Beware of a Holy Whore (Warnung vor einer heiligen Nutte) (Directors Suite) (1971)
Audio Commentary-by Dr. Adrian Martin, Senior Research Fellow, Monash Uni.
Booklet-16 page insert essay by Justin Vicari
Short Film-City Tramp (9:22 - Black & White)
Short Film-The Little Chaos (11:27 - Black & White)
Trailer-Directors Suite Trailers
|Year Of Production||1971|
|Running Time||99:32 (Case: 86)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (64:40)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Rainer Werner Fassbinder|
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Margarethe von Trotta
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Rainer Werner Fassbinder was an idiosyncratic personality who died young (aged 37) and lived hard. In his native Germany he courted controversy with his anti-establishment views, his liberal sexuality, his drug-taking and his treatment of people close to him. Despite this, Fassbinder was a prolific director and writer who made over 40 films in 15 years. Early in his career he would complete 4 to 5 films a year in order to attract government funding for his next project.
Beware of a Holy Whore is a parody of Fassbinder's movie-making experience in Spain while he was shooting his spaghetti western, Whity. There are 25 speaking roles in this film, and as such it presents those characters in a superficial way because the 100 minute running time of the film does not allow enough time to fully develop some of the more interesting minor characters. These minor characters are symbolic of real-life people who were part of Fassbinder's acting entourage at the time, some Fassbinder treated abusively while others, such as Hanna Schygulla, he treated with complete respect. Interestingly, about 12 of the 25 acting parts are played by directors or future directors.
Because this film is about the making of a movie it has often been compared to Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt, Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 and Francois Truffaut's Day for Night. I would venture to say that Beware of a Holy Whore is different from those films, due in part to the influence that the character Jeff (played by Lou Castel - who also wears Fassbinder's iconic black leather jacket throughout the film) plays in the movie. Since Jeff is so obviously a caricature of Fassbinder himself, it is quite amazing to see how he mistreats some members of his cast and crew and how he treats the French actor playing himself, Eddie Constantine. The ex-girlfriend, for example, that Jeff beats in a violent scene is based on Fassbinder's wife at the time, Irm Herrman. Also, despite been married, it didn't stop Fassbinder from having other relationships with both men and women, something that we see Jeff also doing in Beware of a Holy Whore.
Of course, the Holy Whore referenced in the title does mean the cinema and it is a deliberate pun at how movie-making can be both beautiful and repugnant at the same time. In this film art does imitate real life and by the end of the movie the audience is left wondering which scenes are part of the film Jeff is making and which scenes are about the process of the film that Jeff is making. This is just another example of Fassbinder's tongue-in-cheek humour that is manifest in this film. Interestingly, when Fassbinder was asked to nominate his ten most favourite films (of his own work) in 1982, shortly before his death, he nominated this film as his favourite.
The transfer looks like it is the same one used for the Wellspring Region 1 release which was remastered by the Rainer Werner Foundation under the guidance of Juliane Lorenz and Wim Wenders.
The aspect ratio is full frame 1:33:1. Obviously, it is not 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.
Overall, the film does look sharp, however, there are instances of low level noise in scenes where characters are predominately dressed in darker colours. These occur at 14:48 - 15:00, 16:14, 21:39 - 21:46, 29:00 - 29:43, 40:41 - 41:34 and 82:04 - 83:12. There is also some very slight aliasing at 36:37, 36:49, 36:52 and 79:05.
With the new transfer colours are rendered more boldly, primary colours really stand out against the white background of the walls of the hotel, especially in the first half of the film.
There is only one major film artefact present. This is a yellow line that appears across the image at 5:52.
Subtitles are generously provided by Madman Entertainment in yellow or white, but only for the film, not for Dr Martin's audio commentary.
The RSDL change occurs at 64:40. It is not noticeable because it occurs during a scene transition.
The Region 1 release of this film contains a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. I feel that a film of this type does not require a 'bumped-up' audio transfer, because although the film does use songs in the soundtrack, the film relies mainly on it's dialogue to convey it's meaning.
There are two audio tracks. One is in German and the other is the English audio commentary track. Both are Dolby Digital 2.0 mono tracks encoded at 224 kbps.
Dialogue is clear and precise. The audio is synchronised throughout.
Fassbinder references songs by Leonard Cohen, Ray Charles and Elvis Presley in the film. These are also diegetic references, i.e. they play from within sources in the film, in this case a jukebox. Also, Fassbinder doesn't play edited portions of these songs, he uses the complete songs throughout the film.
There is no surround channel usage because both soundtracks are mono.
The subwoofer is also not utilised.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Beware of a Holy Whore has been released in Region 1 in the United States with an upgraded Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a filmography of the main actors and an essay by Thomas Elsaesser entitled: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder: A Cinema of Vicious Circles.
The film has also been released in Region 2 in Germany with a stills gallery, a text-based biography and a trailer and in the Netherlands with a trailer and a 30 minute documentary: RW Fassbinder in 1977.
The Directors Suite Region 4 release, with an audio commentary by Dr. Adrian Martin and an essay by Justin Vicari represents the best version of Beware of a Holy Whore on DVD.
This is another excellent release by Directors Suite, replete with many quality extras. Although Fassbinder considered it to be his best cinematic work, it's more personal than his later more recognised films such as Ali: Fear Eats the Soul and The Marriage of Maria Braun. If you are a fan of world cinema, or are familiar with Fassbinder's work, than this would be a film well worth viewing.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 019), using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Sony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Speakers||Sony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)|