Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Peter Greenaway
UK / Netherlands 1988

Three related women, a mother, her daughter and her niece  (played by Joan Plowright, Juliet Stevenson and Joely Richardson), are all known by the name Cissie Colpitts. Also in common are their dissatisfaction with their husband's philandering ways. The solution ? - drown each of them and make it look like an accident. The reluctant local coroner, a curmudgeon called Madgett, is drawn in to help hide the murders. His eventual price? - sexual favors. The story is sequentially interspersed with the numbers one to one-hundred, which appear passively hidden though easily visible, throughout the entirety of the film.

Regarded as one of Greenaways finest, it showcases his unique brand of cinema with beautiful, teasing imagery while perfectly mirroring a literary riddle of murder, morality and sexual solidarity. The director's following, who enjoy his quirky characters, are in their nirvana with this offering. Many may find it tedious and often disjointed. Reactions often vary from strongly like to strongly dislike. Unfortunately for me, I am in the latter camp, but can plainly see how others can be attracted to this form of cinema 'madness'. Ripe with the crossword style appeal (in searching for the numbers), few can argue about the beauty cinematography of the countryside and landscapes. Perhaps Greenaway's most abundantly desirable facet in his films are that they are dissimilar to most everything else existing in movies today. Eclectic in the extreme.
 

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 10th, 1988 - Toronto Film Festival

Reviews                                                                        More Reviews                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

FilmFour- Region 0 - PAL vs. MediumRare - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) FilmFour - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT

2) MediumRare - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 Box Covers

 

Distribution FilmFour - Region 0 - PAL MediumRare - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:53:36 (4% PAL Speedup) 1:58:42.156
Video 1.41:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.67 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 38,807,419,882 bytes

Feature Size: 26,481,936,384 bytes

Total Bitrate: 26.04 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)  LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles None English (HoH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Film Four International

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.41:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date:  2002

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 24

Release Information:
Studio:
MediumRare

Aspect Ratio:- 1.66:1

Disc Size: 38,807,419,882 bytes

Feature Size: 26,481,936,384 bytes

Total Bitrate: 26.04 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
 Fear of Drowning (26:08 in 1080i)
 Beneath the Surface - Peter Greenaway on Drowning By Numbers (35:10 in 1080P)
 Podcast (18:34 in 1080P)

DVD of the feature
 

Blu-ray Release Date: June 15th, 2015
Transparent
Blu-ray Case

Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: MediumRare - Region 'B' - Blu-ray June 15': This is one of those comparisons that has such a large difference that we can let the captures speak for themselves. EVERYTHING goes in the favor of the MediumRare's new 1.66:1 dual-layered, 1080P transfer. Greenaway fans that have suffered with these early DVDs should be thrilled with this new Blu-ray.

The linear PCM audio is imperfect but this would be in-line with the original production. It is significantly superior to the SD - and adds optional (HoH) subtitles. The disc is region 'B'-locked.

MediumRare also add some wonderful extras. Fear of Drowning is a 26-minute featurette on the production, the excellent 35-minute Beneath the Surface -has director Peter Greenaway deciphering some of the subtle themes and facets that make up Drowning By Numbers, and there is even an 18-minute Podcast (audio only) discussing the film's content. The Dual-Format edition includes a second-disc DVD of the feature.

What a revelation to finally see Drowning By Numbers in something beyond the sloppy, bare-bones, DVD of more than a decade ago. Very strongly recommended!

***

DVD Comments (2002): This DVD is not exceptionally sharp or well-done. The colors look like they may be quite beautiful during filming, however they are hazy and dull in this Australian DVD offering. It seems to look acceptable on a tube, but the flaws are really prevalent when projected. Audio is consistent. No subtitles and virtually no extras. Aspect ratio seems right in composition although sources indicate that the film was shot partially open matte (mostly exteriors) and hard matted at 1.66:1 (all interiors), so the 1.41:1 DVD is as close as we have seen so far for this film (which is obscene). NOTE: Overscan may kill the view-ablity of a few of the numbers - be sure to zoom in!

 The other DVD offerings (Japan etc.) are even poorer (and censored I believe). Greenaway fans may not mind this lackluster presentation, but anyone looking for a strong, clean image may be disappointed with this release. I suspect, as other Greenaway films on DVD are of about the same quality that the prints are poor and in need of restoration. This may be the case, regardless we have a weak DVD from FilmFour. It looks like it came from a third generation VHS.

Gary W. Tooze





DVD Menus

 

MediumRare - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


Screen Captures

 

 

1) FilmFour - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) MediumRare - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) FilmFour - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) MediumRare - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) FilmFour - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) MediumRare - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) FilmFour - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) MediumRare - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) FilmFour - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) MediumRare - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) FilmFour - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) MediumRare - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) FilmFour - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) MediumRare - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


 

 Box Covers

 

Distribution FilmFour - Region 0 - PAL MediumRare - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 

Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Hit Counter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze