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Directed by Jerry Schatzberg
USA 1970

 

The debut of writer and director Jerry Schatzberg, this cinema vérité drama won accolades for the Golden Globe-nominated... performance of lead actress Faye Dunaway. Dunaway stars as Lou Andreas Sand, a former fashion model who has retreated to her seaside cottage and is being interviewed by Aaron Reinhardt (Barry Primus), a photographer and filmmaker who helped make her famous and with whom she was once involved. Aaron wants to make a movie about Lou's rise from rags to riches but as Lou recalls it, her seemingly glamorous existence was anything but a Horatio Alger tale. In an addled fog, Lou struggles to recite a shocking litany of casual sex and rape, drug and alcohol abuse, and the anger of her lesbian mentor Paula Galba (Viveca Lindfors) when her romance with wealthy boyfriend Mark (Roy Scheider) nearly led to marriage. Her career deteriorating, Lou even attempted suicide. A former fashion photographer himself, Schatzberg was an apt choice for director of this melodramatic portrait of the industry's ugly underbelly.

***

Very much a film of its period (1970), when Alain Resnais' subjective and lyrical editing patterns were at the height of their influence, this is the first feature of former fashion photographer Jerry Schatzberg. It deals with the memories and imaginings of a fashion model (Faye Dunaway) who's attempting to recover from a nervous breakdown in a beach cottage, and shares the fragmented, mosaic form as well as some of the melancholia of the 1968 Petulia—though not much of its saving humor. I didn't warm to this film, but given the quality of some of Schatzberg's subsequent work, especially Scarecrow and Reunion, and the claims made for this picture by Michel Ciment, Schatzberg's biggest champion, it may deserve a second look. The script is by Five Easy Pieces's Adrien Joyce, writing under the pseudonym Carol Eastman; the secondary cast includes Barry Primus, Viveca Lindfors, Barry Morse, and Roy Scheider.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's capsule at The Chicago Reader located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 16th, 1970

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Comparison:

Carlotta Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

 

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Carlotta Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:43:43.258         1:44:03.278 
Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,149,345,824 bytes

Feature: 29,391,900,672 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.02 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 36,670,589,841 bytes

Feature: 32,613,488,640 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.92 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Carlotta Blu-ray:

Bitrate Kino Blu-ray:

Audio DTS-HD Master Audio English 944 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 944 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

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

Subtitles French, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Carlotta Films

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,149,345,824 bytes

Feature: 29,391,900,672 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.02 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Le Revele (12:40)
• Illusion et Reality (51:07)
• Bande-Announce 2011 (1:17)
• Credits


Blu-ray Release Date:
February 22nd, 2012
Black Blu-ray Case inside cardboard sleeve

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 36,670,589,841 bytes

Feature: 32,613,488,640 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.92 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian/Filmmaker Daniel Kremer and Film Historian/Podcaster Bill Ackerman
NEW Interview with Director Jerry Schatzberg (15:08)
Alternate Studio-Edit Opening (2:10)
TRAILERS FROM HELL with Larry Karaszewski (1:57)
Theatrical Trailer (1:51)


Blu-ray Release Date:
December 15th, 2020
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (December 2020): Kino have transferred Jerry Schatzberg's Puzzle of a Downfall Child to Blu-ray. We compare it to the Carlotta Blu-ray from 2012, and there are significant differences. I can't speak to the colors and there are times that the French 1080P looks superior but mostly the new Kino is a vast improvement. Most notable is how much the Carlotta is cropped in comparisons. Side-by-side I can't shake the feeling that the Carlotta has had some contrast manipulation although I have no specific evidence of such. Both Blu-rays are on dual-layered discs with max'ed out bitrates. The Kino can lean brown and blue and flesh tones can warm and cool. Overall, I'm pretty sure that the new Kino is the better in representing the film. The cropping is extensive on the French BD.

NOTE: We have added 36 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (16-bit) in the original English language. It is very similar to Carlotta's. With few aggressive effects but a score by Michael Small (Klute, The Drowning Pool, Black Widow, Child's Play, Night Moves, The Driver, The Star Chamber) sounding a bit deeper with more consistent dialogue. Kino offer optional English subtitles (the Region 'B' Carlotta only French) on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Kino Blu-ray offer a new commentary by film historian/filmmaker Daniel Kremer and film historian/podcaster Bill Ackerman (Supporting Characters), It's excellent. What do they discuss? Puzzle of a Downfall Child  being in Kremer's top 5 films of all time, it being influential to him as a filmmaker, references to Andrew Wyeth's painting Christina's World, writer Carole Eastman (Five Easy Pieces, Monte Hellman's The Shooting), DoP Adam Holender (Midnight Cowboy), the interesting actress Viveca Lindfors (Last Summer in the Hamptons) - that Daniel is fascinated with, how many French critics recognized Puzzle of a Downfall Child as one of the great American films, how it is difficult to make a film on 'memory', influences of Bergman, Antonioni, Polanski, and, although not venturing to a genre film - Altman's Images. They discuss the Catholic church, nun sequences reminding Daniel of Rosemary's Baby, the film's Chinese motifs, Catholic imagery, Frank Perry's Play It As It Lays, the flashbacks or non-linear timeline - Isadora is mentioned, the fashion world (depicted in Blow Up), Bill quotes from Looking for Gatsby (Dunaway's autobiography), Preminger, Faye Dunaway's evolution as an actress, the Michael Small film score (Jenny), the model Anne St. Marie, the real-life inspiration of the film... and much more. There is also a wonderful 1/4 hour, remote recorded, interview with 93-year old director Jerry Schatzberg who talks about how he got into directing - his interaction with Faye Dunaway, playing Anne St. Marie tapes for her, Newman and Woodward's production (meeting them the day after Sharon Tate was murdered), and more - plus we get the alternate studio-edit opening in poor quality running 2-minutes, a 'Trailers From Hell' episode with Larry Karaszewski and a theatrical trailer.

Jerry Schatzberg's Puzzle of a Downfall Child is both a fascinating and brilliant film. It carries a 70's breakthrough vibe with artistic sensibility that we don't see often in American cinema. I sensed a comfortable, haunting, depth with Schatzberg's layering of the narrative. Dunaway is radiant - hypnotic in her role - what might be considered her best ever. It's an odd, but very appealing film and your appreciation only magnifies with repeat viewings. There is so much to uncover. The Kino Blu-ray is the way to go for the maintaining this visual film's integrity and for the marvelous Daniel Kremer / Bill Ackerman commentary - one of my favorite of the year. I cherish the included interview with Jerry Schatzberg and give this package our highest recommendation. It may make some noise in our Year End Poll.   

Gary Tooze

 


Carlotta Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


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Subtitle Sample - Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


1) Carlotta Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Carlotta Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Carlotta Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Carlotta Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Carlotta Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Carlotta Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Carlotta Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Carlotta Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Carlotta Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Carlotta Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


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

 

 

 
Box Cover

 

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Carlotta Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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