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The Trial 50th Anniversary (StudioCanal Collection) [Blu-ray] 
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Based on the influential Franz Kafka novel, The Trial is a paranoid masterpiece directed by Orson Welles (Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil). Josef K (Anthony Perkins – Psycho) is arrested, but has no idea what crime he is accused of. In order to find out what offence he is meant to have committed, and to protest his innocence, Josef K must go through the machinations of the judicial system, but he soon finds himself trapped in a dehumanised nightmare.
Welles’ claimed that The Trial was the best film he ever made. Rich with Welles’ trademark style, The Trial is a visual feast. The icy black and white photography strikingly depicts the spider-and-fly games of an ineffectual man struggling against his inescapable fate. Using the cracked labyrinthine corridors of Paris’ ruined Gare D’Orsay as his set, Welles perfectly captures Kafka’s terrifying skewed world. A masterclass in building tension, The Trial aptly illustrates why Welles is often cited as the greatest director of all time.
- Welles, Kafka and The Trial documentary
- Welles, Architect Of Light documentary
- Orson Welles, Tempo interview
- Interview with Steven Berkoff (actor, playwright) – adaptations of Kafka’s The Trial and Metamorphosis
- Deleted scene
- Booklet on the movie written by Jonathan Rosenbaum, film critic and author of Discovering Orson Welles (2007), the editor of This Is Orosn Welles (1998) and consultant on the 1998 re-edit of Touch Of Evil
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I suppose this must have been one of the first films where the sound track was supported by a single classical theme (The Albinoni adagio - very ecocative). The black-and-white photography in the old Paris Gare d'Orsay (now the Museum of Impressionism, but you can still see bits of the old station- from the aerial metro) is superb.
What you think of the adaptation probably depends on your reading of the novel. If you don't know the novel you can accept it as it is; if you do know the novel, then you can either accept it (Orson Welles makes quite a good justification in the 'making of' segment of why he changed the ending) or reject it as 'untrue to the original'. I tend to think of it as a semi-independent baroque creation that contains its own justification.
My only particular gripe is that the little explanatory cartoon video that in the cinema version was at the beginning ('the legend') and was a good aid to understanding has been consigned to the end in this print. By which time you will have had to work it out for yourself.
of Kafka's view somewhat. Still, a major work from Welles and not to be missed. You may need the version with sub-titles as the sound track is not
always clear and easy to understand.
As "Wellesian" has pointed out, this version omits the (important) Prelude using Welles' "pinboard" narration of Kafka's fable within his novel. It also has no subtitles. On the other hand, this has several "extras" detailing how the film was made, including Welles' quirky search for "the magic moment" when light was changing at evening (one very long one-shot scene depends on the streetlights of Zagreb coming on at one precise moment). I would have liked my old version back, but as I am unlikely to get it, then this will do. It is a powerful film, depending on its black/white oppositions; but (like most of Welles' films) it's not for everyone.
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