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U
K 1947

This explosive work about the conflict between the spirit and the flesh is the epitome of the sensuous style of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. A group of nuns—played by some of Britain’s finest actresses, including Deborah Kerr, Kathleen Byron, and Flora Robson—struggle to establish a convent in the Himalayas, while isolation, extreme weather, altitude, and culture clashes all conspire to drive the well-intentioned missionaries mad. A darkly grand film that won Oscars for Alfred Junge’s art direction and Jack Cardiff’s cinematography , Black Narcissus is one of the greatest achievements by two of cinema’s true visionaries.

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Theatrical Release: May 26th, 1947

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Comparison:

ITV DVD - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

1) ITV (UK) DVD - Region FREE - Blu-ray LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

  

ITV DVD
Region FREE Blu-ray
Criterion
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray

Carlotta

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Distribution ITV DVD
Region FREE Blu-ray
Criterion Collection - Spine # 93 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Carlotta

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:40:43.750 1:41:08.103 1:40:35.041
Video

1.33:1 - 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 19,425,805,496 bytes

Feature: 17,177,806,848 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.98 Mbps

Codec: VC-1 Video

1.33:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,668,686,014 bytes

Feature: 29,829,795,840 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.33:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,136,130,160 bytes

Feature: 25,100,341,248 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.86 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

ITV DVD
Region FREE Blu-ray

Bitrate:

 

Criterion Blu-ray

Carlotta

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Audio Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
DTS-HD Master Audio English 829 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 829 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DUB: DTS-HD Master Audio French 816 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 816 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles English, None English, None French, none
Features Release Information:
Studio:
ITV DVD (UK)

 

1.33:1 - 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 19,425,805,496 bytes

Feature: 17,177,806,848 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.98 Mbps

Codec: VC-1 Video

 

Edition Details:
Profile of Black Narcissus (24:03 in 576i)
Trailer (2:37 in 1080P)


Blu-ray Release Date:
June 23rd, 2008
Standard Blu-ray case
Chapters: 8

 

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection

 

1.33:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,668,686,014 bytes

Feature: 29,829,795,840 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:
• Video introduction by filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier (8:43 in French with English subtitles)
• Audio commentary featuring Powell and director Martin Scorsese
• The Audacious Adventurer, a video piece in which Tavernier discusses the film and Powell (17:27)
• Profile of “Black Narcissus,” a documentary featuring members of the Archers’ production team (25:29)
• Painting with Light, a documentary on Cardiff’s Oscar-winning work on Black Narcissus (26:31)
• Original theatrical trailer (2:35)
• 24-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones

 

Blu-ray Release Date: July 20th, 2010
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters:
19

Release Information:
Studio: C
arlotta (France)

 

1.33:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,136,130,160 bytes

Feature: 25,100,341,248 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.86 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

• Profile of “Black Narcissus,” a documentary featuring members of the Archers’ production team (24:26 in 1080i)

• Spectrum (31:47 in 1080i)

Gallery (black and white stills)

Trailer (2:36 in 1080P)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: March 7th, 2012

Black Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

20 chaps

 

Comments

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

 

ADDITION: Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (April 2012): We have already compared DVDs and the ITV Blu-ray to the Criterion HERE, but with the addition of the new Carlotta - we thought it prudent to redo captures for the initial and latest 1080P releases. To make some quick points - the single-layered ITV utilized the VC-1 encode, and with the lower bitrate was slighter less-vibrant than the Criterion - which showcased more grain and just generally looked better at replicating the vibrancy of Technicolor. But perhaps the biggest factor in dismissing the early UK Blu-ray was is audio which was not lossless. Fans of the film will note that the powerful Brian Easdale music and effect sounds (ever-present wind, booming bell etc.) was a key component to creation of an aura of intended desolate Himalayan mountain locale (although, as famously known, all shot in-studio). Criterion's uncompressed audio transfer was another significant improvement. And, of course, the supplements including Scorsese commentary etc. were other factors in easily recognizing the Criterion as the definitive release.

 

The new Carlotta is a handsome package - a beautiful black Blu-ray case - with an adept transfer. It is slightly less robust than the Criterion but most might be hard-pressed to distinguish any strong differences. I'd say the Criterion has a slight superiority in contrast and shows a shade more grain. Overall it is quite comparable to the Criterion video rendering in-motion. Even under the microscope of zoomed-in screen captures - this is visual winner.

 

Carlotta have not made the same faux-pas as ITV and included a lossless score - both in original English and an optional French DUB. My Momitsu was able to remove the French subtitles (when 'English' was chosen from the menu) via my remote and I expect this is true for most, if not all, Blu-ray players.

 

 

Overall, pretty sweet a/v on the region 'B'-locked French disc - obviously advancing beyond the UK counterpart.

 

There are some viable supplements as well with the 25-minute Profile of “Black Narcissus” documentary found on both other Blu-ray releases and a new piece entitled Spectrum - a half hour film in 1080i on Black Narcissus by Darius Khondji. It runs 1/2 an hour but is, unfortunately, only in French (no English subtitles). They include an HD trailer and some nice black and white stills in a gallery.

 

This French edition is a solid-as-a-rock release - quite a beautiful package - not dethroning the Criterion for top spot worldwide but handily the definitive choice for region 'B'-locked audiences. We can easily recommend it.   

Gary W. Tooze


ITV DVD - Region FREE Blu-ray


 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920 X 1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) ITV (UK) DVD - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) ITV (UK) DVD - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) ITV (UK) DVD - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) ITV (UK) DVD - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) ITV (UK) DVD - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) ITV (UK) DVD - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) ITV (UK) DVD - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) ITV (UK) DVD - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 



1) ITV (UK) DVD - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) ITV (UK) DVD - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) ITV (UK) DVD - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) ITV (UK) DVD - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Carlotta - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Associated Reading (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

  

ITV DVD
Region FREE Blu-ray
Criterion
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray

Carlotta

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Criterion / Carlotta Blu-ray

Sound:

Criterion / Carlotta Blu-ray

Extras: Criterion Blu-ray





 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...