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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Jimmie Blacksmith")

1) Australian Title TOP

2) International Title BOTTOM

 

Directed by Fred Schepisi

Australia 1978

 

Fred Schepisi's internationally acclaimed masterpiece based on the novel by Thomas Keneally is the shocking tale of an indigenous man driven to madness and revenge. Jimmie Blacksmith (Tommy Lewis) is a young Aboriginal half-caste raised in central NSW at the turn-of-the-century a boy initiated by his tribe but also educated by a stern Methodist minister (Jack Thompson). Looking to gain respectability in European society Jimmy finds a white bride while performing back-breaking work on local farms but cannot escape his skin colour, suffering ongoing racism and oppression. Discovering that he may not be the father of his wife's child, and fired without pay, Jimmy explodes in a fury of violent revenge and escapes into the bush with his brother Mort, cutting a bloody path of retribution upon the society that has forsaken him. In 1901, the year Australian democracy is born, Jimmy Blacksmith finally faces his fate, and with it the fate of his people!

***

Fred Schepisi's 1978 Australian film adheres to the classical form of the national epic, with its rhyming, foreshadowing passages, its inclusive journey motif, and its charismatic hero, whose actions bring forth the new country. But all of the values have been inverted: Schepisi's hero is half white, half aborigine; all of his honor, sacrifice, and earnestness bring him only scorn and disaster, and finally he revolts. It's the death of Jimmie, the last quixotic revolutionary, that gives birth to modern, white Australia. The film is formally precise and visually stunning, with strange, hollow interiors and eccentric, original wide-screen compositions against brooding landscapes. A complex experience, brewed equally from myth and irony.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr of The Chicago Reader located HERE

Posters and 2 books

Release: May 26th, 1978 (Cannes Film Festival)

Reviews                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                    DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

   

    

Released on Blu-ray by Kino in September 2019:

Distribution Umbrella
Region
FREE Blu-ray
Masters of Cinema
Region 'B'
Blu-ray
Runtime 2:01:52.847     2:02:02.398 / 1:57:22.744  
Video

Disc Size: 44,345,882,300 bytes

Feature Size: 26,161,294,656 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.37 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Disc Size: 48,674,099,724 bytes

Aus. Feature Size: 25,121,787,456 bytes

Int. Feature Size: 15,870,778,752 bytes

Average Bitrate: 24.49 Mbps / 15.99 Mbps 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate  Blu-ray
Bitrate  Masters of Cinema Australian version Blu-ray
Bitrate International Version  Blu-ray
Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1509 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps

Australian Version:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1060 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1060 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

International Version:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1032 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1032 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles English (SDH), None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Umbrella

 

Disc Size: 44,345,882,300 bytes

Feature Size: 26,161,294,656 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.37 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
 Audio Commentary with Fred Schepisi
 Play feature with introduction by Fred Schepisi (0:25)
 A Conversation with director, Fred Schepisi & cinematographer, Ian Baker (1:04:01)
 Melbourne Premiere from Willesee at Seven, June 1978 (6:00)
 CELLULOID GYPSIES: Making Jimmie Blacksmith - Interviews with key cast and crew, including director, Fred Schepisi and actor, Tommy Lewis (36:21)
 Interview with Tommy Lewis (25:33)
 Q& A session with Fred Schepisi and actor, Geoffrey Rush at MIFF (Melbourne International Film Festival) 2008 (34:06)
 Making Us Blacksmiths - Documentary on the casting of Aboriginal lead actors, Tommy Lewis and Freddy Reynolds (10:23)
 Stills Gallery
 Theatrical Trailer (2:20)

Blu-ray  Release Date: March, 2018
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters: 13

Release Information:
Studio:
Masters of Cinema

 

Disc Size: 44,345,882,300 bytes

Feature Size: 26,161,294,656 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.37 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith Australian Version [122 mins] presented in 1080p on Blu-ray (with a progressive encode on the DVD), from a restoration completed by Umbrella Entertainment
 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith International Version [117 mins] from a brand new restoration completed in 2019 from the original film elements (Blu-ray only)
 Brand new and exclusive audio commentary by film critic and writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (Australian Version)
 Audio commentary by director Fred Schepisi (Australian version)
 Interview with Fred Schepisi (40:52)
 Celluloid Gypsies: Making The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith [(36:21)
 A conversation with director Fred Schepisi and cinematographer Ian Baker (1:04:01)
 The Chant of Tom Lewis interview with Tom E. Lewis (25:33)
 Q&A session with Fred Schepisi and Geoffrey Rush, from the 2008 Melbourne International Film Festival (34:05)
 Making us Blacksmiths Documentary on the casting of Aboriginal lead actors Tom E. Lewis and Freddy Reynolds (10:23)
 Theatrical Trailer (2:26)
 Reversible sleeve
 PLUS: A collector s booklet reprint of Pauline Kael s original review of the film

DVD of the Australian version

Blu-ray  Release Date: August 26th, 2019
Custom Blu-ray case

Chapters: 14 / 14

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' Blu-ray (August 2019) - This UK Blu-ray package contains the slightly longer Australian Version of The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (same version found on the Umbrella Blu-ray and the 5-minute shorter International Version from a brand new restoration completed in 2019 from the original film elements - on the same disc.

