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directed by Gus Van Sant
USA 1991

 

River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves star in director Gus Van Sant’s haunting tale of two young street hustlers: Mike Waters, a sensitive narcoleptic who dreams of the mother who abandoned him, and Scott Favor, wayward son of the mayor of Portland and the object of Mike’s desire. Navigating a volatile world of junkies, thieves, and johns, Mike takes Scott on a quest from the grungy streets to the open highways of the Pacific Northwest, in search of an elusive place called “home.” Groundbreaking and visually dazzling, My Own Private Idaho is a stirring look at unrequited love and life at society’s margins.

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 12th, 1991 - Toronto Film Festival

Reviews                                                                     More Reviews                                                     DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion Collection  Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

  

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 277 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine #277 - Region 'A' Blu-ray
Runtime 1:44:02 1:44:10.244
Video 1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.27 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

1.85:1 1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,265,411,225 bytes

Feature: 22,926,274,560 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.96 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate Blu-ray
Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Dolby)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 2039 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2039 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3560 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3560 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion / Home Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Audio conversation between Van Sant and filmmaker Todd Haynes (Safe, Far From Heaven, Velvet Goldmine)
• The Making of My Own Private Idaho, a new documentary featuring interviews with key crew members

• Kings of the Road, a 2005 interview with film scholar Paul Arthur on Van Sant’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Orson Welles’s Chimes at Midnight
• New video interview with film critic Paul Arthur on the adaptation of Shakespeare in My Own Private Idaho
• Video conversation between producer Laurie Parker and Rain Phoenix
• Outtakes
• Original theatrical trailer
• A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Amy Taubin and reprinted interviews with Van Sant, Phoenix, and Reeves

DVD Release Date: March 1st, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 40

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

1.85:1 1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,265,411,225 bytes

Feature: 22,926,274,560 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.96 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Illustrated 2005 audio conversation between Van Sant and filmmaker Todd Haynes (53:16)
• The Making of “My Own Private Idaho,” a 2005 documentary featuring cast and crew (42:23)
• Kings of the Road, a 2005 interview with film scholar Paul Arthur on Van Sant’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Orson Welles’s Chimes at Midnight (44:16)
• Conversation from 2005 between producer Laurie Parker and actor River Phoenix’s sister Rain (19:26)
• Audio conversation from 2005 between writer JT LeRoy and filmmaker Jonathan Caouette (53:54)
• 6 Deleted scenes
• Trailer (2:17)
• PLUS: A book featuring essays by film critic Amy Taubin and LeRoy; a 1991 article by Lance Loud; and reprinted interviews with Van Sant, Phoenix, and actor Keanu Reeves

Blu-ray Release Date: October 6th, 2015
Transparent Keep case

Chapters: 17

 

 

 

Comments:

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

 

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray September 15': Firstly, this is cited as being 'a new, restored 4K digital transfer, approved by director Gus Van Sant and director of photography Eric Alan Edwards'. So, no more golden hues and the new 1080P image is remarkably different than the older DVD presentation. Colors, and skin tones, move to normalcy, it tightens up a bit although there is some thickness to the visuals with a low-ish bitrate. We gain a sliver of information on the left edge of the frame. It looks a shade softer than I would have anticipated but the landscapes are still extremely impressive in the higher resolution. The transfer is in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio and looks excellent in-motion, if not as crisp as I was hoping for.

 

Criterion give the option of a DTS-HD Master stereo track at 2039 kbps or an even more robust 5.1 surround in a DTS-HD Master at a whopping 3560 kbps. There are notable separations in the latter and it does help develop atmosphere. The film's score is credited to Bill Stafford, but there is a cornucopia of selections in My Own Private Idaho including Tom Dokoupil and Udo Kier's Mr. Klein and Der Adler, Bill Stafford's version of America, the Beautiful, Madonna's Cherish, Elton John's Blue Eyes and more. It all sounds wonderful via the lossless. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and the Blu-ray disc is region 'A'-locked.

 

We retain all the extras from the 2005 2-disc DVD (but all on one lone, dual-layered, Blu-ray) with the 53-minute audio conversation between Van Sant and filmmaker Todd Haynes discussing Van Sant's unique cinematic vision for the film, the 45-minute Making of “My Own Private Idaho,” documentary, also from 2005, featuring directors of photography John Campbell and Eric Alan Edwards, as well as the production designer David Brisbin as they recall the development, production and postproduction of My Own Private Idaho. also included is the 20-minute conversation (from 2004) between producer Laurie Parker and actor River Phoenix’s sister Rain discussing the late actor's commitment to My Own Private Idaho as well as an audio conversation between writer JT LeRoy and filmmaker Jonathan Caouette running short of an hour. There are 6, unrestored, deleted scenes containing instances of missing sound and/or picture - plus there is a trailer. The 3/4 of an hour Kings of the Road is a 2005 interview with film scholar Paul Arthur on Van Sant’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Orson Welles’s Chimes at Midnight (Falstaff) in My Own Private Idaho as well as influences of the road movie and western on the film. The package has a liner notes booklet featuring essays by film critic Amy Taubin and LeRoy; a 1991 article by Lance Loud; and reprinted interviews with Van Sant, Phoenix, and actor Keanu Reeves.

 

With the endorsement of the director and DoP, it's hard to fault the new look for those used to the older SD treatment. I would say it positively provides a different experience from the viewer's standpoint. One I am glad to have indulged in. We recommend this fascinating Blu-ray package!

***

ON THE DVD:" Looks like a yellow filter was used and I assume it was deliberate. Very cleaned and sharp image with some nice film grain peeking through. Deep blacks and excellent subtitles. Massive extras that I will be wading through in the future. Van Sant fans should feel quite fortunate that Criterion picked this one up with the substantial extras in the 2-disc package.

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Box Covers

  

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 277 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine #277 - Region 'A' Blu-ray


 



 

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