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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Around the World With Orson Welles - The Complete Series [Blu-ray]

 

(Orson Welles, 1955)

 

Coming out on Blu-ray in the UK from BFI in August:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: ITA-TV

Video: B2MP

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: (6 X 0:27:00 + 0:54:05) Total = 3:36:48

Disc Size: 48,446,134,581 bytes

Feature Size: 48,238,393,344 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.98 Mbps

Chapters: 44

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Episodes:

Pays Basque l - The Basque Countries (1955, 26:08)
Pays Basque ll - La Pelote Basque (1955, 26:39)
The Third Man in Vienna (1955, 27:34)
Saint-Germain-des-Prés (1955, 26:51)
The Queen's Pensioners (1955, 27:46)
Spain - The Bullfight (1955, 27:41)

The Dominici Affair by Orson Welles (Christophe Cognet, 2000, 54:05)

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

None, (Burned in English used for The Dominici Affair)

 

Extras:

New essay by Peter Tonguette, author (Orson Welles Remembered), journalist, and film critic

DVD of the Series

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The renowned Orson Welles, who wrote and directed this 1955 British television series for Associated Rediffusion, leads his inimitable style to this tour through Europe, meeting up with celebrities and ordinary people, discussing everything from bullfighting to Sacher Tortes. This Blu-ray contains all 6 episodes for the series, including the previously lost Revisiting Vienna aka The Third Man Returns To Vienna, where he take us to some of the locations of The Third Man. The documentary, The Dominici Affair, tells the story of and reconstructs the unfinished episode also known as The Tragedy of Lurs, and is included as a bonus.

 

Included in this set are: Pays Basque I (1955) 26 minutes Pays Basque II (1955) 26 minutes Revisiting Vienna aka The Third Man Returns to Vienna (1955) 26 minutes St-Germain-des-Pres (1955) 26 minutes Chelsea Pensioners (1955) 26 minutes Madrid Bullfight (Corrida Madrid) 1955) 26 minutes Bonus film: The Dominici Affair aka The Tragedy of Lurs (2000) (Directed by Christophe Cognet) 52 minutes (Standard Definition) First time the complete series has been released on Blu-ray and DVD.

 

 

The Film:

In 1955, Orson Welles directed and hosted a mini series for British television. He leads us through a few famous places of Europe with his inimitable touch. In Paris he introduces us to famous artists such as Juliette Gréco or Jean Cocteau who lived in the Saint Germain Des Pres quarter. In London we meet the Chelsea Pensioners, in Spain we attend a Madrid Bullfight and visit the Basque country (Basque Country 1&2). Somewhere between a home movie and a cinematic essay, these short films have been described by French critics as the missing link in Welles' work.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

In 1955, the celebrated polymath Orson Welles was invited to write, direct and present his first television production - a series of travelogues exploring Europe. Part home-movie, part cinematic essay, each episode of Around the World with Orson Welles takes the viewer on a fascinating journey to meet famous people and explore the continent's most romantic cities. In Paris, we are introduced to famous artists such as Jean Cocteau; in Madrid, we attend a bullfight; and in Vienna, in an episode which was long believed lost, we are taken to the locations of The Third Man.

Excerpt from BFI's upcoming Blu-ray located HERE

 

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

The entire series of Around The World With Orson Welles was a pleasure to watch in 1080P. It's from B2MP who brought us the wonderful Blu-ray releases Tomorrow (Robert Duvall) and Jerzy Skolimowski's Moonlighting. It is advertised as a "New high definition transfer from the 35mm interpositive". It looks inconsistent, varying in quality, with the first episode showing some age/weakness, but the visuals eventually improves looking quite decent with only sporadic sequences, shot differently, looking heavier and less sharp. It's on a dual-layered disc with a supportive bitrate. There aren't a lot of speckles or scratches (a few, mostly under the surface.) We also get Christophe Cognet's, hour-long, The Dominici Affair by Orson Welles (L'affaire Dominici par Orson Welles) from 2000 (a partial reconstruction exploring the making of Welles unfinished Around the World episode The Tragedy of Lurs, about the controversial Dominici murder case in France) and it looks a shade superior - but, of course, some of it is in color. There is some decent grain and, for the most part, contrast is respectable with some deep, rich, black levels. I was pleased with the presentation accepting the inconsequential inferiorities here and there. the screen captures should give you a decent idea of the video quality.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

We get a linear PCM in 2.0 channel mono at a decent 2304 kbps. There is no score per-se but live music in spots. So, the dialogue and narration is clear and audible, but there are no effects to support any depth. There are burned-in English subtitles for The Dominici Affair (see sample above) on the region FREE Blu-ray disc. NOTE: This will become available from BFI on BD in the UK in late August HERE.

 

Extras :

No digital extras beyond The Dominici Affair but the package does have a new essay by Peter Tonguette, author (Orson Welles Remembered), journalist, and film critic and there is a second disc, region FREE, NTSC DVD which has the same content as the Blu-ray, but in SD.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I thoroughly enjoyed watching this, almost 3-hour, series - as well as the fascinating The Dominici Affair documentary piece (almost an hour). You can always feel the director's impressive story-telling abilities infused with multilayer's of real, unrehearsed, personal interaction. The series is very close to being 'an essay' of sorts. The B2MP Blu-ray produces a fine presentation and Welles' fans shouldn't hesitate. Absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

July 13th, 2015

Coming out on Blu-ray in the UK from BFI in August:

 

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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