Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


(aka "Fanny and Alexander" TOP- Theatrical Title / BOTTOM - TV version Title )

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/bergman.htm
Sweden / France / West Germany 1982

 

The prosperous Ekhdahl family are in for a tumultuous new year. Everyone gathers at grandmother Helena's (Gunn Walgren) town home for Christmas as usual, but her son Oscar (Allan Edwall, THE SACRIFICE) is overworked running the theatre his father built for his actress mother. Her other son Carl (Börje Ahlstedt, SARABAND) is far behind in the bills and cannot stand his wife's pity. Only youngest son Gustav Adolf (Jarl Kulle, BABETTE'S FEAST) seems to be doing well (his cheery wife thinks his dalliances with the housemaids are perfectly natural). When Oscar suddenly dies, his wife Emlie (Ewa Fröling, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) gets remarried to the stern bishop Vergerus (Jan Malmsjö, SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE), whose surname should be an indicator of sinister intent for Bergman fans (as it was the surname of PASSION OF ANNA's predatory photographer played by Erland Josephson, and Gunnar Björnstrand's skeptic in THE MAGICIAN). Emilie, her son Alexander (Bertil Guve), and daughter Fanny (Pernilla Allwin) live unhappily with the cruel bishop. The children are locked in the attic and guarded over by housekeeper Justina (Harriet Andersson, THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY). Oscar's ghost hovers over the family as its members' lives change over the course of the year. Emilie alerts Helena to her unhappiness, can Helena bring her family back together? Oscar-nominated for best director and best screenplay, and winner for art direction, costume design cinematography, and Best Foreign Film, FANNY AND ALEXANDER marked Bergman's return to Sweden (after the American/German Dino De Laurentis production THE SERPENT'S EGG, British-Norwegian AUTUMN SONATA, and British-German FROM THE LIFE OF THE MARIONETTES). It was also meant to be Bergman's last theatrical film (actually it was a 5-hour TV project, but the 3-hour theatrical version went out first); he continued to work on the stage and on television, but ended up helming one final theatrical feature: SARABANDE (2003). The role of Helena was originally intended for Ingrid Bergman, Emliie for Liv Ullman (Bergman was bitter over her refusal, but scripted her directorial debut FAITHLESS), and Vergerus for Max Von Sydow. Gunnar Björnstrand also stars, and Lena Olin (THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING) and Peter Stormare (DANCER IN THE DARK) have small roles. Whereas a handful of Bergman's previous films focused on psychological horror over the supernatural, FANNY AND ALEXANDER is perhaps most relatable to English viewers as somewhat of a Gothic novel (although Bergman cited Dickens as an influence) with its ghostly visits, rumors of the fates of the Bishop's previous wife and children, imperious housekeeper, and imprisoned children). The film has its share of tragedy and high emotion, but there is also a sense of joy (not simply solace) not often encountered in Bergman films.

Eric Cotenas

Criterion Blu-ray Product Description: Through the eyes of ten-year-old Alexander, we witness the delights and conflicts of the Ekdahl family, a sprawling bourgeois clan in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Sweden. Ingmar Bergman intended Fanny and Alexander as his swan song, and it is the legendary director’s warmest and most autobiographical film, a four-time Academy Award–winning triumph that combines his trademark melancholy and emotional intensity with immense joy and sensuality. The Criterion Collection is proud to present both the theatrical release and the original five-hour television version of this great work. Also included in the box set is Bergman’s own feature-length documentary The Making of “Fanny and Alexander,” a unique glimpse into his creative process.

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 17th, 1982 - Sweden

Reviews           More Reviews           DVD Reviews

Review: Criterion (3-disc) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Bergman was quoted as saying Fanny and Alexander is “the sum total of my life as a film-maker”. Initially there was a three hour theatrical release (winner of 4 Academy Awards in 1982) - this is on disc 2 of the Criterion Blu-ray package. From all of the reels of shooting Bergman created a 5-hour cut of the film to eventually be shown on television - disc one of the Criterion. The 3rd Blu-ray disc contains the supplements (and is also dual-layered).

