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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


(aka "Spione" or "The Spy" or "Spies")

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/lang.htm
USA 1928

Newly restored to its original length, Fritz Lang's penultimate silent film, Spione [Spies], is a flawlessly constructed labyrinthine spy thriller. Hugely influential, Lang's famous passion for meticulous detail combines with masterful storytelling and editing skills to form a relentless story of intrigue, espionage, and blackmail.

An international spy ring, headed by Haghi (Rudolf Klein-Rogge), uses technology, threats, and murder to obtain government secrets. As master spy, president of a bank, and music hall clown, Haghi leads several lives using instruments of modern technology to spearhead a mad rush for secrets — secrets that assert his power over others.

Setting in stone for the first time many elements of the modern spy thriller, Spione remains remarkably fresh and captivating over 75 years since its first release. Lang carefully reveals the elaborate methods of the spies as they move through his unknown city, no doubt creating a mirror of troubled Weimar Germany. Made by Lang's own production company and, like M and Metropolis, written by Lang with his wife Thea von Harbou, Spione is "the Grandaddy of decades of intrigue epics. In its rigorous austerity it remains the most modern of the bunch." (Elliott Stein, Village Voice).

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 22nd , 1928

Reviews                                                                  More Reviews                                                               DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Kino - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Eureka (Master of Cinema # 9) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Eureka - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Distribution

Kino

Region 0 - NTSC

Eureka
Region 2 - PAL
Masters of Cinema - Spine # 90
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 2:23:25 2:24:35 (25fps film (not 24fps) transferred directly to 25fps PAL) 2:30:28.060 2:30:14.672
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.51 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

1.33;1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,498,243,488 bytes

Feature: 44,495,029,824 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.28:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,557,927,691 bytes

Feature: 35,865,077,760 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate: MoC Blu-ray

Bitrate: Kino Blu-ray

Audio New score by Donald Sosin (2.0 Dolby Digital)

New score by Donald Sosin (2.0 Dolby Digital)

LPCM Audio Undetermined 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Undetermined 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps
Inter/Subtitles English (non-removable) Original German intertitles (and optional English subtitles) Original German intertitles (and optional English subtitles) Original German intertitles (and optional English subtitles)
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Kino Video

Aspect Ratio:- 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Gallery of images
• About the Restoration
• Metropolis Trailer

DVD Release Date: November 16th, 2004
Keep Case

Chapters 18
 

Release Information:
Studio:
Eureka

Aspect Ratio: - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Gallery containing rare promotional material
• 20-page booklet with a new essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum

 

DVD Release Date: April 19th, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio: Masters of Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Original Aspect Ratio) - 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,498,243,488 bytes

Feature: 44,495,029,824 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• 
69 minute documentary about the film (1:11:49)
40-PAGE BOOKLET including new and exclusive writing by critic Murielle Joudet and an essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum

DVD included


Blu-ray Release Date: November 24th, 2014
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio: Kino Lorber

 

1.28:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,557,927,691 bytes

Feature: 35,865,077,760 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:
• 
Spies: A Small Film With Lots of Action (1:12:27.)
Original theatrical trailer (5:14)

 

Standard Blu-ray case

Blu-ray Release Date: February 23rd, 2016

Chapters 8

 

 

 

Comments

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

 

ADDITION: Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray February 16': This also appears to be from the same 2K Digital Restoration by the F.W. Murnau Stiftung, with this opening text screen:

 

 

The most notable difference with the Masters of Cinema is - like Kino's Blu-ray of Fritz Lang's Frau Im Mond (Woman in the Moon) - the aspect ratio is 1.28:1 where the UK 1080P is 1.33:1. I think the Kino, on both, in this regard looks more correct - the MoC, again, appears horizontally stretched to me (abnormally fatter faces.)

 

NOTE: Bret Wood (producer, Kino Lorber) has commented in our Facebook group: "After hearing some of the discussion about the tighter aspect ratio, we went back and compared the Bluray image with the 1920x1080 ProRes file that was provided to us by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung. We confirmed that the aspect ratio of the discs is exactly the same as that of the original master, so the change of aspect ratio was not caused in the Blu-ray authoring process. And, to perform further due diligence, we sought a frame that would have the best representation of a perfect circle. We found the attached image, and I superimposed a perfect circle upon it, and it matches almost exactly (definitely doesn't have the horizontal compression people are worried about). We expect to have an official statement from Anke Wilkening (who supervised the restoration) later this week -- but since we're in the middle of the Berlin Film Festival, things are moving a little slower than usual. " Thanks Bret!

