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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by David Cronenberg
Canada 1996

 

For this icily erotic fusion of flesh and machine, David Cronenberg adapted J. G. Ballard’s future-shock novel of the 1970s into one of the most singular and provocative films of the 1990s. A traffic collision involving a disaffected commercial producer, James (James Spader), and an enigmatic doctor, Helen (Holly Hunter), brings them, along with James’s wife, Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger, in a sublimely detached performance), together in a crucible of blood and broken glass—and it’s not long before they are all initiated into a kinky, death-obsessed underworld of sadomasochistic car-crash fetishists for whom twisted metal and scar tissue are the ultimate turn-ons. Controversial from the moment it premiered at Cannes—where it won a Special Jury Prize “for originality, for daring, and for audacity”—Crash has since taken its place as a key text of late-twentieth-century cinema, a disturbingly seductive treatise on the relationships between humanity and technology, sex and violence, that is as unsettling as it is mesmerizing.

***

Almost as pared down and purified as late Bresson, Cronenberg's Crash focuses on half a dozen individuals who aren't so much characters as separate versions, aspects, or stages of the same character; all are car-crash veterans and most have sex with most of the others. The first two we encounter, Catherine Ballard (Deborah Kara Unger) and James Ballard (James Spader), are a married couple who have a lot of casual sex with other partners, experiences that are then recounted during their sex with each other. James produces TV commercials, and Catherine spends a lot of her time around an airport (in the novel she works at one). But the film is interested only in their sex lives and their driving.

Excerpts from Jonathan Rosenbaum's Review in the Chicago Reader HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 17th, 1996 (Cannes Film Festival)

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

New Line - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Turbine - Region FREE - 4K UHD

Box Cover

 

  

 

Coming to 4K UHD from Arrow in the UK in December 2020:

Bonus Captures:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution

New Line

Region 1 - NTSC

Criterion Spine #1059 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Turbine - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD
Runtime 1:40:24     1:40:02.454         1:39:49.400    
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.77 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,226,227,220 bytes

Feature: 28,941,772,800 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.43 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.66:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD
Disc Size: 61,773,949,323 bytes
Feature: 61,184,077,248 bytes
Video Bitrate: 69.52 Mbps
Codec:
HEVC Video

 

Included Blu-ray:

1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,777,606,742 bytes

Feature: 33,131,708,736 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.62 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate DVD:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Bitrate Blu-ray in 4K Ultra HD  package

Bitrate 4K Ultra HD:

Audio English, French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3976 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3976 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2090 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2090 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1752 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1752 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

DUBs:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 2243 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2243 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1732 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1732 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None English (SDH), None English, German, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: New Line

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: November 17th, 1998
Keep Case

Chapters 22

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,226,227,220 bytes

Feature: 28,941,772,800 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.43 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio commentary from 1997 featuring Cronenberg
Press conference from the 1996 Cannes Film Festival featuring Cronenberg; Suschitzky; author J. G. Ballard; producers Robert Lantos and Jeremy Thomas; and actors Rosanna Arquette, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, James Spader, and Deborah Kara Unger (37:39)
Q&A from 1996 with Cronenberg and Ballard at the National Film Theatre in London (1:41:42)
Behind-the-scenes footage and press interviews from 1996 (8:48)
Trailers (1:52 / 1:31)
PLUS: An essay by film critic Jessica Kiang


Blu-ray Release Date:
December 1st, 2020
Transparent Blu-ray Case Chapters 13

Release Information:
Studio:
Turbine

1.66:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD
Disc Size: 61,773,949,323 bytes
Feature: 61,184,077,248 bytes
Video Bitrate: 69.52 Mbps
Codec:
HEVC Video

Included Blu-ray:

1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,777,606,742 bytes

Feature: 33,131,708,736 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.62 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Second disc Blu-ray with:

• TIFF Talk with Viggo Mortensen & David Cronenberg (52:15)
• Interview with DoP Peter Suschitzky (20:01)
Interview with Producer Jeremy Thomas (17:05)
• Interview with composer Howard Shore (23:22)
• Interview with Casting Director Deirdre Bowen (27:11)
• Behind the Scenes (11:28)
• Cannes Award Ceremony for Crash (7:08)
• US-NC-17-Trailer; Trailer (in HD: German - 1:38 & US - 1:58)
• Shorts by David Cronenberg: The Nest (9:36) + Camera (6:43)

• At the Suicide of the Last Jew in the World in the Last Cinema in the World (3:58)
• Vintage Interviews with Cronenberg (6:20) Ballard (2:44) Spader (4:36) Holly Hunter (3:26) Deborah Unger (5:04), Elias Coteas (2:33)


4K UHD
Release Date: August 14th, 2016
Black
4K UHD Case

Chapters 18

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Turbine 4K UHD (November 2020): This is one of those cases where are captures, in attempting to replicate a 4K UHD image for a standard computer monitor, cannot do justice appearance. You'll have to trust my words more - I took extensive timing comparing the BD and 4K UHD on my system. GENERALLY speaking Colin concurs with my judgment that the new 4K UHD is darker (losing no detail!) but has more prominent colors (notable in Holly Hunter's dressing gown in the hospital, her purple bra, James Spader's deep royal blue bathrobe on the balcony, the orange taxis etc. Skin tones warm (and cool in some spots) but the biggest attribute of the new 3840 X 2160 transferred image is heavy and consistent grain. Colors can lean - someti8mes blue - sometimes golden yellow but they don't look fatally unnatural in-motion. The bitrate is more than double that of either Blu-ray and 14X that of the 1998 SD transfer.