The Australian version on this Blu-ray starts with the Umbrella logo:


While the International version starts with the Shout! Factory logo:

Firstly, The Masters of Cinema Australian version looks very similar to the Umbrella 1080P (roughly the same technical transfer) and states that it is from a restoration completed by Umbrella Entertainment (see comments below). Contrast might lean to the UK, but the overall differences, even in-motion, are minute. Now the, approximately 5-minute shorter, 'International version' looks significantly different - colors are richer and deeper but there is a slight distortion in the ratio as compared to the Aussie-version presentation. It shows more information on all 4 sides of the frame. It looks decent if a bit saturated and has a far less-robust HD transfer - sharing the disc with the other version and all the supplements. It's hard to know what is correct but colors are bolder and this provides the viewer with a different representation of the film. I think it was a good addition to the package but may have required its own disc to advance the bitrate.

For the audio, Masters of Cinema use DTS-HD Master mono tracks at 24-bit and this is sounds superior, a bit richer and deeper, to the 16-bit Umbrella Blu-ray. There is violence with screams, gunshots etc. that carry depth in the lossless.  The film's score is by Bruce Smeaton (Roxanne, The Cars That Ate Paris, Circle of Iron). He is an Australian composer who is well known for a many different Australian film and television scores in multiple genres; features, shorts, television, documentaries and TV and radio advertisements. His main theme is haunting and memorable sounding great in the uncompressed. Masters of Cinema also add optional English subtitles - see samples below - on their Region 'B' Blu-ray disc.

In the supplements, Masters of Cinema also include the audio commentary by director Fred Schepisi (Australian Version), hour long conversation with director Fred Schepisi and cinematographer Ian Baker, 36-minute Celluloid Gypsies: Making The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith featurette, the 34-minute Q&A session with Fred Schepisi and Geoffrey Rush, from the 2008 Melbourne International Film Festival, the 10-minute Making us Blacksmiths Documentary on the casting of Aboriginal lead actors Tom E. Lewis and Freddy Reynolds, the 25-minute The Chant of Tom Lewis interview with Tom E. Lewis and theatrical trailer (all discussed below and found on the Umbrella Blu-ray). What is new is Brand new and exclusive audio commentary by film critic and writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on the Australian Version. She respectfully acknowledges the aboriginal Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung people (I hope I got that right) of the eastern Kulin nation and she goes on to give a delightful and informative discussion of the production with insightfully analysis on the European influences in costume and architecture - among many other topics. I enjoyed it and found it very educational. There is also a 40-minute interview with Fred Schepisi that I don't recall on the Umbrella and the package has a collector's booklet reprint of Pauline Kael s original review of the film and progressive DVD of the Australian version. For the first 2000 buyers there is a limited edition O-CARD featuring newly commissioned artwork by Nathanael Marsh.

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is idiosyncratic - providing racial perspective in unusual ways and from both sides. It's a truly fascinating film. One highly touted by Quentin Tarantino. Not qualifying for true 'Ozploitation' status although it is shockingly violent. Wonderful to see this less-exposed Aussie gem and inclusion of the distinctly different (visually) restored International version in 1080P on one Blu-ray with all the bells and whistles (new commentary, booklet etc.). Strongly recommended!     

***

ON THE UMBRELLA: Umbrella's Region FREE Blu-ray transfer is dual-layered with a supportive bitrate. The1080P presentation is in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It is imperfect occasionally looking weaker in-motion. It is thick, textured but has some depth and decent detail in close-ups. Overall, not a premium presentation but it is pleasing to see this Aussie masterwork on Blu-ray.

 

Umbrella use DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel mono track (16-bit). There is violence with screams, gunshots etc. that carry some depth in the lossless.  Umbrella add optional English subtitles - see samples below - on their Region FREE Blu-ray disc.

 

Extras are stacked on this Blu-ray starting with an audio commentary by Fred Schepisi who is both director and he wrote the screenplay for The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith. He gives a unique perspective but I did not listen to completion. You can also see a brief introduction as an option by him before the film commences. Included is a length (over an hour) conversation with Schepisi and, cinematographer, Ian Baker covering a variety of topics as they have worked together on many projects including Jimmie Blacksmith. We get 6-minutes of the Melbourne Premiere from 'Willesee at Seven', June 1978. Celluloid Gypsies: Making Jimmie Blacksmith has over 35-minutes of interviews with key cast and crew, including Schepisi and actor, Tommy Lewis who is also involved in a solo, 24-minute, interview and there is a 1/2 hour Q& A session with Schepisi and actor, Geoffrey Rush at MIFF (Melbourne International Film Festival) from 2008. Making Us Blacksmiths is a 10-minute documentary on the casting of Aboriginal lead actors, Lewis and Freddy Reynolds. Lastly, is a stills gallery and theatrical trailer.

Gary Tooze

 

Menus / Extras

 

Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

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

 

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


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

 

Subtitle Samples

 

1) Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (Australian) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema (International) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (Australian) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema (International) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (Australian) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema (International) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (Australian) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema (International) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Masters of Cinema (Australian) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema (International) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

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

 


More (Australian) Blu-ray Captures
 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

Box Cover

   

    

Released on Blu-ray by Kino in September 2019:

Distribution Umbrella
Region
FREE Blu-ray
Masters of Cinema
Region 'B'
Blu-ray




Search DVDBeaver
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