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USA 1948

 

A borderline horror flick, Welles's expressionist and magical MACBETH (1948), unlike most screen versions of Shakespeare, is pure cinema. It was but three weeks in production at low-budget horse-opera mill Republic studio, stunningly shot by cameraman John L. Russell (who later shot Psycho). Welles is superb as the tragic hero, and in spite of the film's limitations, a good deal of the play's power comes through. One of the director's most personal creations, it's a courageous experiment with a craggy barbaric splendor all its own.

Excerpt of review from Elliot Stein in the Village Voice located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: October 1, 1948 (USA premiere), December 27, 1950 (New York City, New York) (edited version)

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Comparison: 

Wild Side Vidéo (Édition Collector 3 DVD) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregg Ferencz for the DVD Review!

1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT
 
Box Cover

 

Distribution

Wild Side Vidéo

Region 2 - PAL

Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 114/82 (4% PAL speedup) 1:47:15.679
Video

4:3 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.95 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 19,506,761,659 bytes

Feature: 19,404,490,752 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 22.07 Mbps

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

Bitrate

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (Mono, English) DTS-HD Master Audio English 846 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 846 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles French (non - removable) None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Wild Side Vidéo

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 4:3

Edition Details:
• Disc 1: Restored longer cut originally released in 1948
• Restoration Demo, Orson Welles Filmography.
• Disc 2: 1950 re-release version redubbed and with shorter running time.
• Disc 3: Extensive supplements including analysis of the differences between the two versions ( 26:47
• Analysis of scenery design (13:43)
• A look at the cinematography (3:00)
• Analysis of the use of music in Macbeth (3:39)
• A discussion of Macbeth with actor Stuart Seide (13:50)
• A 4 min. film clip of the 1936 Harlem stage production of Macbeth directed by Welles featuring
• an African-American cast, introduced by Welles scholar Francois Thomas.
• 1940 Mercury Theatre radio adaptation of Macbeth (78:27).
• Production Stills and Promotional Art
• * All of the commentary is in unsubtitled French.
• 80 page illustrated booklet by Jean-Francois Buire in French

DVD Release Date: December 7, 2005
Fold out Slipcase

Chapters 14

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 19,506,761,659 bytes

Feature: 19,404,490,752 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 22.07 Mbps

Edition Details:

• none

Blu-ray Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Standard Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 13

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - August 12': Firstly the Blu-ray is the 1-hour 47-minute version of the film. The single-layered Olive Films release more easily helps identify the black-boosting and edge-enhancement of the Wild Side DVD. It looks to have come from the same print with the same light scratches as found on the PAL SD. The 1080P is brighter, has more detail and the contrast is further layered than the French edition. The Blu-ray shows some grain texture and some infrequent depth. Overall, it looks quite pleasing. I was surprised it looked this strong.

The sound is lossless via a DTS-HD Master in original mono and can tend to sound echo-y and brittle - not dissimilar to the DVD and we can presume the original production. Unfortunately there are no subtitles for the thick Scot accents and there are also no supplements.

 I'd say the image quality - and being in theatrical running time (finally) via digital - is a big enough positive to indulge in one of Welles' Shakespearean forays. The superior resolution brings out more atmosphere to a film deeply steeped in light and shadows - Orson Welles fans will surely be impressed. Recommended!

Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVD: Note: All captures in this review are from the longer restoration cut.

I was not aware that this set was available until I read about it in Jonathan Rosenbaum's article recently posted HERE.


The material is presented in a clean interlaced transfer and spread out over three discs. The DVD containing the shorter version is single layered. The other two discs are dual-layered.

The listed running time for the short version is 85 minutes. My player displayed a running time of 81:31 which could be explained by 4% PAL speedup.  I'm having a harder time evaluating the true running time of the longer cut. The package and my player list this version at 114 minutes. The running time of the restoration is said to be 107 or 103 minutes, depending on whose account one reads. There is a bit over eight minutes of overture music prior to the opening sequence and around three minutes of exit music. This leaves 103 minutes for the feature. If the 4% PAL speed up is present then this may represent a 107 minute feature. But then, why is the actual running time listed correctly as 114 minutes while the shorter version has a 4% difference in it's running time from what is stated on the package? I know I'm splitting hairs here but I find it puzzling.

The video looks pretty good for a film that has undergone extensive digital restoration. The minor digital noise that is evident is preferable to the way the film looked prior to being restored as the comparison demo makes clear.

The audio is also very decent, a bit tinny at times, but not overly distracting.

The extras are rich and extensive but it would have been nice if Wild Side Video had included English subtitles. There is a lot of information being related that is no doubt worth hearing. I particularly enjoyed seeing the four minute clip of Welles "Voodoo Macbeth" from an old newsreel.

My only real complaint with the set is that you cannot turn off the French subtitles even though they are not burned in. Between this and the French only supplements it's apparent that Wild Side Video did not produce this DVD with the overseas market in mind.

Still, it's a great buy for a serious fans of Orson Welles. I am grateful to Mr. Rosenbaum for bringing it to my attention.
out of  

 - Gregg Ferencz

 


DVD Menus
 

 

Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Screen Captures

 
1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 

Edge Enhancement halos on the DVD

 


1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 


1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 


1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 


1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 


1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 


 

1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT
 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Cover

 

Distribution

Wild Side Vidéo

Region 2 - PAL

Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 





 

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