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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Man of Marble" )

 

directed by Andrzej Wajda
Poland 1977

 

A jaundiced regard for documentary practice pervades Wajda's slice of Polish history, which takes the form of an inquiry conducted by a young, aggressive film-school graduate into the fate, after reward, repudiation and rehabilitation, of a '50s Stakhanovite shock-worker, a record-breaking bricklayer. Film-as-evidence (monochrome flashbacks represent propagandist archive footage) is stripped of its authority just as inexorably as the investigative process meets an impasse at the point where preconceptions and actuality intersect. Wajda builds his own 'detection' story with complete assurance, though it's often difficult to decide whether his visual style is a parody of TV's (an ageing cameraman bemoans the constant use of hand-held shots and the wide-angle lens) or an accommodation of it.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Andrzej Wajda appropriates the structure of Citizen Kane to mount as frank an attack on Stalinist ethics as possible in an Eastern European film in 1976. The mechanics of socialist mythology are explored as an ambitious filmmaker (Krystyna Janda, manic and bizarre) delves into the fate of a worker-hero who fell from official favor. Immortalized in a marble statue, he survives as an archetype while melting away as an individual. Wajda makes fine use of the investigative format in telling his story, but many of the incidental points are unclear, and the ending, pruned by the Polish censors, is totally unsatisfying. Late Wajda is a matter of plot, statement, and little else; his characters are merely functional, his camera style uninteresting. But the material here is compelling, for all its lack of resolution, and the film sustains interest throughout its 165-minute running time.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr at the Chicago Reader  located HERE

Theatrical Release: February 25th, 1977 (Poland)

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Comparison:

Musicrama - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Vanguard Cinema - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL vs. (DMMS Media Distribution) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas and Gary Tooze for the Screen Caps!

 

1) Musicrama - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Vanguard - Region  1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) DMMS Media Distribution - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Musicrama

Region 1 - NTSC

(DMMS Media Distribution)
Region 0 - PAL
Second Run DVD
Region 0 - PAL
(DMMS Media Distribution)
Region FREE - Blu-ray
Other DMMS Media Distribution discs:
Runtime 2:33:54 (4% PAL speedup) 2:33:54 (4% PAL speedup) 2:34:05 (4% PAL speedup) 2:41:00.875
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 3.79 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 26.46 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.40 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,861,543,073 bytes

Feature: 38,433,027,648 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.46 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

 

Musicrama

 

Bitrate:

 

Vanguard Cinema

 

Bitrate:

 

Second Run DVD

 

Bitrate:

 

Second Run DVD

 

Audio Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 mo

English DTS 5.1; English Dolby Digital 5.1

Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

DTS-HD Master Audio Polish 1892 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1892 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Descriptive Audio: LPCM Audio Polish 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Subtitles English, none English, French, Italian, German, Russian, Spanish, none English, none English (SDH), Polish none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Musicrama

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Parts 1 and 2 of the film (4:3; 86:48 + 67:06)
• Also on DVD
• Film Poster

DVD Release Date: 18 June 2002
Amaray

Chapters 40
 

Release Information:
Studio: Vanguard Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• none

DVD Release Date: 28 October 2003
Amaray

Chapters 40

 

Release Information:
Studio: Second Run DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with director Andzrej Wajda (4:3;; 21:42)
• Interview with actress Krystyna Janda (4:3; 13:39)
• Interview with uncredited assistant director Agnieska Holland (4:3; 20:09)
• Restoration Comparison (4:3; 1:25)
• 15-page booklet with essay by Michael Brooke

 

DVD Release Date: 12 May 2014
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: (DMMS Media Distribution)

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,861,543,073 bytes

Feature: 38,433,027,648 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.46 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Restored Trailer
• Before and After Film Restoration
• Photo and Still Galleries
• About Kino RP
• Also on Blu-ray
• Also on DVD

Booklet (in Polish)
 

Blu-ray Release Date: February, 2014
Bookstyle Blu-ray case

Chapters 18

 

Comments

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

 

ADDITION: Second Run DVD (May 2014): Both US DVD sport the same PAL-converted master which is divided into two parts but given one set of forty chapters). The Musicrama edition (once distributed by Facets) is single-layer while the Vanguard is dual-layer. The Vanguard sacrifices the original mono track for a 5.1 tracks in DTS and Dolby Digital but they are a remix rather than a cheap upmix (possibly supervised by Wajda himself since he did a new 5.1 mix for his now-disavowed director's cut of THE PROMISED LAND. The subtitles are offered in several languages but they appear transparent on some players.

Second Run's two disc, dual-layer DVD transfer of this epic feature is sourced from the same HD master as the recent Polish Blu-ray, easily besting the picture quality of the US releases. The Dolby Digital 2.0 track represents the film's original mono mix cleanly, while the optional English subtitle track is newly translated. The US DVDs and Polish
Blu-ray featured no extras apart from the latter's trailer and restoration comparison (the same one included on the UK release), but Second Run has included three brand new interviews - one with Krystyna Janda filmed by Daniel Bird (who has contributed essays, interviews, and commentary to UK and US DVDs of a number of Polish and Czech films). The other two, (Agnieszka Holland) and Jarosław Jagodziński (Andrzej Wajda), were shot by Lucy Kaye.

