(aka 'John Huston's Wise Blood')

Directed by John Huston
USA 1979

In this acclaimed adaptation of the first novel by legendary Southern writer Flannery O’Connor, John Huston vividly brings to life her poetic world of American eccentricity. Brad Dourif, in an impassioned performance, is Hazel Motes, who, fresh out of the army, attempts to open the first Church Without Christ in the small town of Taulkinham. Populated with inspired performances that seem to spring right from O’Connor’s pages, Huston’s Wise Blood is an incisive portrait of spirituality and Evangelicalism, and a faithful, loving evocation of a writer’s vision.

***

Set in the Deep South during the postwar era, Wise Blood stars Brad Dourif as an aimless veteran, who decides to become a Bible-thumping preacher (for a questionable concern called "The Church Wihout Christ") principally because he hasn't anything better lined up. Dourif links up with a veteran of the hellfire-and-brimstone circuit, who for business purposes pretends to be blind. The older man persuades Dourif to blind himself for real so that he can truly "see the light" (yes, the movie is that weird).

  Poster

Theatrical Release: October 24th, 1979

Reviews        More Reviews        DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Second Sight - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC

(Second Sight - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution Second Sight - Region 2 - PAL Criterion Collection - Spine # 470 - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:41:27 (4% PAL speedup) 1:45:52
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.86 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.81 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:  UK DVD

Bitrate:

 Criterion

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

Release Information:
Studio: Second Sight

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• New interviews with actor Brad Dourif (16:25), writer Benedict Fitzgerald (23:08), writer-producer Michael Fitzgerald (22:12) and Amy Wright (8:35)

DVD Release Date: March 2nd, 2009

Keep Case
Chapters: 18

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• New interviews with actor Brad Dourif (13:42), writer Benedict Fitzgerald (13:27), and writer-producer Michael Fitzgerald (20:18)
• Rare archival audio recording of author Flannery O’Connor reading her short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”
• Episode of the television program Creativity with Bill Moyers from 1982, featuring John Huston discussing his life and work in three parts (God, Ego, Hollywood) - 25:35
• Theatrical trailer (2:24)
• 14-page liner notes booklet featuring photos and an essay by author Francine Prose

DVD Release Date: April 6th, 2009
Transparent Keep Case 
Chapters: 14

 

Comments:

There doesn't appear to be a lot (or any?) difference in the image quality but feeling somewhat tested I did find one 'more cleansed' frame on the Criterion (see the 7th large capture pairing below - with Enoch Emory - played by Dan Shor.) At my most picky the Criterion skin tones seem a semi-tone truer (UK transfer's are a bit redder) and in motion it's, almost imperceptivity, smoother. Both are dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic (the Second Sight disc even starts with the Janus Films logo) but for those sensitive to it - the UK disc has PAL speedup that I could only identify in - the minor part of - John Huston's distinctive voice. I think I 'got' the exact frames on most captures below and I don't see huge differences in what's in the frame. While, if pushed, I'll go with the Criterion - both transfers are strong and you'd have to have a heck of a system to notice differences beyond the PAL speedup.

Audio-wise I'll also go Criterion's mono track - very marginally superior - over the PAL disc's 2.0 channel. Again though - only fairly sensitive ears will distinguish in normal viewing and Criterion offers optional English subtitles where the Second Sight have none.




 

Extras have less exacting parity than the transfers. While Second Sight offer four new interviews - lead Brad Dourif, writer Benedict Fitzgerald, writer-producer Michael Fitzgerald and actress Amy Wright - Criterion repeat but lose the last segment - the gal who played Sabbath Lily - and shorten the others by a total of 15-minutes (notably précised is the one with writer Benedict Fitzgerald). Criterion add a rare archival audio recording of author Flannery O’Connor reading her short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, a 2.5 minute theatrical trailer and a wonderful bonus of the 1982 television program Creativity with Bill Moyers, featuring John Huston discussing his life and work in three parts (God, Ego, Hollywood) - for about 25 minutes. This is especially appealing to fans of the director. Criterion wouldn't be complete as the label we love without some liner notes - in this instance a 14-page booklet featuring photos and an essay by author Francine Prose.

The Criterion is the expected winner but, unfortunately, everything on the mudball seems to relate to price and the Second Sight is £11.98 GBP = $17.7187 USD and the Criterion is $29.99 USD - at this writing. Individuals should judge for themselves - especially accounting for shipping dependant on your geographic location. The film is surprising faithful to Flannery O'Connor's, hard to explain, story and I consider it somewhat of a masterpiece. Whichever way you lean - it's important to see Huston's film - one you won't be forgetting soon. Both editions are recommended but the Criterion wins on every level (transfer - video and audio - package, cover, menus and extras).   

Gary W. Tooze

 


DVD Menus / Extras

 

(Second Sight - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)


 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

(Second Sight - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

(Second Sight - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(Second Sight - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(Second Sight - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 


(Second Sight - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(Second Sight - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 


(Second Sight - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 
NOTE: The print inconsistency mark (on his left cheek) is more visible on the Second Sight - it appears to have been digitally corrected on the Criterion.
 

 


(Second Sight - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 


DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution Second Sight - Region 2 - PAL Criterion Collection - Spine # 470 - Region 1 - NTSC




 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!