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La signora senza camelie [Masters of Cinema] [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English (Optional)
  • Classification: PG
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Studio: Eureka Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 21, 2011
  • RRP: £23.48

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

The second full-length feature from Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni (Blow-Up; Red Desert), 1953’s La signora senza camelie (The Lady Without Camelias) found the director deconstructing the French author Alexandre Dumas’ story of the French courtesan from a family of means who would become a kept woman by a group of wealthy men. In Antonioni’s film, his protagonist is a mere shopgirl who is turned into a movie star.

Clara, played by the beautiful and captivating Lucia Bosé, is by chance cast in a small role on-screen, which in turn sends her on to a full-blown career as an on-screen sex-bomb and marriage to filmmaker Ercole (Gino Cervi). But complications arise when here husband can no longer stand watching her in these sexy roles and he pushes her into a “serious, artistic” role as Joan of Arc that “will make people shiver.” The critical backlash against the film and Clara’s audacity at taking on such a role spin their marriage into turmoil, possibly sending her right into the arms of another man.

Its an engaging look behind the curtain at show business, one of the ways to top for the modern Italian woman, and a thinly veiled thumbing of the nose from Antonioni at the sensibilities of popular tastes, something the filmmaker would have nothing much to do with throughout his career as an avant-garde creator.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

La signora senza camelie arrives with a brand new restoration, just like the other Antonioni film it is being released alongside, Le amiche. However, although La signora is two-years older, its transfer to Blu-ray actually looks a bit better than Le amiche, most likely due to its source being in better condition. There is a little less source damage evident in this AVC encodement and blacks seem a little more stable, although the high frequency information is still not quite where I would like to see it. The overall look is a bit on the soft side, but film-like and cinematic nonetheless.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

La signora’s Italian soundtrack is provided in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono with optional English subtitles. Noise, such as pops, crackle and hiss have been nicely attenuated and as far as I can tell with my English-comprehending ears, the Italian dialogue is intelligible.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

The supplements are typically beefy in a relevant way for a Masters of Cinema release, with two HD featurettes on the film and career of Antonioni plus an in-depth booklet.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Gabe Klinger Introduction (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 9:35)
  • Antonioni in the Fifties (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 8:33)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (1.37:1; 1080p/24)
  • Booklet: Containing newly translated critical pieces about the film, excerpts of interviews with Antonioni, and a lengthy debate between Antonioni and critic Luigi Chiarini on the subject of the film.
  • DVD – Standard DVD mirrors the contents of the Blu-ray.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

La signora senza camelie looks as sumptuous on this Blu-ray release from Eureka as Lucia Bosé did playing the role of Clara in 1953 and this classic from Antonioni is definitely worth owning for any true cineaste. If you’re in a Region B area or own a multi-region player, then definitely pick this one up. Highly recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product align=”right” region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B004K0DY0Y[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

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