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USA 1948

 

A borderline horror flick, Welles's expressionist and magical MACBETH (1948), unlike most screen versions of Shakespeare, is pure cinema. It was but three weeks in production at low-budget horse-opera mill Republic studio, stunningly shot by cameraman John L. Russell (who later shot Psycho). Welles is superb as the tragic hero, and in spite of the film's limitations, a good deal of the play's power comes through. One of the director's most personal creations, it's a courageous experiment with a craggy barbaric splendor all its own.

Excerpt of review from Elliot Stein in the Village Voice located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 1, 1948 (USA premiere), December 27, 1950 (New York City, New York) (edited version)

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Comparison: 

Wild Side Vidéo (Édition Collector 3 DVD) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Olive Films (Signature) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregg Ferencz for the DVD Review!

1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE
3) Olive Film (Signature) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT
 
Box Covers

 

   

Distribution

Wild Side Vidéo

Region 2 - PAL

Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Olive Films (Signature) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 114/82 (4% PAL speedup) 1:47:15.679 1948 - 1:47:14.428 / 1950 - 1:24:56.049
Video

4:3 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.95 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 19,506,761,659 bytes

Feature: 19,404,490,752 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 22.07 Mbps

1948:

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 33,135,357,003 bytes

Feature: 32,919,060,480 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

1950:

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,630,571,589 bytes

Feature: 24,862,193,664 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

Bitrate Blu-ray

Bitrate: Signature (1947 version) Blu-ray

Bitrate: Signature (1950 version) Blu-ray

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (Mono, English) DTS-HD Master Audio English 846 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 846 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

1948 - DTS-HD Master Audio English 2046 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2046 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1582 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1582 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

1950 - DTS-HD Master Audio English 2038 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2038 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles French (non - removable) None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Wild Side Vidéo

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 4:3

Edition Details:
• Disc 1: Restored longer cut originally released in 1948
• Restoration Demo, Orson Welles Filmography.
• Disc 2: 1950 re-release version redubbed and with shorter running time.
• Disc 3: Extensive supplements including analysis of the differences between the two versions ( 26:47
• Analysis of scenery design (13:43)
• A look at the cinematography (3:00)
• Analysis of the use of music in Macbeth (3:39)
• A discussion of Macbeth with actor Stuart Seide (13:50)
• A 4 min. film clip of the 1936 Harlem stage production of Macbeth directed by Welles featuring
• an African-American cast, introduced by Welles scholar Francois Thomas.
• 1940 Mercury Theatre radio adaptation of Macbeth (78:27).
• Production Stills and Promotional Art
• * All of the commentary is in unsubtitled French.
• 80 page illustrated booklet by Jean-Francois Buire in French

DVD Release Date: December 7, 2005
Fold out Slipcase

Chapters 14

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 19,506,761,659 bytes

Feature: 19,404,490,752 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 22.07 Mbps

Edition Details:

• none

Blu-ray Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Standard Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 13

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

1948:

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 33,135,357,003 bytes

Feature: 32,919,060,480 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

1950:

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,630,571,589 bytes

Feature: 24,862,193,664 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Edition Details:

• Includes both 1948 and 1950 versions
• Audio Commentary with Welles biographer Joseph McBride (48' version)
• Welles and Shakespeare"" - an interview with Welles expert, Professor Michael Anderegg (11:56)
• Adapting Shakespeare on Film"" - a conversation with directors Carlo Carlei (Romeo & Juliet) and Billy Morrissette (Scotland, PA) (8:19)
• Excerpt from We Work Again, a 1937 WPA documentary containing scenes from Welles' Federal Theatre Project production of Macbeth (7:15)
• That Was Orson Welles"" - an interview with Welles' close friend and co-author, Peter Bogdanovich (9:49)
• Restoring Macbeth"" - an interview with former UCLA Film & Television Archive Preservation Officer Bob Gitt (8:22)
• Free Republic: The Story of Herbert J. Yates and Republic Pictures" (6:35)
• The Two Macbeths an essay by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum (liner notes and digitally)

Blu-ray Release Date: November 15th, 2016
Standard Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12 / 12

 

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Olive (Signature) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - November 2016': As with their Blu-ray releases of Johnny Guitar, High Noon, The Quiet Man and The Night of the Grizzly - Olive Films have raised-the-bar from their initial packages to create a, much-improved, 'Signature' edition. In their double Blu-ray releases they have included both the 1948 and shorter (edited) 1950 version.

Olive have augmented the video with more than 50% of the 2012, bare-bones, Blu-ray release bitrate. It is a darker, richer, better grain-supported image and looks superior in-motion. While less-prevalent in the static screen captures you can still see the better layered contrast and textures appearing much more film-like. Both 1948 (Blu-ray 1) and 1950 (Blu-ray 2) versions have max'ed out bitrates and look similar and extremely impressive.

Audio also gets a notable bump - still DTS-HD Master but 24-bit as opposed to 16-bit. The inconsistencies of the production still exports some echoes but now they sounds deeper and part of the intent supporting the atmosphere well including input from Jacques Ibert's score. Olive also add optional English (SDH) subtitles for both versions. Their Blu-ray discs remain region 'A'-locked.