 

Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Criterion Spine #261- #263 - Region A - Blu-ray
Version Theatrical TV Version
Runtime 3:09:24.686  5:21:50.958
Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,781,594,715 bytes

Feature: 46,549,370,880 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 28.48 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,933,746,730 bytes

Feature: 48,704,630,784 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 17.99 Mbps

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

Bitrate: Theatrical - Blu-ray

Bitrate:  TV Version Blu-ray

Audio LPCM Audio Swedish 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
English DUB: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps 
DTS-HD Master Audio Swedish 1060 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1060 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1

Edition Details:

• Digital restorations of the television and theatrical versions of Fanny and Alexander
• High-definition digital transfer of Ingmar Bergman’s documentary The Making of “Fanny and Alexander”

• Audio commentary on the theatrical version featuring film scholar Peter Cowie

THIRD Blu-ray dfisc:
• Ingmar Bergman Bids Farewell to Film, a conversation between Bergman and film critic Nils Petter Sundgren recorded for Swedish television in 1984
• A Bergman Tapestry, a documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew
• Stills gallery
• Costume sketches and footage of the models for the film’s sets
• Theatrical trailer


• Liner notes booklet featuring essays by documentarian and film historian Stig Björkman, novelist Rick Moody, and film scholar Paul Arthur

DVD Release Date: November 8th, 2011

Chapters: 39 /  53

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were obtained directly from the Blu-ray discs.

NOTE: Svensk Filmindustri International came out with a region FREE Blu-ray of the theatrical version that we reviewed HERE. That dual-layered SF Blu-ray also has removable, albeit smallish, white English subtitles. Svensk Filmindustri is the oldest and considered one of the most important Swedish motion-picture studios.

NOTE: This Criterion Blu-ray package contains both the theatrical cut of Bergman's film Fanny och Alexander and the 5-hour cut of Fanny and Alexander that was eventually shown on television. We've added some comparisons captures (example; with AE PAL DVD edition etc.) below - although it seems wholly inadequate to give any just representation of Bergman's masterpiece with a handful of screen captures - we will use them on this webpage in identifying the transfer quality.

The dual-layered SF Film Blu-ray was in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio where the Criterion 1080P renderings (for both films) appears faithful in 1.66:1. Solely because of this the Criterion Blu-ray version of the theatrical has some information cropped on both side edges as compared to the SF HD frame. But colors - especially skin tones - seem to go strongly in Criterion's favor looking for more realistic as compared to the very warm look of the SF Blu-ray. Now the Criterion TV version does have a reddish glow in many scenes (see samples below) even more so than both DVDs (Criterion and AE). Both Criterion feature discs show nice grain with a shade more noise on the longer TV version. The SF Film Blu-ray shows evidence of DNR - removing some detail and grain where the Criterion appears 'clean' without manipulation. I'd say this is a big improvement over SD with far less digital artifacts - that were easily noticeable on the TV version DVDs. 

Overall, I found the Blu-ray(s) gives a higher level of emotional attachment to the film establishing the visual aura to a more impacting level. It really makes a difference.

Audio - Criterion have gone with an uncompressed linear PCM track for the theatrical and a DTS-HD Master mono 1.0 for the TV version. This is easily noticeable in the music which sounded extremely impressive. Dialogue also benefitted and Criterion keep English language DUB (only on the theatrical). All three Criterion discs offer optional English subtitles on the region 'A'-locked Blu-ray discs.              

 

Supplements follow Criterion's amazing DVD package with the excellent Cowie commentary (theatrical only) and a third, dual-layered, Blu-ray disc which a includes high-definition digital transfer (1080P) of Ingmar Bergman’s 1 hour-49-minute documentary The Making of “Fanny and Alexander”, plus Ingmar Bergman Bids Farewell to Film; an hour-long conversation between Bergman and film critic Nils Petter Sundgren recorded for Swedish television in 1984 where the director talks of his childhood, working methods and decision to stop filmmaking. Also remaining from the DVD set is the 'A Bergman Tapestry', a 40-minute documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew reflecting on their working experience s making Fanny and Alexander. The liner notes booklet featuring essays by documentarian and film historian Stig Björkman, novelist Rick Moody, and film scholar Paul Arthur - is still included as well.

This is one of those Blu-ray sets that you store away for a rainy Sunday or when you are taking a sick-day from work - flaked out on the couch. There is so much value here that it is impossible to put into words. It has our highest recommendation.     

Gary W. Tooze


 Menus/ Extras


Blu-ray Disc 3

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Palisades Tartan (Theatrical Cut) - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) SF International - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion (Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Palisades Tartan (Theatrical Cut) - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) SF International - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion (Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Palisades Tartan (Theatrical Cut) - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) SF International - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion (Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Palisades Tartan (Theatrical Cut) - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) SF International - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion (TV Version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (TV Version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (TV Version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Criterion Blu-ray Captures

 
Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Criterion Spine Spine #261- #263 - Region A - Blu-ray




 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!