Any word on a DVD release of PROSPERO'S BOOKS?

Darren Gross

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 16, 2001
Messages
508
I'm really surprised this isn't available in any region, including the US. There may have been an OOP UK DVD several years back, but I may be mistaken on that. It was co-produced by the Japanese, but it's not out in Japan either.

I'm imagining the many co-production deals and legal wrangling is what's keeping this from DVD as most of Greenaway's other input is widely available...

It's an amazing, admittedly indulgent film, and I sure would like to see it again!


Anyone know of any plans?
 

Mark Cappelletty

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 6, 1999
Messages
2,310
Me too post. Miramax distributed it in the US, with Fox oddly enough, having video rights (I still have my VHS tape). "Drowning By Numbers," another Miramax-distributed film (via their "Prestige" label), was distributed by LIVE and is only available as a decent if under-matted R4 version.

Was "Baby Of Macon" ever released on DVD anywhere? I still can't believe that it didn't get any distribution in this country, even just for home video, though having seen it, I understand why some would get squeamish at the prospect.
 

Mark Edward Heuck

Screenwriter
Joined
Jul 25, 2000
Messages
1,187
Actually, PROSPERO'S BOOKS was part of a small package of Miramax movies released on video by the defunct Media label, which in its final days was serviced to video stores by Fox. The others were much less prestigious -- EVERSMILE, NEW JERSEY with Daniel Day-Lewis, AMBITION with Lou Diamond Phillips, and the briefly "controversial" comedy THE POPE MUST DIET with Robbie Coltrane.

I would think these long ago reverted back to Miramax after the demise of Media, but I suppose their very limited appeal is what has kept them off DVD ever since.
 

Jeff Adkins

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 18, 1998
Messages
2,528
Real Name
Jeff Adkins

Wasn't this actually called The Pope Must Die? I remember seeing ads for it under that name in NYC when it played theatrically but then the video release said "diet".

Same thing happened with the comedy Amy's Orgasm which played in NYC under that title, but was released on video as Amy's O.
 

Mark Cappelletty

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 6, 1999
Messages
2,310
Yeah, it was The Pope Must Die in the UK (where I actually saw it) and Diet in the U.S.

WHORE is another one that had serious title issues around that time.
 

Will_B

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2001
Messages
4,731
Miramax probably has to wait until they're away from Disney before releasing Prospero, simply because there was a lot of hype about the nudity in the film.

When it was released theatrically, I recall our theater (where I worked at the time) was given hard-paper program booklets (well, double sided cards) to give out to the audience to enhance the sense that this was a play.

I'd like to see the film again. Not much of a fan of Shakespear (I agree with Billy Bob's comment that he wrote soap operas) but the over-the-top artistic indulgence of this film helped temper my bordom.
 

Jon Martin

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2002
Messages
2,219


I don't know if it was to have people think it was a play, or just to let audiences know just what the heck was going on. I think I still have the card somewhere.

Love the movie. Wish it were on DVD.

As for Baby of Macon, I think this got an R4 release. But, from what I've heard, it was a terrible transfer.
 

Jon Martin

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2002
Messages
2,219
I remember when Siskel and Ebert reviewed this, Siskel stated it was "a film made for laserdisc". The LD was in and out of print in record time (I never saw a copy available, if one was ever created). But, with DVD, I can't believe that it hasn't been released.

It had an odd video history. A (pre-Disney) Miramax film, released on video by Fox, then released on the budget line Video Treasures, then out of print rather quickly.
 

Will_B

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2001
Messages
4,731
The director is currently making a film that has some American actors (incl Minnie Driver), so there is a chance, a small chance, that he'll become well known again - well enough to perhaps inspire Criterion or some company to get this classic film out on DVD.
 

JohnRice

Film Editor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
13,111
Location
A Mile High
Real Name
John
The only edition I am aware of, which I have, is an unofficial (I believe) one from, I think, Australia. The picture is awful, not to mention that it is anamorphic, but lacks the proper tag. So, if you don't have a HD monitor or have some way to correct it, you have to watch it uncorrected, with everyone looking like they are 8' tall.

Oh yeah, it is also one weird freaking movie.
 

Terry St

Second Unit
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Messages
393
Given that Prospero's books was filmed in Hi-Vision, which is basically HDTV, it would be nice to see a HD release someday. Still, a SD DVD would certainly be a step in the right direction.
 

Jean-Michel

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 28, 2002
Messages
769
This actually is available on DVD, but only as part of an expensive 25-film boxed set from Benelux: Here (I like that it's listed under the "Family Entertainment" category). The quality is said to be middling at best.


There was indeed an LD release. There's a copy on eBay right now but it's not worth the $30 the seller wants for it -- it's a terrible, terrible transfer.

Incidentally, the bulk of the film was actually shot on 35mm, then subsequently transferred to Hi-Vision for editing and compositing before being re-transferred to 35mm for theatrical exhibition. There's a very interesting article on the production here.
 

andrew markworthy

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 30, 1999
Messages
4,762
Peter Greenaway is well known in the UK and a couple of his early films (Draughtsman's Contract and A Zed and Two Noughts) came out in excellent R2 editions some months back. It may be that his other films will slowly follow.

FWIW, the new movie isn't his only recent work. He also is responsible for an audio-visual presentation at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (I walked past him as he was doing preparations for it on a visit to Holland a couple of months ago).
 

Jean-Michel

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 28, 2002
Messages
769
The Tulse Luper Suitcases had some "name" actors (about as big as Minnie Driver, anyway) and that didn't help -- it didn't even get released in the UK, much less the U.S. That said, I suspect the scale of the project frightened off potential distributors and its self-referential nature limited its audience to Greenaway acolytes -- Nightwatching (the new film) presumably won't have those problems.

And at the risk of turning this into a general Greenaway-on-DVD thread, I don't think there's any Greenaway available in the UK that hasn't also been released in the U.S. -- in fact we've got at least one film that isn't out in the UK (M Is for Man, Music, Mozart, which is on a disc of Mozart-related short films from Image). That said the bfi versions of The Draughtsman's Contract and ZOO are leagues better than the lousy, bare-bones (and now OOP, I believe) Fox Lorber editions. There's a handful of Japan-exclusive releases too but they may be affected by the usual censorship.
 

Mark Cappelletty

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 6, 1999
Messages
2,310
There are a handful of early Miramax releases that are slowly making their way to DVD, with THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE being the most notable. I'm hoping PROSPERO'S BOOKS falls into that category-- I can't think of any modern filmmaker who would better profit from the Criterion treatment. And what I wouldn't do for a good version of DROWNING BY NUMBERS (the R3 version I have is muddy and practically full-frame).
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
344,403
Messages
4,709,326
Members
141,262
Latest member
Deano86