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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Fedora [Blu-ray]

 

(Billy Wilder, 1978)

 

   

Also available on Blu-ray in France and Germany:

  

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Bavaria Atelier

Video: Olive Films / Masters of Cinema - spine #147

 

Disc:

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

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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

 

Subtitles:

None

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• None

 

Deleted Scenes (12:49)
Restoration Comparison (4:03)
A booklet 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

Second disc DVD

 

Bitrate:

 

Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

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.

 

 

The Film:

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

 

Subtitle Sample Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

 

Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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.

 

 

Extras :

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

 

BOTTOM LINE:
What a fabulous film and  I can't believe that I had never seen Fedora before. Truly brilliant. The Olive Blu-ray isn't exceptional but it did provide me with the ability to thoroughly enjoy the film in HD. If you have not seen this - you must. Strongly recommended!

 

Fedora still speaks volumes on our 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! 

Gary Tooze

October 25th, 2014

September 20th, 2016

 

   

Also available on Blu-ray in France and Germany:

  

 

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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