Wajda discusses the film's origins going back to 1962 stemming from a newspaper article about a bricklayer applying for a job but being turned away since the employment agency only had jobs for steelworkers. The bricklayer was not heard from again but was subsequently recognized as one of the socialist model workers who built the Nowa Huta communist city which had been built around a steel mill, which led Wajda to write a story about a worker used by the socialist system and turned away when no longer useful. The government rejected the script and it was not until 1976. The shoot ran smoothly, apart from having to make Agnieska Holland (OLIVIER OLIVIER) the film's unofficial assistant director since she had run afoul of the communist government and they felt she would be a bad influence but they would run into more problems when the film was released. The censors only allowed it to be shown in one theater - so they could argue it had not been suppressed - controlled the content of reviews, and barred it from receiving any official awards (see ESCAPE FROM "LIBERTY" CINEMA for a critique of Polish censorship practices).

Actress Janda recalls how she - just out of theater school - was more fascinated with working for Wajda than the role that she would be playing (of course, that may have had to do with her role initially being two scenes that were subsequently expanded during rehearsals), and that she learned the history of her country alongside her character. She recalls how the film - as well as its follow-up MAN OF IRON - became her signature role, and she became the face of the "Cinema of Moral Concern". Not only was she not considered for awards - until nearly a decade later when she won an award for all the roles the critics had to ignore - but the release of security service papers revealed that she had been watched for a number of years and her flat twice searched (under the guise of burglury).

Holland recalls how Wajda took her in after her return from Czechoslovakia where she had been imprisoned by the government after which she went to film school. Wajda asked her to read the script and serve as assistant director (less technical and more of an artistic collaboration in Poland at the time). The minister of culture objected to Holland working on the film, so Wajda and other filmmakers went on strike. The government "compromised" by saying Holland could not work on the film but that they would greenlight her own project (she remained on Wajda's film in secret while directing her own). She recalls that Janda observed her on-set to form her character, and that Wajda asked her - rather than original scenarist Aleksander Scibor-Rylski - to modernize the script and that she also did that without credit. The UK set also includes a 15-page booklet with an essay by film historian Michael Brooke which covers much of the same area with greater context for viewers unaware of Poland's political past.

 - Eric Cotenas

On the Blu-ray: Man of Marble appears true to an excellent source on Blu-ray from DMMS out of Poland.  The image quality shows a fine layer of grain - more noticeable on the black and white (and 'stock') scenes and the color sequences are bright and clean. The 2 3/4 hour film is housed on a dual-layered disc with a supportive bitrate. The transfer is in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. It looks less-remarkable than the other Polish Blu-rays we have recently reviewed, but I don't doubt that it is an authentic appearance. It is free of manipulation, detail is reasonably strong, there is no noise and we have instances of depth. I was very pleased with the video quality - an obvious upgrade over SD.

 

Audio :

The disc, again, initially offers 'Descriptive Audio' and the feature film track is presented in a DTS-HD Master 5.1 in original Polish. There are no real separations and the sound is not particularly dynamic - which is probably more accurate to the theatrical. The score is by Andrzej Korzynski (Andrzej Zulawski's The Devil) and with the film exporting a documentary feel is not a big part of the experience. There are optional English (and Polish) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

The cover, booklet and extras are in all Polish only (unknown) but only trailers and there doesn't appear to be anything of a substantial nature (nothing is longer than 3 minutes.)

 

BOTTOM LINE:
You might anticipate Man of Marble to distance some viewers with its political focus. I found it quite brilliant even beyond those themes.  It's strong representations of government corruption don't seem slanted in the least. One of the marks of an excellent filmmaker. The DMMS Blu-ray. is as free of flaws as the others we have covered from them - another very strong transfer of another immensely compelling film. A huge recommendation!

Gary Tooze

March 26th, 2014

 


 Menus


(Musicrama - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Vanguard - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

 

 

DMMS Media Distribution - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


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

 

 

 

1) Musicrama - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Vanguard - Region  1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) DMMS Media Distribution - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Subtitle sample

 


 

1) Musicrama - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Vanguard - Region  1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) DMMS Media Distribution - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Musicrama - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Vanguard - Region  1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) DMMS Media Distribution - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Musicrama - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Vanguard - Region  1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) DMMS Media Distribution - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Musicrama - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Vanguard - Region  1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) DMMS Media Distribution - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Musicrama - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Vanguard - Region  1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) DMMS Media Distribution - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Musicrama - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Vanguard - Region  1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) DMMS Media Distribution - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


More Blu-ray Caps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Draw

Extras: Second Run DVD

 


Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Musicrama

Region 1 - NTSC

(DMMS Media Distribution)
Region 0 - PAL
Second Run DVD
Region 0 - PAL
(DMMS Media Distribution)
Region FREE - Blu-ray
Other DMMS Media Distribution discs:

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 3500 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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