 

They are both dual-layered with a very high bitrate but the Kino looks, marginally, darker. Both are excellent in-motion.

 

Both have the Piano score by Neil Brand but Kino's is lossy (Dolby Digital) and MoC's in linear PCM 2.0 channel stereo (24-bit) and the option of the Donald Sosin score. German Intertitles (carried out by L'immagine Ritrovata in Bologna) with translated, optional, English subtitles - and the same 1 1/4 hour Spies: A Small Film With Lots of Action supplement. Kino add a trailer where MoC include one of their impressive liner notes booklets and a second disc DVD. The Kino Blu-ray disc is region 'A'-locked.

 

MoC get the nod as the superior package with the uncompressed audio (and two score options) and their booklet but overall, Region 'A'-locked fans should indulge to see this in a restored HD presentation. It's another must-own film even beyond Silent Era fans!

 

 

***

 

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (November 2014): This is wonderful. The screen captures below should indicate the enormity of the 1080P improvement. Sweet! The textures are more prevalent - as is some of the damage - and contrast really helps tighten the detail. It looked marvelous on my system.

 

We get the audio option of the Donald Sosin score or one by Neil Brand. Both are via a crisp linear PCM 2.0 channel at a healthy 2304 kbps. They sound rich and add such a nice layer to the viewing experience - through the lossless transfers. There are optional English subtitles for the German intertitles (NOT 'transparent' like the UK DVD). The Blu-ray disc is region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras advance upon The Masters of Cinema's 2005 PAL DVD. The Blu-ray offers a German documentary, from the F.W. Murnau Stiftung and Transit Film, about Spione. The title translates as "A Small Film But With A Lot of Action" and it runs 1-hour, 11 minutes. It is in German with optional English subtitles and has a ton of information including old photos, details of Fritz Lang and marketing data. The package also contains a 40-page liner notes booklet including new and exclusive writing by critic Murielle Joudet and an essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum. Being Dual-Format it also has a DVD included.

 

This is a beauty. I always forget the plot - so its a joy to revisit as its like I am seeing things all over again. Strongly recommended! 

***

ON THE DVDs: The big issue - Kino have pre-translated the title cards from their original German into English. This is totally out-of-place or anyone respecting this films origins. The Eureka intertitles can be optionally subtitled. The Kino may me marginally sharper and the Eureka a little over-contrasted. Like the Metropolis comparison HERE it appears as though we have an example of PAL-NTSC ghosting derived from improper conversion. The Kino - Region 0 - NTSC edition uses the same PAL master from the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung, BUT they did not pre-convert to NTSC for their standards' (Region 1) audience. Viewing the Kino edition DVD will see all the prevalent flaws that this common transference practice produces - 'ghosting' in motion sequences (see below), blurriness, artifacts and in this case some dis-colorization. The Eureka black levels are much richer and deeper than the Kino's, yet the Eureka image is also brighter. We prefer the Rosenbaum essay in the Eureka package to the text screens (and trailer) of the Kino.

Gary W. Tooze

 

 


Menus
(Kino- Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Eureka - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

 

 

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

 

 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


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

 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Eureka - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

As Eureka did with the Asphalt intertitles/subtitles. The English subs are removable, and they include a semi-transparent layer which dulls the German intertitles underneath. When you remove the English intertitles, it removes the semi-transparent layer also. It's a great system, I have never seen it before! -- The reason (I surmise) is that sometimes the German intertitles cover the whole screen, and they'd clash with the English subtitles at the bottom. Kino have replaced with mandatory English only.

 

 

 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Eureka - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Eureka - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Eureka - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Eureka - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Eureka - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Eureka - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Eureka - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Eureka - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


More Masters of Cinema Blu-ray Captures


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Report Card:

 

Image:

 Blu-rays

Sound:

 MoC Blu-ray

Extras:  Blu-rays
 
Box Covers

Distribution

Kino

Region 0 - NTSC

Eureka
Region 2 - PAL
Masters of Cinema - Spine # 90
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray




 

 

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Gary Tooze

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