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May 11, 2012


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Robert Sweeney

Thanks so much Glenn. I've always wanted a decent version of this. Have you heard anything about the quality of the DVD that Mr. Bongo put out this year? Here's the UK Amazon page:


That Fuzzy Bastard

Thanks for the guide---much-needed. I saw this at Spectacle Theater a while back, I suspect from the Spanish version, and it is a hell of a great movie.

But THE TRIAL is still Welles' best.


This is a great public service, Glenn. I've heard excellent reviews of the Bongo disc, although my copy is still in transit. Apparently "The Trial" will be on Blu later this year; quite the windfall for Welles fans!


How about some more DVD-only release reviews: 'Dark Days', 'The Devils', 'Dreams of a Life', the Eclipse boxes, Laurel and Hardy, the 'Otoko wa Tsurai yo' triple bill, 'The Portuguese Nun', Errol Morris' 'Tabloid' and the Warner Archive?

David Ehrenstein

It is indeed a masterpiece. I saw it when it was first released, in the U.S. in 1967. Kael's review is indeed remarkable -- especially in line of her attack on Welles in ""Raising Kane."

The main rights villain in Wellesland is beatiurce Welles -- who appears in "Chimes at Midnight" as Falstaff's page. "o sharper than a serpent's tongue!" etc.

I ahve a DVD of it that was put out several years ago -- not sure by who. It's quite fine.

Best seen as a Double feature with Gus Van Sant's remake "MY Own Private Idaho"




Robert Cashill

I can't compare the Mr. Bongo version to anything else that's out there, but I have it, and I'd say it's very good; soft in spots, but not enough to get exercised over. I found I preferred looking at it in "Zoom 1/2X" mode on my Oppo-93, which boxes in the anamorphically enhanced image but seems to tighten it as well, not that it's at all unacceptable when it fills it my screen. No extras but a nice disc if you can't get your hands on any other, and at a reasonable price (9.99 pounds or $16.10).

david hare

Glenn, I am pretty sure the Bongo version is itself a ripoff of the French Studio Canal from several years ago which was on the shelves for only a couple of weeks before you know who threatened to sue them. I have this one and the rats arse ugly Suevia disc.
The Canal disc is "around" but not in palces you want to enter by the sound of it. Frankly I would rather DL it from there than pay Bongo money for what is in all likelihood a ripoff anyway. The Canal cannot currently be sold legally in Europe thanx to Beatrice.
IMO the image quality is very good and print damage is minimal. But there's one proviso - unlike the Suevia it's not in Welles' original ratio of 1.66 (matted from 1.37) but a tighter slightly haircutting 1.85. Although this is simply plain wrong, I have to say it doesn't harm critical shots like the interior wides which Welles has shot from low angle with ceilings in view, or even CUs and so forth. Anyway maybe someone else here can confirm the Bongo is indeed this. (They would have had to do a PAL to NTSC conversion of course.

As for Films sans frontieres The least libellous thing I can say about Galeshka who runs it to give him the honorific of "Notorious Copyright Speculator", a term often attached to another shocker, Mr. R Rohauer. One could write a book about the way Galeshka completely sabotaged a planned legit French edition a couple of years ago of Sternberg's Anatahan from pristine elements and with the consent of the true rights holder (JVS'widow). FsansF put out its own woeful Cin. Francaise print of it (owned by Galeshka of course) within days of hearing about Carlotta's plans. Horrible man.

Glenn Kenny

Thanks, David, as ever, for the illuminating information, even if it is information pertaining to something like a rat's nest.

I went to Kim's yesterday in search of the Bongo "Chimes", they're out and may have it in a week and a half. If it's indeed 1.85 instead of 1.66 then the Films sans Frontieres version still wins on account of being closer to 1.66. Whether we ought to applaud this is, as you so vividly imply, very much open to question.

Ah, Beatrice Welles. Can't anyone talk sense to her? Maybe if I buy one of her handbags?...http://beatricewelles.com/beatrice_welles_collection.htm

David Ehrenstein

People have been trying to talk sense to her for years -- to no avail. One of the reasons "The Other Side of the Wind" remains in limbo is that she has laid claim to it even though she didn't have a damned thing to do with it. The law sees her asa "blood relative." Had Oja married Orson Beatrice wouldn't have been able to barge in.


Thanks for this, Glenn.

Getting greedy now - what's the best disc of The Trial currently out?

Brian Donohue

Milestone Video put out a version of The Trial some years ago. It is out of print and will run you at least $44 or so. Likely the best version at this time.


Thanks Brian, appreciate it.


Worth noting Studio Canal have announced a blu-ray release of The Trial for September. http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=199393

Glenn Kenny

@ rcjohnso and company: I was out all day—taking a special trip to the Lafayette for a screening of "Woman In The Window," and then making nice with other film critics at a big Park Slope party—else I woulda weighed in sooner. BIG fan of the Milestone "The Trial." Interested, warily in the upcoming Canal Blu-ray.

The Fanciful Norwegian

And since David Hare brought up the subject of FSF's, uh, "questionable" business practices, it's worth nothing that Mr. Bong themselves work much in the same vein:


Peter Neski

Thanks so much for clearing this up!! I was lost with all the versions out there


Here are screen caps of the Bongo disc found on the Criterion forums. Contrast and clarity look great, if a tad too unbelievably smooth.


Even though the guy who made the captures says it's 1.85, it's easy to check and see he's wrong. Actual measurements of the Bongo samples he provides are 1.72.

As a matter of fact, the sample shown on this page from Sans Frontiere figures out to be 1.72 as well.(Quickest way to test is by scaling the height of the sample to 1000 pixels. The width is then 1718 pixels).

Good deal on the Sans Frontiere from Amazon.fr -- because that 11,44 euro price is magically reduced to 9,43 for American buyers. But yeesh, the shipping charge is insane. Over 10 euros shipping. Total of 20 euros = $27.

There are sellers in Amazon UK offering the Bongo edition for around £8 + £3 shipping to US. Total of £11 = $19.

Since the screen ratio does not seem to be an issue after all, I think I'm gonna take a chance on the Bongo disc.

That way I can donate the $8 I saved to President Obama.

Glenn Kenny

Yes; 1.72 indeed. Not quite 1.66. Wonder what the damn ACTUAL aspect ratio is.

Looks like I'll have to give the Mr. Bongo a closer look. Working on it.


Speaking of The Trial and StudioCanal, I was in Berlin last month and picked up a copy of the DVD on a German label called Arthaus that also has the StudioCanal logo on it. Says it's anamorphic and is 1.66, so would this be as good as the Milestone? Only paid like 10 or 12 Euros for it.

That Fuzzy Bastard

Wait, the Milestone DVD of The Trial (which I have right here on my shelf) is out of print?!? Yikes! Time to make myself a backup on hard drive, to join my Criterion Dead Ringers and Sid & Nancy...

Mr. Gittes

One could produce a DVD Consumer Guide for most of Welles' films. I've read the history, yet I still don't understand.

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