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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Faux semblants" or "Blodbrødre" or "Die unzertrennlichen")

directed by David Cronenberg
Canada / USA 1988

In Dead Ringers, David Cronenberg tells the chilling story of identical twin gynecologists—suave Elliot and sensitive Beverly, bipolar sides of one personality—who share the same practice, the same apartment, the same women. When a new patient, glamorous actress Claire Niveau, challenges their eerie bond, they descend into a whirlpool of sexual confusion, drugs, and madness. Jeremy Irons’ tour-de-force performance—as both twins—raises disturbing questions about the nature of personal identity.

***

Elliot (Jeremy Irons), a successful gynecologist, works at the same practice as his identical twin, Beverly (also Irons). Elliot is attracted to many of his patients and has affairs with them. When he inevitably loses interest, he will give the woman over to Beverly, the meeker of the two, without the woman knowing the difference. Beverly falls hard for one of the patients, Claire (Geneviève Bujold), but when she inadvertently deceives him, he slips into a state of madness.

Posters

Theatrical Release: 8 September 1988, Canada - Toronto Film Festival

Reviews                                                                                              More Reviews                                                                                    DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

On Air - Region 2 - PAL vs. Holland Criterion/Video Film Express - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion (oop) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Filmedia - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Shout! Factory [Collector's Edition] - Region 'A' Blu-ray

Big thanks to Ole Kofoed and Will Kelly for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) On Air - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) Holland Criterion/Video Film Express - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Filmedia - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.78:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

   

Distribution

On Air

Region 2 - PAL

Holland Criterion/Video Film Express

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 21
Region 0 - NTSC
FilmMedia  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Shout! Factory [Collector's Edition]

Region 'A' - Blu-ray 

Runtime 1:50:43 (4% PAL speedup) 1:50:44 (4% PAL speedup) 1:55:32 1:50:59.320 1:55:28.922  / 1:55:28.922
Video

1.85:1 Cropped Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.10 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.89:1 Cropped Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.9 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.64 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.34 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 - 1080i Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,730,566,888 bytes

Feature: 28,083,671,040 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

1.78:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,115,537,825 bytes

Feature: 40,831,408,128 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

 

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

Disc Size: 47,704,590,201 bytes

Feature: 37,587,812,352 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

 

On Air

 

Bitrate:

 

Holland Criterion

Bitrate:

 

Criterion

 

Bitrate: Filmmedia

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: Shout! Factory Disc 1

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: Shout! Factory Disc 2

Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 kbps)

English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround

DTS-HD Master Audio English 979 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 979 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1004 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1004 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 4014 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4014 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2003 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2003 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1559 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1559 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1557 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1557 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 4014 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4014 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2003 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2003 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish or none. Dutch, none None French, none English (SDH), none (both)
Features Release Information:
Studio: On Air

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer
• Biographies of Cronenberg and Irons (In English)

DVD Release Date: ?
Keep Case

Chapters 20
 

Release Information:
Studio:
Video Film Express

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.89

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by David Cronenberg, Jeremy Irons, editor Ron Sanders, production designer Carol Spier
• The original designs for the opening title sequence
• Twinning effect/motion control footage
• The electronic press kit, including a trailer and a featurette
 

DVD Release Date: unknown
Amaray Case

Chapters 42

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.
64

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by David Cronenberg, Jeremy Irons, editor Ron Sanders, production designer Carol Sp
• The original designs for the opening title sequence
• Twinning effect/motion control footage
• The electronic press kit, including a trailer and a featurette

 

DVD Release Date: October 13, 1998
Keep Case

Chapters 43

Release Information:
Studio:
Filmedia

 

1.78:1 - 1080i Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,730,566,888 bytes

Feature: 28,083,671,040 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• 
Le Grande Cinaste: David Cronenberg (57:13)

(25:57)

(7:11 in English)

Special Effects (20:24 in French)
 

Blu-ray Release Date: January 27th, 2012
Standard Blu-ray
Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Shout! Factory

 

