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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

An American Hippie in Israel [Blu-ray]

 

(Amos Sefer, 1972)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Box Office Spectaculars

Video: Grindhouse Releasing

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:33:04.537

Disc Size: 44,340,472,626 bytes

Feature Size: 18,513,653,760 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Chapters: 34

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 10th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 828 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 828 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps / DN -4dB (Beverly Cinema Experience)

 

Subtitles:

Hebrew, none

 

Extras:

• THE HITCHHIKER, The Uncensored Director's Cut
Six Controversial Scenes Deleted From The Original Release (10:05)
In-depth Interviews With Stars Asher Tzarfati And Shmuel Wolf (56:08)
Asher Tzarfati - An Israeli Actor In Israel - Bonus Featurette (17:54)
Interview With Production Manager Moshe Berman (4:00)
Interview With Singer/Co-Star Susan Devore (7:08)
Channel 10 Tel Avi News Segment (10:22)
A Cult Is Born - Featurette On Revival In Tel Aviv (4:39)
16mm Screen Tests (silent - 9:11)
Be Careful Children - Amos Sefer 16mm Short Film (6:53)
Bonus 5.1 Audio Track - The Beverly Cinema Experience
Liner Notes By Acclaimed Horror Novelist John Skipp
Still Galleries (5:00), Trailer (3:02), Text Filmography and Biography

DVD of the Feature/Extras

DVD of the Hitchhiker

NOTE: This is limited to 2000 individually numbered copies!

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Spectacular New Hi-Definition Digital Restoration Of The Original U.S. Theatrical Version
PLUS - Grindhouse Releasing is proud to present the highly-anticipated release of one of cult cinema's legendary lost classics. Machine gun wielding mimes, robots, blood thirsty sharks, free loving debauchery and poignant anti-war monologues by raving mad hippies, all this and more is present in writer-director-prophet Amos Sefer's allegorical independent film, AN AMERICAN HIPPIE IN ISRAEL. Far out!

 

 

The Film:

Israeli counter-culture movie about hippies and the inherent destructive forces in man, with touches of surrealism. An American Hippie lands in Israel and is picked up by an actress. He rants about the horrible state of the world, what governments made him do in Vietnam, and about his dream of living free in a secluded spot. They hit it off, but he is hounded by strange white-faced men who always appear to spoil his fun or shoot down his friends. When they run off to a tiny rocky island, their utopia deteriorates faster than you can say 'Lord of the Flies'. Mostly a boring movie with endlessly long scenes of hippies 'being happy', dancing, having sex, and taking a road trip. The metaphor works, but its crude, and there is a surreal dream sequence involving various strange communes, violence, and a huge hammer applied to 'tape-recorder-men'.

Excerpt from The Worldwide Cellulois Massacre located HERE

Incited by a disillusioned young man who has decided to flee from civilization, a group of 4 people go searching for freedom and happiness on an isolated island . When their boat goes astray and they are left without food, their animal instincts take over, bringing the film to its catastrophic end.

Excerpt from BFI at IMDb located HERE

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

An American Hippie in Israel arrives fort the first time on home theatre curtsey of Grindhouse Releasing via a stacked 3-disc edition with a new Blu-ray transfer in a 2000-individual release limited edition package.  The image quality is at the mercy of the original elements - now over 40-years old as well as the limitations of the original production. Colors are flat and dull which creates a kind of wash-out effect which is probably not too far off the original. Actually the 1.78:1 framed video looks quite impressive - all things taken into consideration. A couple of scenes even hint at depth. There isn't a lot of damage and the 1.5 hour feature takes up 18 Gig of space on the dual-layered disc. I don't know that a more robust bitrate would do much more to the, already, tainted visuals (production and age). I must admit, despite my reservation on the film, that this Blu-ray provides a decent representation of the original elements which don't exceed beyond an authentic presentation. It's about all you can ask for the 1080P.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio gives two options a DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel mono track at 828 kbps sounding super flat or what is called the 'Beverly Cinema Experience' a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround that sounded pretty hollow to me - which may be intentional. There is odd separation in the latter but the unusual-ness certainly suits the entire viewing experience. There are optional Hebrew subtitles and my Oppo and the back cover have identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

There is a lot here in this 3-disc set from Grindhouse Releasing. First the Blu-ray and extras then a DVD with similar and lastly a DVD of the alternate Uncensored Director's Cut of the film in a 1.33:1 poor quality video with burned-in Hebrew subtitles. The supplements include 10-minutes worth of 'controversial' deleted scenes from the original release, a Channel 10 Tel Avi News Segment, silent screen tests, interviews with Co-Star Susan Devore and Production Manager Moshe Berman as well as a featurette on Asher Tzarfati entitled 'An Israeli Actor In Israel' and another; A Cult Is Born - on the revival In Tel Aviv. But the most prominent bonus is the, almost hour-long, in-depth interviews with stars Asher Tzarfati And Shmuel Wolf. The package contains a fold out poster (cover art) and liner notes with essay by John Skipp.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
In the wake of films like Easy Rider, An American Hippie in Israel seems conflicted between creating it's own genre or copying the current psychedelic-vein trends. I only found it appealing as an artifact of it's era. It's a bit of a mess with quite a few pointless scenes and the lack of direction isn't really endearing either. On the positive, there is quite a bit of uniqueness and, in the right mood, does produce historical interest. It's cool to own something of this nature and the odd, misplaced, theme of an ending can stir discussion. Grindhouse Releasing seems to have put a lot into this Blu-ray and cudos to them for their passion. I suspect that few will appreciate the extras or feature but for those that are keen this is a limited release of only 2000 copies. So you best act now. 

Gary Tooze

September 7th, 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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