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Discussion in 'DVD' started by Daniel P, Jul 20, 2004.
After seeing both, which do you recommend I watch first?
Film - the TV version in effect expands on the themes.
Watch the TV version first - it gives you a much better view on Bergman's extraordinary ability to create a working/not-working relationship that looks, feels and sounds absolutely real. The theatrical edition is a fast forward thru the whole storoy, so you cannot really appreciate all the work Bergman and his actors put into it - an extraordinary effort! S
I'm with Sebastian. Start with the TV series. I'd even say that after watching Cowie's comparison afterwards that you don't really even have to watch the film, but it is great none the less. I'd say the film condenses the themes of the film. Whole aspects of the plot were removed in order to cut the series down to movie length. Can't wait for Fanny and Alexander! Similar set with the TV series in full along with the shorter film version. ShaunS
It's interesting to see how Bergman cut this for a theatrical release, but the TV Series is the shiznit. Definitely start there.
Also, unless I'm mistaken, Scenes From a Marriage was originally made for Swedish television and only later was released theatrically, which would mean the TV version is the original one. The same thing happened with Fanny and Alexander, with the 5-hour TV version being the "director's cut".
I stick to my original argument for film first, but to expand: The film will give you the basic plot and then when you watch the TV version, you can concentrate on the nuances and the extra details.
It's funny...the gist I got from reading reviews fits Andrew's response of watching the film first, but the majority says the opposite. I think I like the sound of watching the film, then having things expanded - rather than watching the TV series first, leaving no need for the film.
First off, the TV version has so many great secondary characters. And the scene at the end of episode 1 (and not featured in the theatrical cut) is quite powerful. Having watched the tv version first, I can't say I had any problems catching the details and nuances- most of the story is shot in close-ups.
I agree with Grady... the tv series moves along at a much slower pace and as such allows you to become so familiar with the characters that when those great gut wrenching moments happen (as Bergman can create like no other) it is far more powerful. I'd argue that by watching the film first you'll know what's coming and it lessens the impact that you get by investing the time it takes to see the series. It's like reading the Coles Notes before the novel. Sorta. What I did was to watch the tv series over the span of about 2 weeks (I don't recommend doing a 5 hour marathon unless you enjoy being emotionally drained to exhaustion ), then go back and watch the film maybe 2 months later. That way I had time to reflect on what I saw, then refresh my memory with the film. Either way, you'll end up watching both versions at some point. It's just a matter of opinion as to what method leads to the greater emotional impact. I'd say dive right into the deepend, but that's just me. ShaunS
I think it boils down to whether you are primarily plot- or character-driven in watching a movie. I'm afraid I'm primarily plot-driven. So getting the plot 'out of the way' so I can concentrate on the nuances is my preferred solution. [Actually, I find this a good guide to whether a movie is any good. If I don't spot anything new or illuminating second time round, then I usually sell the disc]. However, horses for courses, different strokes, and all that. BTW, I think the TV version is far better (ditto for Fanny and Alexander).
I can't wait for Fanny & Alexander. I've only seen the VHS version of the film, and that was years ago. I own all but The Magic Flute in terms of Criterion's Bergman dvds. Anyone care to comment on this one? For some reason I've always held back on purchasing it. Along with the recent MGM boxset and Smiles of a Summers Night, it's been a great few months for Bergman fans. That's for sure. Tough on the wallet though. ShaunS
I love Mozart. I love Bergman. Hence, I adore Bergman's "The Magic Flute"! Mozart purists may find fault, but if you're not adverse to a language change and some redactions, then I think you'll dig it alot. In terms of staging/mise-en-scene, the film moves brilliantly from the grounds outside the theater, to the audience, to backstage, to the stage, and ultimately to a more thoroughly "filmic" environment (that is, one that doesn't seem "stage-bound"). This opera seems to have had a profound effect on Bergman's art, in general. References to it abound in his work. Some may dismiss it as a one-off oddity, but I think it's a key piece. I don't recall if I actually read this somewhere, but it wouldn't surprise me to find that it's one of Bergman's own favorite works.
Oh yeah... Criterion's disc is very, very good. In a move that should be standard among all DVD manufacturers, they released this with a full-blooded PCM track! But make sure you get the second edition printing. The first edition had the L and R channels reversed. If you accidentally get the wrong one, just email Jon Mulvaney at Criterion for a replacement.
Peter Cowie (probably the definitive Bergman critic and certainly highly respected) reckons that at the end of the day The Magic Flute will count amongst Bergman's top ten. It is extremely well done, and if you've seen other productions of this opera (or indeed of other operas) you'll appreciate the deftness of touch that IB brings to it. If you haven't picked up on the comments in the earlier contributions, the opera is slightly shortened and is sung in Swedish rather than the original language. This may grate on opera purists, but opera purists are a peculiar lot anyway. If you're not very keen on classical music and are deterred by the thought of it being 'heavyweight culture', The Magic Flute is full of good tunes and is definitely not grating on the ear.