(aka 'Miss Julie')

Directed by Alf Sjöberg
Sweden 1951

Swedish filmmaker Alf Sjöberg's visually innovative, Cannes Grand Prix-winning adaptation of August Strindberg's renowned 1888 play brings to scalding life the excoriating words of the stage's preeminent surveyor of all things rotten in the state of male-female relations. Miss Julie vividly depicts the battle of the sexes and classes that ensues when a wealthy businessman's daughter (Anita Björk, in a fiercely emotional performance) falls for her father's bitter servant. Celebrated for its unique cinematic style (and censored upon its first release in the United States for its adult content), Sjöberg's film was an important turning point in Scandinavian cinema.

***

Sjöberg was head honcho in the post-war revival of Swedish cinema before Ingmar Bergman emerged. He began as a stage director, and his adaptation of August Strindberg's classic became his most admired film, sharing the Best Film Award at Cannes (with De Sica's Miracle in Milan) in 1951. The title role is magnificently played by Björk, and despite a slight opening-up of the play, the intensity never lets up. Miss Julie's humiliation of the valet Jean (Palme) and her oblique seduction of the underling, leading to tragedy, remain as the powerful central images from a drama about sexual repression and class.

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: June 28th, 1951

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DVD Review: Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC

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The Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films is a 50-disc celebration of international films collected under the auspices of the groundbreaking theatrical distributor. It contains Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ashes And Diamonds (1958), L'avventura (1960), Ballad Of A Soldier (1959), Beauty And The Beast (1946), Black Orpheus (1959), Brief Encounter (1945), The Fallen Idol (1948), Fires On The Plain (1959), Fists In The Pocket (1965), Floating Weeds (1959), Forbidden Games (1952), The 400 Blows (1959), Grand Illusion (1937), Häxan (1922), Ikiru (1952), The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952), Ivan The Terrible, Part II (1958), Le Jour Se Lève (1939), Jules And Jim (1962), Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949), Knife In The Water (1962), The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1943), Loves Of A Blonde (1965), M (1931), M. Hulot's Holiday (1953), Miss Julie (1951), Pandora's Box (1929), Pépé Le Moko (1937), Il Posto (1961), Pygmalion (1938), Rashomon (1950), Richard III (1955), The Rules Of The Game (1939), Seven Samurai (1954), The Seventh Seal (1957), The Spirit Of The Beehive (1973), La Strada (1954), Summertime (1955), The Third Man (1949), The 39 Steps (1935), Ugetsu (1953), Umberto D. (1952), The Virgin Spring (1960), Viridiana (1961), The Wages Of Fear (1953), The White Sheik (1952), Wild Strawberries (1957), Three Documentaries By Saul J. Turell plus the hardcover, full color 240-page book.

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 416 - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:29:57 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.82 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:

Audio Swedish (Dolby Digital mono) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• New video essay by film historian Peter Cowie
• Archival television interview with director Alf Sjöberg
• A 2006 television documentary about the play Miss Julie and author August Strindberg
• Theatrical trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by film scholars Peter Matthews and Birgitta Steene

DVD Release Date: January 22nd, 2008

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Chapters: 19

 

Comments:

Another absolute gem and first introduced by Criterion in The Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films collection. It is wonderful that it is available by itself now. A bona-fide masterpiece based on the work of one of Sweden's greatest writers. A film highly deserved of the shared Palm D'or with many journalist accolades that you will find praising it...

THIS DVD:  Firstly, this image is pictureboxed (see our description of 'pictureboxing' in our Kind Hearts and Coronets review) - a standard practice by Criterion for 1.33 aspect ratio films - aspiring to eliminate overscan on standard production television tubes. Overall the progressive transfer on a dual-layered disc shows some minor damage (scratches and frequent marks - see captures below) and occasional contrast flickering - the un-manipulated captures give a good representation of what to expect. Contrast, detail and subtitles are all at Criterion's standard high level. This looks exactly the same as the transfer from the reviewed The Essential Art House HERE - the difference being the extras on this stand-alone edition.

The supplements are strong and constituent three major inclusions. The first is a video essay by film historian Peter Cowie. It is at his usual excellent professional and detailed standard running about 30 minutes to clips and scenes from the film. Among other details Cowie discusses Sjöberg's daring adaptation of Strindberg's enduring play.  Next we have a 6 minute 1966 television interview excerpt with director Sjöberg as questioned by Nils Petter Sundgren. Finally we have an informative hour-long Swedish television documentary (from 2006) about the play Miss Julie and author August Strindberg with input from Anita Bjork and Bib Andersson (discussing their past roles as Julie). Like the interview it is in Swedish with English subtitles. There is a 2 1/2 minute theatrical trailer and a 22 page liner notes booklet featuring essays by film scholars Peter Matthews and Birgitta Steene.

I was privileged to see this film from the Essential Art House set and it was screaming for an individual release. Thank goodness it is here to reach a larger audience - it is certainly worthy of any collection in my opinion. Strongly recommended!

Gary W. Tooze

 



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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

(click titles for DVDBeaver reviews)

The Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films is a 50-disc celebration of international films collected under the auspices of the groundbreaking theatrical distributor. It contains Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ashes And Diamonds (1958), L'avventura (1960), Ballad Of A Soldier (1959), Beauty And The Beast (1946), Black Orpheus (1959), Brief Encounter (1945), The Fallen Idol (1948), Fires On The Plain (1959), Fists In The Pocket (1965), Floating Weeds (1959), Forbidden Games (1952), The 400 Blows (1959), Grand Illusion (1937), Häxan (1922), Ikiru (1952), The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952), Ivan The Terrible, Part II (1958), Le Jour Se Lève (1939), Jules And Jim (1962), Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949), Knife In The Water (1962), The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1943), Loves Of A Blonde (1965), M (1931), M. Hulot's Holiday (1953), Miss Julie (1951), Pandora's Box (1929), Pépé Le Moko (1937), Il Posto (1961), Pygmalion (1938), Rashomon (1950), Richard III (1955), The Rules Of The Game (1939), Seven Samurai (1954), The Seventh Seal (1957), The Spirit Of The Beehive (1973), La Strada (1954), Summertime (1955), The Third Man (1949), The 39 Steps (1935), Ugetsu (1953), Umberto D. (1952), The Virgin Spring (1960), Viridiana (1961), The Wages Of Fear (1953), The White Sheik (1952), Wild Strawberries (1957), Three Documentaries By Saul J. Turell plus the hardcover, full color 240-page book.

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 416 - Region 0 - NTSC




 

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