 1987

Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin) is one of cinema’s loveliest city symphonies. Bruno Ganz is Damiel, an angel perched atop buildings high over Berlin who can hear the thoughts—fears, hopes, and dreams—of all the people living below. But when he falls in love with a beautiful trapeze artist, he is willing to give up his immortality to come back to earth to be with her. Made not long before the fall of the Berlin Wall, this stunning tapestry of sounds and images, shot in black and white and color by the legendary Henri Alekan, is movie poetry. And it forever made the name Wim Wenders synonymous with film art.

***

Part romance, part comedy, part meditation on matters political and philosophical, Wenders' remarkable movie posits a world haunted by invisible angels listening in to our thoughts. Such plot as there is concerns two kindly spirits (Ganz and Sander), posted to contemporary Berlin, who encounter a myriad of mortals, including an ageing writer blighted by memories of a devastated Germany; actor Peter Falk, on location shooting a film about the Nazi era; and a lonely trapeze artist, with whom Ganz falls in love, thus prompting his desire to become mortal at last. A film about the Fall and the Wall, it's full of astonishingly hypnotic images (courtesy veteran Henri Alékan), and manages effortlessly to turn Wenders' and Peter Handke's poetic, literary script into pure cinematic expression. Masterpiece? Maybe not, but few films are so rich, so intriguing, or so ambitious.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 23rd, 1987 - France

Reviews         More Reviews         DVD Reviews

Comparison:

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Anchor Bay - Region 0 - PAL vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to the collaboration of Gregory Meshman for the MGM Screen Captures and Pavel Borodin for Anchor Bay captures!

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT
2)
Anchor Bay NEW - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

MGM Home Entertainment

Region 1  - NTSC

Anchor Bay
Region 2 - PAL
Criterion Collection - Spine # 490
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 2:07:28 2:02:16 (4% PAL speedup) 2:07:44.073
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.90 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.89
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,824,683,398 bytes

Feature: 26,440,255,488 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

MGM

 

Bitrate:

Anchor 

Bay

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio German and English (Dolby Digital 5.1), German and English (Dolby Digital 2.0), Commentary in English (Dolby Digital 2.0)

German and English (Dolby Digital 5.1), German and English (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Commentary in English (Dolby Digital 2.0)

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1911 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1911 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Subtitles English, Spanish, French and none English, and none English, and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM/UA Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Black & White, Color, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, Dolby
• Commentary by director Wim Wenders and Peter Falk
• Deleted scenes with commentary by Wim Wenders
• "Angels Among Us" documentary
• Interactive map
• Widescreen anamorphic format

DVD Release Date: July 1, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 32

Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1


Edition Details:
• Special Feature:
• Outtakes & Deleted Scenes (31 mins)
• German Trailer
• Curt Bois Trailer
• Photo Gallery
• Film Notes
• Cast & Crew
• Audio Commentary by Win Wenders and Peter Falk

DVD Release Date: April 1, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,824,683,398 bytes

Feature: 26,440,255,488 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary featuring Wenders and actor Peter Falk
• The Angels Among Us (2003), a documentary featuring interviews with Wenders, Falk, actors Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander, writer Peter Handke, and composer Jürgen Knieper (43:09 in HD!)
• “Wim Wenders Berlin Jan. 87,” an episode of the French television program Cinéma cinémas, including on-set footage (9:24)
• Interview with director of photography Henri Alekan (10:16 in HD!)
• Deleted scenes and outtakes (32:13 in HD)
• Excerpts from the films Alekan la lumière (1985) - 27:11 - HD!  and Remembrance: Film for Curt Bois (1982) - 29:42 in HD!
• Notes and photos by art directors Heidi Lüdi and Toni Lüdi
• Trailers
• 30-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Atkinson and writings by Handke and Wenders

Blu-ray Release Date: November 3rd, 2009
Thick Transparent
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 19

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - October09: The Criterion is advertised as a 'New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Wim Wenders' and I don't think I need to say more beyond the screen captures below. The 1080P rendering is a gigantic leap beyond the existing DVDs - especially in contrast and detail. The DVDs looks greenish and sepia while the Criterion is more pure black + white. Like the Criterion DVD HERE, it s the only on in the correct 166:1 aspect ratio. It has a beautifully consistent sheen of fine grain texturizing the image canvas.

