The Witches

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released from Arrow and the films on them.

Moderator: MichaelB

Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Posts: 28730
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

The Witches

#1 Post by domino harvey » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:24 pm

Image

In the mid-sixties, famed producer Dino De Laurentiis brought together the talents of five celebrated Italian directors for an anthology film. Their brief was simple: to direct an episode in which Silvana Mangano (Bitter Rice, Ludwig) plays a witch. Luchino Visconti (Ossessione, Death in Venice) and screenwriter Cesare Zavattini (Bicycle Thieves) open the film with The Witch Burned Alive, about a famous actress and a drunken evening that leads to unpleasant revelations. Civic Sense is a lightly comic interlude from Mauro Bolognini (The Lady of the Camelias) with a dark conclusion, and The Earth as Seen from the Moon sees Italian comedy legend Totò team up with Pier Paolo Pasolini (Theorem) for the first time for a tale of matrimony and a red-headed father and son. Franco Rosso (The Woman in the Painting) concocts a story of revenge in The Sicilian’s Wife, while Vittorio De Sica (Shoeshine) casts Clint Eastwood as Mangano’s estranged husband in An Evening Like the Others, concluding The Witches with a stunning homage to Italian comic books.

Bonus Materials

Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original Italian mono audio (uncompressed LPCM)
Brand-new audio commentary by film critic and novelist Tim Lucas
Interview with actor Ninetto Davoli, recorded exclusively for this release
English-language version of Vittorio De Sica’s episode, An Evening Like the Others, starring Clint Eastwood
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Pasquale Iannone and Kat Ellinger

US/UK January 9th

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Posts: 28730
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Witches

#2 Post by domino harvey » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:24 pm

Not a new announcement, just another Arrow title we forgot to make a thread for...

User avatar
Big Ben
Posts: 1080
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm
Location: Great Falls, Montana

Re: The Witches

#3 Post by Big Ben » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:29 pm

Has anyone seen it? If so what do you think of it? Clint Eastwood being involved in a film with a witch sounds like the least Clint Eastwood thing ever.

User avatar
knives
Posts: 14032
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Witches

#4 Post by knives » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:58 pm

His segment is very comedic which is to say you are correct. I saw this through the Warner's archive release and it is about what you expect. The Passolini episode is very good and memorable, but the rest not so much. If I remember correctly I thought the Bolognini segment was the second best and the de Sica was at least memorable if not good. Can't remember anything else about the other segments. Even forgot Rossi was one of the directors!

User avatar
swo17
Posts: 13557
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: The Witches

#5 Post by swo17 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:05 pm

I've only watched the Pasolini segment, which is really strange and great, definitely recommended if you liked Hawks and Sparrows.

User avatar
med
Posts: 644
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:58 pm

Re: The Witches

#6 Post by med » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:24 pm

"Is The Witches" is like sand in my eye

User avatar
rohmerin
Posts: 778
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:36 am
Location: Spain

Re: The Witches

#7 Post by rohmerin » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:44 am

I've seen it twice.
Posh jet set Visconti, with the 1st role for Helmut Berger. They knew each other 'cause it was filmed at his native sky resort village. It's ok. Visconti always complained that De Laurentis didn't understand anything and cut a lot of footage and the story was not long enough for making a long picture.

Pasolini's one is a masterpiece. Really it is.

I don't remember anything from Bolognini and Rossi. Too short and anecdotal both, I think.

De Sica's is Pop - Comic. In Italian, Eastwood at the top of his Beauty. I don't know the English dubbed version.

Not a really good film in general, like most of the episode Italians loved to make is unequal.
I complessi is the best of all. The 3 stories are great, I'd say it's a masterpiece. Manfredi - Tognazzi - Sordi.

User avatar
knives
Posts: 14032
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Witches

#8 Post by knives » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:49 am

Oh, that is right. The episodes by the two lesser known directors are transition pieces and not full episodes. I had forgotten that until you mentioned it.

User avatar
rohmerin
Posts: 778
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:36 am
Location: Spain

Re: The Witches

#9 Post by rohmerin » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:20 am

I think one of the two is Silvana Mangano driving in Rome. Just that.

Curious: the documentary about her included in Ludwig, it would have been more appropriate in this release because she won the Italian David di Donatello Award.

User avatar
Toby Dammit
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:03 am
Location: Santiago de Chile

Re: The Witches

#10 Post by Toby Dammit » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:26 am

Is out today in the UK and will be released in the US January 30th.

Pics from Arrow's facebook page

Image

Image
Last edited by Toby Dammit on Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Posts: 28730
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Witches

#11 Post by domino harvey » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:15 am

I don’t know what it is about portmanteau films that make even the best of directors flail and falter, but the trend most definitely is not bucked here. This is the worst anthology film I’ve ever seen, without a single good idea, moment, or element. Is this classic domino harvey hyperbole? Maybe. But doubt me at your own peril here. Lemme break it down:

VISCONTI: Inexplicably placed at the opening, this is like 40 minutes of literally nothing except random zooms. Visconti claimed this one was edited against his wishes. Game defense, but there is no evidence this “story” of a pregnant celeb holing up in a ski resort was ever going to be anything but a miss.

BOLOGNINI: Inexplicably the best of the five segments, in that it’s only four minutes long, has one comic idea (woman uses accident victim to allow her to speed through rush hour) and exploits it. That it’s not funny or particularly well-made and avoids any of the obvious avenues for social commentary in the process is telling. This still sucks, and it’s the best thing here.

PASOLINI: Inexplicably candy colored and “zany” without anything tethering its antics, this is hollow “totes rando” nonsense with a handful of passable comic images never materializing into anything actually funny, and all accented with endless sped-up camera movements. Sped-up camera footage has never in the history of post-silent cinema made something funny. Ever. NEVER EVER.