1.78:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,115,537,825 bytes

Feature: 40,831,408,128 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

 

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

Disc Size: 47,704,590,201 bytes

Feature: 37,587,812,352 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
 

DISC 1:
• NEW Audio Commentary with writer William Beard, author of The Artist As Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg
• Audio Commentary with actor Jeremy Irons
 

DISC 2
• NEW 2K scan at the director’s preferred aspect ratio (1.66:1)
• NEW Carey’s Story – an interviews with Heidi Von Palleske (18:31)
• NEW Working Artist – an interview with Stephen Lack (23:56)
• NEW Connecting Tissues – an interview with special effects artist Gordon Smith (19:16)
• NEW Double Vision - an interview with director of photography Peter Suschitzky (12:41)
• Vintage interviews with Jeremy Irons, director/co-writer David Cronenberg, producer Marc Boyman and co-writer Norman Snider (17:03)
• Vintage Behind the Scenes Featurette (7:14)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (1:36)
 

Blu-ray Release Date: November 15th, 2016
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 36

 

 

 

Comments

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

 

ADDITION: Shout! Factory Blu-ray - December 16': The new Blu-ray 'Collector's Edition' of Cronenberg's Dead Ringers has me quite ambivalent. Firstly, a lot of fans have tired of the multiple aspect ratio packages. This has both 1.78 on disc one and 1.66 - actually at 1.67:1 - cited as a a new 2k scan - on Blu-ray disc 2.) The option is the production company trying their best to appeal to everyone and not get into trouble by creating a transfer with an incorrect AR. Consumers sense capitulation and a reason for them to inflate the price. From our emails - many fans would prefer they stick with a single AR - the one originally theatrically broadcast (yes, we realize in the 50's there were theatres incapable of the new widescreen process and two different aspect ratios could be found theatrically - this makes the choice of multiple ARs, certainly, more reasonable for older films i.e. Masters of Cinema's Shane and Welles' Touch of Evil.) So the consensus is that more modern films shouldn't, generally, require multiple AR releases within the same Blu-ray package ala Shout! Factory's Black Christmas. I understand much of the reasoning - source availability etc. but am just reporting on purchaser preferences that I have been privy to.

 

Secondly, both of these transfers have issues, IMO. The 1.78:1 transfer on disc one has a very blue/green cast over the visuals - unnaturally so. It looks dark and colors seems dampened by that. While the 1.66:1 has a superior, more natural, color scheme - it seems to have some DNR-style softness. The compared Shout! Factory (under 'Scream Factory' logo) images don't compliment each other at all - exposing each other's weaknesses. There are also issues regarding the framing (at times opened-up or zoomed-in and sometimes cropped) - and I'll leave you to determine by our captures below. I wasn't very pleased with the video transfers of either BD although both are on dual-layered discs with max'ed out bitrates. The running time is exact down to the 1/1000th of a second between the two, supposedly different, sources. There are legitimate questions here and my preference would be to return these two problematic transfers for one great one!

 

Shout! Factory use the same 5.1 track for both ARs. It sound decent with some depth but not squeaky-tight separations in the DTS-HD Master (24-bit) - both also have the option of a 2.0 channel stereo lossless option. The score is by Howard Shore (Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars, Scanners and The Brood, Tim Burton's Ed Wood, Fincher's The Game and Se7en etc.) and it certainly benefits from the uncompressed transfer adding that creepy underbelly atmosphere we find in much of the director's oeuvre. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on both (see samples below) and the Blu-rays are region 'A'-locked.

 

Shout! Factory offers many extras including two audio commentaries on the 1.78:1 version - a new one with writer William Beard, author of The Artist As Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg and it has plenty of information on the director and the production and a second, previously heard one with actor Jeremy Irons. On disc 2 there are new video pieces - Carey’s Story – a 10-minute interview with Heidi Von Palleske, Working Artist – a 24-minute interview with Stephen Lack (Anders Wolleck in the film), Connecting Tissues – a 20-minute interview with special effects artist Gordon Smith and Double Vision - a 13-minute interview with director of photography Peter Suschitzky. There are also 17-minutes worth of vintage interviews with Jeremy Irons, director/co-writer David Cronenberg, producer Marc Boyman and co-writer Norman Snider and a 7-minute vintage Behind the Scenes featurette and a 4:3 theatrical trailer.

