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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Too Late Blues [Blu-ray]

 

(Joseph Losey, 1979)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Gaumont

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:56:29.579

Disc Size: 41,569,631,939 bytes

Feature Size: 41,454,766,080 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.52 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 19th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 2230 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2230 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1668 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1668 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Filmed on location in picturesque Vicenza, Italy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's operatic masterpiece Don Giovanni is beautifully translated to film by director Joseph Losey (The Servant) and Mozart's incomparable music is performed by the legendary Paris opera, conducted by Lorin Maazel. Set in Seville in the 1600s, a young nobleman Don Giovanni (Ruggero Raimondi) is well-known philanderer with a long list of amorous conquests. After he attempts to seduce the beautiful Donna Anna (Edda Moser), her father's battle to protect her honor ends in tragedy. Anna and her fianc‚ Don Octavio (Kenneth Riegel) pledge to seek revenge, while Giovanni continues to charm and trick the local women. The stellar cast also includes masterful opera stars John Macurdy as The Commendatore, Kiri Te Kanawa as Donna Elvira, Jose Van Dam as Leporello, Teresa Berganza as Zelina and Malcolm King as Massetto. The magnificent setting of a 16th-century mansion, incredible costumes and Vicenza's mysterious canals make this film version of Don Giovanni a triumph.

 

 

The Film:

Losey's Don Giovanni is a social study out of Brecht, who once argued: 'We find the glamour of this parasite less interesting than the parasitic aspects of his glamour'. As the orchestra strikes up the Overture, the Don is touring his glass factory, suspended on a single plank above the fires which will finally consume him. Here labour vies with leisure, license with liberty, in a production mindful of Mozart's (and Sade's) era: the opera antedated the French Revolution by a mere two years. Filmed largely in formal long shot against Palladian Vicenza, Losey's cinematic version is a conscious attempt to 'make the unreal tangible'. Mostly - despite the odd Zeffirelli-ism and occasional 'motivation' - it succeeds. Appropriately histrionic performances from an excellent opera cast (notably Raimondi's vampiric Don and Kiri Te Kanawa's hysterical harlequin Elvira) and a very vocal mix which displeases record reviewers, but clarifies the libretto, combine with autumnal colours out of Masaccio and Giorgione to map the declining empire of the ancient regime.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Joseph Losey's 1979 film adaptation of the Mozart opera Don Giovanni adheres faithfully to the original Lorenzo Da Ponte libretto, with rakish Don Giovanni (Ruggero Raimondi) putting the make on the aristocratic Dona Anna (Edda Moser). Giovanni's enemies warn him that he'll suffer mightily for his amorous escapades. And when the gates of hell open up on cue in the last act, and Don Giovanni is dragged screaming into perdition, it turns out those enemies were right.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

Don Giovanni runs almost 3 -hours and has a dual-layered Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. It has, what is described as, 'autumnal colors' and visuals do look less-vibrant. The black levels seem to improve as the films runs along - with a supportive bitrate. Many sequences have a dusty contrast that I perceive as being intentional. Detail is modest and there is no real depth but there is some grain and this may be a close theatrical approximation. A modicum of noise surfaces but it is inconsequential to the overall 1.66:1 presentation experience. I think the Blu-ray does an admiral job of exporting the film's video without indulging in digital manipulation.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

We are given the option of either a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 2230 kbps 5.1 or a more modest, but still uncompressed, 2.0 channel stereo track - both in original Italian. There were some separations in the former and the music transfer is extremely pleasing. I imagine fans of the Opera will be quite impressed with the 5.1 audio. Effects are minimal but depth surfaces - especially in the singing. The English subtitles are optional and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with their releases. To be fair this is a long film for any commentary although some supplementary discussion wouldn't have been a bad idea to bolster appreciation.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I had never seen Losey's Don Giovanni and was very impressed. I had seen, what is considered Mozart's greatest opera, previously but this 1979 cinematic version is certainly my favorite. What a magnificent film! While the Blu-ray image is not 'crisp' I do believe it is authentic to the original production roots. I was thankful to actually see this and can whole-heartedly recommend to fans of the director or of Mozart - don't hesitate. I was, un-expectantly, blown-away... 

Gary Tooze

February 20th, 2013

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 5000 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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