Of The House
(1925/Dreyer/Criterion Blu-ray w/DVD)/The
(2013/MPI/Sundance Selects DVD)/Twogether
(1992/VSC/MVD Visual DVD)
B & C+/C/C Sound: B- (DVDs: C+) Extras: B/C/C Films:
are some unique dramas arriving to us now...
Theodore Dreyer's Master Of The
House (1925) is one of
the lesser-known dramas from the legendary silent-era filmmaker about
a housewife (Astrid Holm) who does her best to keep her home running
well, but has an ungrateful husband (Johannes Meyer) who is mean,
angry, rude and sarcastic to her all the time. However, this
arrangement is not sustainable and is about to hit a fork in the
road. They have children who don't need this and if he is this
mother in law (Clara Schonfeld) will also be a factor in not begin
able to tolerate the situation, but the film has even more to say
visually about the whole situation than its dialogue, script and
general plotting, which is why it holds up as well as it does 89
years and counting. Well shot, thought out and made, it exceeds its
melodramatic oeuvre and shows another side to the cinematic mastery
of Dreyer. This runs 107 minutes, which is impressive for a silent
film of its time that is not an epic, but it works well enough.
include another nicely illustrated booklet on the film including
informative text as usual with Criterion, while the discs add a
really strong visual essay by legendary film scholar David Bordwell
and a new interview with Dreyer historian Casper Tybjerg on this film
and his amazing career.
Barnard's The Selfish
Giant (2013) is another
down-and-out drama set in a long declining part of England where some
local adult scrappers have recruited two very young men to help bring
in stolen metal so it's origins can be erased so it can be sold
untraced for cash. However, the exploitive situation is not going to
last with such young people being used and dabs things are about to
some good acting and interesting moments, this one is just a little
to predictable and even obvious. Siobhan Finnerman even shows up as
an intertextual connection to post and anti-Thatcher cinema (Rita,
Sue & Bob Too, et al)
but there is nothing very political here or nothing much new to show
or say. I believe history is repeating itself this badly all the
time, but a narrative film should say or add something new to it and
this one does not.
include a Behind The Scenes featurette, Original Theatrical Trailer
and Cast/Crew Interviews.
we have Andrew Chiaramonte's Twogether
(1992), his attempt to do a raw narrative film as the antithesis to
the likes of Pretty Woman
and other fluffy mall movies of the time that offered regressive,
fake and sexually dishonest narratives about male/female
relationships. A man (future melodrama director Nick Cassavetes)
meets a woman (Brenda Bakke) at a nighttime event and they are
instantly attracted to each other, immediately followed by a
whirlwind sexual encounter and much more.
happen so fast that they are so drunk that they go to Vegas and get
married, even if they cannot remember all of it. From there, we get
a mix of conflict scenes that sometime work, some with nudity that
has mixed results, some that do not and not enough exposition to
finish all that it starts, time that could have existed if it was not
wasted on several pseudo-MTV moments with Rock music that I supposed
to be harder edged than pop of the time, but not nearly as on the
edge as the music should be or the best such music of the time was.
At least this was an ambitious drama trying to be about something,
but it is ultimately unsuccessful despite being worth a look.
include a Director Intro, feature length audio commentary track with
the director and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on the House
Blu-ray is easily
the best-looking presentation on this list with a 35mm duplicate
negative and other elements with impressive results. The 1.33 X 1
DVD version is no match for it and looks soft by comparison, but is
still better than the surprisingly soft anamorphically enhanced
presentations on Giant
(1.85 X 1) and Twogether
(1.78 X 1). However, Blu-ray editions would benefit both.
PCM 2.0 Stereo on the
Blu-ray is also the best sound presentation here, if only by being a
fuller presentation of its instrumental score than the
lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the DVD version. The lossy Dolby
Digital 5.1 on Giant
and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Twogether
(from its original Ultra Stereo analog theatrical mix) are also good,
if not great, putting all the audio on the 3 DVDs here on an even