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Italy 195
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Regarded by some as Federico Fellini’s finest work, and the winner of the first Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, La Strada is a masterpiece of 20th Century filmmaking. Sold by her impoverished mother to Zampano (Anthony Quinn), a brutish fairground wrestler, waif-like Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina) lives a life of drudgery as his assistant. After taking to the road with a travelling circus, a budding relationship with Il Matto/The Fool (Richard Basehart), a gentle-natured, tightrope walking clown, offers a potential refuge from her master’s clutches. Trapped by her own servile nature, Gelsomina waivers, and Zampano’s volcanic temper erupts with tragic consequences.

***

There has never been a face quite like that of Giulietta Masina. Her husband, the legendary Federico Fellini, directs her as Gelsomina in La Strada, the film that launched them both to international stardom. Gelsomina is sold by her mother into the employ of Zampanò (Anthony Quinn,) a brutal strongman in a traveling circus. When Zampanò encounters an old rival in highwire artist the Fool (Richard Basehart), his fury is provoked to its breaking point. With La Strada, Fellini left behind the familiar signposts of Italian neorealism for a poetic fable of love and cruelty, evoking brilliant performances and winning the hearts of audiences and critics worldwide.

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 6th, 1954 - Venice Film Festival

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Comparison:

Criterion -  Region 0 - NTSC vs. Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

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Distribution Criterion Collection Spine # 219  Region 0 - NTSC Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

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This edition (without any extras) is also available in The Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films - a 50-disc celebration of international films collected under the auspices of the groundbreaking theatrical distributor. It contains Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ashes And Diamonds (1958), L'avventura (1960), Ballad Of A Soldier (1959), Beauty And The Beast (1946), Black Orpheus (1959), Brief Encounter (1945), The Fallen Idol (1948), Fires On The Plain (1959), Fists In The Pocket (1965), Floating Weeds (1959), Forbidden Games (1952), The 400 Blows (1959), Grand Illusion (1937), Häxan (1922), Ikiru (1952), The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952), Ivan The Terrible, Part II (1958), Le Jour Se Lève (1939), Jules And Jim (1962), Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949), Knife In The Water (1962), The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1943), Loves Of A Blonde (1965), M (1931), M. Hulot's Holiday (1953), Miss Julie (1951), Pandora's Box (1929), Pépé Le Moko (1937), Il Posto (1961), Pygmalion (1938), Rashomon (1950), Richard III (1955), The Rules Of The Game (1939), Seven Samurai (1954), The Seventh Seal (1957), The Spirit Of The Beehive (1973), La Strada (1954), Summertime (1955), The Third Man (1949), The 39 Steps (1935), Ugetsu (1953), Umberto D. (1952), The Virgin Spring (1960), Viridiana (1961), The Wages Of Fear (1953), The White Sheik (1952), Wild Strawberries (1957), Three Documentaries By Saul J. Turell plus the hardcover, full color 240-page book.

Runtime 1:48:24 1:47:47.416
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.18 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 47,734,344,588 bytes

Feature Size: 26,871,005,184 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio Italian (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono) , DUB: English LPCM Audio Italian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

  • Video introduction by Martin Scorsese

  • Audio commentary by Peter Bondanella, author of The Cinema of Federico Fellini

  • Federico Fellini’s Autobiography, a 2000 documentary originally broadcast on Italian television

  • Optional English-dubbed soundtrack featuring the voices of Anthony Quinn and Richard Basehart

  • New essay by film scholar Peter Matthews

  • New and improved English subtitle translation

  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

  • Two Discs

DVD Release Date: November 18th, 2003
Keep Case
Chapters: 26

Release Information:
Studio: S
tudio Canal

 

Disc Size: 47,734,344,588 bytes

Feature Size: 26,871,005,184 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• 
Audio commentary by Chris Weigand on selected scenes (18:05)
• New Interview with director Julian Jarrold (11:37)
• New Interview with Peter Matthews, Senior
• Lecturer, Film & Television, London College of Communication (23:53)
• The Guardian Interview: Anthony Quinn (recorded at the BFI in 1995) (28:43)
• Giulietta Masina 1955 Cannes interview (10:33)

Blu-ray Release Date:
June 19th, 2017
Standard (UK) Thick
Blu-ray Case inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters: 12

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray July 17'': The new Studio Canal transfer is on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. It doesn't have the grain I was anticipating but it has some good qualities beyond the much older DVDs. The Criterion has digitization in the form of edge-enhancement - bringing up the detail but this becomes evident upon close inspection or comparing to the HD. The Optimum has an unpleasant waxiness and softness. The 1080P is much brighter, has more detail and more information in the frame - specifically when compared to the Criterion where there is notably more on the bottom, right and left edges. The Studio Canal looks very pleasing in-motion and is very clean. I like the look of this and will compare to other 1080P transfers if they surface, but I was absolutely thrilled to see this on Blu-ray, although more texture would improve the viewing, imo. 

Studio Canal use a linear PCM mono track (16-bit) in the original Italian. The post DUB'ing is at the weaker end of the spectrum but we accept this from many Italian films. It, frequently, is out-of-sync. The impacting score is by Nino Rota (Il Bidone, 8 1/2, I Clowns, Purple Noon, The Leopard etc.) and sounds bold and powerful in the uncompressed with some, inherent, weakness in the higher-end. There are optional English subtitles on the Region 'B' Blu-ray disc.

Studio Canal add some impressive extras starting with an 18-minute select-scene commentary by Chris Weigand (to, what appears to be, a lesser print quality than the 1080P.) There are three different scenes (first street performance and a sequence where Gelsomina and 'the Fool' bond and Zampanò chases him away, the final scene used has a drunk Zampanò beaten in the street, wandering on the beach) and Weigand provides a good background on the production, Masina, Fellini and Quinn - referencing other films. It's a kind to a visual essay and I only wish it was longer - dare I say, a full commentary - as by Peter Bondanella on the Criterion. We get 2 new interviews - one with director Julian Jarrold running shy of 12-minutes describing the personal impact the film had on him and why. There is a rewarding 24-minute interview with Peter Matthews, Senior Lecturer, Film & Television, London College of Communication. He provides details on Fellini, his start after a meeting with Rossellini, neo-realism, and much more. We get The Guardian Interview with Anthony Quinn recorded at the BFI in 1995 running short of 1/2 hour. Also included in delightful, 10-minute, Giulietta Masina 1955 Cannes interview.

La Strada is one of Fellini's most beloved films. Unforgettable. Gut-wrenching. The package is the best I have ever seen the film presented - making it even more impacting. Devastatingly so. This is on our Top 100 Desert Island Discs listing. A must own Blu-ray, for the film if nothing more.

Gary W. Tooze

 


DVD Menus

 

Signal One - Region Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample - Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2- PAL MIDDLE

3) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

High Frequency edge enhancement on the Criterion DVD


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2- PAL MIDDLE

3) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2- PAL MIDDLE

3) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Recommended Books on Federico Fellini (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

Federico Fellini
by Christopher Wiegand
Fellini on Fellini
by Federico Fellini, Isabel Quigley
The Cinema of Federico Fellini
by Peter Bondanella
The Films of Federico Fellini (Cambridge Film Classics)
by Peter Bondanella, Ray Carney
I'm a Born Liar: A Fellini Lexicon
by Damian Pettigrew
Fellini
by Lietta Tornabuoni
Fellini: A Life
by Hollis Alpert
I, Fellini
by Charlotte Chandler, Billy Wilder

Box Covers

   

 

  

Distribution Criterion Collection Spine # 219  Region 0 - NTSC Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray





 

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Gary Tooze