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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Dawson City: Frozen Time [Blu-ray]
(Bill Morrison, 2016)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Hypnotic Pictures
Video: Kino Lorber / Second Run
Region: 'A'/ FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 2:00:52.286 / 2:00:38.958
Disc Size: 49,104,293,955 bytes / 46,806,793,354 bytes
Feature Size: 37,877,551,104 bytes / 21,374,072,832 bytes
Video Bitrate: 33.98 Mbps / 18.0 Mbps
Chapters: 9 / 12
Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent Blu-ray Case
Release date: October 31st, 2017 / February 19th, 2019
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3636 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3636 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1850 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1850 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1971 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1971
kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
English (SDH), None
•Dawson City: Postscript (9:54)
• Interview with Bill Morrison (8:49)
• Eight Selections From Dawson Film Find (D.W. Griffith, Pathe news etc.)
• Trailer (2:13)
• An exclusive, newly filmed interview with Bill Morrison.
Description: This meditation on cinema’s past from Decasia director Bill Morrison pieces together the bizarre true history of a long-lost collection of 533 nitrate film prints from the early 1900s. Located just south of the Arctic Circle, Dawson City was settled in 1896 and became the center of the Canadian Gold Rush that brought 100,000 prospectors to the area. It was also the final stop for a distribution chain that sent prints and newsreels to the Yukon. The films were seldom, if ever, returned. The now-famous Dawson City Collection was uncovered in 1978 when a bulldozer working its way through a parking lot dug up a horde of film cans. Morrison draws on these permafrost-protected, rare silent films and newsreels, pairing them with archival footage, interviews, historical photographs, and an enigmatic score by Sigur Rós collaborator and composer Alex Somers. Dawson City: Frozen Time depicts the unique history of this Canadian Gold Rush town by chronicling the life cycle of a singular film collection through its exile, burial, rediscovery, and salvation.
A thrilling adventure through American history, Dawson City: Frozen Time pieces together the bizarre true story of a collection of some 500 silent films. Dating from the 1910s and 20s, they were lost for over 50 years until being discovered buried in a subarctic swimming pool deep in the Yukon Territory in 1978. Director Bill Morrison (Decasia) uses this extraordinary footage as a conduit to explore the complicated past of Dawson City, a Canadian gold rush town and First Nation hunting camp that was transformed and displaced. Dawson City: Frozen Time is a triumphant work of art that chronicles the life cycle of a singular film collection through its exile, burial, rediscovery, and salvation, discovering another world in the process.
“Dawson City” tells a number of stories: about
how the addition of certain chemicals to cotton created
an explosive (nicknamed gun cotton) that was developed
into celluloid motion picture film; about a settlement
of Native Americans that was muscled out of existence by
white settlers trekking north during the gold rushes of
the mid- and late-19th centuries; about the boom and
bust cycles of Dawson City itself, which burned to the
ground once a year for the first nine years of its
It's been called the King Tut's Tomb of silent cinema, a celluloid find
at one of the world's far corners that dazzled the film universe, but to
accomplished, ambitious moviemaker Bill Morrison, it was something more:
the chance to tell the story of a lifetime, to spin a wondrous, almost
indescribable tale, a complete astonishment from beginning to end.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The dual-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray with a high bitrate of Dawson City - Frozen Time looks amazing in 1080P. The static black and white, or sepia, photos have deep rich black levels and look so impressive. The 'found' films have varying degrees of damage - mostly on the edges. These incredible images - transferred to Blu-ray augment the fascinating stories of discovery and historical content. Stunning!
Second Run release one of the best documentaries of the last decade, Bill Morrison's "Dawson City: Frozen Time." This dual-layered Blu-ray features the same HD source as the Kino, though with only a modest bitrate and a smaller file size. Thankfully, this doesn't affect the image frame by frame, though in motion, the Kino looks smoother. Detail is very fine, with grain intact. Those deep, rich black levels are just as piercing as they were on the Kino.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino give the choice of DTS-HD Master tracks in a robust 5.1 surround or 2.0 channel stereo - both 24-bit. There are some background sounds - birds etc. but little narration - having the silent images show brief titles devoid of extensive details. There is a score by Alex Somers. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Second Run also include a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, though in 24-bit. Whereas Kino provided a 2.0 DTS-HD stereo track, Second Run include a 2.0 linear PCM track. Second Run definitely comes out on top, with the uncompressed PCM having a greater fidelity to the source. There are optional English SDH subtitles on this Region Free Blu-ray.
Aside from a 10-minute Dawson City: Postscript and 9-minute interview with Bill Morrison - the amazing extras surround eight selections From Dawson 'Film Find' including 1912's Brutality by D.W. Griffith, Pathe news etc. There is also a trailer and the package has a 24-page booklet with an essay by Lawrence Weschler and Alberto Zambenedetti plus photos.
Second Run have many
of the same extras that were previously on the Kino disc, such as
"Dawson City: Postscript", trailer, and selection of 8 original film
reels from the Dawson City Film Find, listed here:
Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Second Run - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Second Run have a fine package here, and aside from the film's smaller file size/bitrate, it is hard to notice a difference unless you really strained your eyes. There is a bump in audio quality and a few more extras on the Second Run. I would recommend picking up which ever Blu-ray is cheaper for your geographic location, as this film should definitely be in your collection.
October 24th, 2017