Paris, Texas (Directors Suite) (1984)

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Released 16-Aug-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Cannes Footage:Wenders & Kinski In Cannes
Trailer-Land Of Plenty, Grizzly Man, Gerry, The Five Obstructions
Trailer-Night On Earth
Audio Commentary-Director - Wim Wenders
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 138:49 (Case: 150)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (81:07) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Wim Wenders
Studio
Distributor
Madman
Madman Entertainment
Starring Harry Dean Stanton
Nastassja Kinski
Dean Stockwell
Aurore Clťment
Hunter Carson
Socorro Valdez
Bernhard Wicki
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Ry Cooder


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

††† When I first saw German director Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas it left a lasting impression on me. Maybe it was the incredible combination of Robby Mullerís breathtaking cinematography with Ry Cooder's incredible music score. Maybe it was the honest and stirring writing of Sam Shepard combined with the amazing yet understated acting performances delivered by the entire cast. I wasnít quite sure but I was certainly eager to re-explore those things when I received this new DVD version for review. The original review by ChristineT can be found here and Iíll let you read that review for a full plot synopsis. I agree with everything that Christine says on the subject so instead I will focus below on the differences between the two releases.

Original Release

New Directors Suite Release

Video

Non-anamorphic 1.66:1 from a poor composite source

16x9 1.78:1 from a restored film source
Audio

Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kb/s)

Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kb/s) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kb/s)

Extras

Theatrical Trailer, Biographies (Text), Awards (Still), Notes on CD and Various Trailers.

Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Biography (text inside cover), Cannes Footage and Various Trailers.

††† The quality of the extras provided is a huge improvement over the original release. The biggest improvement however is the extraordinary enhancement in the video and audio transfers. The video transfer in the new release may not be perfect but itís a huge advance over the original release. The new 5.1 soundtrack is a revelation compared with the old 2.0 soundtrack and in my opinion lifts the film to a new level. For fans of this movie upgrading to this version is a no-brainer and well worth the expense. Paris, Texas is a seminal movie from the mid 1980s and well worth seeking out if you are not already familiar with it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† Overall the video transfer is very good with a nice clean image. This is light years ahead of the original release which was non-anamorphic and from a composite video source.

††† The image is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. IMDB.com lists the original aspect ratio as 1.66:1 but I suspect it was probably also exhibited at 1.85:1 outside of Europe. I saw no issues with framing and at no time did it ever seem too tight.

††† The image exhibits reasonable levels of sharpness and image detail although I couldnít help but feel it could have been slightly better. Shadow details was very good overall and the image is free of low level noise.

††† Colours are all well saturated, if maybe a little over saturated, but thankfully free of any colour bleeding. Some of the colour schemes are a little eccentric to say the least, which is made all the more jarring because of the over saturation. In the audio commentary director Wim Wenders explains that they did not use special colour correct neon lights. (Iím pretty sure he means fluorescent lights.) If youíve been on a film set youíll have noticed that fluorescent lights get replaced with versions that give off a pinkish light. By not using these, the fluorescent light comes off as being almost lime in colour which can look a bit strange. Wenders claims this was a deliberate decision.

††† The film print used is very clean and some obvious attempts have been made at digital restoration. One example is a scratch on the film in the opening scene around 1:35. In an attempt to remove this scratch the image on either side of it have been merged together. This becomes quite apparent during a pan from right to left. Another vertical scratch around 22:15 has been left untouched. I also noticed some evidence of noise reduction, this often results in parts of the image shimmering out of sync with the rest of the images. Examples can be seen around 1:43 where parts of the landscape shimmer independently of the rest of the image and also power poles around 11:30. While I found this a little distracting at first I was able to easily overlook it as the film progressed and I think itís probably only going to be noticed by those with large displays. The only other issue I observed was some moire effect on a wire door around 4:14.

††† The English subtitles are yellow and easy to read. They matched the onscreen dialogue quite accurately.

††† The film is presented on a dual layered disc with the layer change occurring at 81:07 which is a cut between scenes after a fade to black and is very well placed.

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

Audio

††† The overall quality of the soundtrack is excellent with Ry Cooderís stirring music coming across particularly strongly. The soundscape created is outstanding but never in a showy or exaggerated way. It is easy to just let the soundtrack draw you in and it wasnít until I came to actually write about it here that I came to appreciate the magic and real beauty of this soundtrack.

