View Full Version : German Cassavetes Blu-ray boxed set: too cheap to be true?

Paul L
01-03-2013, 04:29 PM
Does anyone know anything about the German Cassavetes boxed set that's available for 26 Euros on Amazon.de, which includes SHADOWS, FACES, A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE, THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE and OPENING NIGHT? I've held out on the BFI discs, largely because I'm skint - but this German set seems a much more affordable way of collecting these films on the Blu format.

I know the set contains both versions of THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE, a documentary about Cassavetes ('Anything for John') and some interviews.

However, I can find very little else about this set on the Interwebs. Does anyone know how the set racks up against the BFI Blu-ray discs?


01-03-2013, 04:51 PM
The two reviews for the set on Amazon.de appear to be positive for the set. Here's the Google translations:

Whether you like Cassavetes and his films or not, they have written cinema history and influenced countless directors.

The five plants are not exactly readily available, but they differ significantly from mainstream cinema, where often enough plate action and / or sentimental feelings are at the forefront.

Cassavetes' films seem unusually raw, run counter to the conventional plot structure, with apparent idle, but what it does have a refreshing authentic. The hand-held camera, which is close to the action and the actors turn, creates an almost intimate atmosphere.

The IMAGE QUALITY is a Blu-ray and appropriate (seen via Full HD video projector on a 2 m wide screen), an increase to the DVD counterparts. The fact that Cassavetes has often worked without additional light sources, sometimes the film grain appears more prominent, but not what I see as a flaw. These are not high-gloss productions, but films of the design documentation are close, which is reflected also in the picture. Of the three color film sees "Killing of a Chinese Bookie" from something soft and frequent, dark weaken slightly, "A Woman Under the Influence" is rock solid and "Opening Night" looks fantastic. Fortunately, it has failed to process the image with filters, as is often practiced when Blu-ray makers "aufhübschen" want their products.

The black and white film "Shadows" and "Faces" are on a Blu-ray, in the box are so five films on four Blu-rays. To "Faces", there is also the alternative beginning.

The Blu-ray to "Killing of a Chinese Bookie" contains both the 135-minute long version, and which also created Cassavetes shorter version of 109 minutes. I have seen the longer version and even looked into the Shorter. Which seems to be based on a different master and, at least towards the end, when Vintellis speech at the club, a strange, dancing spots.

To all the movies and extras are optional German subtitles. Original and German language with all films except for "Faces", in which there is no synchronization. Generally, the sound is preferable to the rather sterile and not very successful synchronizations.

EXTRAS:., The feature-length, very interesting documentary "Anything for John" and a nearly half-hour conversation with entertaining anecdotes between Peter Falk and Al Ruban. The latter has worked on various Cassavetes films as editor, producer, cinematographer and actor.

The clerical error on the package that were already of "DP" noted in the DVD Renz Sion are annoying as is the fact that nowhere can be seen (not on the disc, or the packaging), on which Blu-ray, the extras "hides" were.

CONCLUSION: The price of less than 30, - € in my opinion is very low for five films in HD quality plus extras.
The box is not perfect, but I would not hesitate to recommend buying any movie fan.


Besides the five films mentioned on the cover, there is also the short version of the murder of a Chinese Bookie on a separate DVD.

Bonus material includes:
- Anything for John (documentary, 90 min, German subtitles)
- Alternative beginning of Faces (17 min, German subtitles)
- Memories of John (memories of Al Ruban and Peter Falk, 29 min dt, UT)

What annoyed me were the avoidable errors on the back of the Digi-packs:

1) Faces is different than on the back of the cover provided, not with German audio track, but I would be surprised.
2) The short summaries of shadows and faces are reversed.

For image quality, I want to actually light anything legends but I could imagine that some might disrupt the strong noise of shadows and faces, but if you the story of the original recordings, especially of shade, thinks we can be glad that you even this film nor can see.

All in all I am satisfied with the purchase.

Paul L
01-03-2013, 04:56 PM
The two reviews for the set on Amazon.de appear to be positive for the set. Here's the Google translations:
Thanks for that, Ben. I saw those reviews and muddled through them using my middling German, so the translation helps somewhat. I wonder if there's anything like a direct comparison of the German discs and the BFI releases.