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What are the best NON R1 (R0) DVDs. (1 Viewer)

Gary Tooze

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Hey all,
My ListServ has put together a "best of" list of the Top DVDs to purchase when owning a Region Free DVD player ( we mention the Malata N996 ). NOTE: IF you are in Region 1!
You can access it HERE with purchase links when clicking on the cover images.
I would love to hear some more opinions on what are the best NON R1 (R0) DVDs... Any of you who own a region-free player have an opinion?
I guess I am looking for persuasion... I'm pretty close to buying one.
Thanks,
 

PatrickL

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Gary, I can't imagine you'll ever regret making the leap into the world of multi-region. Everything on your list makes a strong case.
A disc I'm very happy to have which isn't on your list is Robert Altman's Short Cuts, available 16x9 from Spain. This title has been announced, promised, and now off the schedule in R1 for *years* and its appearance in R2 was what finally motivated me to go multi-region.
I don't think a week has gone by since when I haven't been thankful for the Malata. Besides titles that aren't available in R1 at all (like Bergman's tv version of Fanny and Alexander, Altman's Vincent & Theo or Mike Leigh's Life is Sweet) there are versions of titles that are superior to their R1 counterparts. For example: The Scent of Green Papaya and Frantic, MARred in R1 but OAR elsewhere, and the SE of Spike Lee's Summer of Sam which is bare-bones in R1.
The Malata is especially valuable to me now as support of OAR might become a bit more spotty in R1. Although these titles may not personally appeal to you, I'm pleased that I'll be able to get OAR versions of 84 Charing Cross Road and Perfect from R2, avoiding the MAR releases from R1 altogether.
 

PatrickL

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Kyle- that would be PAL, from the UK. I'd ditch it for a release that's OAR *and* NTSC, but I haven't yet heard of one.
 

JohnRice

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Patrick,

For us uninitiated masses, maybe you could tell more about non region 1 discs. Do the English language ones often have an English soundtrack when they are from a non-English speaking country? Was that question confusing enough?
 

Mark_vdH

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. Do the English language ones often have an English soundtrack when they are from a non-English speaking country?
Yes. In fact, I can't remember ever seeing a R2 dvd without its original English soundtrack.
There are a few problems, though.
Because German and French dvd's mostly have a dubbed audio track too, sometimes one of the English tracks is dropped. For instance, the R2 versions of A.I. doesn't have the DTS track, Snow White doesn't have the original mono track, and French Super-bit titles don't have English DD 5.1 tracks (only DD 2.0 and DTS 5.1).
Also, a few German dvd's only play the original audio track with non-removable German subtitles. The only way to lose the subs, is to turn on the German audio track. There are only a few that do this, though.
A great place to see if a R2/R4 disc is better than its R1 counterpart, is Link Removed.
Classics that aren't available in the States:
The African Queen (with Jack Cardiff audio commentary)
Rules Of The Game (La Règle Du Jeu)
The Magnificent Ambersons
Recent R2 releases that are better than R1 release:
Armageddon (anamorphic & much cheaper)
Apocalypse Now: Redux (The French have a 2-disc set)
Basic Instinct (German release: 2 dvd's + Soundtrack cd)
The Usual Suspects: SE
 

Jon Robertson

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The Wicker Man has all the same stuff as the US Limited Edition, but has commentary with the director, producer, Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee on the director's cut.
You could pick up Pasolini's Salo at a more-than decent price, and has, for my money, a superior transfer and subtitle translation than the Criterion, plus it has a brief 20-second sequence (one of the masters reading poetry) that is missing from Criterion's print.
You could get what, for my money, is the definitive release of Nosferatu from the British Film Institute - a print that, at times, is amazingly clean, there is slightly more footage in the film, the tinting is finally corrected, the transfer is windowboxed and has none of the framing problems of the Image SE (Count Orlok's head is not cut off when he rises from his coffin on board the ship), and the documents and intertitles are finally hand-drawn and looks gorgeous. But, the orchestral music score by Hammer veteran James Bernard is what really clinches it for me - finally, the full terror, beauty, romance, fear and melancholy of the images really become apparent. Get it now.
I'd also like to recommend the BFI's amazing range of Archive Television drama productions - some of the absolute cream of the 60s and 70s one-off drama specials, presented with far more loving care and attention that old TV shows should have. More info here and my highest recommendations for all three titles!
 

Mark_vdH

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You could get what, for my money, is the definitive release of Nosferatu from the British Film Institute - a print that, at times, is amazingly clean, there is slightly more footage in the film, the tinting is finally corrected, the transfer is windowboxed
Jon, I also bought this version, based on your advice in my thread over here and forgot to thank you for that! Much, much better than the existing Eureka versions with the bad tinting and Art Zoyd score :emoji_thumbsup: .
 

Mark_vdH

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Can a moderator please change the topic name to "Nosferatu (BFI) - Review and Discussion"? :D
Seriously Jon, can you please specify (maybe in my old topic regarding Nosferatu, otherwise we're maybe taking this thread OT too much) what scenes contain more footage, as you've posted earlier in this thread? I didn't notice it, and would like to know.
 

Bob Graham

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I've mentioned these in other threads, but to recap, my favorite non-region 1 discs are:

R2:

WITCHFINDER GENERAL Michael Reeve's historical drama (not really a horror film) features great performances from a talented cast (including a uniquely subdued Vincent Price) beautiful cinematography, a restored score (the US HBO VHS & Laser releases featured a terrible "electric" score), making of documentary, bios (with a few errors, forgivable given the overall excellence of the package), and deleted gory scenes from the unapproved "continental" cut of the film.

CROSS OF IRON Sam Peckinpah's criminally overlooked anti-war drama restored and in a nice anamorphic transfer. The R1 release is cut, has a substandard picture and is pan and scan.

R4

HELLZAPOPPIN Zany comedy from the 40's that has not been released (or even seen) in the US for years because of rights problems. Fast-paced with tons of gags (most of them good, but many groaners, which is also good). Seeing it is literally like discovering a new Marx Brothers film--it's that good. Transfer's a little soft and there are some odd jumps, but this just adds to the surreal nature of the film.

THE LIGHTHORSEMEN Epic drama of an Australian cavalry unit in WWI. Harkens back to the large scale big screen American epics of the 60s. Incredible action sequences with hundreds (thousands?) of human and equine extras--none of that modern CGI stuff. Perhaps the last epic film that will be made in such a manner. Excellent anamorphic transfer, too!
 

Jon Robertson

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I've posted in the other thread, Mark. :)
Gary, another one that is unmissable is Chris Morris' awesome satire on the media and moral issues Brass Eye which was released last week.
I reviewed it for DVD Times on the day of release, and here it is: http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/index.cgi?...800&story=3112
And I also thoroughly recommend Witchfinder General - it's a shame the gory segments come from such a low-quality VHS master, but the film definitely needs them, for continuity if nothing else. There are a few problems with the print source, but generally it's a superb disc done by folks who clearly love the film using all the available resources they could.
 

Mark_vdH

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Thanks Jon.
Anyway, some comments on your 'Listserve' list, Gary:
-In The Mood For Love is also available through Criterion in R1, so maybe the R2 version isn't the optimal choice (I haven't seen either version)
-L'Appartament is out in France and in Great Britain. Be sure to get the French version, as it is anamorphic, has a DTS audio track and a featurette (though that's not subtitled).
-La Règle Du Jeu is excellent, and also has a 40 minute (subtitled) analysis, but Criterion is reportedly working on a version of this masterpiece (which definitely needs restoration - Video & Audio).
Also, you'll have to look for this cover instead of the one in your list:
B00004VY3X.08.LZZZZZZZ.jpg
.
-Finally, I saw quiet a few Artificial Eye titles in your list. They have also released Tarkovsky films in the UK. Andrei Rublev and Solaris are two disc sets and have the movie spread over the discs BTW.
 

JohnRice

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Thanks a bunch guys. Like I need to be tempted to spend even MORE money on a new DVD player, high prices, shipping and customs for DVDs from the UK and other places. ;)
Last night I made the mistake of finally looking at titles available from amazon.uk and another site linked above. One question about the Artificial Eye Tarkovsky titles. I know it sounds impressive that they are two discs and at 3.5 hours, Rublev probably can benefit from two dual layer discs, but why would they spread 2.5 hour movies like Solaris and Stalker across two discs unless they are single layer?
Gary,
the link you have to the Malata shows it as discontinued. Does anyone know if there is a new one coming out? This is all too tempting.
 

Mark_vdH

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One question about the Artificial Eye Tarkovsky titles. I know it sounds impressive that they are two discs and at 3.5 hours, Rublev probably can benefit from two dual layer discs, but why would they spread 2.5 hour movies like Solaris and Stalker across two discs unless they are single layer?
I only have Rublev and the A.E. release has the theatrical cut of the movie, which is 'only' 186 minutes.
The movie is spread over two dual-layer discs, and have quiet a few special features on them. They are scattered around rather chaotic though.
Also, the framing is not entirely correct: although I don't have the right equipment for measurements, I'd say it's around 2.2:1.
There is also a Solaris trailer on the disc (probably also a Stalker trailer), and it also displays the DVD-details for Solaris (probably Stalker too). As far as I can remember, it stated that Solaris was also spread over two dual-layer discs. I can't check right it now, but I will later today.....( and I will also check the Stalker info)
 

Mark_vdH

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Well, the Rublev dvd didn't have the info, but Dvd Times did nice reviews of Solaris and Stalker. The reviews state that both dvd releases have 2 dual layer discs...
 

JohnRice

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Thanks for the info Mark. Actually, with Ruscico apparantly offering the exact same version of Stalker, except that they also have it in region 1, I'm not sure why I would buy the A.E. version. Also, Solaris is coming out shortly from Criterion.
 

JohnRice

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Are there sources for DVDs from Australia and New Zealand? There are a couple films from down under I would like to get, but I don't think they'll ever come out in the US. I also don't remember what video system they use.
 

Mark_vdH

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The best review site for R4 dvd's is, without doubt, Michael Dvd.
Besides reviews it also makes direct comparisons with R1 releases (if available), and it also serves as a database for reviews on other sites.
The best place to buy R4 discs is, IMO, EzyDvd. They're usually cheap, fast and always have some nice bargains. Shipping rates are also acceptable: about USD 3,- for one title, and about USD 5,20 for 2 titles.
For a list of R4 on-line stores, Michael Dvd has it right here, also with a price comparison. I haven't tried most of these sites though, so I can't recommend any.
 

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