Essential Fellini

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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MikeFH
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Re: Essential Fellini

#101 Post by MikeFH » Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:32 am

Is this set Region Free, just like the Bergman set was?

.

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MichaelB
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Re: Essential Fellini

#102 Post by MichaelB » Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:28 am

MikeFH wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:32 am
Is this set Region Free, just like the Bergman set was?
I'd be surprised. Presumably Svensk Filmindustri wasn't that bothered because they had no plans of their own to release Bergman's back catalogue on Blu-ray and so they might as well let Criterion do it, but the rights to Fellini's back catalogue are scattered amongst various European rightsholders and if even one of them insists on region-locking, that will most likely apply to the whole set.

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brundlefly
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Re: Essential Fellini

#103 Post by brundlefly » Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:44 am

Casanova would have made the package a lot stronger not just because it's a great film, but because the way this "Essential" set skips through his late work it hews to the narrative that the filmmaking became less vital after Amarcord. Totally arguable, and I have my favorites as well, but not the sort of thing I wanted curated for me. And the Ship Sails On is of course welcome, and I have a fondness for Intervista -- though that film's biggest moment is a callback to La Dolce Vita. A shame the rights issues are helping to define his output here so much; at least most of the others are available, though I would have appreciated not having to buy Orchestra Rehearsal on its own.

I might just feel the set's underwhelming because the last all-out Fellini retro I attended was a 30-film thing at Film Forum in 1993 (which included a lot of the Rossellinis he co-wrote, not something that would be included here.) That was like spending eight weeks in another world (and was sometimes a bit of a disaster -- at least some of the prints were unsubtitled and used a computerized supertitling system that conked out for stretches) and this feels very... contained.

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Roger Ryan
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Re: Essential Fellini

#104 Post by Roger Ryan » Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:17 am

Big Ben wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:33 pm
This is a must get for me as I don't own anything by Fellini on disc. And this looks, well, essential. How many here own some of these discs and will be double dipping I wonder?
I already own La Dolce Vita (which, depending when you ask me, may be my favorite film period), 8 1/2, and Roma. Still, I will buy this set for the upgrades of the 50s work and the supplements. While I've seen all of the features from 1950-1969, I've only see half of the films he directed from 1970 on (the four included in this set plus Ginger and Fred), so I'm just a little disappointed not to have an easy way to see high-quality versions of what I've missed. As mentioned upthread, Ginger and Fred is very "inessential" so I don't mind that one not being included. I'm not as impressed with La Strada as I'm told I should be and I actively disliked Satyricon the one time I saw it, but everything else in this set I consider excellent and/or worth revisiting.

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MichaelB
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Re: Essential Fellini

#105 Post by MichaelB » Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:20 am

brundlefly wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:44 am
Casanova would have made the package a lot stronger not just because it's a great film, but because the way this "Essential" set skips through his late work it hews to the narrative that the filmmaking became less vital after Amarcord. Totally arguable, and I have my favorites as well, but not the sort of thing I wanted curated for me.
What's the point of moaning about something that's (a) clearly not Criterion's fault and (b) easily remedied by buying the virtually concurrent Kino Lorber release of Casanova? With hardly any exceptions, the missing titles here are easily available on Blu-ray, which is not the case for the missing Bergmans (for instance, Prison), so if you want a 30-film retrospective, knock yourself out.

My major concern with this set is whether or not And The Ship Sails On will finally get a video release with the superior English dub, with the inimitable Freddie Jones's delightfully conspiratorial asides to the camera are delivered in his own voice and language. Sadly, once you see it in English (in my case only once, and 37 years ago), the Italian version is always going to fall short.

Ginger and Fred is the saddest omission for me - of all the Fellinis that I was lucky enough to see on original release, I've always had an especially soft spot for that one, not least because it reminds me so vividly of spending much of the mid-80s in Italy. But I daresay someone will step up to the plate at some point.

