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3.9 out of 5 stars18
3.9 out of 5 stars
Format: Blu-ray|Change
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on 20 September 2012
Watching this film on Blu ray is a new experience for me. I have only seen it on bad 4:3 public domain copies and have never thought of it in the same regard as "Citizen Kane", "Touch of Evil" or even "Othello". All that has change now. This wonderful HD 16:9 version really highlights the wonderful Welles camera angles and tracking shots which have always gone without notice previously. The image is sharp and detailed. For the first time you can actually see the sweat on Anthony Perkins forhead while he deals with the nightmare he finds himself in. It's not as perfect as some blu ray remasters but it's no disappointment by any measure. Some sync issues still remain but not to the point that it ruins the film. This is truly a great film containing the genius of Orson Welles. Images were his strong point, so blu ray really makes him shine.

Special Features:

Welles, Kafka and The Trial (30 minutes)
This is in French with English subtitles which shows Welles previous films, radio productions and an analysis on "The Trial"

Orson Welles, architect of light (24 minutes)
An interview with Edmond Richard, director of photography of "The Trial" in French with english subtitles.

Tempo Profile (30 minutes)
Interview with Orson Welles from circa 1965. What interview with Welles isn't worth watching! Great for fans.

Interview with Steven Berkoff (13 minutes)
Berkoff discusses Kafka and "The Trial"

Deleted Scene (6 minutes)
This scene with Katina Paxinou was cut by Welles in the final editing. It originally came after the scene where Josef K is talking with his cousin, before he enters his office building. No audio exists, the subtitles that are included were taken from Welles own script.

This is really a film for Orson Welles or Kafka fans, or even people who enjoy films that think outside the box. Thank you to Studio Canal for caring enough to present this film in all it's glory. I can't believe it looked this good in 1962.
One of the elements that contributes heavily to the atmosphere and feeling of the film is the score by Jean Ledrut, using both original music and adaptations of Tomaso Albinoni's stunning and iconic "Adagio in G minor."
I wish a commentary was on it, but I suspect they're either dead or don't speak english. There is no dvd version better than this. Trust me, I've bourght them all. Nothing comes close.
The dvd also contains a booklet on the production. Thank you.
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on 4 September 2013
A great movie - not to be missed. If it helps -
The 2012 50th anniversary DVD from Studio Canal has the 'Before the Law' prologue, but doesn't have the extras that are on the Blu-Ray. Excellent picture quality, 1.66 - 1.
The 2007 Studio Canal DVD doesn't have the 'Before the Law' prologue, but does have some of the extras. Excellent picture quality, 1.66 - 1.
The Elstree Hill DVD from 2005 is dreadful fuzzy picture quality and is 4 x 3 pan and scan. It does have the prologue.
The version without the prologue was prepared for French TV by Orson Welles himself in the 1980s.
I first saw The Trial in the cinema with the prologue, so I was expecting to see the prologue and was initially disappointed when I saw the DVD without it. But when I saw the 2012 DVD I had second thoughts. After all there is no prologue in Kafka's novel - it starts with K waking up. Before the Law is a separate short story altogether ( from Wedding Preparations in the Country ).
Welles' voiceover reading Before the Law is a bit ponderous and preachy, and there are a couple of extra comments that make it seem as if you are in a lecture theatre. I think I may prefer the movie without the prologue after all.
However, the picture quality is stunning ! The photography and lighting will take your breath away ! It is a fantastic adaptation of the novel, and Anthony Perkins is fantastic.
Whether you want the prologue or not - just sit back and enjoy.
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on 22 September 2015
Nepenthe, Big Sur, California - I am sitting where Orson Wells sat in 1947 with Rita Hayworth before that passionate romance died as quickly as it was born - and I am reading "The Trial" by Kafka. Later in Cambridge, England I watch the movie on my uber-quality cinema system.

Eery. Orson Welles treatment of Kafka's insane novel (I mean insane in the sense that though every individual scene looks and feels sane, put together the film describes insanity, the peculiar insanity of the West or post-modern life), well the treatment is stark, sweaty, nervous and penetrating, a cacophony of sound and life gone wrong. The film alters the rhythm of your breathing and two thoughts can arise: either " I am a victim like K" or "I am the perpetrator of abuse on people like K".

So much news today describe the awful sense of drowning that Welles provokes in the Trial.

Orson Welles, genius of cinema.
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on 3 August 2013
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on 2 August 2015
Just About as Coherent as it can gat to create a book to screen adaptation of anything from the pen of Kafka.Welles had every right to be thoroughly proud of this Film.Its illogical situations and mental torture Joseph K goes through as he fights to find the answers to anything is a triumph,and Welles direction and roles as the judge are superb.A Career best for all involved.
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on 21 December 2012
Just a reminder that this standard DVD doesn't any extras, which are apparently only on the Blu-Ray version. It's still Orson Welles best film, but if you're hoping for an improved package over previous versions, don't bother.
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on 24 September 2012
I can't add much to the previous review. His views are mine exactly. I did have a non-anamorphic widescreen DVD at one time, but this is sooo much better. Surreal, disturbing and if you like Orson Welles, as an actor or director, you will like this.
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on 16 March 2016
Excellent film presented well (great picture and sound) with many extras. Recommended.
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on 25 June 2015
A masterpiece. The definitive film of Kafka.
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on 22 October 2015
The DVD (which was an "overstock" item) works, its case etc is sound.

There are plenty of professional and semi-professional reviews of the film on-line on various sites, but when it comes down to it, you either like Orson Welles films or you don't, just like Marmite. I could pick holes in all the ones I have seen, but I still like them, and they remain memorable long after the latest Bond, Star Wars, Star Trek or whatever blockbuster has merged into all the other blockbusters in the dustbin of your memory.

Some may say "I couldn't work out what was going on, it was so complicated and weird". Precisely - that's what's happening to Anthony Perkins. We never find out what crime he was accused of and neither does he. Franz Kafka's original book is to blame for this, though perhaps only Orson Welles would have attempted to make a major film out of it, but then it is said that it reflects his personal experience of the film industry. The BBC tried again in 1993, with a Harold Pinter script and Kyle MacLachlan as Josef K - but who remembers that one ?

Filmed in Yugoslavia, Italy and Paris (the abandoned Gare d'Orsay railway station is used to great effect), with Jeanne Moreau and Romy Schneider having leading parts, The Trial has quite a European feel to it, and may often be found listed under "Le Procès".

It's sad that many of today's viewers will probably be quite unable to see Anthony Perkins without hearing "eek! eek! eek!" from the shower scene in "Psycho", yet he's not even recognisable in that scene (his part was played by a double, he was the other side of the USA at the time).
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