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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • Portuguese Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Uncut Version
  • Optional English Soundtrack

Black Orpheus

1999 Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Marcel Camus
Starring: Breno Mello, Marpessa Dawn, Lourdes De Oliveira, Lea Garcia, Adhemar Feirrera Da Silva, Waldetar De Souza, Alexandre Constanino, Jorge Dos Santos, Aurino Cassiano, Maria Alice
1959 | 107 Minutes | Licensor: Janus Films

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #48 | Out of print
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: June 8, 1999
Review Date: September 4, 2010

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SYNOPSIS

1960 Academy Award Winner and winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, Marcel Camus' Black Orpheus retells the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice against the madness of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. With its magnificent color photography and lively soundtrack, this film brought the infectious bossa nova beat to the United States. Criterion is proud to present the extended international version of Black Orpheus in a gorgeous new transfer.

Forum members rate this film 7.6/10

 

Discuss the film and DVD here   


PICTURE

Criterionís original DVD for Marcel Camusí Black Orpheus presents the film in the aspect ratio of about 1.33:1 on a single-layer disc.

Iíve never been overly thrilled with the transfer found on here and revisiting it shows far more flaws than I had remembered. Possibly a digital port of their laserdisc, the condition of the print material used are poor, loaded with damage and flaws, and the film can look fuzzy and out of focus. But the transfer itself is more problematic, loaded with plenty of artifacts and other issues of note. Noise is pretty heavy, raining through and dancing about the image, and edge-enhancement is a constant, noticeable nuisance, a white aura seeming to appear around everything. And while I couldnít quite recreate it in the screen caps below, when upconverted and blown up on a 46Ē high-def television, a grid pattern is noticeable thanks to the artifacts, which can make it look pixelated and blocky.

Colours may be the strongest aspect of the transfer but theyíre not perfect. Thereís a yellow tinge to everything, but the Blu-ray has this so it may be intentional, and the transfer has problems rendering reds, presenting block patterns around the edges of anything that colour. In all itís one of Criterionís weakest transfers despite being released at a time when the company was starting to get the hang of the format.

4/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The disc presents two Dolby Digital mono tracks, the original Portuguese and then an English dub. Both donít sound as bad as I would have expected but are still weak overall. Dialogue is clear and the music does actually have a little bit of power and range. Of the two the Portuguese is the stronger, the dub having a more hollow sound but considering the quality of this release as a whole, the audio is a bit of a surprise.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Itís basically a barebones release and the only feature is the original theatrical trailer, which is the same as the one found on Criterionís new Blu-ray edition, though this one has French audio instead of Portuguese. The insert also includes a short essay by David Ehrenstein, not found in the booklet of the new Blu-ray.

1/10

CLOSING

An incredibly mediocre edition, one of my least favourites from Criterion presenting no supplements and a bad transfer. The new Blu-ray improves substantially over it.


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