Marriage Italian Style: Bungled DVD

Thomas T

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2001
Messages
4,719
I was at Fry's yesterday when I happened to see Marriage Italian Style on the shelves and my heart skipped a beat. It's a favorite and I didn't even know it was out on DVD. Charming film directed by Vittorio De Sica with stellar performances by Sophia Loren (Oscar nominated) and Marcello Mastroianni.

The film is presented in Italian with burnt in English subtitles. The transfer is shoddy, very smeary looking with an artificial "digitized" look and when somebody walks across the room or moves quickly they seem to leave a smudgy video trail behind them. It's watchable ..... barely and if one loves the film, you put up with it. Now here's the rub: Also contained on the disc the Italian version WITHOUT English subtitles and though I wouldn't call the transfer pristine, it's day and night compared to the subtitled version. Sharper, clearer and without that artificial "digitized" look. Now, doesn't common sense indicate that New Star (who put out the DVD) should simply have slapped on (optional) English subtitles on the better transfer?

Dumb, dumb, dumb move ..... but at least both versions are in their original and correct aspect ratio.
 

mike kaminski

Second Unit
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Jul 11, 2006
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262
Real Name
mike kaminski
Isn't there a criterion version of this on DVD? I rented it a while ago and remember being impressed by it.
 

Thomas T

Senior HTF Member
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Sep 30, 2001
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No, there isn't a Criterion version of this film (I would have snapped it up in a micro second) though it would seem to be a likely candidate for their catalogue.
 

Jeff Rosen

Grip
Joined
Apr 17, 2003
Messages
16
I unfortunately bought the same DVD over a year ago. It was released by a company called Jef Films which puts out bootlegs of rare titles until they are forced to remove tham from the marketplace. I have yet to get even a barely passabe copy of anything from this company and would be extremely skeptical of purchasing anything they produce. Hopefully a legit version will be relesed. The version they put out besides being dupey pan and scan is also edited by 10 minutes.
 

Thomas T

Senior HTF Member
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Sep 30, 2001
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Sorry, Jeff, but it seems you bought a different version of the Marriage Italian Style than I did. Both the clear Italian language only version and the murky Italian language with English subtitles are both in their correct aspect ratio around 1.78. It was put out by New Star video (which as far as I know is legitimate), not Jef films.
 

Mark Edward Heuck

Screenwriter
Joined
Jul 25, 2000
Messages
1,187
Get ready for this...Jef Films IS New Star Video!

A little background first.

New Star was once a legitimate label. They became a small presence in the VHS days when they picked up the catalog of a defunct company known as Cinema Group. Cinema Group had started out as Continental Video, famous for putting out exploitation movies in large boxes with clamshell cases inside. At one time they had rights to AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD and a set of early John Waters movies (including the now very scarce MONDO TRASHO and MULTIPLE MANIACS) which Media had rejected. They then merged with Cinema Group, an indie company who financed and released movies like BORN AMERICAN with Mike Norris and Penelope Spheeris' HOLLYWOOD VICE SQUAD, and changed their name to Cinema Group Home Video. In turn, producer Elliott Kastner bought the entire company, hoping to start his own mini-major, but they went out of business very quickly. He took his biggest movies - JACK'S BACK, WHITE OF THE EYE, and BRAIN DAMAGE - under a new name, Palisades Entertainment (not to be confused with a new company called Palisades Pictures Entertainment that made DIRTY LOVE and THE DYING GAUL and has been associated with Tartan Films on releases like OLDBOY and CAVE OF THE YELLOW DOG), and sold them for a time to Paramount for video and TV. New Star in turn took over the catalog, before going out of business themselves.

What Jef is doing is similar to what another company has done with the old Allied Artists name and logo: taking advantage of copyright law by squatting on a defunct identity and trademark that has precedence in the business in order to put forward a front of legitimacy. Jef in fact uses many company aliases - they are also behind the infamous Substance label that put out a subpar MEET THE FEEBLES a while back.
Generally, if you see a DVD of a movie you didn't think was out there, and the cover is very grainy (as if blown up from a VHS artwork) or badly photoshopped, and the text layout on the back is rather plain and rote, chances are you're looking at a Jef DVD. Walk away.
 

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