Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema

Disc 18, Sawdust and Tinsel / The Rite


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Synopsis

In honor of Ingmar Bergman’s one-hundredth birthday, the Criterion Collection is proud to present the most comprehensive collection of his films ever released on home video. One of the most revelatory voices to emerge from the postwar explosion of international art-house cinema, Bergman was a master storyteller who startled the world with his stark intensity and naked pursuit of the most profound metaphysical and spiritual questions. The struggles of faith and morality, the nature of dreams, and the agonies and ecstasies of human relationships—Bergman explored these subjects in films ranging from comedies whose lightness and complexity belie their brooding hearts to groundbreaking formal experiments and excruciatingly intimate explorations of family life.

Arranged as a film festival with opening and closing nights bookending double features and centerpieces, this selection spans six decades and thirty-nine films—including such celebrated classics as The Seventh Seal, Persona, and Fanny and Alexander alongside previously unavailable works like Dreams, The Rite, and Brink of Life. Accompanied by a 248-page book with essays on each program, as well as by more than thirty hours of supplemental features, Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema traces themes and images across Bergman’s career, blazing trails through the master’s unequaled body of work for longtime fans and newcomers alike.

Picture 9/10

Disc 18 of Criterion’s box set Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema presents two more films from the master: Sawdust and Tinsel and The Rite. Both films share the same dual-layer disc and are each presented in the aspect ratio of 1.37:1. Both films have also received new 2K restorations, each sourced from the 35mm original camera negative.

The presentation for Sawdust and Tinsel looks the same as what was available on the individual Blu-ray edition. I’ll just quote from that review here:

[In comparison to the old DVD, this Blu-ray offers] a far sharper, more film-like presentation, delivering far better clarity and detail, far better grain rendering, and significantly improved gray levels. Contrast looked a little off on the old DVD, but it seems better balanced here, delivering nicer grays and blacks. The opening flashback still looks to be boosted, but it still seems to be intentional and it doesn’t look as extreme as what was found on the DVD, where the image ended up being so blown out it was hard to see.


The restoration is also far better. A few marks can still pop up on the edges of the screen in places but on the whole it’s still a significant improvement over what was on the old DVD, which wasn’t that bad to begin with. The image is also far more stable, lacking the frame jumps and pulsing that presented itself on the DVD[…]

An impressive upgrade over the old DVD for sure, but The Rite ends up outshining it by far, and may be one of the best looking presentations in the set (so far)! The image is unbelievably crisp and clean, razor-sharp throughout, rendering grain near perfectly. I also don’t recall any blemishes of any sort ever popping. Blacks and whites are also rendered wonderfully and grayscale looks perfect, with perfect gradients. It’s a very photographic image and not what I was expecting for a film I would have expected to have received less love than some other titles.

Sawdust and Tinsel (1953): 8/10 The Rite (1969): 9/10

Audio 6/10

Both films are presented in Swedish 1.0 linear PCM. Of the two Sawdust and Tinsel is the weaker sounding one, with dialogue being flatter in comparison to The Rite, showing its age a bit more. Range and fidelity come off better in The Rite, and dialogue is a little more robust, but it’s limited primarily by the fact it’s a very talky film, music and other sound effects rarely coming into play.

Extras 6/10

The Rite doesn’t come with any features on the disc but Criterion does, at the very least, carry over all of the on-disc features from Sawdust and Tinsel. Peter Cowie’s audio commentary, recorded originally for their DVD edition in 2007, is the big one to be found here. Cowie begins things off by proclaiming it’s a very big deal that Criterion is releasing this film since the film was so hard to come by prior to this release. He talks about the title and why Criterion chose it (Criterion is apparently using the UK title, as the American title, The Naked Night, was only used to market the film more as a “sexploitation” picture), and from there talks about it’s release history and how it fits into Bergman’s filmography, pointing out themes that would become common throughout his work, and talks about his theater work played into this film. I always enjoy Cowie’s tracks for Bergman’s films and this is another good one to throw in with the others.

The disc also presents a 3-minute introduction featuring Bergman, taken from a series of introductions filmed by director Marie Nyreröd back in 2003 and used to introduce his films on television. Here Bergman talks about his fondness for the film and his initial disappointment at how poorly received it was when originally released.

The 247-page book does also contain an essay on both films, written by Wesley Brown, connecting the film through Bergman’s experience in theater. There is also a side-bar excerpt by Bergman explaining the origins behind Sawdust and Tinsel. Criterion does not carry over John Simon’s essay on the film found in the individual DVD and Blu-ray editions, while also don’t carry over filmmaker Catherine Breillat’s 2003 appreciation of Sawdust and Tinsel, which was included in the DVD’s booklet. Outside of the Brown essay, there is nothing else about The Rite in the book.

