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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Death in the Garden" or "Evil Eden" or "Gina" or "La muerte en el jardÝn" or "The Diamond Hunters')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/bunuel.htm
France / Mexico
1956

 

Product Description: After the relatively commercial Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Luis Bu˝uel returned to the surrealist and political style of his earlier works with Death in the Garden [La mort en ce jardin] the middle film in what has been described as his revolutionary triptych , a trilogy of films that study in the morality and tactics of armed revolution against a right-wing dictatorship . Amid a revolution in a South American mining outpost, a band of fugitives a roguish adventurer (Georges Marchal), a local hooker (Simone Signoret), a priest (Michel Piccoli), an aging diamond miner (Charles Vanel), and the miner's deaf-mute daughter (MichŔle Girardon) are forced to flee for their lives into the jungle. Starving, exhausted, and stripped of their old identities, they wander desperately lured by one deceptive promise of salvation after another. Filmed in stunning Eastmancolor, Death in the Garden is both a rousing adventure film, and a surrealist tour de force. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present this little seen classic for the first time ever on Blu-ray in a new Dual Format edition.

***

Amid a revolution in a South American mining outpost, a band of ill-starred fugitives-a roguish adventurer (Georges Marchal), a local hooker (Simone Signoret), a priest (Michel Piccoli), an aging diamond miner (Charles Vanel) and his def-mute daughter-are forced to flee for their lives into the jungle. Starving, exhausted and stripped of their old identities, they wander desperately lured by one deceptive promise of salvation after another. Shot in brilliant Eastmancolor and featuring a star-studded cast, Death in the Garden is a pulsating adventure film, alive with Surrealist gestures, making it classic Luis Bu˝uel. In French and Spanish with English subtitles.

***

The garden of the title is a terrifying South American jungle, through which an international cast of refugees flees after a surprise banana-republic revolution. This 1956 French-Mexican production was obviously designed as escapist entertainment, but in the hands of director Luis Bunuel it becomes a little more than that. As things get curiouser and curiouser, it's interesting to see how close Bunuel's surrealist vision is to the expected extravagancies of genre filmmaking. No masterpiece, but a prime example of subversive cinema.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr at the Chicago Reader located HERE

Posters etc.

Theatrical Release: September 21st, 1956

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Comparison:

Microcinema - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Microcinema - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

  

Distribution Microcinema - Region 0 - NTSC

Masters of Cinema Spine #167

Region 'B'  - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:39:48  1:43:55.437 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.43 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s  

1.66:1 Disc Size: 41,342,721,855 bytes

Feature Size: 30,453,258,240 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.99 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:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio French or Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)  Commentary: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  LPCM Audio French 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Microcinema

Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by film scholar Ernesto R. Acevedo-Munoz, author of 'Bu˝uel and Mexico: The Crisis of National Cinema'
• New video interviews with actor Michael Piccoli (35:50 16X9) and film scholar Victor Fuentes (24:49 4:3) - Both in Spanish with optional English subtitles
• 16-page liner notes booklet featuring essays by Javier Espada, Juan-Luis Bu˝uel and Susan Hayward

DVD Release Date: October 27th, 2009

Keep Case
Chapters:
8

Release Information:
Studio: Masters of Cinema

1.66:1 Disc Size: 41,342,721,855 bytes

Feature Size: 30,453,258,240 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 Video

 

Edition Details:

A new interview with Tony Rayns (33:07)
An interview with actor Michel Piccoli (35:48)
An interview with film scholar Victor Fuentes (24:44)
Masters of Cinema exclusive trailer (1:24)
PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by Philip Kemp, and archival imagery

DVD of the feature included

Blu-ray Release Date: June 19th, 2017
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters:
11

 

 

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

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray June 17': This can confirm our suspicions that the DVD was from an unconverted PAL source. It's quite interesting just how green the 1.33:1 aspect ratio SD image is - especially as compared to Masters of Cinema's, accurate, 1.66:1 1080P Blu-ray. The video improvement is easily identifiable - more detail, authentic skin tones (colors), and contrast. It looks a shade glossy and flat, without an abundance of grain, but is excellent in-motion via the dual-layered HD transfer with a max'ed out bitrate. Very pleasing.

