(aka "The Exterminating Angel")

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/bunuel.htm
Mexico 1962

A group of high-society friends are invited to a mansion for dinner and inexplicably find themselves unable to leave in Luis Buñuel’s daring masterpiece The Exterminating Angel (El ángel exterminador). Made just one year after his international sensation Viridiana, this film, full of eerie, comic absurdity, furthers Buñuel’s wicked takedown of the rituals and dependencies of the frivolous upper classes.

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 15th, 1962 - Finland

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DVD Comparison:

Arrow Film Distributors Ltd -  Region 0 - PAL vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

(Arrow Film Distributors Ltd - Region 0 - PAL LEFT vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

   

Distribution Arrow Film Distributors Ltd - Region 0 - PAL Criterion Collection - Spine #459 - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:28:21 (4% PAL speedup)   1:33:09
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.9 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.35 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 
  NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
Bitrate:

 

Bitrate:

 

Audio Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)  Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono) 
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow Film Distributors Ltd


Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

DVD Release Date: August 28th, 2006

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

•  The Last Script: Remembering Luis Buñuel, a 2008 documentary featuring screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière and director Juan Luis Buñuel (1:36:54)
•   New interviews with actress Silvia Pinal (10:13) and filmmaker Arturo Ripstein (14:48)
•   Theatrical trailer (3:48)
•   38-page liner notes booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Marsha Kinder and an interview with Buñuel from the 1970s

DVD Release Date: February 10th, 2009

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 9

Comments:

NOTE: Chris tells us in email: "...But I'm just watching the Criterion edition of Exterminating Angel and I am shocked by the dismal quality of the soundtrack. I haven't seen the other available edition -- which apparently has its own little problem -- but the Criterion (especially at Criterion's price!) has a soundtrack that sounds as though digitally sampled at one rate and then re-recorded at an incompatible rate - or something! Anyway, there's a constant shifting on volume level (from inaudible to audible) at a very fast rate (about every half second) that can only be a technical error on the part of the DVD production company." (Thanks Chris!)

ADDITION: Criterion - January 09': Firstly, I can assure you that the Criterion disc properly includes the double entrance of the guests as described by both Ebert and David below.

Like the Criterion DVD transfer of Simon of the Desert this is pictureboxed (see our description of 'pictureboxing' in our Kind Hearts and Coronets review). Criterion have included a thick black border around the edge of the frame to supposedly counter 'overscan' on production-made television sets.

Aside from the Arrow cut scene, the big difference is contrast between the UK and North American release. Where the Arrow shows instances of being blown out - the Criterion is much darker with far superior shadow detail. This gives the Criterion an edge in sharpness and it occasionally shows a marginal increase in frame information.

Perhaps more important than the image are the Criterion supplements on a second dual-layered disc. The Last Script: Remembering Luis Buñuel, is a 1.5 hour 2008 Spanish documentary, by Gaizka Urresti and Javier Espada, featuring screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière and Juan Luis Buñuel - the director's son. It is wonderfully filled with information and admiring recollections of the man with anecdotes and interesting stories. It is optionally subtitled in English. It is something I intend to watch a second, and possibly third, time. This is worth the price of the disc alone in my opinion. There are also two new interviews with actress Silvia Pinal (10:13) and filmmaker Arturo Ripstein (14:48) as adjunct to the documentary discussions. On disc one is a theatrical trailer. The package includes a 38-page liner notes booklet featuring photos, a new essay by film scholar Marsha Kinder and an interview with Buñuel from the 1970s. Magnificent.

Another essential release from Criterion. I applaud their efforts in bringing two of the Mexican Buñuels to superior transfer with improved subtitles and fascinating documentary. Every time I see The Exterminating Angel I mark it as one of my favorite Buñuel films. I am thrilled to have it in such a stellar and complete edition. Absolutely recommended!

***

 

ON THE ARROW PAL DISC:

NOTE: The Arrow disc has a major flaw in the opening scenes:

Buñuel shot two "versions" (if you like) of the servants preparing to leave the mansion at the start of the movie, both versions happening before the guests arrive.

I'll quote some comments I found:

1: Roger Ebert:
"The dinner guests arrive twice. They ascend the stairs and walk through the wide doorway, and then they arrive gain--the same guests, seen from a higher camera angle. This is a joke and soon we will understand the punch line: The guests, having so thoroughly arrived, are incapable of leaving."

2: from a Criterion poster "The correct order of shots is that the servants are leaving but see that the guests are entering the hall so they hide in another room. The guests then enter the hall, the host calls his butler and the guests go up the stairs. It then cuts to the servants in the other room who begin to leave thinking that the guests have gone upstairs but then the guests enter the hall again so they retreat back into the other room. We then see the guests entering for a second time, the host calls his butler and the guests go up the stairs."

The discs completely remove these shots/sequences, as though they were an embarrassing "mistake" on Buñuel's part. (Kind of like the two actresses in Cet Obscur Objet du Desir.) - Thanks David!

****

A fairly decent picture quality, similar to Buñuel's  Los Olvidados, The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz and El, all available on DVD. The aspect ratio appears to be maintained, it is fairly clean and acceptably sharp but if you are expecting Criterion level contrast you will be disappointed... but the DVD is progressively transferred and certainly watchable, if far too blown out (brightness) for my personal taste. The audio showed a few inconsistencies and there are no supplements but , aside from a recent R4 Australian release, this is the only available DVD of this film WITH English subs - for that reason alone Buñuel fans may want to pick it up.

NOTE: This review replaced the Spanish version that had no English subs.  

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus

(Arrow Film Distributors Ltd - Region 0 - PAL LEFT vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)

 

Criterion Disc 2

 


Subtitle Sample

 

(Arrow Film Distributors Ltd - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


Screen Captures

(Arrow Film Distributors Ltd - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(Arrow Film Distributors Ltd - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)


(Arrow Film Distributors Ltd - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)


(Arrow Film Distributors Ltd - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)


(Arrow Film Distributors Ltd - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 


(Arrow Film Distributors Ltd - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)


(Arrow Film Distributors Ltd - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)


(Arrow Film Distributors Ltd - Region 0 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

Some of Luis Buñuel’s films on Criterion DVD

 

 

DVD Box Cover

   

Distribution Arrow Film Distributors Ltd - Region 0 - PAL Criterion Collection - Spine #459 - Region 1 - NTSC

Recommended Reading for Buñuel Fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

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