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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


(aka 'Will o' the Wisp' or 'Le temps d'aimer et le temps de mourrir')

Directed by Douglas Sirk
USA 19
58

 

A masterpiece of mise-en-scene by Douglas Sirk, transforming an Erich Maria Remarque melodrama into a haunting story of the search for beauty in a dead world. John Gavin and Lilo Pulver are lovers who meet among the ruins of a bombed-out German town during World War II. Despite their efforts to make contact, happiness hovers just beyond their reach in Sirk's metaphysically charged CinemaScope images. A stunning triumph of form, of the sort possible only in Hollywood.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr's capsule at the Chicago Reader located HERE

 

Under the opening credits of Sirk's penultimate masterpiece, set during World War II and filmed on location in Germany, the camera rests on the branches of a tree, its blossom forced early by the heat of a nearby bomb blast. It is the perfect symbol for the love between John Gavin's German soldier on leave and a barely remembered childhood friend, Lilo Pulver: a love forced by the everyday facts of war. This superb adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's novel rests on a painful symmetry between the scenes at the Russian front and the central section in the half-ruined home town, and on a typically tough-minded acknowledgment of the irony that the doomed romance exists not in spite of the war, but because of it.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 1958 - Berlin International Film Festival

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Comparison:

Carlotta (2-disc) (FR) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Eureka - Masters of Cinema (2-disc) (UK) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Carlotta (2-disc) (FR) - Region 2- PAL LEFT

2) Eureka (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Distribution Carlotta (FR) - Region 2 - PAL Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Spine # 65 (UK) - Region 0 - PAL

Masters of Cinema - Spine #65

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Runtime 2:06:24 (4% PAL speedup) 2:06:36 (4% PAL speedup) 2:11:52.404
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.71 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.7 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,187,359,446 bytes

Feature: 24,883,689,024 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB French (Dolby Digital 2.0)  English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB French (Dolby Digital 2.0)  LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Score and Effects: LPCM Audio 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles French, None English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Carlotta

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Featurette: "des larmes et de la vitesse" ("Of Tears and Speed") (11:57) (French - with French subtitles during English dialogue
• A Conversation with Douglas Sirk by Jon Halliday (French - no subtitles) - 14:49
• 
Featurette: Assis Dans le Noir in English with removable French subtitles (18:38)
• Documentary excerpt: portrait of Douglas Sirk in German with burned-in French subtitles (48:48)
• Trailer (2:38)

DVD Release Date: November 7th, 2007

Keep Case
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio: Masters of Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Featurette: "des larmes et de la vitesse" ("Of Tears and Speed") (11:57) (French - with French subtitles during English dialogue
• A Conversation with Douglas Sirk by Jon Halliday (French - English subtitles) - 14:49
• Featurette: Assis Dans le Noir in English with removable French subtitles (18:38)
• Documentary excerpt: portrait of Douglas Sirk in German with burned-in French subtitles and optional English (48:48)
• Trailer (2:38)

• Original 1958 dialogue and continuity script (as an on-disc pdf)
• 36-page booklet containing: the complete text of Jean-Luc Godard’s essay on the film; writings from critic Tag Gallagher; excerpts from Sirk’s reflections; a new translation of Goethe’s poem “Blissful Longing”, beloved by Sirk — and more.


DVD Release Date: March 30th, 2009

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 22

Release Information:
Studio: Masters of Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,187,359,446 bytes

Feature: 24,883,689,024 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Featurette: "des larmes et de la vitesse" ("Of Tears and Speed") (12:29) (French - with French subtitles during English dialogue
• Play Films with isolated effects and music track
• Featurette: Assis Dans le Noir in English with removable French subtitles (18:40)
• Documentary excerpt: portrait of Douglas Sirk in German with burned-in French subtitles and optional English (50:57)
• Trailer (2:45)

• Original 1958 dialogue and continuity script (as an on-disc pdf)
• 36-PAGE BOOKLET containing the complete text of Jean-Luc Godard’s essay on the film; writings from critic Tag Gallagher on the film and Sirk’s career in general; and an assemblage of notes that includes excerpts from Sirk’s reflections upon the film, remarks upon visual motifs inside the movie, the CinemaScope process used to photograph the picture, and more – plus rare archival imagery.

Blu-ray Release Date: September 23rd, 2013
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 22

 

Comments:

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

 

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (September 2013): Masters of Cinema's 1080P transfer looks more blue-leaning where both DVD were green by comparison. This is a substantial upgrade in terms of detail and the visibility of grain. Skin tones look more realistic. Contrast also takes a large step forward (see the white-ness of the snow.) Reds, blues gain a richness. The Blu-ray disc is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. I noticed frequent depth and the film certainly advanced in embracing the viewer with the more realistic visuals depicting the bombed building ruins.

