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Directed by Juraj Herz
Czechoslovakia 1972

 

Often described as the 'last' film of the Czech New Wave, Juraj Herz's delirious tale of terror is a fantastical and surreal phantasmagoria of dark desires and splintered minds.

Morgiana, based on a short story by Aleksandr Grin, (the 'Russian Poe'), is the story of two sisters, Klára and Viktoria who live a life of decadent excess stranded somewhere between the mid-19th and early 20th century. Klára is blonde and beautiful, whilst Viktoria is ugly, sadistic, bursting with hate and jealousy - and hatches a terrible revenge by slowly poisoning her more popular sister. As the poison takes hold, Klára begins to lose grip on her sanity...

Part fairy-tale, part Gothic horror, Morgiana is a full-blown hallucinatory experience from the director of The Cremator.

***

Delirious gothic fairytale with Janzurova playing both the roles of 'good' and 'bad' sister in this adaptation of Alexandr Grin's Edwardian-set novel. Tom Hutchinson has called it 'living Aubrey Bearsdley', which captures perfectly the ornate costume and set design, but not the hallucinatory Hammer-like atmospherics and the drenched colour. Often shot from the point of view of the cat (Morgiana), the film is an elegant, beautifully executed, post-'60s essay on sex and repression.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

 

Posters etc.


Theatrical Release: June 7th, 1973

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DVD Review: Second Run - Region 0 - PAL

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Distribution Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:37:12 (4% PAL Speedup)
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.99 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate:

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

Release Information:
Studio: Second Run DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with director Juraj Herz (15:27)

• 12-page booklet featuring a new essay by Daniel Bird

DVD Release Date: October 11th, 2010

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

Second Run just keep rolling along with another great film - exposing it to an English-locked audience previously unaware of its value. It's a wonderful vision for lovers of world cinema and, Morgiana remains a super choice to add to their impressive collection. I hope this journey continues... for a very long time.

Morgiana has been released previously on DVD (Czech and Japanese releases) but as far as I am aware this may be the only 'English-friendly' edition. This dual-layered, progressive transfer from Second Run looks quite competent.  There are speckles - quite a few, but the visuals look about as good as the SD-DVD medium can relate (high bitrate) without excessive restoration. It can be quite dark at times but this seems faithful to the original appearance. The source appears to be uncompromised. This is region free, in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and rendered in the PAL standard.  

The flat 2.0 channel audio is fairly consistent and has a few instances where it can impact the presentation. Dialogue is clear. There are, well rendered, optional English subtitles. Supplements include a, reasonably revealing 15-minute interview with director Herz in Czech that has optional English subtitles. There is also a 12-page booklet featuring a new essay by author Daniel Bird who is very well-versed in Juraj Herz's Czech films.

 

For those familiar with the, oft-chilling, The Cremator, by the same director - I'd say this is equally as good a film... and a unique, psychological, horror.  There is the basic theme reminiscent of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? with sibling jealousies justifying excessive behaviors. I enjoyed my viewing very much.

Gary W. Tooze

 


 

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DVD Box Cover

   

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Distribution Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL




 

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