 

Well, with the extras and progressive 1080P transfers - the Shout! Factory Blu-ray seems the best, although far from ideal, option. We can hope that, someone like, Arrow or MoC in the UK take the bull by the horns and give us a great new 4K-restored Blu-ray transfer but the Shout! Factory does have value with their extras. It remains a fascinating if uncomfortable film and one of the more unforgettable horrors of the 80s.   

***

ADDITION: Filmedia - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - June 12':  Despite some definite black-marks - interlaced, appears to run in PAL time (1080i50), movement in the bastardized 1.78:1 frame - this doesn't look too-too bad and gave me a decent presentation. My Region FREE LG Blu-ray player could remove the French subtitles when the English dialogue is selected and I suspect any machine that has remote accessible (as opposed to menu-enforced) subtitles - can do similar. There is a bit of noise on the dual-layered transfer with high bitrate and colors gain vibrancy and detail certainly rises. There are hints of depth. The audio is lossless and the Howard Shore score is solid via the DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel sounding atmospheric and creepy - although there are no dynamic attributes. There is a French DUB.

I haven't deeply investigated the extras but there is a lot (1 3/4 hours worth) and the two main video pieces are in English with forced French subtitles - one on Cronenberg.

Easily to accentuate the flaws but this did give me the best presentation of Dead Ringers that I've yet seen. I doubt Criterion will revisit the title and for a relatively obscure-but-intriguing effort - this may be the best we get. It is notably more film-like than the previous DVDs.  

***

DVD ADDITION - Criterion Holland - Video Film Express (Sept -04) - Although on the box it is stated as 1.66 it is actually around 1.89 and therefore not the original aspect ratio. It looks as though they have purchased the Criterion extra features which match to a 'T', except the color on the Cronenberg featurette has a green haze to it. The feature image is likewise distorted. It appears to be even more hazy than the 'On Air' PAL edition, but has the vibrant colors of the Criterion. Anyway, its a pass for the image and the aspect ratio. Don't bother.

***

The out-of-print Criterion, in the proper aspect ratio of around 1.66, is showing much more image in the bottom of the frame than the "On Air, which has been cropped to 1.85. The non-anamorphic, early Criterion DVD is also sharper, brighter and has more vibrant colors. Contrast is also far better but skin tones do look a little reddish. Extras are kind of impossible to equal in the case of the Criterion. Stacked with a directors commentary, featurette etc. as per par for the course, we suggest the Criterion - at Amazon's Marketplace for almost $70 - Cronenberg fans will not be complete without it.

There is also a Dutch release with extras ported from the Criterion (see HERE). Certainly cheaper but has PAL speedup and we are unsure of the transfer quality.

 - Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus


(On Air - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Holland Criterion/Video Film Express - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

 

Filmedia - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
 

 

Shout! Factory Disc 2 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
 


 

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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.78:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.66:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) On Air - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Holland Criterion/Video Film Express - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Filmedia - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.78:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.66:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) On Air - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Holland Criterion/Video Film Express - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Filmedia - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.78:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.66:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) On Air - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Holland Criterion/Video Film Express - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Filmedia - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.78:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.66:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) On Air - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Holland Criterion/Video Film Express - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Filmedia - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.78:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.66:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) On Air - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Holland Criterion/Video Film Express - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Filmedia - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.78:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.66:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

1) Filmedia - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.78:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.66:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Filmedia - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.78:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Shout! Factory (Collector's Edition 1.66:1) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Box Covers

 

   

Distribution

On Air

Region 2 - PAL

Holland Criterion/Video Film Express

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 21
Region 0 - NTSC
FilmMedia  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Shout! Factory [Collector's Edition]

Region 'A' - Blu-ray


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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...