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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Peter Weir
Australia 1977

 

Occult Aboriginal mysticism. Dreams . Reality. Conflict.


In 1977, Australian director Peter Weir made a haunting film dealing with central themes of cultural understanding, tolerance and man's communication with the natural world. As a follow up to the critical success of his 1975 film Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Last Wave was able to generate a similar foreboding presence of the unknown. Both films deal with mans' compelled acceptance of the spiritual forces that modern society has alienated itself from, all presented within a penetrating atmosphere of suspenseful mystery.


Right from the very first scene, the story intimates a parallel to the unusual weather circumstances that are occurring throughout Sydney at the time of the ongoing trial. Large hail falls violently on one day, blotchy mud from the sky's on another. The subtle background sounds of radio broadcasts detail proposed scientific explanations for the events. The plot thickens.

 

***

Australian lawyer David Burton agrees with reluctance to defend a group of aborigines charged with murdering one of their own. He suspects the victim was targeted for violating a tribal taboo, but the defendants deny any tribal association. Burton, plagued by apocalyptic visions of water, slowly realizes danger may come from his own involvement with the aborigines and their prophecies.

***

"Dream is a shadow of something real." Chris Lee (David Gulpilil)Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Peter Weir (Oscar® nominated director of Picnic at Hanging Rock, Gallipoli and Witness) explores a startling world on the brink of apocalypse in The Last Wave, a time and place where Mother Nature and human nature are destined to collide in catastrophic disaster.

When lawyer David Burton (Richard Chamberlain, The Thorn Birds) is assigned a case to defend a group of indigenous Australian men, he is unprepared for the nightmares and dreamscapes ahead. Accused of murdering one of their own, the men stand trial amidst suspicious circumstances and, as Burton becomes plagued by unsettling visions, he is drawn to the mysterious Chris Lee (AFI Award winner David Gulpilil, Storm Boy, The Tracker) for answers to his torment. As the erratic climate turns dangerous, Burton senses a greater power at play, where tribal customs and the ancient ideas of Dreamtime may be more than just an ominous warning.


Featuring atmospheric cinematography by Oscar® winner Russell Boyd (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), The Last Wave is a haunting journey into the depths of the unknown, where dreams and nightmares conspire as one.

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 5th, 1977 (Paris Film Festival)

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Gaumont Boxset (France) CTHV - Region 2 - PAL vs. Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

Bonus Captures:

Also available in Germany on Blu-ray from Koch Media:

Distribution

Criterion Collection - Spine # 142

Region 1  - NTSC

Gaumont - Columbia Tri-Star HV
Region 2 - PAL
Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:45:40       1:41:09 (4% PAL speedup) 1:45:07.134 
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.69 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.83 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,709,712,467 bytes

Feature: 28,865,605,632 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Criterion:

Bitrate Gaumont:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby)  English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 1800 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1800 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English, None French, and none English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer
• 2001 interview (specially made by Criterion) with director Peter Weir

DVD Release Date: January 13, 2004
Keep Case

Chapters 24

7

Release Information:
Studio: Gaumont -CTHV

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1



Edition Details:
• Boxset includes 3 other Peter Weir films on separate DVDs - Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Plumber, The Cars that Ate Paris
• Feaurette on 'history' - (1:07:06) in English with non-removal French subtitles

• Trailer (same as Criterions)
• 5 Filmographies of cast and crew (moving text screens)

• Bibliography (moving text screens)

DVD Release Date: March 10th, 2004
2 double Keep Cases inside Box
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Umbrella

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,709,712,467 bytes

Feature: 28,865,605,632 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Interview featurettes with: Lead Actor Richard Chamberlain in conversation with Paul Harris (22:11)
• "Riding the Wave" - Interview with Producer Jim McElroy (38:16)
• "Lighting the Cave" Director of Photography Russell Boyd (24:39)
• David Stratton on The Last Wave (3:39)
• Trailers From Hell: The Last Wave with Brian Trenchard-Smith (3:39)
• Edit from the 1980 documentary David Gulpilil: Walkabout to Hollywood (7:05)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:51)
• Gallery (3:08)


Blu-ray Release Date:
September 20th, 2020
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 13

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Umbrella Blu-ray (October 2020): Umbrella (as part of their 'Sunburnt Screens' sub-label) have transferred Peter Weir's The Last Wave to Blu-ray. It is on  a dual-layered disc with a high bitrate. Generally colors are richer and deeper while flesh tones cool. The 1.85:1 image is brighter (some yellow and gold dominance) and shows the 1.78:1 DVDs to be 'opened up' and the 1080P transfer shows slightly less information on the top and bottom of the frame but a sliver more on the side edges. The image is heavy, sometimes unnaturally so and both clunky with odd contrast... but the resulting HD presentation in-motion, on my system, was very appealing. There were some very impressive visual sequences on the Blu-ray. I would say that it looks even better than the still captures indicate. 