For many the improvement will be most notable in the extras included in the new Signature release. We get an excellent audio commentary with Welles biographer Joseph McBride - for the 48' version only. The remainder of the supplements are on disc 2 (the 1950 version) where we have 12-minutes of Welles and Shakespeare - an interview with Welles expert, Professor Michael Anderegg, Adapting Shakespeare on Film is an 8.5 minute conversation with directors Carlo Carlei (Romeo & Juliet) and Billy Morrissette (Scotland, PA) discussing Shakespeare etc. There is a 7-minute excerpt from We Work Again, a 1937 WPA documentary containing scenes from Welles' Federal Theatre Project production of Macbeth. That Was Orson Welles is a 10-minute interview with Welles' close friend and co-author, Peter Bogdanovich. Restoring Macbeth spends 8.5 minutes with former UCLA Film & Television Archive Preservation Officer Bob Gitt. Free Republic: The Story of Herbert J. Yates and Republic Pictures was seen on previous Signature releases and there is an essay by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum (in both liner notes and accessible digitally) entitled The Two Macbeths.

Wow - another monumentally impressive Signature Blu-ray release from Olive. It certainly puts the 2012 edition to shame and makes it the definitive package for Orson Welles' haunting Shakespearian adaptation. Our highest recommendation!

***

ADDITION: Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - August 12': Firstly, the Blu-ray is the 1-hour 47-minute version of the film. The single-layered Olive Films release more easily helps identify the black-boosting and edge-enhancement of the Wild Side DVD. It looks to have come from the same print with the same light scratches as found on the PAL SD. The 1080P is brighter, has more detail and the contrast is further layered than the French edition. The Blu-ray shows some grain texture and some infrequent depth. Overall, it looks quite pleasing. I was surprised it looked this strong.

The sound is lossless via a DTS-HD Master in original mono and can tend to sound echo-y and brittle - not dissimilar to the DVD and we can presume the original production. Unfortunately there are no subtitles for the thick Scot accents and there are also no supplements.

 I'd say the image quality - and being in theatrical running time (finally) via digital - is a big enough positive to indulge in one of Welles' Shakespearean forays. The superior resolution brings out more atmosphere to a film deeply steeped in light and shadows - Orson Welles fans will surely be impressed. Recommended!

Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVD: Note: All captures in this review are from the longer restoration cut.

I was not aware that this set was available until I read about it in Jonathan Rosenbaum's article recently posted HERE.


The material is presented in a clean interlaced transfer and spread out over three discs. The DVD containing the shorter version is single layered. The other two discs are dual-layered.

The listed running time for the short version is 85 minutes. My player displayed a running time of 81:31 which could be explained by 4% PAL speedup.  I'm having a harder time evaluating the true running time of the longer cut. The package and my player list this version at 114 minutes. The running time of the restoration is said to be 107 or 103 minutes, depending on whose account one reads. There is a bit over eight minutes of overture music prior to the opening sequence and around three minutes of exit music. This leaves 103 minutes for the feature. If the 4% PAL speed up is present then this may represent a 107 minute feature. But then, why is the actual running time listed correctly as 114 minutes while the shorter version has a 4% difference in it's running time from what is stated on the package? I know I'm splitting hairs here but I find it puzzling.

The video looks pretty good for a film that has undergone extensive digital restoration. The minor digital noise that is evident is preferable to the way the film looked prior to being restored as the comparison demo makes clear.

The audio is also very decent, a bit tinny at times, but not overly distracting.

The extras are rich and extensive but it would have been nice if Wild Side Video had included English subtitles. There is a lot of information being related that is no doubt worth hearing. I particularly enjoyed seeing the four minute clip of Welles "Voodoo Macbeth" from an old newsreel.

My only real complaint with the set is that you cannot turn off the French subtitles even though they are not burned in. Between this and the French only supplements it's apparent that Wild Side Video did not produce this DVD with the overseas market in mind.

Still, it's a great buy for a serious fans of Orson Welles. I am grateful to Mr. Rosenbaum for bringing it to my attention.
out of  

 - Gregg Ferencz

 


DVD Menus
 

 

Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Olive Film (Signature) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Olive Film (Signature) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Screen Captures

 
1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE
3) Olive Film (Signature - 1948) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Edge Enhancement halos on the DVD

 


1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE
3) Olive Film (Signature - 1948) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE
3) Olive Film (Signature - 1948) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE
3) Olive Film (Signature - 1948) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE
3) Olive Film (Signature - 1948) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE
3) Olive Film (Signature - 1948) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE
3) Olive Film (Signature - 1948) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

More Blu-ray Captures

1) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP
2) Olive Film (Signature - 1948) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 
 
1) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP
2) Olive Film (Signature - 1948) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 
 
1) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP
2) Olive Film (Signature - 1948) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 
 
1) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP
2) Olive Film (Signature - 1948) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 
 
1) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP
2) Olive Film (Signature - 1948) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 
 
1) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP
2) Olive Film (Signature - 1948) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

Box Covers

 

   

Distribution

Wild Side Vidéo

Region 2 - PAL

Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Olive Films (Signature) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 





 

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