Juliet of the Spirits (Giulietta Degli Spiriti) (1965)

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Released 13-Apr-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Trailer-8½, La Dolce Vita, Rocco And His Brothers
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1965
Running Time 131:01 (Case: 130)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (71:10) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Federico Fellini
Studio
Distributor
Rizzoli Films
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Giulietta Masina
Sandra Milo
Mario Pisu
Valentina Cortese
Valeska Gert
José Luis de Villalonga
Frederick Ledebur
Caterina Boratto
Lou Gilbert
Luisa Della Noce
Silvana Jachino
Milena Vukotic
Fred Williams
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Nino Rota


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Federico Fellini's first colour film follows on from his previous film 8 1/2 by developing the fantasy elements to a point where they take over the story. Giulietta (Giulietta Masina) is married to Giorgio (Mario Pisu). They live a comfortable life in a large house with servants. But something is awry. Giulietta soon learns that Giorgio is having an affair with a young model. After a séance, Giulietta begins hearing voices and having visions. At the same time she comes under the sway of several strange individuals, including an ancient guru and her voluptuous and hedonistic neighbour Suzy (Sandra Milo). In fact, everyone in this film is weird in some way, and only Giulietta seems normal.

    This is not one of Fellini's best films in terms of narrative, nor is it one of his most satisfying. I cannot quite place my finger on what is missing, but the absence of any normal people apart from the lead character means that there is no satisfactory resolution to the story. What is impressive about the film is that Fellini must have decided that if he was going to make a colour film, then the colour would become a character in itself. The film is beautiful to look at, with some remarkable visuals. The actors also are good to look at. Sandra Milo looks simply stunning, as does (in a different way) Sylva Koscina, though her role is quite small.

    This was the film where Fellini really started to cast strange looking or distinctive people in his films, something that he maintained until the end. Whether or not you appreciate this (I think of it as being part of his sense of humour) will determine whether you appreciate this film. While not intellectually demanding in the way that 8 1/2 was, this is a treat for the eyes and worth watching on that count alone.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I am not entirely sure what the original aspect ratio was. Being a 1960s European film it was probably 1.66:1, but I did not notice any serious cropping.

    This is a remarkable transfer for a 1960s film, one of the best I have seen. There are few if any film artefacts, and the colour rendition is superb. The transfer is clear and detailed. Brightness seems ideal, and contrast levels are very good. I did not notice any problems with shadow detail. Colour is exceptional, with vivid and clean primary colours throughout. Flesh tones are just about right most of the time, though often the actors are wearing lots of makeup.

    The only artefact I noticed was some moiré at the very end of the film at 129:52. However, I did have a problem playing this disc on my primary DVD player (a Pioneer DV-S733A). On this player, the image froze briefly every few seconds. The sound was unaffected, so the problem seems to be with the video. Neither a different player (Panasonic DMR-E100H) nor my DVD-ROM (Pioneer DVR-A08) exhibited this problem at all.

    The disc comes with optional English subtitles, which translate virtually all of the dialogue and are timed well. They use American spelling. The subtitles are in yellow font with a black border, though a couple of instances early in the film have a red or orange border.

    The disc is RSDL-formatted with the layer change placed at 71:10, only mildly disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The sole audio track is Italian Dolby Digital 1.0, mono of course which was the original audio configuration.

    The audio is somewhat constricted and suffers from audible hiss when the volume level is increased. The sound is not nearly as spectacular as the video, but it is acceptable nonetheless. Dialogue is clear enough and there is a reasonable amount of clarity. The entire soundtrack was dubbed, as was the practice at the time in Italian cinema, so lip sync is quite poor throughout.

    The music score is by Fellini's composer of choice Nino Rota. Again, the collaboration brings a fine and memorable score.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    The main menu features some of the score as background.

Trailer-8½, La Dolce Vita, Rocco And His Brothers (7:26)

    Trailers for other Umbrella releases.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 seems to come from the same source material as the Region 1 Criterion release. That release also features a 21-minute interview with Fellini from 1966, plus a theatrical trailer.

    There is another Region 1 release from Image Entertainment which may no longer be available. The film elements used were not of the quality of the Criterion, and the only extras were a trailer and filmographies of the director and star.

    The extras tip the balance in favour of the Criterion.

Summary

    A visual treat, though the film itself is otherwise unremarkable, at least as Fellini films go.

    The video quality is superb.

    The audio quality is average.

    No substantial extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

Other Reviews NONE
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"Full height anamorphic"? - James R