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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Eyes Without a Face' or 'The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus' or 'House of Dr. Rasanoff' or 'Occhi senza volto')

directed by Georges Franju
France / Italy 1960

Pierre Brasseur (Head Against the Wall) is Dr Génessier, a brilliant and obsessive plastic surgeon driven by the need to restore his daughter s disfigured face and push the boundaries of his field. Aided by his loyal assistant Alida Valli (Suspiria), who lures young women to his secluded chateau in pursuit of his dark quest. Eugen Schüfftan's (The Hustler) stunning cinematography lends the chateau an almost Cocteau-esque life of its own, and Edith Scob (Judex) is quite remarkable as the ravaged beauty.

Eyes Without a Face is at once cruel and tender, highlighting Georges Franju's unique blend of pulp, horror and poetry. In the decades since its release it has been a major influence on filmmakers as diverse as Jesús Franco, John Carpenter and, more recently, Pedro Almodóvar..

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Theatrical Release: March 2nd, 1960 - Paris, France

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Comparison:

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - LEFT

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

 

Box Covers

   

  

 

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine #260
Region 'A' -Blu-ray
BFI
Region 'B' -Blu-ray
Runtime 1:30:27.675 1:30:04.041
Video 1.66:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,146,341,585 bytes

Feature: 26,499,870,720 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.02 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video 

1.66:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,927,672,682 bytes

Feature: 28,056,370,560 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate: Criterion Blu-ray

Bitrate: BFI Blu-ray

Audio LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

LPCM Audio French 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

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

Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:

1.66:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,146,341,585 bytes

Feature: 26,499,870,720 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.02 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Blood of the Beasts (Le Sang des bêtes), Georges Franju’s graphic but beautiful poetic 1949 short documentary about Paris slaughterhouses (22:08)

• Edith Scob (8:39)

• Le Fantastique (5:31) - archival interviews with Franju on the horror genre, cinema, and the making of Blood of the Beasts

• Boileau-Narcjac (7:10)
• Theatrical trailers (French - 3:46 / English - 3;25)
• Stills gallery of rare production photos and promotional material
• Liner notes booklet featuring essays by novelist Patrick McGrath and film historian David Kalat

Blu-ray Release Date: October 15th, 2013
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 13

Release Information:
Studio: BFI

Aspect Ratio:

1.66:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,927,672,682 bytes

Feature: 28,056,370,560 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Feature-length audio commentary by film expert Tim Lucas (Video Watchdog)
• Monsieur et Madame Curie (Georges Franju, 1953, 14:10): a study of the life and work of the Curies, told through the words of Marie Curie
• La Première nuit (Georges Franju, 1958, 19:38): a young boy spends a night in the Métro
• Les Fleurs maladives de Georges Franju (Pierre-Henri Gibert, 2009, 46:19): an overview of Georges Franju's career
• For Her Eyes Only - An interview with Edith Scob (L P Hugo, 2014, 17:19)
• Fully illustrated booklet featuring essays from Kate Ince, Isabel Stevens, Roberto Cueto Llera, Raymond Durgnat, Kevin Jackson and Michael Brooke; and full film


Blu-ray Release Date: August 24th, 2015
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12

 

 

 

Comments:

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

 

ADDITION: BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (July 2015): Firstly, the video quality is exactly the same - same, max'ed out, bitrate - same image in any way that I can determine (the Criterion may be a smidgeon brighter).

 

NOTE: David tells us in email: "I went with the BFI for the Tim Lucas commentary, and I noticed a small but very annoying issue with the disc - the closing moments of the film are different from the first Criterion DVD. The very end of that music cue is cut down by several notes (not just chopped off, but edited). It’s a small thing, but irritating because I can’t not notice it any time I watch the film. I noticed that the Criterion blu has a longer running time by about 23 seconds. I don’t know if you can compare the two, but I’d love to find out if the Criterion has the same issue or not."

