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http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/roeg.htm
GB/USA 1983

 

Jack McCann: "I never earned a nickel from another man's sweat"
Claude van Horn: "You didn't earn the gold Jack, you took it from Nature. You raped the Earth."

It seems all too commonplace to overlook the later works of Nicolas Roeg: the accepted practice seems to be to laud praise on his first five films as director, but to consider his works after '
Bad Timing' 1980, to be less than the great works that cineastes had come to expect from Roeg. Part of the problem may simply be that Roeg's first five films were all absolute masterpieces from a great visionary. Indeed, Roeg's vision was so strong that many consider John Schlesinger's 'Far From the Madding Crowd', 1967, to be a Nicolas Roeg film (it was one of Roeg's last films as cinematographer, made three years before 'Performance', 1970), this is due in no small part to the fact that Roeg's vision as cinematographer almost completely eclipsed Schlesinger's vision as director. Nevertheless, there seems to be a growing interest in Roeg's later work, and 'Eureka' is fast becoming accepted as being one of Roeg's great overlooked works. There is in fact much to commend Roeg's later work, and to commend 'Eureka' as an especially fine example of a Nicolas Roeg film, one in which his auteurist vision is clearly evident and in which many classically Roegian themes are dominant. The film is especially interesting as ideas, themes and characters that are explored in earlier Roeg films are seen again in different guises. The film again pairs Roeg with producer Jeremy Thomas ('Bad Timing'), scriptwriter Paul Mayersberg ('The Man Who Fell To Earth', 1976), and with Theresa Russell ('Bad Timing') whom Roeg married during the years in between the making of 'Bad Timing' and 'Eureka'. The central character in the film is played by Gene Hackman, who delivers an exceptional performance as Jack McCann, the gold prospector who finds his fortune fairly early in life, and who subsequently struggles to give meaning to the rest of his life as his ultimate goal has been accomplished. In many ways this reverses the structure of 'The Man Who Fell To Earth', where Newton struggled and ultimately failed to fulfill his goal, though found (a kind of) solace at the end of the film. No such solace is granted to McCann though, and the parallels with 'Eureka' and 'Citizen Kane' 1941, have been frequently cited; although 'Eureka' takes a darker turn, and unlike Kane who waits for old age to take him, McCann seems desperate to bring about his own early demise. McCann's death is instigated by the gangster Mayakofsky (played by Joe Pesci), although the pair never meet. The similarities between McCann and Mayakofsky are suggested in various scenes during the films, in many ways reminding the viewer of the earlier parallel between Chas (also a gangster) and Turner in 'Performance'. The reasons for the relatively overlooked status of this film have almost nothing to do with the quality of the film itself, and almost everything to do with the usual problems of a film that baffles its distributors; it was shelved for two years, and then received only the most meager distribution. Nevertheless, one must not overlook Roeg's problem of bad timing; this was a film made in the heyday of Ronald Regan and Maggie Thatcher, and Roeg was trying to remind us that although money may make the world go round, it will not necessarily make us happy.

Rob Farmer

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 13th, 1983

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Comparison: 

Optimum Home - Region 2 - PAL vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) Optimum Home - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

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

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the MGM DVD Captures!

Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

Optimum Home

Region 2 - PAL

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

Masters of Cinema - Spine # 132
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Twilight Time
Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:04:20 (4% PAL speedup) 2:09:28 2:09:42.524 2:09:42.816
Video

1:1.85 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.84 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.66 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio Disc

Size: 48,799,367,841 bytes

Feature Size: 40,662,623,808 bytes

Total Bitrate: 35.02 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio Disc

Size: 49,642,789,762 bytes

Feature Size: 32,018,841,600 bytes

Total Bitrate: 24.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

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

Bitrate: Optimum

Bitrate: MGM

Bitrate: Masters of Cinema Blu-ray

Bitrate: Twilight Time Blu-ray

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (Mono, English) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) , Spanish dub (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Isolated Score:

