DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Cinema Paradiso - Limited Collector's Edition (A MUST SEE!)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 25, 2006.

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  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    Cinema Paradiso
    Limited Collector's Edition





    Studio: Miramax/Genius Products
    Year: 1988
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 174 minutes (Director's Cut)
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.66:1)
    Subtitles: English & Spanish



    Reviewer's Note: Though my present plans are not to return to
    a full-time reviewer's position, I do enjoy covering titles that greatly interest
    me. In this case, the resurgence of one one of my all-time favorite foreign
    films. I have decided to revisit this title with comments that were included in
    my original 2003 review.

    A celebration of youth, friendship,
    and the everlasting magic of the movies


    Truly Magnificent!

    If I could pick the one single thing I have been
    most passionate of in my lifetime it would be the
    love of film. Ever since I was a child I have been
    held captive by the images I have seen on the silver
    screen. My teen years were spent next to an 8mm
    movie projector as I tried to recreate the movie
    house experience in my home. I even made my own
    home movie shorts using my parent's 8mm camera.
    Now as an adult I spend much of my time still looking
    at celluloid images on my Home Theater system. It
    is for these reasons that I fully connected with
    Cinema Paradiso, an Italian film about a
    young boy's journey into the life of the cinema that
    can best be described as pure "movie magic."

    [​IMG]

    Set in a small town in Sicily we meet a young boy named
    Salvatore (or "Toto") (Salvatore Cascio) who spends his afternoons
    watching films at the village's only local film house. Every Friday
    night the villagers migrate to this small Cinema to be taken away
    from their daily problems. Salvatore isn't content to simply sit amongst
    the audience and watch the film on the screen. He becomes friendly
    with the projectionist Alfredo (Philippe Noiret) who teaches him the
    trade and soon becomes a life-long friend.

    [​IMG]

    When the Cinema Paradiso burns down, Salvatore finds
    himself looking after Alfredo. Now as a young man, Salvatore
    becomes the new head projectionist. He soon falls in love
    with a local girl named Elena (Agnese Nano). Alfredo, not
    keen on Salvatore's romance, advises the young man to
    leave his home town and never return again. Salvatore takes
    the advice and travels to Rome to further his career.

    Years later the middle aged Salvatore (Jacques Perrin) returns
    home for the funeral of his deceased friend. In the process
    Salvatore rediscovers his lost love. I dare anyone not to be
    emotionally moved by the final moments of this film.


    Theatrical Version vs. Director's Cut


    It is my understanding that when Cinema Paradiso was
    released in 1988, Italian movie-goers were treated to a
    much longer cut of the film than what was shown to North
    American audiences. A few years back, a new version
    incorporating 51 minutes of never-before-seen footage had
    been reconstructed for a Miramax DVD release.

    Some have scoffed at this Director's Cut which ruins the
    "mystery" of Salvatore's lost romance. I personally prefer
    this version as it gives us a completed story of love lost
    and found. At nearly 3 hours in length, the Director's cut never
    seemed badly paced. This film has been restored quite well
    to the point that I was unable to distinguish the new material
    from the original.


    How is the transfer?


    One would expect that for a brand-new boxed set being
    released under a new label, that some sort of major restoration
    effort would have gone into this release. Sadly, this does not
    appear to be the case. My views on this transfer do not differ
    much than what I had written for the 2003 Miramax DVD release.

    [​IMG]

    Generally, the transfer looks very good, though certainly not
    to what I would have expected for this new DVD. There is a
    noticeable amount of film blemish littered throughout. Instead
    of having that sharp quality to it, overall picture image looks a
    tad soft and unfocussed. The film has a dated look to it with colors
    that look slightly washed out.

    [​IMG]

    The Director's Cut contains a new Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack
    that is a little uneven with its sound direction. Audio is well
    presented across the front channels with very distinct stereo
    separation. Surprisingly, this re-recorded track firmly places
    dialogue in the center channel with absolutely no bleeding. There
    are also times that dialogue cleverly moves across the front
    channels left and right. Problem is, the center channel sort of
    becomes a "catch-all" for most of the film's effect noises. The
    rears occasionally help support Ennio Morricone's beautiful score
    or gives reverb to the scenes inside Cinema Paradiso.