††† The main English soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 448 Kb/s. There is also a second English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s and an audio commentary encoded at 224 Kb/s. The 2.0 soundtrack sounds very thin compared to the 5.1, almost mono, and really lacks the soundstage depth of the 5.1. The 2.0 soundtrack is also almost devoid of any low frequency sound and overall I donít know why you would bother with it. Stick with the 5.1. My comments below relate strictly to the 5.1 soundtrack.

††† Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand and I detected no issue with audio sync.

††† Musician Ry Cooder provides the music for this movie and frankly this is one the finest collaborations between musician and filmmaker I have ever experienced. Cooder's use of metal guitars and a minimal use of other instruments is the ultimate in understatement yet it never fails to stir the listener. It is impossible to imagine this film without Cooderís contribution.

††† The overall soundscape is luscious and totally encompassing, yet never in a showy or exaggerated way. The surrounds are used to add ambience and atmosphere but never draw attention themselves.

††† The subwoofer adds weight and presence to the musical score and also subtly for other effects such as the rumble of a car motor.

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

Extras

††† A modest but reasonable collection of extras are provided, which fans of the film will definitely appreciate. All of the features are new to this release of the movie compared to the original release.

Menu

††† The menus are animated and 16x9 enhanced with Ry Cooderís main theme for the film playing in the background.

Audio Commentary Ė Wim Wenders (Director)

††† Director Wim Wenders provides an interesting commentary with a wealth of interesting information about the making of the film. For example, according to Wenders, the script was only written for the first half the film when shooting began and the filming had to stop once that point was reached so that the rest of the script could be completed. Given this, it is surprising that the film works so well as a whole. Wenders delivery however is a bit dry and I image that only those who truly enjoy commentaries will be able to maintain concentration for the whole track.

Deleted Scenes 16x9 (23:35)

††† This is a series of mostly deleted scenes as well as a few extended scenes with optional commentary by director Wim Wenders. Some of these are quite nice but I think that they were all deleted with good reason. Wenders discusses what he likes about the scenes, how they would have fit into the movie and why he ultimately didnít use them. The scenes appear to have been transferred from unrestored film so feature quite a few scratches and well as quite a bit of dirt. I would suggest just watching these with the commentary on because Wenders deliberately shuts up when the scenes contain important dialogue so you wonít miss anything by having it turned on.

Cannes Footage: Wim Wenders & Nastassja Kinski in Cannes 4x3 (4:43)

††† This is raw video footage of actress Nastassja Kinski along with co-stars Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell and Aurore Clťment along with director Wim Wenders arriving at the films premier at the Cannes Film Festival. There are also a few other people that I could not identify. I donít really see the point of this extra.

Notes inside the case Ė Brief Wim Wenders biography

††† This is a short biography on director Wim Wenders and his films.

Directors Suite Trailers 4x3/16x9

††† This opens with that annoying anti-piracy trailer (0:31) and continues on with trailers for Land of Plenty (2:20), Grizzly Man (2:23), Gerry (2:45), The Five Obstructions (1:32) and Night on Earth (2:30).

R4 vs R1

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

††† A near identical version has been released in the Region 1. Contrary to some online sites that claim the R1 only contains a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, it actually contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a 2.0 Spanish soundtrack but misses out on the English 2.0 soundtrack present on the Region 4. (I know because I purchased the R1 before I received the R4 for review). The menus on the R1 are static but I personally prefer them to the R4 menus. There is also a Region 2 version that seems very similar to our release but includes outtakes as well. I was unable to find any firm information about the Region 2 release.

The Region 4 misses out on:

The Region 1 misses out on:

††† In terms of transfer quality the two releases are very close. The R1 is slightly less saturated in terms of colour (which I personally preferred) and is also slightly sharper than the R4. All other minor faults I found with the R4 are also present on the R1. Personally I would go with whichever one is cheaper. Iíll call this one a draw.

Summary

††† This is the second time Paris, Texas has been released on DVD in Australia. The original release featured a quite poor non-anamphic transfer from a composite source and only some trailers and text based biographies as extras. This new DVD features a greatly improved transfer with an excellent soundtrack as well as a modest collection of extras including a commentary by director Wim Wenders. In summary, it is well worth upgrading if you own the old version. If you donít already own this film you owe it to yourself to check out this landmark film from the mid 1980s.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Gauntlett (read my bio if you're bored.)
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-696AV-s, SACD & DVD-A, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE900E HD LCD Projector onto 90" 16x9 Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderLogitech 5500 THX. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationLogitech 5500 THX
SpeakersLogitech 5500 THX

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