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Nicolas Roeg at NFT:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1950 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1950 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1922 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1922 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Nic Roeg Q+A Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1897 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1897 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles None English, Spanish, French, None English (SDH), None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Optimum Home

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1:1.85

Edition Details:
• Chapter Selection
• Trailer

DVD Release Date: 1st September 2008
White keep case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer (2:42)

DVD Release Date: September 16th, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: M
asters of Cinema

 

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio Disc

Size: 48,799,367,841 bytes

Feature Size: 40,662,623,808 bytes

Total Bitrate: 35.02 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

 

Edition Details:
• 
Audio recording of Q&A with Nicolas Roeg at the world premiere
• Exclusive new interviews with producer Jeremy Thomas (13:35), writer Paul Mayersberg (53:18) and editor Tony Lawson (13:07)
Isolated music & effects track
• Theatrical trailer (2:42)
• PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by Daniel Bird, a reprinted interview with Roeg, an excerpt from Roeg's autobiography and Robert W. Service's poem The Spell of the Yukon

Blu-ray Release Date: March 21st, 2016
Transparent Blu-ray case

Chapters 13

Release Information:
Studio: Twilight Time

Aspect Ratio: 

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio Disc

Size: 49,642,789,762 bytes

Feature Size: 32,018,841,600 bytes

Total Bitrate: 24.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

 

Edition Details:

• Q&A Audio Commentary with Director Nicolas Roeg at the World Premiere (104 Minutes)
• Writer Paul Mayersberg on Eureka (53:18)
• Producer Jeremy Thomas on Eureka (13:35)
• Editor Tony Lawson on Eureka (13:07)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (2:44)
• Isolated Music & Effects Track (with Partial Isolated Score)

• Liner notes by Julie Kirgo
• Limited to 3,000 Copies!
 

Blu-ray Release Date: May, 2016
Black-Standard
Blu-ray case

Chapters: 24

 

 

 

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

ADDITION: Twilight Time - Region FREE Blu-ray June 2016': Twilight Time's Blu-ray is almost an exact duplicate of the Masters of Cinema Blu-ray. I'd give the edge in visuals to the UK disc -looking a bit better in-motion. It used more of the dual-layered disc space to increase the file size of the feature (over the Twilight Time) giving it a higher bitrate. Twilight Time put their extras (which duplicate the MoC's) - all in HD. We've compared 3 captures and static image differences are negligible. MoC used linear PCM audio (mono) where Twilight Time has it transferred in DTS-HD Master. My ears only notice slight differences in the higher-end. Both have optional English (SDH) subtitles, the isolated score, and the digital extras are duplicated. Twilight Time have the exact same Q+A (listed as 'commentary' by the US release), same interviews with Jeremy Thomas, writer Paul Mayersberg and editor Tony Lawson and both include a trailer. MoC have one of their excellent booklets where Twilight Time have liner notes by Julie Kirgo. Certainly as close as we've seen between two Blu-ray releases that weren't utilizing and sharing an identical a/v rendering. The Twilight Time Blu-ray is region FREE and limited to 3,000 copies. I suggest buying the one that is most reasonably priced for your geographic location. For die-hard Roeg fans - MoC gets the slight advantage. 

***

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (March 2016): This looks so impressive - dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate and the still captures don't do the 1080P image justice in-motion. I see there's another region 'B' Blu-ray HERE but I know nothing about it. The film is very visual and the advancement of the HD over the older DVDs is readily apparent. This has very fine, film-like, grain, some depth and DoP Alex Thomson's (Excalibur, Dr. Phibes Rises Again) cinematography ranges from obtuse interior angles to stunning outdoor sequences shot in Florida, Jamaica and Vancouver. The Blu-ray offers a clean, and perfect video presentation.

