The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

Discussions of specific films and franchises.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
aox
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc

The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#1 Post by aox » Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:16 am

Anyone a fan of this film?

Does anyone have any background on its status? Has it fallen into the Public Domain? I think I have seen 3 different DVD versions from companies I have never heard of and they are all awful. Even below VHS standards. Is there a great version out there that has been remastered?
Last edited by aox on Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Antoine Doinel
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Contact:

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#2 Post by Antoine Doinel » Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:24 am

I believe it's fallen into "Beatrice Welles domain".

cinemartin

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#3 Post by cinemartin » Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:25 am

The Studio Canal disc is great, though it may be out of print.

User avatar
bigP
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:59 am
Location: Reading, UK

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#4 Post by bigP » Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:17 pm

cinemartin wrote:The Studio Canal disc is great, though it may be out of print.
I believe the UK R2 Optimum Releasing disc uses that same Studio Canal transfer and is generally very good all round. I've posted screencaptures here including the bonus features menu capture (as Optimum failed to mention on the cover that this release carried a 30 minute Documentary and a 23 minute Interview with the DOP). As far as the film goes, the Optimum disc is apparently missing the short 'Parable of Law' opening sequence, so in that sense, this disc may turn away a few. Despite this, i'd still say this is definitely worth picking up, for a great looking transfer, the excellent features and the low price (Amazon have this for under £7 at the moment).

User avatar
aox
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#5 Post by aox » Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:22 pm

bigP wrote:
cinemartin wrote: As far as the film goes, the Optimum disc is apparently missing the short 'Parable of Law' opening sequence
thanks for the info; however, this would be a deal breaker for me.

User avatar
Forrest Taft
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: Stavanger, Norway

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#6 Post by Forrest Taft » Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:33 pm

Yea, I believe the Optimum disc uses the same transfer as the Studio Canal. The same version was released by Universal here in Norway a month ago. Cheap disc, with a good transfer and terrific extras. The film opens with the Studio Canal logo. The French edition includes both versions though, doesn´t it? Only the version without the "Parable of Law" opening sequence was on the disc I rented. I´ve noticed several films being released by Universal in Norway and Optimum in the UK using Studio Canal transfers. Eventually they tend to be released by Lions Gate in the US (such as several Godard titles). I wouldn´t be surprised if they announce a region 1 release of The Trial in the near future. Hopefully including both versions...

karmajuice
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:02 am

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#7 Post by karmajuice » Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:52 pm

Although it would be a narrow margin one way or the other, this is probably my favorite Welles film. I'm not sure what the DVD offerings are, but if it's true that few are good, that's a pity. I saw it on TCM, where, as I remember, it had a pretty solid image. This is one of those films I've absolutely resolved to see projected in 35mm, though, no matter what the cost.

Reading up on it, I came across a lot of comparisons to the novel, more than usual in adaptations, probably because of Kafka's stature. I haven't read Kafka's novel, the only work of his that I've read is The Castle and a few short pieces. But I came across a lot of talk about the changes in the work, what Welles did differently and how effective it is.
It seems to me that, while they follow roughly the same narrative and have similar atmospheres, there is a subtle but fundamental difference between the cinematic grammar of Welles and Kafka's prose, something which doesn't seem evident on the surface but which affects the work profoundly (mind you, I'm basing my knowledge largely on having read The Castle, and what I've heard about The Trial). I can't put my finger on what it is, though. It may just be the difference between prose and cinema, but that seems too simple an answer.

More on this later, once I think more about it. But for now: I love the film, it astounds me. The space, the excess, the decadence, the shadows and lights, the whole urban mess (these may have to do with that aforementioned difference).

User avatar
Felix
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 1:48 pm
Location: A dark damp land where the men all wear skirts

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#8 Post by Felix » Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:35 pm

To muddy the waters further, the UK Studio Canal release, from 2004, has the prologue and presumably the same transfer, but not the extras, damn and blast it. This one was being sold VERY cheaply in FOPP before their untimely demise but is now commanding higher prices on Amazon UK.

