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Visconti's Ossesione

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#1 of 4 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx


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Posted July 21 2002 - 07:47 PM


Though Hollywood tried it twice (in 1946 with John Garfield and Lana Turner, and again in 1981 with Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange), and both versions are not without their pluses, Visconti's Ossessione stands as the best adaptation of The Postman Always Rings Twice. Perhaps it's because — like any great film noir — the picture captures the right sense of fatalism and bleakness, although here that darkness is mixed with the influence of Renoir's humanist filmmaking style.

Image Entertainment's new DVD release of Ossessione can be troublesome. The transfer is full-frame (1.33:1) with the original Italian soundtrack in monaural Dolby Digital 2.0 and optional English subtitles. However, the source has flecking throughout, print damage, and occasional motion distortion due to the transfer's origins from a duped master, which is not surprising considering the film fell into public domain. This would be unacceptable from most films on DVD — Ossessione is an exception, as the original negative was destroyed by the Italian fascists during World War II. The film only survives because Visconti was able to hide a print, and unless some miraculous restoration can be undertaken someday, having to deal with minor problems in the source material is a small price indeed. Ossessione is on the street now

fascinating stuff indeed

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#2 of 4 OFFLINE   ChristopherM


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Posted July 22 2002 - 12:21 AM

Thanks for posting this, Oscar. I had put off buying the French R2 disc (which has Italian sound and English subtitles) because of reports of poor picture quality. It's good to know the reason.

Having said that, I saw this movie some years ago in The British Film Institute's National Film Theatre, and I don't recall the picture quality being particularly poor. I wonder if the BFI had done a restoration?

#3 of 4 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted July 22 2002 - 12:55 AM

If you screened the film at the NFT, it may well have been an archival nitrate original, which would not have been available elsewhere.

The NFT is one of those few theatres in the world where you'll come upon the unique and the extraordinary.


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#4 of 4 OFFLINE   ChristopherM


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Posted August 14 2002 - 01:03 AM

I'm in total agreement with Mr Harris about the merits of London's NFT.

A comparison of the picture quality on the French and US Ossessione DVDs is now available online via DVD Beaver