Vampyr (Carl Th. Dreyer)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mark_vdH, Jul 23, 2002.

  1. Mark_vdH

    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Messages:
    1,035
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not too familiar with Dreyer's work so far, having seen four of his movies (The Passion Of Joan Of Arc, Day of Wrath, Ordet & Gertrud - all from Criterion).
    I'm thinking of buying Vampyr too, but I remember having read some bad comments on the image quality of this release.
    Can someone please comment on the quality of this release?
    I understand the transfer is probably not up to Criterion's standards, but is it good enough?
    Any comments about the movie itself are also appreciated [​IMG].
    BTW: What's the production year of this movie?
    IMDB: 1932
    Amazon: 1931
     
  2. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 19, 2001
    Messages:
    1,568
    Likes Received:
    0
    It is reportedly a dire print. Criterion are working on this one though - it will most likely be out next year. Save your money!
     
  3. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've got it, and it is pretty rough. The image is actually halfway decent for much of the film (most of the latter part) - you know, "watchable".

    Unfortunately, in the rare instances of subtitles (it's a talkie, but still very much like a silent movie), the text is very large and superimposed on big blocky black strips. The audio is probably in worse shape than any other element, with no small amount of hiss, pops, etc.

    It's a great film, but not a very good disc. Hopefully we'll see a Criterion edition someday. Till then, I'd recommend a rental. Netflix stocks it.
     
  4. Pascal A

    Pascal A Second Unit

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2000
    Messages:
    496
    Likes Received:
    0
    Regarding the confusion on the dates: 1931 is the production year; 1932 is the first public showing year. FWIW, I used the Jean and Dale Drum book (My Only Great Passion: The Life and Films of Carl Theodor Dreyer) to obtain the production dates for my Dreyer biography.
     
  5. Mark_vdH

    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Messages:
    1,035
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jon: I wasn't aware of an upcoming Criterion release. Great news, so I guess I'll just wait.
    Rich: thanks for the info on the current release. As for the rental suggestion: I don't think Netflix wil send it to the Netherlands [​IMG] .
    Pascal: thanks for clearing that up.
    I hope to see some more Dreyer on DVD soon, but I guess no other releases are being prepared, or are they...?
     
  6. Pascal A

    Pascal A Second Unit

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2000
    Messages:
    496
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was under the impression that Criterion was working on Master of the House according to an old HTF studio chat, but nothing has materialized. [​IMG]
     
  7. Mark_vdH

    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Messages:
    1,035
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the input Pascal, but bad news regarding Vampyr and Master Of The House:
    I e-mailed Jon Mulvaney and he said that in the HTF chat, Criterion "spoke too soon. We have no plans for VAMPYR or MASTER OF THE HOUSE at this time".
    Probably will get the "watchable" Vampyr dvd after all.
    Can someone (Rich?) please tell how the image quality on the current release compares to the quality of the Vampyr footage featured on the My Metier documentary?
     
  8. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2000
    Messages:
    9,467
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't forget, the Vampyr DVD has a great bonus short The Mascot, I love that little guy! If only I had an orange....
     
  9. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    4,300
    Likes Received:
    40
    If the source material is sufficiently miserable, there's not a lot that Criterion can do with it anyway. See Alexander Nevsky as an example. The Image disc is watchable and I doubt any future version will be too much better unless a better print is discovered.
     
  10. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  11. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wait for the Criterion edition. I own the original one - it's soft, blurry, masked (it seems 4:3 - why did they do it?), grainy... of course, I'm comparing it to contemporary or older transfers, such as Nosferatu or Caligari.

    I didn't like the film, anyway. Nosferatu is a much better film, and Caligari is like the Holy Grail to me.
     
  12. Mark_vdH

    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Messages:
    1,035
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  13. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    3,998
    Likes Received:
    0
    So, I finally checked out the Image "Vampyr" disc compared to the "Vampyr" footage contained in Criterion's "My Métier". :b
    And just to be clear what sequence was available for comparison, "My Métier" includes from "Vampyr" only that approx. minute-and-a-half tracking shot starting with Gray looking through a window frame at the soldier and the shadow he'd been following, tracking through the Chateau as dancers whirl by, clappers swing, etc. It begins at the 22:29 point in "My Métier", lasting until roughly the 24 minute mark. It's contained in Chapter 4 "Strange Shadows" on the Image disc.
    On the whole, if you're comfortable with the quality of the "My Métier" footage, you'll likely be satisfied with the Image disc. But they're notably different looking transfers, with strengths and weaknesses on both sides.
    The Criterion "My Métier" footage is darker and with less shadow detail, but the Image disc might slightly err on the bright side. Difficult to really judge, as there's an unusual misty look to the film due to the light-leak "mistake". At any rate, there's much more visible detail on the Image disc, which I liked, and the overall image appears somewhat clearer - at least during this sequence. Most/all of the more serious defects in the source prints (blotches, tears) seemed apparent on both transfers, though the darker transfer and much reduced shadow detail likely obscures some of the more minor nicks and scratches on the Criterion transfer. Again, on the whole, I like the brighter, more detailed Image transfer better.
    However, the frame seems somewhat more stable on the Criterion disc - at least in this one sequence - but has been cropped to the roughly 1.66:1 aspect ratio of the documentary. The Image disc is presented window-boxed, so that not only is the entire vertical expanse of the frame preserved, we also get more along the sides - better framing all around on the Image disc.
    The Criterion subs are the usual removable kind, presented as nice white text edged in black. The Image disc's non-removable subs (which, recall, are presented against an obtrusive blocky black background) don't bother to translate the few lines in this sequence.
    And the audio track on the Criterion disc is notably superior. Though there's a slightly greater noise floor, there's also loads more detail and a far sweeter and fuller sound to the music. This is the Image disc's greatest weakness IMO, with other portions of the film faring even worse than this sequence. The (fortunately rare) obtrusive/ugly subtitles are the other most notable flaw.
    Until we get an adequate transfer of "Vampyr" (video and audio), and one with proper subtitles, I guess the Image version will do. Don't get your hopes up, particularly regarding the audio track, but the Image disc is several good notches above "unwatchable". Matter of fact, I've watched it more than a few times! [​IMG]
     

Share This Page