User avatar
tojoed
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:47 am
Location: Cambridge, England

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#9 Post by tojoed » Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:19 pm

Felix, FOPP is still going, at least in Cambridge. I believe they were taken over by HMV, and certainly some of their shops are still trading. The Cambridge branch still had "The Trial" for £6 last Saturday (though I believe it was the Optimum one).

User avatar
kaujot
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 6:28 pm
Location: Austin
Contact:

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#10 Post by kaujot » Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:38 am

I really love this film. The direction is spectacular, and Perkins really shines in his paranoia.

I believe Welles said something to the effect of "Fuck everyone. This is the best picture I ever made." I paraphrase, of course.

User avatar
filmyfan
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:50 am

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#11 Post by filmyfan » Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:18 am

I believe the UK R2 Optimum Releasing disc uses that same Studio Canal transfer and is generally very good all round. I've posted screencaptures here including the bonus features menu capture (as Optimum failed to mention on the cover that this release carried a 30 minute Documentary and a 23 minute Interview with the DOP).
I never realised the Optimum had bonus features and a good transfer....I searched for the French release after reading the Beaver reviews..and paid quite a lot but would have been happy with the Optimum...as there are no subs on the bonus material...and the "Play" logo stays on in the corner of the screen as well for some blooming reason !

Oh well you live and learn..

User avatar
Felix
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 1:48 pm
Location: A dark damp land where the men all wear skirts

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#12 Post by Felix » Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:56 pm

tojoed wrote:Felix, FOPP is still going, at least in Cambridge. I believe they were taken over by HMV, and certainly some of their shops are still trading. The Cambridge branch still had "The Trial" for £6 last Saturday (though I believe it was the Optimum one).
You are of course correct, the Glasgow shop is still there as well, though I am not sure if they are really FOPP any more or whether the spirit is gone. Damn shame anyway, best retailers ever, pity they got greedy...

User avatar
kidc85
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:15 pm

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#13 Post by kidc85 » Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:19 pm

bigP wrote:the Optimum disc is apparently missing the short 'Parable of Law' opening sequence
How disgusting, it's the best sequence of the entire movie!

BrianInAtlanta
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2006 6:36 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Contact:

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#14 Post by BrianInAtlanta » Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:41 pm

Count me in on the Orson Welles' The Trial fanclub. Yes, Kane might be better but I find this so much fun to watch, like a David Lynch film made two decades early.

It probably upset purists but I think it was a brave decision to play Joseph K as an officious, hypocritical little prig. It must come from the same part of Welles that had the framed suspect in Touch of Evil turn out to be guilty.

Then there's the humor. "Pornograph?" And the "spot the Welles' voice" dubbing. Not to mention the best ever introduction of Welles' character, his head shrouded in steam like a devil from the pit!

Throw in Akim Tamiroff, Jeanne Moreau, Elsa Martinelli and Romy Schneider (with webbed fingers!) and what's not to love?

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#15 Post by zedz » Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:19 pm

I love this film too. Maybe my favourite Welles, and it's an inspiring example of visual creativity on a non-existent budget. Far more effective and eerie than its opulent stepchild Brazil, in my opinion.

As for the jokes, one of my favourite lines comes at the start from Jeanne Moreau who, when Josef K informs her that he has just found out that he's been arrested, is nonplussed: "It's not something you just notice, like bleeding gums," she insists. That out-of-nowhere comparison is genius (how many other conceivable ways is 'being arrested' not like 'bleeding gums'?)

