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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray]

 

(Michèle Hozer, Peter Raymont, 2009)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: White Pine Pictures

Video: Lorber Films

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:53:59.065

Disc Size: 35,209,571,625 bytes

Feature Size: 29,011,587,072 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.36 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside slipcase

Release date: March 1st, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080i / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1811 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1811 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

Deleted Scenes and Interviews (all in 1080i)

• Cornelia Foss on Glenn's Music (:48)

Lorne Tulk and 'The Chair' (2:39)

• Ray Roberts and Mementos of Glenn (3:23)

Cornelia Foss on Glenn's Philosophy (3:04)

Cornelia Foss on Glenn's Image (3:53)

Lorne Tulk and 'The Toolbox' (1:18)

• Kevin Bazzana and Gould's Notes (2:28)

Trailer for 3 films including Genius Within (2:38)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: An enigmatic musical poet and the most documented classical musician of the last century world-renowned pianist Glenn Gould continues to captivate international audiences twenty-six years after his untimely death. Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould humanizes the legend, weaving together an unprecedented array of unseen footage, private home recordings and diaries, as well as compelling interviews with Gould's most intimate friends and lovers, all exploring the incongruities between Gould's private reality and his wider image.

 

 

The Film:

The Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, who died at 50 in 1982, has been a figure of fascination since he burst onto the classical music scene, with startling virtuosity and an unusual brand of flamboyance, in the 1950s. His interpretations of the piano repertory — the work of Bach in particular — were fresh and provocative, and his self-presentation was both matinee-idol charismatic and winningly odd. As Gould’s celebrity grew, some of his peculiarities became as famous as his playing. He insisted on sitting in a special low-slung chair, so that his long arms seemed to angle upward to the keyboard. He wore scarves, gloves and overcoats in all kinds of weather. He rambled charmingly in interviews and hummed loudly onstage.

Excerpt from A.O. Scott at the NY Times located HERE

A wealth of archival footage, some of it previously unseen, and the obvious audio treasures ensure that Genius Within looks and sounds as captivating as its story. The filmmakers go heavy on talking heads (keeping track gets distracting), but the upshot is an articulate and emotional oral history of an entire life. And, as Gould himself was a charming talker who never looked less than iconic in a photo or film reel, the subject himself is vividly present. Consider it an inner life unearthed.

Excerpt from Kieran Grant at Eye Weekly located HERE

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

Lorber's Blu-ray of Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould is the 'Director's Cut' containing footage not seen theatrically (my estimation is about 5 extra minutes).  The image is interlaced (1080i) but I suspect that it is shot on DV (1.78 AR) and not bumped to 35mm for this transfer. It doesn't drastically affect the presentation in which audio may be more significant. This is dual-layered with a high bitrate and is filled with vintage static shots and clips from concerts where the quality is, predictably, imperfect. Colors aren't exuberant and the interview head-shots look fine in exporting information. The bottom line is that it looks fine - as strongly detailed as digital video can supply for the interviews and the vintage material is of varying quality.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio offers a DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 1811 kbps - unfortunately there is not enough - or rather - consistency - of simply Gould performing but what is used sounds very strong, nay beautiful. There is some separation in the music but there is mainly dialogue that is crisp and clear. When Glenn's performing is heard - it sounds good (tight, some depth) but relegated to the background and probably not at the level of my Bach: The Goldberg Variations 1955 Performance: Zenph Re-performance SACD (btw, strongly recommended for those who own an Oppo or similar Blu-ray or stand-alone machine that plays SACD - I consider the first track; 'Aria' - the greatest piece of music I have ever heard). There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Extras consist of 'deleted scenes and interviews' lasting a total of about 15-minutes with Cornelia Foss (she had a love affair lasting several years with Gould), Lorne Tulk (former technician for CBC Radio - a great friend of Gould), Ray Roberts and Kevin Bazzana discussing things like Glenn Gould's philosophy, his 'image', his chair and other details of his life that thee individuals had direct knowledge.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Gould was eccentric, paranoid, reclusive, a hypochondriac but creative - all these things and more. A fascinating person who created some of the most profound music heard in the modern world. Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould is extremely interesting - well-paced and still contemplative - as the music of the man frequently plays, usually gently, in the background. There is a lot here - many details that I was not aware of - it covers plenty of new ground and is wonderful to see and hear via Blu-ray. For those keen at all on the man - less focused on his music and more on factors of his personal life - this is an easy purchase decision. It is quite fascinating. 

Gary Tooze

February 26th, 2011

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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