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TMDaines
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Re: Essential Fellini

#106 Post by TMDaines » Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:24 am

brundlefly wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:44 am
Casanova would have made the package a lot stronger not just because it's a great film, but because the way this "Essential" set skips through his late work it hews to the narrative that the filmmaking became less vital after Amarcord. Totally arguable, and I have my favorites as well, but not the sort of thing I wanted curated for me. And the Ship Sails On is of course welcome, and I have a fondness for Intervista -- though that film's biggest moment is a callback to La Dolce Vita. A shame the rights issues are helping to define his output here so much; at least most of the others are available, though I would have appreciated not having to buy Orchestra Rehearsal on its own.

I might just feel the set's underwhelming because the last all-out Fellini retro I attended was a 30-film thing at Film Forum in 1993 (which included a lot of the Rossellinis he co-wrote, not something that would be included here.) That was like spending eight weeks in another world (and was sometimes a bit of a disaster -- at least some of the prints were unsubtitled and used a computerized supertitling system that conked out for stretches) and this feels very... contained.
You're spot on, especially with reference to Fellini's written works. Many of the best films with Fellini's name attached are not films that he directed. You can't have a definitive overview of Fellini when you pick up the ball in the 1950s.

I'm hoping that when we finally get around to Fellini in The Lists Project we do one that encompasses his directorial and writing credits.

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MichaelB
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Re: Essential Fellini

#107 Post by MichaelB » Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:34 am

TMDaines wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:24 am
You're spot on, especially with reference to Fellini's written works. Many of the best films with Fellini's name attached are not films that he directed. You can't have a definitive overview of Fellini when you pick up the ball in the 1950s.
See also the policy of sticking exclusively to Bergman's directing credits, whereas I'd argue that the four strongest 1940s features with Bergman's name in the credits are Alf Sjöberg's Torment (1944), Gustav Molander's Woman Without a Face (1947) and Eva (1948), and Bergman's own Prison (1949), none of which are in Criterion's box - although Torment and Prison were in Tartan's old DVD survey.

The crucial difference between that quartet and all the other 1940s films actually directed by Bergman is that they're all based on original Bergman screenplays, and are consequently far more interesting milestones in Bergman's creative development. Compared with them, the likes of Crisis (1946) and Music in Darkness (1948) are mere pot-boilers, regardless of who was calling the shots on the set (and you'd honestly never guess if you hadn't been tipped off in advance).

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ellipsis7
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Re: Essential Fellini

#108 Post by ellipsis7 » Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:49 am

This is further complicated by the fact that in the period of the 1940s, 50s & 60s in Italy, collaboration was the keynote, with often a whole string of writers working on a project... And with Fellini, his first solo outing - LO SCEICCO BIANCO - was based on an original treatment by Antonioni... Fellini's lightening of the tone from Antonioni's darker piece also helped it get past the Censor, but it is a version of Antonioni's treatment that is in the Ministry file on the film in the Archivio Centrale dello Stato in Rome... While the credits read 'Screenplay by Federico Fellini and Tullio Pinelli with the collaboration of Ennio Flaiano from a Treatment by M. Antonioni - F. Fellini T. - Pinelli"
Last edited by ellipsis7 on Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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TMDaines
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Re: Essential Fellini

#109 Post by TMDaines » Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:51 am

I wasn't particularly criticising Criterion for considering them out of scope of this set, I was more making the point about how the modern director-focussed approach neglects a large part of his career, which actually contains many of his better, more accessible works. His 40s output is miles more successful than that of the 70s and 80s.

I'll likely still pick up this set, especially when we get confirmation of disc-by-disc contents, but I'd still have been more interested in individual releases filling in the gaps of what Criterion and others abroad have released so far.

I'm just glad they didn't repeat the absurdity of the Bergman set of the films being ordered in a series of interminable watching marathons. Who indulged whoever was behind that idea?!

