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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • Swedish PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • None

Summer Interlude

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Ingmar Bergman
Starring: Maj-Britt Nilsson, Birger Malmsten, Alf Kjellin, Annalisa Ericson, Georg Funkquist, Stig Olin, Mimi Pollak, , Gunnar Olsson
1951 | 96 Minutes | Licensor: Svensk Filmindustri

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #613
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: May 29, 2012
Review Date: May 22, 2012

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SYNOPSIS

Touching on many of the themes that would define the rest of his legendary career-isolation, performance, the inescapability of the past-the tenth film by Ingmar Bergman was a gentle sway toward true mastery. In one of the director's great early female roles, Maj-Britt Nilsson beguiles as Marie, an accomplished ballet dancer haunted by her tragic youthful affair with a shy, handsome student (Birger Malmsten). Her memories of the rocky shores of Stockholm's outer archipelago mingle with scenes from her gloomy present, most of them set in the dark backstage environs of the theater where she works. A film that the director considered a creative turning point, Summer Interlude is a reverie on life and death that bridges the gap between Bergman's past and future, theater and cinema.

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

Ingmar Bergmanís Summer Interlude comes to Blu-ray from Criterion in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on a dual-layer disc. The transfer is presented in 1080p/24hz.

An extensive amount of work has gone into the restoration of this film. According to the notes the original negative has been lost and the primary source for the transfer here was a 35mm duplicate negative. This, however, was still plagued with mold and scratches that could not be completely removed. Another 35mm duplicate negative was discovered and it was used to replace the sections overwhelmed with mold. Unfortunately this print suffered from shrinkage causing the right side to buckle leading the film to look out-of-focus in that area. The restoration notes, which are some of the lengthiest Iíve read in a booklet from Criterion, almost come off apologetic but thereís no reason for them to come off this way; Despite the poor conditions of the material I think the presentation is breathtaking and the biggest surprise Iíve had so far this year.

There are still some scratches and tram lines along with some debris, but it really is minimal and rarely calls attention throughout much of the film. A lengthy part of the mid-section presents some heavier damage, particularly what I assume to be the remnants of the mold the notes went into detail about. Some transitions also present some warping and fading. During these instances the damage is harder to ignore but still donít harm the overall presentation since they are generally contained to one section of the film. The remainder of it looks incredible.

The stunning sharpness of the image more than makes up for any issues remaining in the source materials, with finer details clearly defined, edges nicely rendered, and fine film grain still showing through but never overwhelming. Gray levels and contrast are spot-on, and blacks are nice and deep. The transfer also presents no noticeable artifacts, and looks smooth and clean throughout its entirety.

So despite the almost apologetic set of notes about the restoration I still think weíve been spoiled. Considering everything this film has been through and the nightmare it apparently took to restore it, this looks absolutely incredible.

8/10

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.

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AUDIO

The lossless PCM mono track is clear and articulate, but it lacks any strength and comes off about as flat as can be. Thereís some slight noise in spots but it sounds generally clean. Overall itís nothing special but about what I expected and serves the film well enough.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Being released along with Bergmanís Summer with Monika, which is loaded with quite a few supplements, this one, inexplicably, comes with nothing on the disc, not even a trailer. But we actually get a rather strong, if brief essay by scholar Peter Cowie who writes about the basis of the film (Bergman based it on a brief love affair he had with a young woman when he was eighteen,) actress Maj-Britt Nilsson and Bergmanís career around this time. Thankfully itís a solid essay but doesnít entirely make-up for the lack of anything else.

1/10

CLOSING

Itís a barebone budget release from Criterion, but a stunning amount of effort has gone into the restoration and the digital transfer itself appears flawless. The presentation alone makes it worthwhile to pick up for those looking to own the film on Blu-ray.


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