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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
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The Night Porter

2000 Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Liliana Cavani
Starring: Dirk Bogarde, Charlotte Rampling, Philippe Leroy, Gabriele Ferzetti
1974 | 119 Minutes | Licensor: Lotar Film Srl

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #59 | Out of print
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: January 11, 2000
Review Date: September 24, 2009

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SYNOPSIS

In Liliana Cavani's scintillating drama, a concentration camp survivor (Charlotte Rampling) discovers her ex-torturer/lover (Dirk Bogarde) working as a night porter at a hotel in postwar Vienna. When the couple attempt to re-create their sadomasochistic relationship, his former SS comrades begin to stalk them. Operatic and disturbing, The Night Porter deftly examines the cruelty and decadence of Nazi culture.

Forum members rate this film 6.4/10

 

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PICTURE

The Criterion Collection presents Liliana Cavaniís The Night Porter in its original aspect ratio of about 1.85:1 on this dual-layer disc. The image has unfortunately not been enhanced for widescreen televisions, but this is the least of its problems.

The picture for this is, frankly, awful. Still nowhere near the travesty that was their original transfer for Salo but it ranks down there. The image is progressive at least but itís still loaded with artifacts, contains jagged edges, jittering, and also has some edge-enhancement. It also looks blobby with lousy shadow delineation and no detail: It looks mushy and blurry. Colours look poorly saturated, blacks are non-existent, and flesh tones look pasty.

It also doesnít look like much has been done in the way of restoration as well, with debris, scratches, and hairs showing up constantly. I actually wasnít too concerned with this, though, my disappointment stemming more from the digital transfer itself. The back packaging states (as a special feature) ďoptimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer editionĒ and I have to sort of mock this. The contents donít even take up 6GB on the disc (and itís only the film, there are no special features of any kind) yet it comes out looking worse than most single-layer transfers Iíve seen from Criterion. Itís absolutely lousy.

4/10

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AUDIO

Audio doesnít come across much better. The English mono track presented here is fine enough in that you can understand the dialogue and music sounds decent enough. But thereís no range, sounds hollow overall, and still has some obvious damage present.

4/10

SUPPLEMENTS

There are no disc supplements to speak of. There is a short essay by Annette Insdorf found in the insert included with the disc but it offers little in the way of insight into the film that isnít obvious already and really feels like a 2-page synopsis. And this completes Criterionís interest in the film.

0/10

CLOSING

I find myself coming back questioning some of Criterionís early releases, now adding this one to the list, and itís not that I question the filmís inclusion in the collection. Iím admittedly not fond of the film itself but I just question why they even bothered releasing a DVD for it if they didnít even seem all that concerned about the film. The treatment they give it here is rather awful with a transfer that looks to have had very little care put into it and also adding nothing in the way of supplements. Itís essentially a Home Vision Entertainment release, though I still canít say Iíve come across a DVD this underwhelming from that company. Certainly at a premium Criterion price, despite the price being the lower-tier $29.95 MSRP, the disc is not worth it at all. Iíd even question it in a bargain bin.


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