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brundlefly
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Re: Essential Fellini

#110 Post by brundlefly » Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:11 am

MichaelB wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:20 am
What's the point of moaning about something that's (a) clearly not Criterion's fault and (b) easily remedied by buying the virtually concurrent Kino Lorber release of Casanova? With hardly any exceptions, the missing titles here are easily available on Blu-ray, which is not the case for the missing Bergmans (for instance, Prison), so if you want a 30-film retrospective, knock yourself out.
Because moaning=life? But seriously, as much as specialists and reviews comb things, Criterion releases are still by and large considered definitive, and when this drops reviews and consumers may well say, "This is Fellini" without hunting down or noting exceptions. I don't think it's out of bounds to make arguments about what we find "essential" in a box called "Essential Fellini."
MichaelB wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:20 am

Ginger and Fred is the saddest omission for me - of all the Fellinis that I was lucky enough to see on original release, I've always had an especially soft spot for that one, not least because it reminds me so vividly of spending much of the mid-80s in Italy. But I daresay someone will step up to the plate at some point.
Just the act of bringing together his two major stars should win it a place when shaping his work. Would love to revisit it. Mostly remember television screens everywhere and oodles of charm.

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MichaelB
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Re: Essential Fellini

#111 Post by MichaelB » Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:58 am

TMDaines wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:51 am
I wasn't particularly criticising Criterion for considering them out of scope of this set, I was more making the point about how the modern director-focussed approach neglects a large part of his career, which actually contains many of his better, more accessible works. His 40s output is miles more successful than that of the 70s and 80s.
Admittedly, there were rights-convenience reasons for this, but of the seven films comprising Indicator's Sam Fuller at Columbia survey (and Sony's earlier DVD box with the same titles), he only directed two. And I'd like to see more exercises like this: this notion that a director's filmography is irrelevant if he's not personally calling the shots on the set (or indeed it's automatically less interesting if it was made for television) often shrivels when set against the works in question - and even if they're minor, they may still be fascinating.

(And in Fuller's case, Shockproof and Scandal Sheet definitely aren't minor.)

mteller
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Re: Essential Fellini

#112 Post by mteller » Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:15 am

I'm guessing we'll probably see a standalone re-release of Cabiria eventually, but what are the odds of the same happening for Juliet?

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TMDaines
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Re: Essential Fellini

#113 Post by TMDaines » Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:52 am

It could be this year, but you might also still be waiting in 2025.

J M Powell
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Re: Essential Fellini

#114 Post by J M Powell » Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:05 pm

Hoping we get the English soundtrack for Toby Dammit. I presume we will, but the old Home Vision release didn't have it, so you never know.

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dwk
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Re: Essential Fellini

#115 Post by dwk » Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:38 pm

MikeFH wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:32 am
Is this set Region Free, just like the Bergman set was?

.
Someone posted at the Blu-ray forum that they heard back from Criterion that the set will be locked.

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Roscoe
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Re: Essential Fellini

#116 Post by Roscoe » Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:03 pm

The Arrow release of SPIRITS OF THE DEAD had the English track as an option for TOBY DAMMIT, but, as noted, one never knows.

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schellenbergk
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Re: Essential Fellini

#117 Post by schellenbergk » Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:28 pm

ellipsis7 wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 3:37 pm
jwd5275 wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 3:32 pm
ellipsis7 wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:41 pm
By my calculation the only Fellini feature to remain on DVD only release is now GINGER AND FRED...
Doesn't WB have this? It's the only one I can't figure out the rights issue preventing inclusion.
Yes, they have the DVD, or did...
And a lousy DVD it was. My copy will not play to the end of the film, so I have yet to see it all the way through. Was so hoping it would be on the Criterion set.

_shadow_
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Re: Essential Fellini

#118 Post by _shadow_ » Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:48 am

English-audio options would be a stellar addition for many of these - 8 1/2, for example, as that English dub is very hard to track down.