"Just to follow up, I checked with Criterion and they told me that their blu is from the same Gaumont source as the BFI disc, and that it also has the music edit." (Thanks David)

 

BFI audio is more robust than Criterions (both liner PCM - 24 bit), but it would be negligible for most systems. The original music by Maurice Jarre (The Tin Drum, The Man Who Would Be King, The Damned) via the lossless rendering adds another layer onto the film's atmosphere. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

 

BFI really load up on the extras with a feature-length audio commentary by film expert Tim Lucas. Tim is like a God to me - I love his commentaries - he is one of the best, IMO (if not THE best). He knows his stuff and has passion for it but balances that with a totally professional delivery. We get Franju's 1953 short Monsieur et Madame Curie: a 1/4 hour study of the life and work of the Curies, told through the words of Marie Curie. La Première nuit was directed by Georges Franju in 1958 and runs 20-minutes. It's about a young boy spends a night in the Métro. Les Fleurs maladives de Georges Franju is Pierre-Henri Gibert's 2009, 45-minute overview of Franju's career. For Her Eyes Only is an interesting 7-minute interview with Edith Scob from 2014. The package contains a fully illustrated booklet featuring essays from Kate Ince, Isabel Stevens, Roberto Cueto Llera, Raymond Durgnat, Kevin Jackson and Michael Brooke; and full film.

 

Fabulous release from BFI - I continue to enjoy re-watching this film - the Lucas commentary, Pierre-Henri Gibert piece, Franju shorts, Edith Scob interview - add immense value. Very strongly recommended!

 

***

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (September 2013): Firstly, our original SD captures of the Criterion DVD have been compromised and I have removed them. I don't recall who made them, over 9 years ago, but I can tell by the bitrate graph that it wasn't myself. So let's forget the DVD but keep it's stats.

 

I had a twinge of uneasiness seeing the Gaumont logo and some of the initial image quality looked waxy and soft - including the titles. But I hope the majority of the screen captures indicate how strong the 1080P gets. It definitely improves as the film runs to completion. The last half of the film's visuals can be quite stunning (close-ups of Valli) with a very high level of detail, and more even grain, not present in the first 45-minutes or so. Generally I think the transfer provides a good representation and an enjoyable video presentation.

 

A linear PCM mono track in original French at 1152 kbps is used and exports the film's audio consistently. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

 

On the supplements - we lose the Stills gallery of rare production photos and promotional material found on the DVD but gain a (2013) 9-minute interview with actor Edith Scob (Christiane Génessier in the film). Retained are Franju’s Blood of the Beasts, 1949 documentary about the slaughterhouses of Paris running 22-minutes in restored HD. There is an archival interviews with Franju on the horror genre, cinema, and the making of Blood of the Beasts - entitled Le Fantastique running 5.5 minutes and excerpts from Les grands-pères du crime, a 1985 documentary about Eyes Without a Face writers Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac lasting only 7-minutes. We get two trailers (US and French) and a liner notes booklet featuring essays by novelist Patrick McGrath and film historian David Kalat.

 

Eyes Without a Face is an incredibly creepy film experience. This is exemplified in the higher Blu-ray resolution with the operation sequence being virtually stomach-turning. The pace and tone of the film also made me feel very uneasy - which is probably the sign of a great horror. I see much was taken in Almodovar's 2011 The Skin I Live. This is a keeper - even having seen it before my gaze was riveted to the screen - kudos to the improved image and audio. Recommended!

Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

The Films in My Life
by Francois Truffaut, Leonard Mayhew

French Cinema: A Student's Guide
by Philip Powrie, Keith Reader
Agnes Varda by Alison Smith Godard on Godard : Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard The Art of Cinema by Jean Cocteau French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno
French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present
by Remi Fournier Lanzoni
Truffaut: A Biography by Antoine do Baecque and Serge Toubiana

Check out more in "The Library"


 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920 X 1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray  TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B'- Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray  TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B'- Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray  TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B'- Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray  TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B'- Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray  TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B'- Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray  TOP

2) BFI - Region 'B'- Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Covers

   

  

 

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine #260
Region 'A' -Blu-ray
BFI
Region 'B' -Blu-ray


 

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Gary Tooze