Masters of Cinema use a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps (24-bit) sounds authentically flat and crisp. The score (also available as an isolated track option) is by Stanley Myers (Cimino's The Deer Hunter, Roeg's Insignificance , Harold Becker's The Boost, Pete Walker House of Mortal Sin and Frightmare, etc.). It works very well with Roeg's deeply-probing narrative and adds to the flagrant emotion of the story. There are optional (English - SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

Extras start with an audio recording of the on-stage interview with Nicolas Roeg conducted by Philip Strick at the National Film Theatre in London following the world premiere of Eureka on February 13th, 1983. It plays alongside the film, like an disconnected commentary, and in it, Roeg discusses Eureka, his career and working process. It runs about 100-minutes. There are also new interviews with producer Jeremy Thomas (13:35), writer Paul Mayersberg (53:18) and editor Tony Lawson (13:07) talking about their work with Roeg, challenges etc. MoC offer an isolated music & effects track, a theatrical trailer and the package has a liner notes booklet featuring a new essay by Daniel Bird, a reprinted interview with Roeg, an excerpt from Roeg's autobiography and Robert W. Service's poem The Spell of the Yukon.

The Blu-ray is an easy buy for Roeg (and cinema) fans... a film to ruminate on and revisit for years.... strongly recommended!

***

ADDITION: MGM - July 2010: Surprisingly the Optimum appears to be a tad sharper - but other than that there doesn't seem to be much difference between the two editions visually. Colors, contrast, 1:85 framing is duplicated and both are anamorphic.

The US release offers a Spanish DUB and some subtitle options where the Optimum has none. Both have only a trailer as an extra.

Those sensitive to PAL speedup, or require subtitles should indulge in the MGM - otherwise, for those not region-locked, whatever is cheapest for your geographic region to indulge in Roeg's enigmatic film.

Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE OPTIMUM: Given the extras that accompanied Optimum's R2 release of 'Don't Look Now', it can only come as a disappointment that 'Eureka' comes with nothing other than a 2 minute trailer for the film. This lack of extras is especially disappointing given that Roeg has been very accommodating when it comes to creating extras for his DVDs (one only needs to look at the Criterion releases of his films for proof). Only four days after the release of this DVD, BBC Radio 4's 'The Film Programme' broadcast a special 'Eureka' episode from Roeg's home, featuring Jeremy Thomas and Nicolas Roeg (and director Danny Boyle, by 'phone) - [the programme can be heard HERE. Roeg and Thomas discuss the film in detail, for a good twenty minutes or so, and there are some interesting comparisons made between 'Eureka' and the recent film 'There Will Be Blood' 2007.

Regarding the quality of the film as it appears on the DVD there is nothing much to complain about. The film is presented in the correct widescreen aspect ratio of 1:1.85 (I think I am correct in saying that to date the only films that Roeg has made in Anamorphic Widescreen 1:2.35 are 'The Man Who Fell To Earth' and 'Bad Timing') and there is the appropriate thin letterboxing as should be the case when presenting a 1:1.85 film in a 16:9 (1:1.77) format. The transfer to digital looks fairly good, no discernable wear to the print and no visible digital artifacts. Colours are strong and the image is fairly sharp. Without anything to compare the print to it is hard to say for sure, but I get the impression from looking at the screen captures that there is additional clarity to be had, and that a better transfer is possible.

Given that almost nobody saw this film at the cinema, what is needed here to redress the balance of poor publicity and distribution (and to restore this film to its rightful place) is a high quality special edition DVD, featuring a director approved high definition transfer from the original camera negatives, and a generous offering of DVD extras.

 - Rob Farmer

 



DVD Menus

 

Optimum Home - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. MGM - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT
 

 

 

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

 

 

Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


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

 

1) Optimum Home - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

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

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Screen Captures

 

1) Optimum Home - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

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

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Optimum Home - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

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

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Optimum Home - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

.


 

1) Optimum Home - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

.


 

1) Optimum Home - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

.


 

1) Optimum Home - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

.

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

Optimum Home

Region 2 - PAL

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

Masters of Cinema - Spine # 132
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Twilight Time
Region FREE - Blu-ray

 




 

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Gary Tooze

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