MoC go linear PCM (24-bit) in the French language. There may be some minor sync issues (like the DVD) - probably inherent - and the score by Paul Misraki (Godard's Alphaville, Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Doulos, Welles' Confidential Report ) certainly benefits from the uncompressed transfer with crisp guitar strings. There are optional English subtitles on the Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Masters of Cinema's Blu-ray doesn't have a commentary like the Microcinema DVD but they do have some very good supplements. We get a 33-minute new interview with Tony Rayns who's insights are always valuable. There is the same 36-minute interview with actor Michel Piccoli but also a 25-minute one with film scholar Victor Fuentes about Bunuel and the film. There is Masters of Cinema's exclusive trailer and the package has a booklet featuring a new essay by Philip Kemp, and archival imagery, plus a second disc DVD of the feature.

A favorite Bunuel film - and it's so wonderful to own in on Blu-ray looking so superior to the old DVD with the extras especially Rayns. Wow... what a desirable film experience! Absolutely recommended! 

***

DVD: This is an interesting transfer in that despite ghosting artifacts (see last capture) it has moments of excellent clarity. It is advertised as "Mastered in HD from a 35mm archive print" and this would explain why the image quality can look so strong, but why so green? My suspicion is that the transfer is from an unconverted PAL source as IMDb lists the film's running time as 104 minutes and this is almost exactly 4% faster (PAL speedup) - just shy of 100 minutes. Still, there is lots of good to focus on - the disc is dual-layered and adhering to Death in the Garden's original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. (NOTE: Peter tells us it should be 1.66:1) Aside from the above mentioned conversion artifacts - it looks very impressive. It may be a shade yellow/green and tend to look a bit frail but detail is unusually strong and the print used must have been exceptionally clean. I kept thinking that I was seeing edge-enhancement but it seems to be a shade of moiring on the visuals which have prominent black levels further bringing up the sharpness. So while imperfect it is very watchable producing a video quality far in advance of what I was anticipating after seeing earlier Mexican Bu˝uel's to DVD like El Bruto (1953), Susana (1951), and Gran Casino (1947).    

The audio gives options for either French or Spanish - both in 2.0 channel. This may be an issue with some as they have their weaknesses in the form of out-of-sync'ed DUBs, but I tend to be more forgiving for this as I don't feel it's a transfer weakness but one inherent in the print used. I preferred the Spanish after some testing but others may disagree as the French tended to have more inflection - with subtleties of whispering or bold exclamations. There are optional English subtitles described as "New and improved".

Extras are where this release shines the brightest with a Criterion-level commentary by film scholar Ernesto R. Acevedo-Munoz, author of 'Bu˝uel and Mexico: The Crisis of National Cinema'. It's very informative and professional - a perfect choice to discuss details of a Mexican-made Bu˝uel film. We also get two new video interviews - the first is a 16X9 enhanced 26-minute conversation from July 2008 with actor Michael Piccoli conducted by Juan Luis Bu˝uel (son of the director). The second is 4:3, also from 2008 and runs 25-minutes with film scholar Victor Fuentes. It runs occasionally showing posters of Bu˝uel films or clips from Death in the Garden. Both are excellent viewing and are in Spanish with optional English subtitles. We also get a 16-page liner notes booklet featuring essays by Javier Espada, Juan-Luis Bu˝uel and Susan Hayward - but I have not had a chance to see it yet - but I do look forward to it as I am in a very Bu˝uelian mood.

Even if you ignore Charles Vanel - one can't help but think of The Wages of Fear. This was very enjoyable adventure if not as 'cutting' as one may expect from the director. At the writing of this review - you can pre-order for less than $17 - and despite the inferiorities with the transfer - we certainly recommend to fans of the director or cinema in general. The extras alone are worth it in my opinion. 

Gary W. Tooze

 


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



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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Microcinema - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 

Screen Captures

1) Microcinema - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) Microcinema - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) Microcinema - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) Microcinema - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) Microcinema - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) Microcinema - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) Microcinema - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) Microcinema - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


Combing prevalent on DVD
 

1) Microcinema - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


Box Covers

   

  

Distribution Microcinema - Region 0 - NTSC

Masters of Cinema Spine #167

Region 'B'  - Blu-ray




 

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