Technically this has HDR10 and it seems liberally applied. Yes, it looks better than either Blu-ray (the one included in the Turbine package has an image that duplicates the Criterion - see 3 comparisons below), imo - especially if you like grain textures which are rife in this 4K UHD presentation. Given the opportunity we will compare to the upcoming Arrow 4K UHD.

Like Colin, I grew up in Toronto and am very familiar with the orange and green taxis that were frequently seen in this city. The color on the 4K seems slightly overly rich to us - on my system. I will reiterate our software cannot replicate that for a standard monitor... and it is likely that your system may export this differently. I have two different 4K systems and they show disparity more often than they are the same. 

It is likely that the monitor you are seeing this review is not an HDR-compatible display (High Dynamic Range) or Dolby Vision, where each pixel can be assigned with a wider and notably granular range of color and light. Our capture software if simulating the HDR (in a uniform manner) for standard monitors. This should make it easier for us to review more 4K UHD titles in the future and give you a decent idea of its attributes on your system. So our captures may not support the exact same colors (coolness of skin tones, brighter or darker hues etc.) as the 4K system at your home. But the framing, detail, grain texture support etc. are, generally, not effected by this simulation representation.

NOTE: 20 more more full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K UHD captures, in lossless PNG format, for Patrons are available HERE.

We have reviewed the following 4K UHD packages to date: Full Metal Jacket (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Psycho (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Birds(software uniformly simulated HDR), Rear Window (software uniformly simulated HDR), Vertigo (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Spartacus (software uniformly simulated HDR), Jaws (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Invisible Man, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucio Fulci's 1979 Zombie  (software uniformly simulated HDR),, 2004's Van Helsining (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Shallows (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Bridge on the River Kwai (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Deer Hunter (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Elephant Man (software uniformly simulated HDR), A Quiet Place (software uniformly simulated HDR), Easy Rider (software uniformly simulated HDR), Suspiria (software uniformly simulated HDR), Pan's Labyrinth (software uniformly simulated HDR) The Wizard of Oz, (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Shining, (software uniformly simulated HDR), Batman Returns (software uniformly simulated HDR), Don't Look Now (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Man Who Killed Killed and then The Bigfoot  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Bram Stoker's Dracula (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lucy (software uniformly simulated HDR), They Live (software uniformly simulated HDR),  Shutter Island (software uniformly simulated HDR),  The Matrix (software uniformly simulated HDR), Alien (software uniformly simulated HDR), Toy Story (software uniformly simulated HDR),  A Few Good Men (software uniformly simulated HDR),  2001: A Space Odyssey (HDR caps udated), Schindler's List (simulated HDR), The Neon Demon (No HDR), Dawn of the Dead (No HDR), Saving Private Ryan (simulated HDR and 'raw' captures), Suspiria (No HDR), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (No HDR), The Big Lebowski, and I Am Legend (simulated and 'raw' HDR captures).

This audio is not at Criterion's BD standard with only 16-bit tracks in both English and German DUB for 5.1 surround or 2.0 channel stereo - all via DTS-HD Master renderings. It sounds competent if missing minor bass 'ummphh' in supporting the effects and score by Howard Shore (The Silence of the Lambs, An Innocent Man, Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars, Scanners and The Brood, Tim Burton's Ed Wood, Fincher's The Game and Se7en etc.) There are subtitles including English and German and as with all 4K UHD discs, this is Region 'Free' - playable worldwide.

The disc has no extras - only the film. But Turbine include a second disc, Region 'B' Blu-ray that is stacked with supplements. It starts with an extensive TIFF Talk with Viggo Mortensen & David Cronenberg running over 52-minutes. There are new (?) interviews with DoP Peter Suschitzky, Producer Jeremy Thomas, composer Howard Shore, Casting Director Deirdre Bowen running around 1.5-hours in total. There is a dozen minutes of Behind the Scenes footage, 7-minutes of Cronenberg accepting a special award at Cannes Award Ceremony for Crash, trailers, three short films by David Cronenberg: The Nest, Camera and 'At the Suicide of the Last Jew in the World in the Last Cinema in the World' which was part of the To Each His Own Cinema anthology film. There are the same vintage interviews, also on the Criterion, with Cronenberg, Ballard, Spader, Holly Hunter, Deborah Unger, and Elias Coteas. Notably missing, and of extreme value, is Criterion's audio commentary from 1997 featuring Cronenberg. Otherwise there is a ton here to go through.

