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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Blow-Up" )

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/antonioni.htm
UK / Italy 1966

In 1966, Michelangelo Antonioni transplanted his existentialist ennui to the streets of swinging London for this international sensation, the Italian filmmaker’s first English-language feature. A countercultural masterpiece about the act of seeing and the art of image making, Blow-Up takes the form of a psychological mystery, starring David Hemmings as a fashion photographer who unknowingly captures a death on film after following two lovers in a park. Antonioni’s meticulous aesthetic control and intoxicating color palette breathe life into every frame, and the jazzy sounds of Herbie Hancock, a beautifully evasive performance by Vanessa Redgrave, and a cameo by the Yardbirds make the film a transporting time capsule from a bygone era. Blow-Up is a seductive immersion into creative passion, and a brilliant film by one of cinema’s greatest artists.

***

Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's first English-language production was also his only box office hit, widely considered one of the seminal films of the 1960s. Thomas (David Hemmings) is a nihilistic, wealthy fashion photographer in mod "Swinging London." Filled with ennui, bored with his "fab" but oddly-lifeless existence of casual sex and drug use, Thomas comes alive when he wanders through a park, stops to take pictures of a couple embracing, and upon developing the images, believes that he has photographed a murder. Pursued by Jane (Vanessa Redgrave), the woman who is in the photos, Thomas pretends to give her the pictures, but in reality, he passes off a different roll of film to her. Thomas returns to the park and discovers that there is, indeed, a dead body lying in the shrubbery: the gray-haired man who was embracing Jane. Has she murdered him, or does Thomas' photo reveal a man with a gun hiding nearby? Antonioni's thriller is a puzzling, existential, adroitly-assembled masterpiece.

Posters

Theatrical Release: 18 December 1966 (USA)

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Comparison:

Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner Home Video - Region 2 - PAL vs. Warner (Japan) - Region 2,3,4 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman and Pavel Borodin for the R1 and R2 Screen Caps!

1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Warner Home Video - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Warner (Japan) - Region 2,3,4 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

8

Box Covers

  

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 1 - NTSC

Warner Home Video
Region 2 - PAL

Warner (Japan)

Region 2,3,4 - NTSC

Criterion Collection - Spine # 865 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:51:04 1:46:36 (4% PAL speedup) 1:51:04 1:51:41.736
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.9 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.27 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.9 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 1080P / 23.976 fps

Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,464,459,563 bytes

Feature: 24,802,701,312 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Warner Home Video - NTSC

.

Bitrate:

 

Warner Home Video - PAL

 

Bitrate:

 

Warner Home Video - PAL

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

 

Audio Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English, French)

Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English, French), 2.0 Stereo (Italian)

Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English, Portuguese) LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, English for the hearing impaired, None Arabic, Dutch, English, English for the hearing impaired, French, German, Italian, Italian for the hearing impaired, Romanian, Spanish, None English, Spanish, Portuguese French, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Korean, Indonesian, None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by author/historian Peter Brunette
• Music-only track
• 2 Theatrical Trailers

DVD Release Date: February 17th, 2004
Snapper case

Chapters 26

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by author/historian Peter Brunette
• Music-only track
• 2 Theatrical Trailers

DVD Release Date: April 12th, 2004
Keep case

Chapters 26

Release Information:
Studio: Warner (Japan)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by author/historian Peter Brunette
• Music-only track

• Teaser Trailer
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: April  21st, 2010
Keep case

Chapters 26

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

1.85:1 1080P / 23.976 fps

Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,464,459,563 bytes

Feature: 24,802,701,312 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

New pieces about director Michelangelo Antonioni’s artistic approach, featuring photography curators Walter Moser and Philippe Garner and art historian David Alan Mellor - Antonioni's Hypnotic Vision (Modernism - 16:06, Photograpghy - 29:49)

• Excerpt from Michelangelo Antonioni: The Eye That Changed Cinema (2001) (5:31)
• Blow Up of “Blow Up,” a 2016 documentary on the making of the film (53:54)
• Conversation from 2016 between Garner and actor Vanessa Redgrave (44:44)
• Archival interviews with Antonioni and actors David Hemmings ('68 - 5:23, 77' - 20:18) and Jane Birkin (8:53)
• Teaser (1:01), Trailer (2:14)
• PLUS: A book featuring an essay by film scholar David Forgacs, an updated 1966 account of the film’s shooting by Stig Björkman, the questionnaires the director distributed to photographers and painters while developing the film, and the 1959 Julio Cortázar short story on which the film is loosely based

Blu-ray Release Date:
March 28th, 2017
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 25

 

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - February 2017: There are certain film works that have reached such a lofty status that very little needs to be said to those who've invested the time to embrace them. Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-up is one such 'Holy Grail' of cinema. This Blu-ray is easily THE most anticipated release of the year for many cinephiles.

Criterion's 1080P transfer is "restored 4K". It is darker than the previous DVDs, has warmer skin tones and a film-like thickness. Detail rises marginally and there is more information on the side edges. It looks very good in-motion and I did a comparison with one of the SDs on my 60" system and the improvement is easily identified. Some will bemoan the 1.85:1 aspect ratio (as opposed to, a reportedly accurate, 1.66;1) and I don't have an answer or can state with absolute certainty that it wasn't shown in 1.85:1 theatrically in the US. There is always the suggestion that the narrows scope exposes details not meant to be seen in retrospect (Miss Redgrave's breasts) - see our censorship page about Blow-Up HERE.