But Criterion has been pretty hostile to the idea of including the English audio as an alternative for Fellini's films - as noted upthread, it was not included with Satyricon, though Eureka did provide it on their release.

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MichaelB
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Re: Essential Fellini

#119 Post by MichaelB » Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:33 pm

I'm much less bothered about an English dub for or indeed for most other Fellinis, but with And the Ship Sails On we have a situation where the English dub unquestionably offers a more satisfying viewing experience, at least to a native English speaker who's extremely familiar with the sound of Freddie Jones's voice. And Jones is very far from the only English speaker with a distinctive voice in the cast, and I'm assuming Barbara Jefford, Janet Suzman, Norma West, Jonathan Cecil, Peter Cellier et al were all performing in English.

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ellipsis7
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Re: Essential Fellini

#120 Post by ellipsis7 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:46 pm

As dubbing was the norm rather than the exception in Italian films of the era and earlier, it is not unusual or to be decried, it's just how things were... That said, Freddie Jones' performance in E LA NAVE VA stands out in my memory of the initial UK release, so I wonder if it had the English soundtrack then?... Incidentally, when Producer Carlo Ponti was looking for an Italian director to partner with in a multipicture deal with MGM/UA, Fellini essentially ruled himself out by refusing to work in English, leaving to field open for Antonioni to make the trilogy of BLOW UP, ZABRISKIE POINT & THE PASSENGER/PROFESSIONE REPORTER under such an arrangement... I also remember witnessing Jones' seminal performance as the 'Sir' in Ronald Harwood's THE DRESSER at the Manchester Royal Exchange in about 1980, so a certified fan...
Last edited by ellipsis7 on Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Roger Ryan
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Re: Essential Fellini

#121 Post by Roger Ryan » Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:02 pm

ellipsis7 wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:46 pm
As dubbing was the norm rather than the exception in Italian films of the era and earlier, it is not unusual or to be decried, it's just how things where...
True, but if the English-speaking actors in the cast came in and dubbed their own voices for an alternate soundtrack to be used in English-speaking markets, then it would be nice to have that soundtrack as an option.

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ellipsis7
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Re: Essential Fellini

#122 Post by ellipsis7 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:10 pm

Roger Ryan wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:02 pm
ellipsis7 wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:46 pm
As dubbing was the norm rather than the exception in Italian films of the era and earlier, it is not unusual or to be decried, it's just how things where...
True, but if the English-speaking actors in the cast came in and dubbed their own voices for an alternate soundtrack to be used in English-speaking markets, then it would be nice to have that soundtrack as an option.
Not disputed... A sterling idea, given the noted quality as mentioned by MichaelB... Alternative soundtracks can work very well, as with the Criterion LAST YEAR IN MARIENBAD and Alain Resnais' preference for an unrestored 'dirty' version of the audio alongside the new 'clean' track (something I only discovered courtesy of the excellent Team Deakins podcast with Lee Kline)...

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Re: Essential Fellini

#123 Post by Craig Wallace » Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:57 pm

J M Powell wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:05 pm
Hoping we get the English soundtrack for Toby Dammit. I presume we will, but the old Home Vision release didn't have it, so you never know.
The English dub for Toby Dammit is essential. Terence Stamp's world-weary delivery adds so much to the decadent mood of the film. It's a brilliant performance that loses a lot without his voice.

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Minkin
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Re: Essential Fellini

#124 Post by Minkin » Fri Aug 14, 2020 4:56 pm

I find it curious that we don't get the entirety of Spirits of the Dead, and only get the Fellini segment. Hopefully they'll put it out in short order.

Fellini is my favorite director, and although I was hoping for a complete set (and am scratching my head at the lack of Ginger e Fred), I'm over the moon with this set!

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domino harvey
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Re: Essential Fellini

#125 Post by domino harvey » Fri Aug 14, 2020 4:59 pm

The Arrow Blu-Ray is region free if you want the whole thing

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