Well, to some we may have the 'law of diminishing returns' for the new 4K UHD package. Just to sell it - as well as a very rich and grain-drenched image (which I find appropriately darker for the film's tone) but you get a similar (if slightly inferior in the audio department) Blu-ray presentation, to the Criterion, included as a second disc! Plus there are significant and great extras, if missing out on the invaluable Cronenberg commentary. There is plenty of value here and if we can compare to the upcoming Arrow - we will do so as soon as possible.    

***

ADDITION: Criterion Blu-ray (November 2020): Criterion have transferred David Cronenberg's Crash to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "New 4K digital restoration supervised by cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, and 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, both approved by director David Cronenberg". Hard to believe the DVD is 22-years old (with its totally awkward seamless branching between versions) and Criterion's LaserDisc released 23-years ago! The Blu-ray improvement is in every area, from the correct 1.66:1 aspect ratio to the authentic flesh tones, grain, detail and especially contrast. We hope to compare to one (or both) of the editions in the future, but I am very satisfied with this 1080P (with high bitrate) rendering. It looks excellent on my system.

Crash makes the third title that Criterion is releasing on Blu-ray, that is already available in 4K UHD. The others being David Lynch's The Elephant Man and Bong Joon Ho's Parasite. Fans await their eventual adoption of that superior format.

NOTE: We have added 50 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Criterion use a robust and demonstrative DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track (24-bit) in the original English language. There are many effects - mostly cars - metals bending, glass shattering, engines revving and the powerful effect of the deep impact of the audio is highly notable in the carwash scene that integrates with the score by Howard Shore (The Silence of the Lambs, An Innocent Man, Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars, Scanners and The Brood, Tim Burton's Ed Wood, Fincher's The Game and Se7en etc.) sounding very effective in elevating the viewing experience. Criterion offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Criterion Blu-ray offer Cronenberg's 1997 LaserDisc commentary. It isn't dated at all and he discusses locations I am fully familiar with living in Toronto; The Don Valley Parkway highway, how he felt his film expression was actually restrained in terms of what he would have done with car crashes, the 'French reverse' shots, fearless James Spader, the Beck Replica of the James Dean car, how the Rosanna Arquette' Gabrielle character was the focus of much controversy - notably in the UK where they wanted the film band and one critic said that sexual relations with an invalid is disgusting. How the dialogue in the film (sex scene Spader/ Unger) was objectionable to officials in Ireland, although was taken almost directly from the book. Elias Koteas as a young Robert De Niro, the coldness of Ballard's writing - equivalency to lighting etc. It's excellent and great to have back again since most LaserDisc players are disconnected and collecting dust. The other highly relevant extra is the 'Q&A from 1996 with Cronenberg and Ballard at the National Film Theatre in London' where so much is covered including how the car wash scene took three days, Michael Powell's Peeping Tom, Rosanna Arquette loving her role and all the gear, sex with invalids, Korean banning and much more. It's very revealing and runs 1 3/4 hours (longer than the film.) There is also a 40-minute Press conference from the 1996 Cannes Film Festival featuring Cronenberg; Suschitzky; author J. G. Ballard; producers Robert Lantos and Jeremy Thomas; and actors Rosanna Arquette, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, James Spader, and Deborah Kara Unger. Also keenly interesting. There are 9-minutes of Press Kit behind-the-scenes footage and press interviews from 1996, two trailers and a liner notes booklet with an essay by film critic Jessica Kiang

David Cronenberg's Crash is one of the most fascinating large-budget films ever made. Some say it is akin to driving by a car accident... and slowing down. I applaud the director's bravery and love all his films for their uniqueness and bold, emotionally wrenching, expressions. My ex-girlfriend was an editing intern on Crash. I loved revisiting this in the image resolution of HD. The score is and effects are especially effective in the lossless. It's such a curious film that it is ultimately rewatchable over the years. I'm very happy with the Criterion Blu-ray for both the 4K-restored, director approved a/v and the fabulous extras including the invaluable commentary, Q+A and press conference. Our highest recommendation!

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 

New Line - Region 1 - NTSC

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Turbine - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY AND 4K UHD CAPTURES TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 / 3840 X 2160 RESOLUTION

 

1) New Line - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

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

3) Turbine - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Turbine - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD BOTTOM

 


1) New Line - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

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

3) Turbine - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Turbine - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD BOTTOM

 


1) New Line - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

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

3) Turbine - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Turbine - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD BOTTOM

 


1) New Line - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

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

3) Turbine - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD BOTTOM

 


1) New Line - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

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

3) Turbine - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD BOTTOM

 

1) New Line - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

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

3) Turbine - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD BOTTOM

 

More full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K Ultra HD Captures for Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Cover

 

  

 

Coming to 4K UHD from Arrow in the UK in December 2020:

Bonus Captures:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution

New Line

Region 1 - NTSC

Criterion Spine #1059 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Turbine - Region FREE - 4K Ultra HD


 


 

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