|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
(Billy Wilder, 1978)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Bavaria Atelier
Video:Olive Films / Masters of Cinema - spine #147
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:53:56.996 /1:53:26.375
Disc Size: 22,370,171,829 bytes / 34,644,916,597 bytes
Feature Size: 22,268,749,824 bytes / 29,004,982,272 bytes
Video Bitrate: 23.93 Mbps / 30.10 Mbps
Chapters: 8 / 12
Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: October 28th, 2014 / September 26th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 833 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 833 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
• English (SDH), none
Deleted Scenes (12:49)
Second disc DVD
Description: In Fedora, Billy Wilder approaches Hollywood stardom in the same fashion as he did in Sunset Boulevard--with cynicism, regret, understanding, and awe. Fedora (Marthe Keller) is film's most intriguing movie queen. Rumored to be well into her sixties, the actress has remained a starlet for over four decades--retaining youth and radiance despite her advancing years. The mystery behind her numinous persona has never ceased to captivate audiences. Even now, as she lives in seclusion on the beautiful Greek island of Corfu, the public buzzes for her to return to the screen. When producer Barry Detweiler (William Holden) travels to Corfu, staking his faltering career on Fedora's return, he discovers the actress's tragic secret. Fedora's eternal loveliness may not be the result of defying her age, but of concealing her youth.
A shamefully underrated film, Fedora is Wilder's testament and one of the most sublime achievements of the '70s. Only superficially does it resemble Sunset Blvd., since time has moved on; appropriately, Fedora is about a star's disastrous attempt to make time stop, and a washed-up producer's efforts to cope with Hollywood's inexorable new generation. Atmospherically set on Corfu, it explores the basis of cinema: realism, illusion, romance and tragedy - in a word, emotion. It's not a flashy film, let alone a cynical one, and it has a narrative assurance beyond the grasp of most directors nowadays: finely acted, mysterious, witty, moving and magnificent.Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE
Fedora, an aging and reclusive film star, dies in Paris, struck by a train. At her funeral, a film producer thinks back over the past two weeks and the part he might have played in her death. He'd gone to Corfu to track her down, pushing himself into her island villa, where she lived with a nurse, an old countess, and the plastic surgeon who's success at keeping her looking young is amazing. We see her mental stability fail as the producer offers her a script for "Anna Karenina;" soon she's locked away in a Parisian asylum and the producer is in the hospital with a concussion. His reverie ended, the countess takes up the narration and completes Fedora's story.Excerpt from TCM located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Fedora has a modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. This is only single-layered and is not notably crisp but is also very consistent in terms of detail. The black levels do seem to improve in the second half and the outdoor sequences, naturally, looked the best. It is a very serviceable appearance and the 1080P provides a watchable presentation showing some grain texture in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio frame. Fedora is also on Blu-ray in Europe but I don't yet have a copy to compares releases.
Short answer here is that the Masters of Cinema 1080P dual-layered transfer is more robust and produces a superior image - noticeable in-motion, in some of the film's colors which are richer and deeper and the contrast layering more nuanced. The MoC looks better.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel mono at 833 kbps. The film lacks any aggression and the, authentically, flat audio has a modicum of depth noted in the Miklós Rózsa score (The Lost Weekend, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Double Indemnity) which adds a lot to the film experience in uncompressed. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Masters of Cinema wins on this front as well with a linear PCM track - but at 24-bit. This identifies its superiority in a richer, more resonant and deeper, sound and a superior higher-end. Masters of Cinema offer optional English (SDH) subtitles on their region 'B'-locked Blu-ray.
Shamefully, for a film of this stature, no supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their releases.
NOTE: The full-length, Fiction Factory, documentary SWAN SONG: THE STORY OF BILLY WILDER'S FEDORA, is included on both the French and German Blu-ray editions of the film. See HERE for the first minutes.
Masters of Cinema sweep all categories with more supplements on their region 'B'-locked Blu-ray. There are 13-minutes worth of deleted scenes - a short restoration piece and their package has one of their desirable liner notes booklets. This one featuring a new essay by film scholar Neil Sinyard, a new essay by critic and filmmaker David Cairns, a vintage piece on the film's production, and archival imagery. It is dual-format and contains a second disc DVD in the case.
Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Fedora still speaks volumes onour fixation on youth, fame and vanity. Masters of Cinema have again proved their adeptness with a solid package bettering the Olive on every front - video, audio and extras. Certainly this is a film to revisit and we give this a package a strong recommendation!
October 25th, 2014
September 20th, 2016
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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