User avatar
jesus the mexican boi
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 5:09 am
Location: South of the Capitol of Texas

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#16 Post by jesus the mexican boi » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:07 pm

Consider me a fan. I also love that Welles entrance with the steaming pate, but perhaps my favorite image is Romy Schneider, lying amid the stacks of legal briefs(?), displaying her peculiarly webbed appendages.
My favorite "Trial"-related exchange, however, is on the Bogdanovich interview tapes (and in the This is Orson Welles text).
Captain Ascot: Yes, you start off the picture by saying the story has "the logic of a dream, a nightmare--"
OW: That was intended for people like you to jot down and remember.
CA: I'm liking the picture better.
OW: Keep on trying.
CA: But I think I always understood that about the film--
OW: That's probably why you don't like it. If only I'd mystified you a bit! (Laughs.)
CA: I told you I liked it better the second time I saw it.
OW: See it a third time!
CA: And I never actively disliked it, I just--
OW: Never mind all that.
CA: --didn't like it as much as your others.
OW: Well, you know why I defend it--I suppose because it's my own picture, unspoiled in the cutting or in anything else. That's why I hate to hear that it is not as good, because I can't blame anybody for it (laughs).

User avatar
somnambulating
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:10 am

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#17 Post by somnambulating » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:39 pm

Every now and again, it seems I’ll come across another blighted version of this, the last in some Walmart bargin bin which only makes me dream of a release with the clarity of the one TCM aired when I was a kid. All of that chiaroscuro does something to you when you see it at an early age that’s destined to haunt you ever after. In some ways, I’d like to think it’s shaped a large part of my love for a well-executed nocturnal ambience in a film that’ll draw me to a Naked, or an After Hours, or this or that Slasher movie.

Was this not, along with Chimes at Midnight, the film that Welles considered his favorite?

karmajuice
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:02 am

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#18 Post by karmajuice » Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:28 pm

Okay, so this isn't quite relevant, but I had to post it someplace where it would be appreciated and this thread popped into my head.

I was reading something online earlier (an article about Suspiria) and it referenced a parable by Franz Kafka, and provided a link to the story in the footnotes. I followed the link and it brought me to a "site not found" page.

That is all.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#19 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:02 am

karmajuice wrote:Okay, so this isn't quite relevant, but I had to post it someplace where it would be appreciated and this thread popped into my head.

I was reading something online earlier (an article about Suspiria) and it referenced a parable by Franz Kafka, and provided a link to the story in the footnotes. I followed the link and it brought me to a "site not found" page.

That is all.
Would have been a lot more Kafkaesque if the link had taken you to another link which then took you to another link, and another link, and another, until you've spent your whole life clicking links in the promise of getting to the parable.

User avatar
HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#20 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:16 pm

You mean other people don't have that experience? I'm still trying to download the manual for my IBM XT, and my Atari Pong game.

Maybe I should disable pop-ups. :-k

User avatar
Polybius
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:57 pm
Location: Rollin' down Highway 41

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#21 Post by Polybius » Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:27 am

BrianInAtlanta wrote:It probably upset purists but I think it was a brave decision to play Joseph K as an officious, hypocritical little prig. It must come from the same part of Welles that had the framed suspect in Touch of Evil turn out to be guilty.
I don't know how much of it was Orson's sense of humor and how much of it was him being serious, but I've seen Perkins say in at least one interview that Orson said to him, in full Wellesean bluster, "He's guilty as hell!"

Dante Vescio
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:51 am

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#22 Post by Dante Vescio » Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:03 am

Has anyone ever e-mailed Mulvaney about this movie getting a Criterion release? Do you suppose there's a chance?

Oggilby
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:31 pm

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#23 Post by Oggilby » Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:08 pm

I asked about any possibility of more Welles (including The Trial), but no response. Great candidate for BluRay.

Dante Vescio
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:51 am

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#24 Post by Dante Vescio » Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:24 pm

I asked them too and got no response.
Everyone should try, Mulvaney is bound to answer to someone.

Jarpie
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 6:10 pm
Location: Finland

Re: The Trial (Orson Welles, 1962)

#25 Post by Jarpie » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:30 am

I love this movie, probably the best Welles' movie with Citizen Kane and Touch of Evil. We should ask Criterion to release this on blu-ray, The Trial is probably best candidate for blu-ray, since at least Studio Canal's print for DVD had probably the best picture quality from Welles' movies, maybe even better than Criterion's Mr. Arkadin.

I'm actually surprised that Criterion haven't released The Trial on DVD since Studio Canal have master/print in great condition, The Trial is public domain and they have been co-operating in the past.

Post Reply