    Special Features


    [​IMG]

    Cinema Paradiso has been re-released as a boxed set
    from a company called Genius Products. The box is quite
    handsome and opens up to reveal the 2-Disc deluxe edition
    along with a CD of the film's original soundtrack by Composer Ennio
    Morricone.

    There are also reproductions of one sheet posters and lobby
    cards included in its own envelope.

    Presented on two discs, you have the opportunity to watch
    the Director's cut or the original 1988 version. Note that only
    the new version contains a 5.1 track,while the original retains
    a normal surround track and an added French language track.

    [​IMG]

    New to this DVD is commentary featuring Director Giuseppe
    Tornatore along with Italian film expert Millicent Marcus. This
    commentary is featured on the theatrical version only.

    [​IMG]

    Two new documentaries are also included here. Exploring
    a Timeless Classic
    is a 15 minute look at the magic behind
    the film and features comments by Director Giuseppe Tornatore
    and film critics. Cinema Paradiso Style is a wonderful look
    at how Little Italy NY rolls out the carpet for its outdoor viewing
    of their favorite film.

    Also included is Cucina Paradiso, a 21-minute Food Network
    tribute from Nappa, featuring Michael Chiarello, who gives you lots
    of recipes for a successful outdoor screening.


    Final Thoughts


    Is it worth purchasing this new boxed set that can be had for
    just under $30?

    That depends.

    If you already own the 2003 Miramax release, there doesn't
    seem to be any significant improvements in transfer quality.
    However, if you are as huge a fan of this film as I am, the
    boxed set does offer director's commentary and some nice
    extras including the soundtrack CD and new documentaries.
    Whether it is worthy of spending $30 for the same transfer
    and these extras is entirely up to you.

    [​IMG]

    Cinema Paradiso is absolutely delightful. It is a celebration of
    everything film is about. I can sit here for hours and tell you
    how great a film this is, but yet everything I say would probably
    be an understatement.

    I implore everyone who loves film as much as I know you all
    do to go out and at least rent this utterly moving story. It is
    one of the finest films I have ever had the pleasure to watch.

    For anyone that loves film -- this is a film you will love!

    Release Date: November 7, 2006

    Images are for illustrative purposes only and may not represent
    true picture quality or proper aspect ratio

    Edited by Ronald Epstein - 8/5/2009 at 02:22 pm GMT
     
  2. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    Sounds cool. I love the film (I prefer the Director's cut) and don't own the current release. I Had forgotten this was coming out.

    Ron, nice to see you reviewing a title again. [​IMG]
     
  3. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Excellent, Ron. I had no idea this was coming. I didn't pick up the previous release, so I've never seen the extended cut. I definitely will be looking into this one.

    Thanks for the review!
     
  4. Mike Heenan

    Mike Heenan Second Unit

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    I'm surprised they didn't change the cover to include the kid looking at a DVD. Not like anyone knows what 35mm is anymore. [​IMG]
     
  5. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    I was looking for a release date, but found one at Amazon. I may have to pick this up sight unseen.
     
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Release date listed at bottom of review, though I will make
    it bold. November 7th.
     
  7. donnie_d

    donnie_d Stunt Coordinator

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    how limited is this set? btw, the UK 4-disc set will be out in FEB according to amazon.co.uk
     
  8. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the review, I think I'll keep my current copy.

    Fantastic film, I always enjoy watching it.
     
  9. ToddJ

    ToddJ Second Unit

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    as a bonus, it is too bad they don't include a few 35mm frames of Cinema Paradiso....
     
  10. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Re-discovered Ron's review while conducting a little search experiment.
    Since the most recent Cinema Paridiso thread misspells the title in the topic header, it does not show up in a search.
    I can think of two methods to fix that.
    1) Fix the spelling on that thread.
    2) Merge that thread with this one.
     
  11. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Oh, the irony! [​IMG]
     
  12. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    [​IMG]
     
  13. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Damn! [​IMG]
     
  14. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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  15. Johnny Jr.

    Johnny Jr. Stunt Coordinator

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    has anyone found this in canada yet?
     
  16. Voranand

    Voranand Stunt Coordinator

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    [​IMG]

    Sound like bad news. As one of my most beloved films, I really love to see it fully restored. The old disc still has room to be improved.
     

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