NOTE: The presentation starts with a text screen that states "ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER VIEWERS ARE WARNED THAT THE PROGRAM AND EXTRAS ON THIS DISC CONTAIN IMAGES AND SOUNDS THAT MAY RELATE TO DECEASED PERSONS. "

NOTE: We have added 68 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Umbrella use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track (24-bit) in the original English language (with some Italian + Aboriginal). The score is by Groove Myers (as Charles Wain) - one of only two film composure credits. But this is an excellent soundtrack with, often violent, nature effects (frequent rain and thunder) and (cited on the back cover of the vinyl soundtrack cover): "tense atonal electronics, synthesizer drones and manipulated Didjeridu all perfectly capture the film’s ominous atmosphere, punctuating the slow hypnotic pace of this brooding supernatural thriller." It sounds very atmospheric and impacting in the 24-bit lossless transfer. Umbrella offer optional English subtitles (see sample below) on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Umbrella Blu-ray has the multitude of supplements. These include a brand new 22-minute interview with actor Richard Chamberlain in conversation with Paul Harris (remotely for the lockdown) where the he tells us memories of the production and relevant, lesser-known, details. "Riding the Wave" is a 39-minute interview with Producer Jim McElroy and "Lighting the Cave" spends 25-minutes with Director of Photography Russell Boyd who shares some insights into his work on the film and Peter Weir. We also get a brief piece with critic David Stratton on The Last Wave. There is an episode of 'Trailers From Hell: The Last Wave' with director Brian Trenchard-Smith (Turkey Shoot) plus a 7-minute edit from the 50-minute 1980 documentary about David Gulpilil; Walkabout to Hollywood made in 1980 by Bill Leimbach. There is a theatrical trailer and stills gallery. 

I was so glad to watch Peter Weir's The Last Wave on Blu-ray. This is such a curious, haunting, supernatural thriller and existential horror. David Burton's (Chamberlain) sedate and 'normal' family life is turned upside down by forces he logically tries to reject... until his dreams cannot be denied. Weir has filled the film with many cultural reference points and shrouded mystery throughout. It seems to evoke similar themes of Colin Eggleston's Ozploitation classic Long Weekend. - another strongly recommended Australian film. It's really quite brilliant and I enjoyed the 1080P, lossless audio (LOVE the spooky soundtrack) and the interviews and other extras. This seems like a must own for world cinephiles. A strong recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

ON THE DVDs: The Gaumont doesn't look bad considering it is from a low definition source. We can categorically state here that the French subtitles are removable. There is a little bit of cropping at the bottom edge of the French DVD. The French has some unclean frame shifts (see very last capture). The Criterion is sharper with better skin tones and an obvious HD sourced tape was used. Criterion's 5.1 mix is marvelous, and also added an original option (but no menu option for it - must do it 'on the fly'). Extras go to the French with over an 1 hour long featurette, trailer and filmographies. Subtitles look well done on both, but the overall winner here is Criterion, unless you are keen on the Gaumont Extra featurette (more about history than the film). The Weir interview is more fitting.

 


Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC

 

Gaumont - Columbia Tri-Star HV Region 2 - PAL

Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray


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

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Gaumont Boxset (France) CTHV - Region 2 -PAL -MIDDLE

3) Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Gaumont Boxset (France) CTHV - Region 2 -PAL -MIDDLE

3) Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Gaumont Boxset (France) CTHV - Region 2 -PAL -MIDDLE

3) Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Gaumont Boxset (France) CTHV - Region 2 -PAL -MIDDLE

3) Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Gaumont Boxset (France) CTHV - Region 2 -PAL -MIDDLE

3) Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Gaumont Boxset (France) CTHV - Region 2 -PAL -MIDDLE

3) Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Gaumont Boxset (France) CTHV - Region 2 -PAL -MIDDLE

3) Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

NOTE: Many overlapping frame shifts on the Gaumont (see below)
 

 


 

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

 

 

 
Box Cover

Bonus Captures:

Also available in Germany on Blu-ray from Koch Media:

Distribution

Criterion Collection - Spine # 142

Region 1  - NTSC

Gaumont - Columbia Tri-Star HV
Region 2 - PAL
Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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Gary Tooze

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