Home Page  
 
 

SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.66:1 Widescreen
  • English PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • 17-minute alternate opening sequence, from an early edit of the film
  • Cinťastes de notre temps (1968, 48 minutes): an episode from the French television series dedicated to Cassavetes, featuring rare interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
  • Making Faces: A new documentary including interviews with actors Lynn Carlin, Seymour Cassel, Gena Rowlands, and director of photography Al Ruban
  • Al Ruban on Lighting and Shooting "Faces," a new video program

Faces

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: John Cassavetes
Starring: John Marley, Gena Rowlands, Lynn Carlin, Fred Draper, Seymour Cassel, Val Avery
1968 | 130 Minutes | Licensor: Jumer Productions, Inc.

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $124.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #252
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: October 22, 2013
Review Date: October 28, 2013

Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca

Share:

SYNOPSIS

John Cassavetes puts a disintegrating marriage under the microscope in the searing Faces. Shot in high-contrast 16 mm black and white, the film follows the futile attempts of the captain of industry Richard (John Marley) and his wife, Maria (Lynn Carlin), to escape the anguish of their empty relationship in the arms of others. Featuring astonishingly nervy performances from Marley, Carlin, and Cassavetes regulars Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel, Faces confronts modern alienation and the battle of the sexes with a brutal honesty and compassion rarely matched in cinema.

Forum members rate this film 10/10

 

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

Criterion upgrades their previous DVD of John Cassaveteís Faces to Blu-ray (the second disc in their Cassavetes box set) and present it on a dual-layer disc in its original aspect ratio of about 1.66:1. The transfer is presented in 1080p/24hz.

The improvement over the DVD is subtle but there, and looks the same as the BFI edition, as far as I can see anyways. Filmed quickly with whatever 16mm film stock could be gathered together, the transfer is, like every other film in the set, only as good as the source allows. The film is incredibly grainy but the grain is rendered nicely here, much better than the DVD which could present some noticeable compression. The image is as sharp as possible and detail can be exceptional during some close-ups, though never all that much better than the DVD. Gray levels are distinctly rendered and blacks are pretty deep.

I didnít detect any artifacts, no sign of edge-enhancement, halos, or obvious signs of compression. The print itself still has a few scratches and the occasional tram line, but all things considered the film is in exceptional condition. In all the new transfer doesnít offer a significant improvement but it is obviously cleaner and more filmic, even if itís subtly so.

7/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

AUDIO

Audio is again limited by the source materials and the lossless PCM 1.0 mono track ultimately comes off weak and flat. Dialogue is intelligible mostly, though obviously out of synch in places (dialogue ended up being recorded in post-production) and what music is present sounds okay, again with little range.

It has never sounded particularly great and unfortunately the Blu-rayís lossless track doesnít present any noticeable improvements. Unfortunately this is probably as good as it gets.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Most of the features get carried over, though Criterion does upgrade one of the features found on the DVD.

The big feature would probably be the 17-minute alternate opening, presenting a slightly different timeline. It actually opens with Richard and Maria joking around in bed together, then cuts to the film screening, and then cuts to an additional scene that takes place in a bar where Richard and his buddy actually pick up the Gena Rowlands character, which was not in the finished film, as a whole anyways (the sequence in the film actually just starts with them leaving.) Apparently there are more differences throughout the film, but Criterion states this is the most significant one (according to notes Iíve seen online, specifically from Ray Carney, the original cut ran somewhere around 3 and a half hours.) In all honesty, based at least on this opening, I prefer how the film turned out, excising the sequence. It would have been interesting to see the complete extended version, which Carney apparently tried to get included only to have Rowlands stop it, but this is a decent alternative.

Criterion includes an episode of Cineastes de Notre Temps, presenting interviews with director John Cassavetes. Itís technically divided into two sections, the first interviewing him in 1965 before the completion of Faces, and then again in 1968, after the film was completed and shown in a few areas. It offers a lot of insight into Cassavetes and how he works outside of the Hollywood system (while still, in a way, being part of it) and how he gets the money for his films (charge it!) Thereís a certain excitement in his voice, obviously because he loves what he does, and that makes the interview engaging. The first part features him in Hollywood (where we see his workshop) and the second part in Paris. Surprisingly they talk more about his first film, Shadows, than Faces. Since we actually get to see his work shop and get a peek at his actual process this probably makes for the best supplement on the disc. The DVD presented the two interviews separately but theyíve been combined into one 48-minute segment.

A 41-minute documentary on the making of the film called Making Faces is next. This gathers together actors Seymour Cassel, Gena Rowlands, and Lynn Carlin, along with director of photography Al Ruban for a collection of interviews. This is a wonderful documentary that doesn't just offer a look into the film, but also offers information about working with Cassavetes and the techniques he used. I enjoyed listening to the anecdotes about their group, and about the shooting and editing, and you do feel that everyone involved definitely misses it. You may even catch yourself getting teary eyed when Cassel does. Thereís a lot of good stuff in here on the technical aspects of the film and how Cassavetes put his films together, and still manages to stay interesting even though itís primarily made up of ďtalking heads.Ē

Al Ruban on Lighting and Shooting Faces is an upgrade over the DVDís similar feature, which was a multimedia essay on the filmís look and the equipment used to capture it. The 12-minute feature here has Ruban talk about a number of scenes in the film and the equipment and film stock used to catch the look. It seems to cover all of the material on the previous feature. Itís a very technical piece but no less fascinating.

This was a strong edition on DVD and itís still a strong edition on Blu-ray, easily the best of the films in the set in terms of supplements. While each release offers a wonderful look at their respective films I felt this one offered a more fulfilling look at how Cassavetes worked and delivering it in a joyful manner as if there was nothing better than making movies and making them the way Cassavetes did. None of it was a chore to sit through.

8/10

CLOSING

A strong DVD edition gets carried over to Blu-ray, which also sports an incredible high-definition transfer.


View packaging for this Blu-ray

Share: 



Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca  




Join our Facebook Group (requires Facebook account)

This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection