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Customer Review

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extra image, a little less print, 21 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: L'Age d'or + Un Chien Andalou [DVD + Blu-ray] [1930] (Blu-ray)
Great to get the hi-res clarity on the Bluray of course - but a comparison with the DVD (also in this package) reveals another advantage: the DVD aspect is cropped top and bottom, probably to widen the ratio out to standard 4:3.

In fact the original aspect ratio is 1.19:1, quite close to square. This was common to early sound films, I understand, when room had to be made for the soundtrack, on the side (as projected). Best comparison is with the early images of the scorpions: the iris around the images is a complete circle on the bluray but cropped on the DVD version.

The booklet too, is slightly smaller than the earlier BFI DVD-only edition - format aside, there are fewer illustrations and the facsimile of the original L'Age D'Or program is missing. A bibliography for the key essay is also missing.

The movie material is sterling, of course, though bonus material appears only on the DVD. Robert Short's introduction is informative and worth a listen, though you should mind the commentary for L'Age D'Or: it actually abbreviates the movie - so leave it off until you've watched it at least once.

The documentary A Proposito de Bunuel also well worth while - one of the few places you'll find photo evidence of Marilyn Monroe's visit to the set of Exterminating Angel (with Jacqueline Andere's anecdote on the occasion).
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Nov 2013 01:23:01 GMT
The review gives no idea at all about the movie. It only provides technical details, and assumes the reader already knows the film's subject. I did not.

Posted on 24 Feb 2014 14:52:52 GMT
F. Brazel says:
I have the BFI box of this which I had assumed was 'remastered'. Is the blu ray quality significantly better than the standard DVD version? I'm getting a little tired of buying multiple versions of my favourite films.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2014 05:05:47 GMT
Ken.. I can only refer you to the Amazon Product Description - both films are classics of the 20th century, celebrated as much for their incitement to outrage as any pretensions to progressive culture (Marx, Freud, etc.). Maybe Bunuel's collection of poems 'Un Chien andalou' - recently published in the critical anthology 'An Unspeakable Betrayal' - gives some clue to the subject of the movie of the same name. Bunuel himself called it 'a desperate, passionate appeal to murder'. L'Age D'Or had the alternative title: 'In the Icy Waters of Egoist Calculation' (a quote from Marx).. and the ban on its exhibition was only relaxed (in France) in 1980. I'm not sure what the subject of either film was, or is.. but the cops had a pretty good notion.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2014 05:08:43 GMT
Thanks David. Much appreciated.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2014 07:17:21 GMT
Most interesting. I had no idea of its history, but I love French cinema - although 'L'Age D'Or, and its link to the great Bunuel was unknown to me. I will ensure it's added my wish list.
Thanks David.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2014 06:48:25 GMT
Know how you feel, Mr/Ms Brazel.. it's amazing what the eye will entertain, from hi-def down to those raw-pixelled public domain movies, 5 per disc, where big blocks of picture can shift about like a crazy-quilt dropcurtain - and if you're old enough you'll know what it's like watching analogue TV. Where do you draw the line at picture quality..? Lo-res is a good test of dramatic quality - and cinematography. I had another look at this pair of discs overnight and can recommend the bluray - the DVD version of L'Age D'Or is darker and duller, and it's cropped.

Big plus for me with bluray issues is getting a movie's original aspect ratio, especially the old Academy ratio of 1.37:1 - goodbye 1.33..! DVD producers seem unduly concerned with the kind of hardware the consumer might be using, and adapting (i.e. cropping) the movies to suit: first they cropped the sides to suit 4x3 TV sets, now they're cropping top & bottom to suit 16x9 screens. A handy viewers' guide is the location of the two projectionist's circles near the end of each 10-minute reel, if they survive the digital transfer: we know where they're supposed to appear and it's interesting to see where they do, on DVD - but don't get me started. Happy to recommend this bluray issue.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Apr 2015 09:14:39 BDT
Easier said than done. Personally this is exactly what I want in a review on Amazon, people should use IMDB for reviews of the films themselves.

Posted on 25 Oct 2015 20:37:15 GMT
Ad Hilditch says:
Hello David,
Interesting review. Many thanks. Was wondering if you might be able to answer a question for me please? I seem to remember quite a while back, when Un Chien Andalou was shown on Channel Four i believe, that it had a soudtrack of a dog barking, growling and whimpering throughout. Do you know if this is included on the disc or if there is any official release of that version please?
All the best

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Nov 2015 03:17:39 GMT
Nothing like it on these discs Andy, or any other release I've seen or heard of.. more likely a TV producer's lark for a particular broadcast: drop the tango & Wagner and substitute something from the BBC sound effects cupboard. A bit literal perhaps; but not entirely out of keeping with the spirit of the film - wish I'd heard it. Then again, Bunuel personally supervised the addition of a soundtrack in 1960 and stuck to his original choices - you're likely aware (from his autobiography) that it was him behind the screen at the Studio Ursulines playing the two records alternately.. with a pocket full of stones in case of adverse audience reaction. He used the same Wagner piece in his last movie in 1977 - and another reference to Un Chien, incidentally: the Lacemaker - so the music is an integral part.
I love his use of sound. L'Age D'or the following year was one of the first French talkies and the disc menu on this BFI release makes a point of looping that wonderful aural montage from the scene featuring Lya Lys at her mirror..

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Nov 2015 13:19:28 GMT
Ad Hilditch says:
Very interesting. Thank you David for your reply.
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