 

Miklos Rozsa's score sounded excellent via the authentic linear PCM 1.0 channel mono track. There are optional English subtitles. We should note that of the three releases compared the Blu-ray is the only one with no PAL speedup (for those who may be sensitive).

 

The supplements generally mimic the 2009 MoC DVD (see below) but we lose the 14-minute 'Conversation with Douglas Sirk by Jon Halliday' but we gain the ability to play the film with an isolated effects and music track.

 

This happens quite frequently - I, again, appreciated the film significantly more seeing it in 1080P. Masters of Cinema offer a super Blu-ray package of an impacting film. Recommended!     

***

ADDITION - Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL - March 09': Despite using the exact same master as the Carlotta (same bitrate, even same filesize) there are differences in the image presentation. The French disc has some boosting of the whites, bringing up detail a notch but it tends to look less film-like and more akin to video beside the Masters of Cinema transfer. The slight chroma noted on the Carlotta was not readily present on the MoC probably due to it being induced on the French transfer by artificial sharpening. The apparent haziness of the UK DVD is unnoticeable beyond 5 feet away on my system and in motion - there is hardly any visual difference. While the Masters of Cinema disc may look a bit thicker and perhaps truer - both appear very strong and produce an excellent viewing.

Audio, as well appears to be the same offering original English and a French DUB. The UK package has included optional English subtitles though.

Extras are the same, with a dual-layered 2nd disc, but the UK offering has made the French extras English-friendly with subtitles for all the French (and German) dialogue, plus they have added the original 1958 dialogue and continuity script (as an on-disc PDF file) and one of their wonderful booklets (36-page) containing the complete text of Jean-Luc Godard’s essay on the film, the writings from critic Tag Gallagher,  excerpts from Sirk’s reflections and a new translation of Goethe’s poem “Blissful Longing”.  It is nice to now fully comprehend (completely translated) Jean-Luc Godard’s visually annotated essay on Sirk’s film and Daniel Schmid's Film Portrait of Douglas Sirk with he and his wife Hilda in conversation, reflecting, from their apartment in Germany, back upon their lives in Hollywood.

While the Carlotta is quite the treasure - the MoC advances beyond it with the supplements giving it even more value for Sirk fans. Strongly recommended!

***

ON THE CARLOTTA: Magnificent film and somehow this DVD slid right under my radar. Picture quality of Carlotta's dual-layered, anamorphic (in original 2.35:1 ratio) and progressive DVD is very strong. Detail is at a strikingly high standard and my only niggling complaints would be some slight chroma discoloration in monochromatic black sequences and in some early scenes colors appear a bit washed. But both negatives are extremely limited. Also it may be vertically compressed a shade. Overall though black levels are very pitch and colors appear accurate and stable. Contrast is pristine. For an SD DVD I'd give the image a 4.5/5. I see no manipulation and hardly any noise.  Audio is very clear and there were no noted pop or dropout instances. There are optional French subtitles.

NOTE: Via the menus you might expect this to have forced French subtitles when the original English audio is chosen. But I can assure you that via my computer and both Malata players that I tested it on - this is not the case. You can see the film in its original format (English audio - no subtitles).  

There is a second disc (dual-layered as well) of supplements with 4 features - but only one English friendly where Wesley Strick talks glowingly about Sirk for about 20 minutes. There is also a trailer on the first disc. I'd love to have understood the 50 minute documentary with the Douglas Sirk interview but my pigeon French has all but left me. The package is certainly worthy only on the basis of the film which must rank as one of Sirk's best - truly a masterpiece.  

Gary W. Tooze

 


Menus

 

1) Carlotta (2-disc) (FR) - Region 2 - PAL LEFT
2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema (2-disc) (UK) - Region 0 - PAL RIGHT


Disc 2


Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 


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

 

Subtitle Sample Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Carlotta (2-disc) (FR) - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Eureka (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Carlotta (2-disc) (FR) - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Eureka (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Carlotta (2-disc) (FR) - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Eureka (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Carlotta (2-disc) (FR) - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Eureka (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Carlotta (2-disc) (FR) - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Eureka (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Carlotta (2-disc) (FR) - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Eureka (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Carlotta (2-disc) (FR) - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Eureka (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


More Blu-ray Captures

 


Box Covers

Distribution Carlotta (FR) - Region 2 - PAL Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Spine # 65 (UK) - Region 0 - PAL

Masters of Cinema - Spine #65

Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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