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Ingmar Bergman's Cinema, 9: From the Life of Marionettes / Hour of the Wolf
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.66:1 Widescreen
  • 1.37:1 Standard
  • Swedish PCM Mono
  • German PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • None

Ingmar Bergman's Cinema, 9: From the Life of Marionettes / Hour of the Wolf

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Ingmar Bergman
2018 | 192 Minutes | Licensor: Svensk Filmindustri

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $299.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: November 20, 2018
Review Date: October 1, 2019

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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

The ninth disc in Criterion’s deluxe set Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema presents two films on the dual-layer Blu-ray disc: From the Life of Marionettes and Hour of the Wolf. Each film is presented in their original aspect ratio, Marionettes in 1.66:1, and Wolf in 1.37:1. Both have been given new 2K restorations, with Marionettes being scanned from the 35mm original camera negative, and Wolf from a 35mm duplicate negative. Both have been encoded in 1080p/24hz high-definition.

Both films look exceptional and offer two of the better-looking presentations in the set. I was particularly struck by Hour of the Wolf, whose photography is darker and draped more in shadows. Black levels and contrast are superb, crushing never evident. The image is consistently sharp and crisp, fine-object detail just leaping off the screen, even in long shots, and film grain is looks sharp and clear.

The same can be mostly said about Marionettes, though it’s not as dark looking a film, and a central dream sequence offers a more blown out looking image, though the whites are still nicely balanced as to not destroy the finer details. The film also features colour sequences bookending the film. The colour palette is a bit drab as a whole, but red becomes a predominant colour in one sequence and the red looks absolutely gorgeous.

Both films have been cleaned up and I only recall a handful of minor marks. Each film has also been encoded well, grain looking clean and natural for both. Overall there isn’t much to nitpick here: both are filmic and clean and a couple of the high points for this set.

9/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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From the Life of Marionettes

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From the Life of Marionettes

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From the Life of Marionettes

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From the Life of Marionettes

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From the Life of Marionettes

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From the Life of Marionettes

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From the Life of Marionettes

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From the Life of Marionettes

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From the Life of Marionettes

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From the Life of Marionettes

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Hour of the Wolf

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Hour of the Wolf

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Hour of the Wolf

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Hour of the Wolf

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Hour of the Wolf

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Hour of the Wolf

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Hour of the Wolf

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Hour of the Wolf

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Hour of the Wolf

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Hour of the Wolf

AUDIO

Both films offer up lossless PCM 1.0 monaural presentations. Sound quality is about the same despite the wide gap in age (Hour of the Wolf was released in 1968, From the Life of Marionettes in 1980), neither standing out. They’re both clean, free of noise and distortion, but fidelity is weak, and the tracks can both be a bit flat. In the end they’re both fairly average monaural presentations.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Criterion does spread a number of supplements out throughout the set, though much to my surprise neither film on this disc comes with any supplements whatsoever. I was a little shocked as I thought Hour of the Wolf would have at least had something, especially since MGM released their own DVD years ago packed with features. The set’s included 247-page book at least includes an essay on both films (tied together by their representation of male dominance and violence) written by Sarinah Masukor. Both films are missed opportunities.

2/10

CLOSING

The lack of features for both films is quite maddening, especially for Hour of the Wolf, which had a fairly packed MGM special edition years ago, but the presentations for both films are a couple of the best to be found in Criterion’s large box set.




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Purchase From:
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