General Della Rovere, Roberto Rossellini's brilliant WWII drama is one of my favorite films of the era, and probably my favorite Rossellini production. Starring filmmaker Vittorio de Sica, it captures your interest quickly and once you're in...
Criterion released the film on DVD not long ago, and the work is up to their normal standards.
Hoping that they would be the publisher to give us the film on Blu-ray, I was still thrilled to learn that Raro would be bringing it to market.
Unfortunately, that's where the thrills end.
I had a 16mm print decades ago, which was reduction printed from the domestic 35mm negative, and the quality was mind-boggling.
Raro Video's is mind-numbing.
What's gone wrong?
While the image quality is actually quite good, it seems to have come directly from some sort of machine, with no one ever caring to look at it.
The film is 1.33 or possibly 1.37. I've always viewed it at 1.66, and I like it that way.
For some reason, no one felt that the film should have been cropped in any way. And by that I mean that we see the camera aperture.
And all of the dirt that attached itself to the aperture during shooting.
Along with a few splice lines, and an occasional area that goes outside of the aperture, and shows a white vertical line adjacent to the sound track.
Most of the film was shot on sound stages, and it can take awhile to get used to the sometimes artificial look of the film. What we don't need is anything continuously reminds us that we're watching that stuff with the holes on the side, and not any sort of drama.
I'd be embarrassed to release this.
If Raro did a quick recall, and redid the film in nicely cropped fashion, I believe they'd really have something.
As it is. No.
Had they left the sprocket holes and track area exposed, I would have found it more entertaining.
Image - Actual picture quality - 4
As released - 0.5
Audio - 4
Absolutely not recommended.