A Ship Bound for India (Skepp till India land) (Directors Suite) (1947)

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Released 17-Feb-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1947
Running Time 91:34
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (45:19) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ingmar Bergman
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Holger Löwenadler
Anna Lindahl
Birger Malmsten
Gertrud Fridh
Naemi Briese
Hjördis Petterson
Lasse Krantz
Jan Molander
Erik Hell
Åke Fridell
Douglas Håge
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Erland von Koch


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame Swedish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Alternate Subtitles
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A Ship Bound for India was Ingmar Bergman's third feature, coming one year after It Rains on Our Love was released in 1946. The film is similar in tone to It Rains on Our Love, with an obvious over-melodramatic use of the plot and the soundtrack to emphasise the ideas behind the film; that is, the conflict between an overbearing father and his son and of looming mortality, themes that Bergman would re-visit in his later films (e.g. The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries and Fanny and Alexander).

    The story is told from the son's point of view. Johannes Blom (Birger Malmsten) is a hunchbacked son of a salvage ship captain. He serves as the ship's first mate and struggles under the authority of his father. Johannes lives in somewhat claustrophobic conditions on the boat with his father, Alex (Holger Lowenadler), and mother, Alice (Anna Lindahl). When Alex learns that he is losing his sight he arranges to bring on board his mistress, Sally (Gertrud Fridh). However, once on board Sally's relationship with Johannes begins to develop and this causes conflict in the relationships between the main characters. The scenes are mainly set on the boat, in cramped, dark settings.

     As with It Rains on Our Love, the acting is influenced by Bergman's training in the theatre, with performances from the main actors being slightly over-dramatised. Thus, the film is a lot darker than Bergman's films were in the late 1950s and 60s, and the soundtrack is heavily influenced by Hollywood, with a film noir type orchestral soundtrack used in this film in contrast to Bergman's subtler and more succinct soundtracks which he used in his films from the late 1950s onwards (compare the soundtrack in this film to the otherworldly, avant-garde and sparse, creepy music used in Persona).

     A Ship Bound for India is surely a metaphor for the struggle Bergman had to relate to his over-authoritarian father and his feeling of the need to compete for the affections of his mother during his childhood. As mentioned, these themes are constantly found in Bergman's films, across each stage of his career.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Similarly to It Rains on Our Love, which has also been released by Madman's Directors Suite label in February, 2010, this film has not been restored and has been transferred onto DVD from an analogue source. The video quality is very average to poor.

    The aspect ratio is 1:33:1 full screen.

    The main presentation takes up 5.36 gb of space on a dual-layered DVD. The average bitrate is 8.0 m/b per sec, however it still looks soft and dull. Shadow Detail is not well defined and low level noise is evident in the transfer.

    As the film is set on a boat, most scenes are dark and thus the black-and-white transfer does not look optimal, with instances of cross colouration and flickering contrast levels common.

    There are many occurrences of film artefacts, both negative (white) and positive (black). Reel change markings are evident only sometimes but the video transfer suffers from frequent and excessive telecine wobble. Unlike It Rains on Our Love, lines across the image do not occur as often.

    As with It Rains on Our Love and Brink of Life, Madman have included an option of subtitles in white or yellow which are easy to follow.

    The RSDL change occurs at 45:13 during a scene which fades to black.

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

Audio

    The soundtrack is exactly like It Rains on Our Love, with heavy emphasis on strings that sound overly melodramatic but which was quite standard for Hollywood films of the time.

    The main audio track is in Swedish. It is encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 kbps.

    Dialogue is clear and the audio is synchronised.

     The audio transfer is similarly unrestored as the video transfer. Strong background hiss is present throughout the film and pops and crackles are also evident, but less frequent.

    There is no surround channel usage as the main soundtrack is mono.

    The subwoofer is not utilised either.

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

Extras

    There are no extras included with this release unfortunately!

R4 vs R1

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

    A Ship Bound for India was released in Region 2 in the United Kingdom as part of a series of early Bergman films in a box set entitled, Early Masterpieces by Ingmar Bergman. The films included are Dreams, Sawdust and Tinsel, It Rains on Our Love, Brink of Life and A Ship Bound for India. Also included are a pair of documentaries about the actors and actresses who worked with Bergman during his career entitled, The Women and Bergman and The Men and Bergman. Unfortunately, this box set is extremely hard to find, both for sale and for reference purposes. Even Artificial Eye's website does not currently list it.

    A Region 0 Scandinavian release has only a photo gallery as an extra and is of similar quality to the Region 4 version.

    As Madman Directors Suite label has now released all five of the films included in the Artificial Eye box set, it would be reasonable to assert that the Madman releases have been licensed from Artificial Eye's transfers. Therefore, if you wish to purchase this film on DVD there's no reason to look beyond the Madman Directors Suite release.

Summary

    A Ship Bound for India was the first time that Bergman used a dominant father figure as a central theme in a film. Bergman would use this theme in subsequent films later on in his career.

     Just like the other Madman Directors Suite February 2010 release, It Rains on Our Love, the poor video and audio quality of this transfer to DVD and the melodramatic elements to the plot of A Ship Bound for India makes this DVD a recommendation for true Bergman fans only who want to own this film with English menus and subtitling.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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