Criterion remains faithful with a linear PCM 1.0 channel track. No real effects are notable but, as well as a credited score by Herbie Hancock (Death Wish, A Solder's Story) who did The Main Title, The Naked Camera, Jane's Theme and other pieces - there is also Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind? sung by The Lovin' Spoonful and Train Kept A - Rollin' performed by The Yardbirds. It sounds better than ever in the uncompressed - flat but carrying some pleasing resonance. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on Criterion's region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Extras are extensive but no commentary. In 1967, director Michelangelo Antonioni received the Palme d'Or for Blow-Up. This 5.5 minute excerpt from Michelangelo Antonioni: The Eye That Changed Cinema (2001) includes footage from the award ceremony, along with the director discussing his approach to shooting in London and plans for an upcoming film in America. Blow Up of “Blow Up” is a, new 54-minute, 2016 documentary on the making of the film by Valentina Agostinis on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Blow-Up, and it features the film's dialogue assistant Piers Haggard, model Jill Kennington, former Yardbirds manager Simon Napier-Bell, photographer David Montgomery, historian Philippe Garner, art historian David Alan Mellor, and several others. The documentary returns to a few key locations and explores Michelangelo Antonioni's meticulous approach to art and photography. Featured are two excerpts from two interviews with David Hemmings, who plays Thomas in Blow-Up. The first, from 1968 runs just over 5-minutes, was conducted while the actor was on the set of Only When I Larf, a film directed by Basil Dearden. The second, running over 20-minutes, was a conversation between the actor and host Brian Linehan that took place on the program City Lights on April 26th, 1977. There is a 3/4 hour conversation from 2016 between Philippe Garner and actor Vanessa Redgrave who portrays Jane, a woman photographed against her wishes while on an outing in London's Maryon Park. The two discuss Michelangelo Antonioni's approach to casting, his sense of movement and space, and, above all, his precision. The interview was posted by SHOWStudio on June 29th, 2016, as part of the series In Conversation. There is a 9-minute excerpt of an interview with Jane Birkin from 1989, the actor recalls her audition for Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up. the director's approach to filming, and the work of her costars David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave. There are two new pieces about director Michelangelo Antonioni’s artistic approach in a Criterion produced piece entitled Antonioni's Hypnotic Vision - featuring photography curators Walter Moser and Philippe Garner and art historian David Alan Mellor. The videos are entitled Modernism - running 16-minutes and Photography running just shy of 1/2 hour. There is both a teaser and trailer for the film and the package contains a liner notes book featuring an essay by film scholar David Forgacs, an updated 1966 account of the film’s shooting by Stig Björkman, the questionnaires the director distributed to photographers and painters while developing the film, and the 1959 Julio Cortázar short story on which the film is loosely based.

The film never fails to strike vital emotional chords of mystery, introspection and subtly celebrating an era of freedom and artistic expression. I doubt many need my review to order this Blu-ray. With the best presentation of the film (4K restored! - for home theater), uncompressed audio, and extensive supplements - it has our highest recommendation!

***

ADDITION: Warner Japan, Region 2,3,4 NTSC - July 2014: Bottom line, I was curious about the Japanese SD release since I see the 2004 US snapper case going for $90 HERE. This Japanese release seems the exact same in almost every regard - and it's less than $10 US (not including shipping - which for me was also just under $10). Image quality is the same or slightly better, it has no PAL speed-up, the VoB files say March 2004, it is optically censored (see issue HERE) for those few frames (see last capture). You blink and you'd miss it. It has mono English and English subs as well a a few foreign-language's offered (see list). It has the commentary, teaser, trailer and music only track option (Herbie Hancock) as extras. Pretty much the same disc except in comes in a keep case. Even the menus are in English. So this is only to save some a bit of dough - the Japanese (and all Amazon's) check-out process is the exact same as the US one.

***

ON THE R1 and R2 DVDs (2004): By comparison, the Region 2 version is a bit enhanced. The edge-enhancement on the PAL edition, is minimal. If it is there it is truly miniscule but it is still in PAL (sped-up) timing - which I now find bothersome and notable in Hemming's voice and the music.

The Extras are exact as are the menus and covers. The Region 2 offers a larger selection of subtitles and an additional audio DUB (Italian). DVDBeaver recommends the Region 2.

NOTE: We can confirm that these DVDs are in the incorrect aspect ratio. This film was definitely shot at 1.66.

Blow-up Censorship on DVDs issue HERE.

 - Gary W. Tooze

DVD Menus

(Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Warner Home Video - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

Warner (Japan) - Region 2,3,4 - NTSC

 

 

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner Home Video - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Warner (Japan) - Region 2,3,4 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

8


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner Home Video - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Warner (Japan) - Region 2,3,4 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

8


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner Home Video - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Warner (Japan) - Region 2,3,4 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

8


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner Home Video - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Warner (Japan) - Region 2,3,4 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

8


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner Home Video - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Warner (Japan) - Region 2,3,4 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

8


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner Home Video - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Warner (Japan) - Region 2,3,4 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

8


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner Home Video - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Warner (Japan) - Region 2,3,4 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

8

Warner (Japan) - Region 2,3,4 - NTSC (optical censoring on bottom) SEE VHS pan-and-scan HERE

1) Warner (Japan) - Region 2,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

8

1) Warner (Japan) - Region 2,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

8

More Blu-ray Captures


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 


Michelangelo Antonioni films on DVD (NTSC) - CLICK COVERS or REVIEW BUTTON for more information


Recommended Books for Michelangelo Antonioni reading (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Box Covers

  

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 1 - NTSC

Warner Home Video
Region 2 - PAL

Warner (Japan)

Region 2,3,4 - NTSC

Criterion Collection - Spine # 865 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray



 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...