ROSSI: Inexplicably considered a complete segment worth including.

DE SICA: Quite explicably unimaginative take on marital discord from De Sica in the thick of his mainstream rom com mode. The central conceit here is so hoary it beggars belief that anyone, even in 1966, thought this worth rehashing: Unhappy wife imagines gauzy Hollywood musical-style fantasies to deal with her dull domesticity. None of these imagined fantasies are remotely imaginative or insightful or even competent, from a narrative, thematic, or stylistic standpoint. They are indeed representative of the whole endeavor of this film: A waste of fucking time.

User avatar
AidanKing
Posts: 205
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:22 pm
Location: Cornwall, U.K.

Re: The Witches

#12 Post by AidanKing » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:57 am

domino harvey wrote:Sped-up camera footage has never in the history of post-silent cinema made something funny. Ever. NEVER EVER
I thought the sped-up footage of the rival fire crews in Gangs of New York was quite funny.

User avatar
Toby Dammit
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:03 am
Location: Santiago de Chile

Re: The Witches

#13 Post by Toby Dammit » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:48 pm

domino harvey wrote:I don’t know what it is about portmanteau films that make even the best of directors flail and falter, but the trend most definitely is not bucked here. This is the worst anthology film I’ve ever seen, without a single good idea, moment, or element. Is this classic domino harvey hyperbole? Maybe. But doubt me at your own peril here.
Well, is almost imposible put on display great, great cinematographic virtues in "The Witches" :roll:

However I love the kitschy, campy mood of the movie. Everything is deliciously passè. Especially the Visconti episode, with his soaperatic tone and fashions

User avatar
Florinaldo
Posts: 155
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:38 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The Witches

#14 Post by Florinaldo » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:59 pm

Some press materials indicated an interview with Actor Ninetto Davoli as an extra, as does the amazon.co.uk listing and the description at the top of this thread. However, reviewers either do not mention it or note that it is missing from the screener they received. It's also absent from the description on the Arrow Web site.

Can anyone who has seen the actual release confirm if the interview is present or not? Thanks.

User avatar
cdnchris
Site Admin
Posts: 3811
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:45 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: The Witches

#15 Post by cdnchris » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:01 pm

It's not there. Also, it includes the full English version and not just for the one segment as advertised.

User avatar
Florinaldo
Posts: 155
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:38 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The Witches

#16 Post by Florinaldo » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:07 pm

cdnchris wrote:It's not there. Also, it includes the full English version and not just for the one segment as advertised.
Thanks for the quick reply. As I recall from decades past, the English version must be one of those unfortunate dubs that were prevalent at the time to ensure distribution in the English-speaking world of Italian films. French dubs were not any better.

User avatar
knives
Posts: 14032
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Witches

#17 Post by knives » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:08 pm

It's not much worse than the Italian dub of the film.

User avatar
cdnchris
Site Admin
Posts: 3811
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:45 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: The Witches

#18 Post by cdnchris » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:12 pm

What knives said.

Like a lot of Italian films even the Italian dialogue was dubbed over post-production and you can tell at times. The last segment was filmed in English so the dubbing is, of course, even more obvious there. The English version of the last segment (with Eastwood) is probably the least problematic when you get down to it.

The English version also makes some really odd cuts to the Pasolini film, cutting out two characters completely and severely trimming the ending, which makes the whole thing even more baffling.
SpoilerShow
Is the English version suggesting she survived the fall??? And how the hell did the banana peel get there??

User avatar
Florinaldo
Posts: 155
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:38 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The Witches

#19 Post by Florinaldo » Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:40 pm

It was standard practice at a time for Italian films to record all the dialogue in post , and not necessarily with the native Italian actors you see on screen. Many performers were most often assigned the same dubbing specialist, which ensured a certain consistency from film to film.

User avatar
Toby Dammit
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:03 am
Location: Santiago de Chile

Re: The Witches

#20 Post by Toby Dammit » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:32 pm

Florinaldo wrote:
Can anyone who has seen the actual release confirm if the interview is present or not? Thanks.
I have the USA disc and the interview with Ninetto is not included.

The English version also makes some really odd cuts to the Pasolini film, cutting out two characters completely and severely trimming the ending, which makes the whole thing even more baffling.
SpoilerShow
Is the English version suggesting she survived the fall??? And how the hell did the banana peel get there??
Perhaps it was considered too bold for the international version that both characters are transvestite.
The lady is an actor - I don't remember the name - and the man is Laura Betti
By comparison the whole justification of the banana is a minor matter..maybe

User avatar
TMDaines
Posts: 3681
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester

Re: The Witches

#21 Post by TMDaines » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:56 am

Florinaldo wrote:It was standard practice at a time for Italian films to record all the dialogue in post , and not necessarily with the native Italian actors you see on screen. Many performers were most often assigned the same dubbing specialist, which ensured a certain consistency from film to film.
Also dubbing was another artistic tool. You could cast a different face and a different voice. When you and your audience is so used to this concept through dubbed American films, why wouldn't you?

Pasolini also used dubbing as an alienation device, which I've seen him mention in interviews, where he would appreciate the effect generated by having the character say one thing on set and obviously say something else in the sound studio.

i always find it a bit odd when English-speaking audiences judge the preference of audio track by looking for ones where leads spoke in their native tongue, e.g. French for Italian films with French leads. It somewhat misses the point. My preference is generally for the version(s) the filmmakers were most close to, i.e. not dubs created by and for foreign markets.

It's always interesting to read what Tag says on this on Rossellini's films, where for some he seemingly left the business of post-synchronising sound to others.

User avatar
knives
Posts: 14032
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Witches

#22 Post by knives » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:58 pm

All post production really.

Post Reply