Some material about The Rite would have been welcome, but I still rather like Cowie’s commentary for Sawdust and Tinsel and am glad that was at least carried over.

Closing

Again, Criterion leaves out material around another film (The Rite) but carry over most of the supplements from a title they have previously released, Sawdust and Tinsel. The presentations are both solid, with The Rite’s being another wonderful stand-out in the set.

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Directed by: Ingmar Bergman
Featuring: Anita Björk, Inga Landre, Elliott Gould, Nine-Christine Jönsson, Josef Kostlinger, Ingrid Bergman, Ulla Jacobsson , Robert Atzorn, Bïörje Ahlstedt, Holger Löwenadler, Eva Henning, Liv Ullmann, Eva Dahlbeck, Maj-Britt Nilsson, Irma Urrila, Pernilla Allwin, Anna Lindhal, David Carradine, Christine Buchegger, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin, Lena Nyman, Hakan Hagegard, Gert Frobe, Stig Olin, Martin Benrath, Yvonne Lombard, Börje Ahlstedt, Ake Grönberg, Margaretha Krook, Mimi Nelson, Marianne Löfgren, Birgit Tengroth, Alf Kjellin, Stig Järrel, Harriet Andersson, Birger Malmsten, Bibi Andersson, Birgitta Valberg , Nils Poppe, Bengt Ekerot, Victor Sjöström, Hasse Ekman, Max von Sydow, Jarl Kulle , Jörgen Lindström, Berta Hall, Dagny Lind, Lars Passgård, Birgitta Pettersson, John Ekman, Ulf Palme, Nadja Palmstjerna-Weiss, Julia Dufvenius, Rita Russek, Halvar Björk, Georg Rydeberg, Sheila Reid, Håkan Jahnberg, Ewa Fröling, Margit Carlqvist, Annalisa Ericson, Elisabeth Eriksson, Gunnel Lindblom, Gunnar Björnstrand, Margit Carlquist, Gunnel Fred, Fritz Strassner, Lars Ekborg, Naemi Briese, Brigitta Valberg, Karin Kavli, Ingmar Bergman, Bertil Guve, Allan Bohlin, Mimmi Nelson, Lola Müthel, Jullan Kindahl, Arne Bang-Hansen, Anders Ek, Heinz Bennent, Erland Josephson, Gertrud Fridh, Jan Malmsjö, Walter Schmidinger, Karl-Arne Holmsten, Hjördis Petterson, Wenche Foss, Folke Sundquist, Erik Hell, Inga Gill, Ernst Eklund, Olof Winnerstrand, Hans Alfredson, Marianne Aminoff, Sture Lagerwall, Hans Quest, Annika Tretow, Allan Edwall, Bengt Eklund, Gudrun Brost, Naima Wifstrand, Sigge Fürst, Mona Malm, Ingvar Kjellson, Maud Hansson, Lasse Krantz, Mimi Pollak, Britta Billsten, Signe Wirff, Barbro Hiort af Ornäs, Björn Bjelvenstam, Gaby Stenberg, Birgitte Reimer, Edith Heerdegen, Anita Wall, Georg Funkquist, Inga Landgré, Henning Moritzen, Georg Løkkeberg, Ruth Olafs, James Whitmore, Aino Taube, Frank Sundström, Jan Molander, John Elfström, Ann-Marie Gyllenspetz, Ulf Johanson, Renée Björling, Kerstin Tidelius, Tovio Pawlo, Gunnel Broström, Glynn Turman, Karl-Heinz Pelser, Torsten Winge, Linn Ullmann, Georg Arlin, Håkan Westergren, Gunnar Sjöberg, Bertil Anderberg, Lena Olin, Dagmar Ebbesen, Sif Ruud, Axel Düberg, Vilgot Sjöman, Gaby Dohm, Åke Fridell, Erik Strandmark, Per Mattson, Heino Hallhuber, Gunnar Olsson, Gösta Prüzelius
Year: 1946-2003
Time: 4467 total min.
 
Series: The Criterion Collection
Licensors: Svensk Filmindustri  |  Folkets Hus och Parker  |  Buena Vista Home Entertainment  |  MGM Home Entertainment  |  20th Century Fox  |  Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 20 2018
MSRP: $299.95
 
Blu-ray
30 Discs | BD-50
1.33:1 ratio
1.37:1 ratio
1.66:1 ratio
1.78:1 ratio
1.85:1 ratio
English 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono
English 1.0 PCM Mono
Swedish 1.0 PCM Mono
Swedish 2.0 DTS-HD MA Surround
Subtitles: English
Region A
 
 Video introduction to Smiles of a Summer Night by Ingmar Bergman   New video conversation between Bergman scholar Peter Cowie and writer Jörn Donner, executive producer of Fanny and Alexander, about Smiles of a Summer Night   Original theatrical trailer for Smiles of a Summer Night   Audio commentary for Wild Strawberries featuring film scholar Peter Cowie   Introduction to Wild Strawberries by director Ingmar Bergman   Ingmar Bergman on Life and Work, a ninety-minute documentary by filmmaker and author Jorn Donner   Behind-the-scenes footage for Wild Strawberries shot by Bergman    Introduction for Summer with Monika by director Ingmar Bergman   New interview with actress Harriet Andersson, conducted by film scholar Peter Cowie   New interview with film scholar Eric Schaefer about Kroger Babb and his distribution of Monika, the Story of a Bad Girl! as an exploitation film   Images from the Playground, a half-hour documentary by Stig Björkman featuring behind-the-scenes footage shot for Summer with Monika by Ingmar Bergman, archival audio interviews with Bergman, and new interviews with actresses Bibi Andersson and Harriet Andersson   Trailer for Summer with Monika   Introduction for A Lesson in Love by Ingmar Bergman   Video interview with Ingmar Bergman from 1986   Video interview with Scenes from a Marriage's stars Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson   Video interview with Bergman scholar Peter Cowie comparing the two versions of Scenes from a Marriage   Interviews with director Ingmar Bergman and a brief excerpt from a press conference for Shame, recorded in 1967 and ’68 for Swedish television   New interview with actor Liv Ullmann   An Introduction to Ingmar Bergman, a 1968 documentary made during Shame's production, featuring an extensive interview with Bergman   Daniel and Karin's Face, two rarely seen documentary shorts by Bergman   Introduction for Bergman's Trilogy by director Ingmar Bergman   Exploring Bergman's Trilogy: Video discussions with Ingmar Bergman biographer Peter Cowie   Interview from 2012 with actor Harriet Andersson   Original theatrical trailer for Through a Glass Darkly   Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie, a five-part documentary by Vilgot Sjöman made for Swedish television during the production of Winter Light   Original theatrical trailer for Winter Light   Poster gallery for the trilogy films   Original theatrical trailer for The Silence   Audio commentary for The Virgin Spring by Ingmar Bergman scholar Birgitta Steene   Video interviews from 2005 with actors Gunnel Lindblom and Birgitta Pettersson   Introduction for The Virgin Spring by filmmaker Ang Lee   An audio recording of a 1975 American Film Institute seminar by Ingmar Bergman   Introduction to The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman, recorded in 2003   Audio commentary for The Seventh Seal by Bergman expert Peter Cowie   Afterword for The Seventh Seal by Peter Cowie   Bergman Island (2006), an 83-minute documentary on Bergman by Marie Nyrer   Archival audio interview with Max von Sydow   A 1989 tribute to Bergman by filmmaker Woody Allen   Theatrical trailer for The Seventh Seal   Bergman 101, a selected video filmography tracing Bergman   Audio commentary for Sawdust and Tinsel by Bergman scholar Peter Cowie   Video introduction for Sawdust and Tinsel by Ingmar Bergman from 2003   Visual essay for The Magician by Peter Cowie   Brief 1967 video interview with director Ingmar Bergman about The Magician   Rare English-language audio interview with Ingmar Bergman conducted by filmmakers Olivier Assayas and Stig Björkman in 1990   Interview with director Ingmar Bergman recorded in 1974 for Swedish television   New interview with film scholar Peter Cowie about The Magic Flute   Tystnad! Tagning! Trollflöjten! (1975), a feature-length documentary produced for Swedish television about the making of The Magic Flute   Ingmar Bergman, a documentary by Stig Björkman shot on location during the making of The Touch in 1970   Away from Home, excerpts from a 2004 program on The Serpent's Egg, featuring interviews with actors David Carradine and Liv Ullmann, and film historian Marc Gervais   Illustrated audio interview with cinematographer Sven Nykvist, recorded in 1981   A lavishly illustrated 248-page book, featuring essays on the films by critics, scholars, and authors including Peter Cowie, Alexander Chee, Molly Haskell, Karan Mahajan, Fernanda Solórzano, and many others; selections from Ingmar Bergman’s own writing and remarks on his work; and detailed guides to the feature films and supplements included in the set