Criterion offers a solid DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 1911 kbps 5.1 in German with some English and French dialogue. It is stated in the booklet included with the package that the audio was originally created on an LTRT stereo format but for this Blu-ray release is presented in a multichannel format - remastered and remixed at 24-bit, with director approval, from the original 35mm stems. It sounds flawless and the mix is, expectantly, not the most aggressive but subtle separation exists - which seems to suit the film perfectly. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu verifies this is region 'A'-locked.

The extras are extensive with an audio commentary with Wenders and actor Peter Falk. It amounts to an edited set of 6 hours of interviews conducted by Mark Rance in August, September 1996 and March 1997. This will differ from the past DVDs as it is claimed to have been edited in 2009. The Angels Among Us (2003), is a documentary featuring interviews with Wenders, Falk, actors Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander, writer Peter Handke, and composer Jürgen Knieper. It runs 43 minutes and like all featurettes on this disc it is in HD. We get “Wim Wenders Berlin Jan. 87,” an episode of the French television program Cinéma cinémas, including on-set footage for just shy of 10minutes with English subtitles. There is an interview with director of photography Henri Alekan for about 10-minutes, 9 deleted scenes and outtakes for about 1/2 an hour and some excerpts from the films Alekan la lumière (1985) - 27:11 - and Remembrance: Film for Curt Bois (1982) - 29:42. Criterion have included a 'Timeline' feature and some notes and photos by art directors Heidi Lüdi and Toni Lüdi, a German theatrical trailer and 'Wen Wunderts' promotional trailer as well as a 30-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Atkinson and writings by Handke and Wenders.

Goodness this is a good set. It's the perfect Art Film with a totally flawless package. I can't see any fan being disappointed with what this has to offer. Criterion continue to immeasurably impress with their Blu-ray line. This is another that has our highest regard and strongest recommendation.

- Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVDs: These editions are very nice, but the Anchor Bay Region 2 has a shade of contrast boosting and the general image is slightly hazy in comparison to the sharp MGM Region 1. Contrast appears to be minutely better in the MGM disc. The Extras are as good as equal with both supporting the same Wenders commentary (with Peter Falk) and few other tidbits. I might lean towards the MGM for the "Angels Among Us" documentary inclusion. Colors seem slightly saturated in the Anchor Bay with a tad more red in the skin tones. The MGM is minimally cropped on all 4 edges. Overall I'd say the differences are negligible for most except the many die-hard fans of this film. If you are buying new, then go with the MGM. This comparison may not be enough evidence for those owners of the Region 2 to switch over... but then again they might. MGM wins this comparison.

- Gary W. Tooze

NOTE: There were some problems with Anchor Bay 5.1 track on the initial release of their DVD. The sound started cutting out at around 1:40:00, going mute for approximately 10 minutes and returning sporadically in the last 5 minutes of the film. The soundtrack can be switched to the original Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack on the fly. This track does not have the associated problem. Anchor Bay are aware of this glitch and will be re-issuing the DVD. Anyone who has this problem disc can get it replaced, but it is a hassle.


DVD Menus

(MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Anchor Bay - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

Blu-ray Extras

 


 

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

Screen Captures

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP
2)
Anchor Bay NEW - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay OLD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD
4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP
2)
Anchor Bay NEW - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay OLD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD
4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP
2)
Anchor Bay NEW - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay OLD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD
4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP
2)
Anchor Bay NEW - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay OLD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD
4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP
2)
Anchor Bay NEW - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay OLD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD
4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP
2)
Anchor Bay NEW - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay OLD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD
4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP
2)
Anchor Bay NEW - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay OLD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD
4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray
Menu: Blu-ray

 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

MGM Home Entertainment

Region 1  - NTSC

Anchor Bay
Region 2 - PAL
Criterion Collection - Spine # 490
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze