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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 6:51 am 
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This is another early German (Austrian) sound film I've never seen, with the enchanting Hedy Lamarr, and apparently a scandalous work at the time . It is now released in Spain as a 2-disc Collector's edition with subs in English or Spanish. Has anyone seen this edition by any chance? I'm curious because both dvdgo and fnac.es list audio as Spanish or English, whereas a usually trustworthy seller on ebay maintains that language is German, which I'd of course much prefer. Or has anyone seen the US Image edition (definitely in German), about which I only found an old Savant review which says nothing all too good about the transfer (and which doesn't indicate whether the English subs are removable). I would be grateful if anyone could provide some info on any of these two editions. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:21 pm 
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Tommaso, the Image disc is also reviewed here. Apparently, subs are removable and image quality doesn't look too bad based on the caps -- though it's obviously not progressive, as is evident in the very first cap. (Based on running time, I don't think it's a PAL->NTSC port, though.)

The movie itself is a mixed bag. And your reaction to it will largely depend on two things: (1) how enamoured of Hedy you are, and (2) how successful you think it is at being artsy. It certainly eye-opening in terms of its presentation of female sexual pleasure -- at least for a 1930s film. But some of it is just outright absurd. I remember somebody (maybe an IMDb reviewer) characterizing it as a fever-dream, and I think that's probably the best way to approach. It needs to be seen by any serious cinephile, but I doubt I'll ever lay down good money for it. (Hedy is gorgeous, but there's always porno....)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:11 am 
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Thanks, Tryavna, for the link. Indeed it looks not bad at all, and good to see that the subs can be turned off. I guess I'll play safe and go for the Image disc, then, though it would have been nice to have some extras as on the Spanish disc.

tryavna wrote:
The movie itself is a mixed bag. And your reaction to it will largely depend on two things: (1) how enamoured of Hedy you are,

Looking at some stills, I'm already sold :-)

tryavna wrote:
I remember somebody (maybe an IMDb reviewer) characterizing it as a fever-dream, and I think that's probably the best way to approach.

That sounds really interesting and is precisely the thing I go for more and more. Reminds me a little of my reaction to Garbo's "Mata Hari", which I watched recently. Surely a totally melodramatic and utterly unbelievable film in terms of narrative, but it has that certain over-the-top character that - apart from the divine Greta - saved the whole thing for me. Some absurdity might be acceptable for me, then.

tryavna wrote:
(Hedy is gorgeous, but there's always porno....)

I only hope it's not THAT explicit :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:10 pm 
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Tommaso wrote:
tryavna wrote:
(Hedy is gorgeous, but there's always porno....)

I only hope it's not THAT explicit

No, I didn't mean to imply that it's explicit. It just has always had a reputation in some quarters of being a stag film, which it isn't at all. So I wouldn't recommend it to anyone looking for simple titillation. But it sounds like you know what to expect, and if you can find it for a decent price, go for it.

When you've actually watched it, I'd love to hear what you think of it, so please do report back once you're able.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:24 pm 
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I will. I have just ordered it via axelmusic.com, who seem to be very reliable. But as they themselves have to import it from the US, I guess it will take some three or four weeks to arrive. In the meantime, I will slowly make my way through that Garbo Collection set (the German 6-discer, without the silents, which I must get me separately soon). You can see, I slowly start catching up with these early sound films :D


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:19 am 
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So... I watched "Ekstase" now, and though I'm not exactly feeling ecstatic about it now, I must say I really, really liked it. First of all: truly excellent cinematography all the way, with lots of references to 20s Weimar cinema of course. Beautiful expressionist lighting in places, fantastic mise en scene in the scenes of Eva's household, and partly rather adventurous camera moves (right at the beginning when the camera moves upwards over that holiday hotel or whatever it is).
The construction of the film is rather crude, though, and it loses a lot of suspense in the second half (paradoxically that's the part where something like a narrative sets in), and the ending is far too rushed and even somewhat incomprehensible. Is Eva a mother now who raises her child on her own, or is Adam only dreaming of this when he sees his fellow worker and her child?
Anyway, I love how the film manages to tell the story practically without dialogue, and how much it is still very much a silent movie, perhaps something like a decadent 'last breath' of an era definitely about to die. In this respect it reminds me of May's "Asphalt". We've seen all this before somewhere, it's really eclectic, but also some sort of celebration.

As to cinematic influences: Machaty rather adopts everything from Murnau to Pabst, but especially in its celebration of nature vs culture and the obvious idealization of the human body (including repeated shots of Greek or Roman statues) I couldn't help thinking of one director in particular: Leni Riefenstahl. I of course have the nude sequence in mind, where Hedy runs after the horse, complete with shots of landscapes and clouds that seem to come straight out of "Das blaue Licht" or "Tiefland" (the latter film was made much later, of course). Given the fact that the music is by Giuseppe Becce, could it be that Machaty had actually seen Leni's first film? The ending with the workers' axes ploughing the ground also looks a lot like something which was adopted by "Third Reich aesthetics" not so much later, although I suspect that Machaty was rather influenced by the Russians here (Dovzhenko's "Earth" came to my mind immediately).

So certainly an uneven, but very interesting and partly truly enchanting film, and that's not just because of Hedy, who is indeed rather captivating (even more when she's dressed...). I'm glad I've seen it, and would recommend it to anyone interested in German cinema pre '33. The Image disc uses a badly battered print, although it is already a 'reconstructed version' made by the Austrians in 2001. Well, they may have restored it to its full form, but obviously didn't do anything to clean up dirt, speckles and all sorts of other blemishes. But no complaints: those who accept Filmmuseum's "Enthusiasm" can surely accept this, too, and the transfer itself seems to be very good. Good contrast and clarity, and no conversion issues I was aware of. Still, I think this would be a great addition for the MoC catalogue if someone should have performed a full resto in the meantime.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:50 am 

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It's a fine film, but I think I prefer his earlier Erotikon (1929), though the equally famous nude scene in that doesn't survive in the finished film, only as a still on the Czech DVD menus. The Czech release of that has English subs.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:36 am 
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Interesting comments, Tommaso. I think your reaction is fairly representative of most first-time viewers. It will be interesting to know later on how often you feel the urge to return to it. As is probably clear from my earlier comments, I don't feel that urge myself.

As you say, however, I wonder if a full-on restoration might make me change my mind.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:44 am 
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Curiously while watching the film I thought "This has a high re-play factor". I suppose the reason is that in "Ekstase" you don't always have to be engaged intellectually as in, say, a Murnau or Pabst film. You don't always have to ask yourself: 'what does that scene mean' or 'why does he use this camera perspective' and so on. The quality of "Ekstase" is in its atmosphere and style, and thus it might be more often digestable than other and better films. For instance, I have watched "Asphalt" much more often than I have "Der letzte Mann" or "Mabuse der Spieler", for precisely this reason. I can imagine I might simply re-watch the horse chase sequence on its own just for the pleasure of viewing this part again. Such a selective viewing would be impossible with many other films.

Last note on the transfer, as I forgot it yesterday: it's 1.33 but should be 1.19. The chopped heads are not as bad as in many other misframed early talkies, but I think this is something that should definitely be corrected by any subsequent restored release.

Rollotomassi, that "Erotikon" film sounds intriguing. I've never heard anything about it, is it based on the same Schnitzler work as is Stiller's film of the same name? And do you know a good English (or German)- friendly site where I can get that Czech disc?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:49 am 
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Tommaso wrote:
Rollotomassi, that "Erotikon" film sounds intriguing. I've never heard anything about it, is it based on the same Schnitzler work as is Stiller's film of the same name? And do you know a good English (or German)- friendly site where I can get that Czech disc?
I generally order Czech stuff from DVDR.cz - their site is at least partly English-friendly, and they haven't let me down yet.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 6:03 am 
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Thanks Michael, looks great! It seems that Czech dvd prices are pretty low compared to international standards. Less than 14 Euros for that "Erotikon" 2-disc set. I guess I must give it a try...


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:56 am 

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Tommaso wrote:
It is now released in Spain as a 2-disc Collector's edition with subs in English or Spanish. Has anyone seen this edition by any chance?

Hi Tommaso!

You went for the US Ekstase DVD, right? And t'was a good thing to do! I'd like to point you to a comparison of the Spanish CE vs. the old Image disc that appeared @ DVDFreak - it seems the CE is a pretty horrible thing! :shock:

Cheers!

Peto


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:36 am 
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Thanks Peto, now that I've seen these caps, you can't imagine HOW glad I am to have gone for the Image. How could the Spanish possibly call THIS a Collectors' Edition?! Apart from the horribly blurred picture, BURNT-IN SUBS??!!

I have to repeat myself: The Image disc isn't bad at all. Still I wish for someone to clean up the scratches and correct the aspect ratio. This should be an ideal film for Edition Filmmuseum. They at least plan to put out a new documentary called "Hedy Lamarr - Secrets of a Hollywood Star" in the near future. Incidentally, this docu will show tomorrow evening on the German/Austrian TV channel 3sat. I'm curious and will report back when I've seen it.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:42 pm 

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Tommaso wrote:
Still I wish for someone to clean up the scratches and correct the aspect ratio.

Well, FEX was supposed to release Ekstase here at the same time they released Machatý's Erotikon, but it seems the DVD has been postponed till 2008...

Cheers! :wink:

Peto


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 6:50 pm 
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Ekstase will be available as part of Edition Filmmuseum's Hedy Lamarr: Secrets of a Hollywood Stardisc.


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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 6:04 am 
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Yes, but the problem is that filmmuseum announces the AOR as 1.33, just as the Image disc. The Image is very heavily cropped at the top, so I suppose it should be 1.19 (unless Image simply cropped a correct 1.33 ratio by zooming in). In any case, it would be good to see a comparison between these two editions before double-dipping. The documentary on the filmmuseum is nice, but not great and hardly warrants to buy this edition if you already have the film.


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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 6:23 am 

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Tommaso wrote:
In any case, it would be good to see a comparison between these two editions before double-dipping.

No worries Tommaso, I'll add the German disc to my comparison @ DVDFreak. :wink:

I'm just wondering what this is supposed to mean:

Besides, the 2-disc DVD offers Hedy Lamarr's legendary scandal film Ekstase in an uncut version.

Because they list the running time as 79 minutes, but the Image disc clocks @ 89 minutes...?

Cheers!

Peto


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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 6:26 am 
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petoluk wrote:
I'm just wondering what this is supposed to mean:

Besides, the 2-disc DVD offers Hedy Lamarr's legendary scandal film Ekstase in an uncut version.

Because they list the running time as 79 minutes, but the Image disc clocks @ 89 minutes...?

Thanks Peto, looking forward to that comparison. As far as I know, the Image also contains the 'uncut'/uncensored/restored version; the running time differences might just be due to PAL speed-up, though then it should still be somewhat around 83 min. instead of 79. Strange.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:15 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2007 7:31 am
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Hi all!

Just got the filmmuseum DVD - I added screenshots to the comparison here, but I've no time now to fumble with the tech specs, extras & whatnot... :(

(But to put Tommaso's mind at rest - the AR is approx. 1.14:1.)

Cheers! :wink:
Peto


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:03 pm 
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You didn't put my mind to rest, Peto. Now I feel like double-dipping....
(but good to know about the AR, of course, thanks!)


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:42 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:33 pm
For all of those who are searching for Czech director Machaty's Extase, here is a complete list of released discs:
Film archive Austria, LUME FILMES, IVC-Tokyo, Vella Vision, Edition Filmmuseum, Videoimpulse, IMAGE


Last edited by admira on Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:53 am, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:48 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:33 pm
Here is a list of movies from Gustav Machatý, other than Extase:

Erotikon (1929), 85min.
Načeradec, král kibiců (1931), 95 min.
The Good Earth (1937), 138min.
Born Reckless (1937), 59min.
Conquest / Marie Walewska (1937), 113min. or here


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:56 am 
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This discussion ended without anyone really establishing what the difference between both versions is. Well the information is carefully hidden on the Edition Filmmuseum disc, but in the DVD-ROM area there's a comparison with the version that premiered in the Third Reich (why exactly with this version?) and just in the last sentence we get to know that the copy used for the DVD was the 1950 release version, not the 2001 Filmarchiv restoration because of the 1950 version being the only one with good picture quality. Strangely this short essay is written by the same Armin Loacker who edited the 2001 resto and the book accompanying it where they decided upon restoring the 1933 version as far as possible.
What I absolutely don't understand is why they didn't take the 1950 copy with the correct aspect ratio/better quality and inserted the pieces from the more complete 2001 version. The differences are as following:
The credits of the 1950 version carry the actors, director and so on while the 2001 resto only has the title Ekstase popping up.
At 9:58 (2001 resto)/9:34 (1950 version, the time differences are also caused by PAL speedup) there's an insert which has been replaced with a slightly changed text. "Wir gratulieren mit Ausrufungszeichen" becomes "Herzlichste Glückwünsche zum Hochzeitstage".
At 24:27 begins the dictation of a divorce letter in the 2001 resto and it goes on until 25:47, the 1950 version cuts it into a 7 second intro at 23:30.
At 37:50 the 2001 resto has an extended montage sequence of nature images lasting until 38:30, in the 1950 version you have a straight cut at 35:13.
At 52:28 the horse sequence goes in the 2001 resto on until the infamous mating shot and the owner enjoying his cigar at 53:48, the 1950 version inserts only a shot of the horse at 48:37, otherwise the sequence ends there after the name of the mare is written into the book.
At 55:08 the ex-husband looks sadly in his car being surrounded by children while the ingenieur changes clothes until 55:20, the 1950 version again makes a straight cut and dims the children's voices.
The almost fatal drive in the car goes on fluently from 58:10 until 58:53 in the 2001 resto though you can see that the material was cut in from another copy. In the 1950 version there's a brutal jump cut from the same angle at 52:42 omitting the restored seconds.
At 1:16:41 again an insert is changed from "Ihr Sohn verunglückt sofort kommen" in the 2001 resto to "Euer Sohn infolge Herzschlags plötzlich verstorben" in the 1950 version.
At 1:22:02 you see in the working symphony in the 2001 resto wood with water running over it, while the 1950 version shows the ingenieur.
At 1:22:57 there's a song in the 2001 resto running up 1:24:29 and slightly beyond. In the 1950 version there's a cut at 1:15:55 omitting this part and removing the song from the soundtrack (until 1:16:29) when the scene continues.
At 1:25:07 the shot from below in the water barrell and the following sawing shots are removed until 1:25:21, while 1:16:29 the 1950 version reinserts for the next 10 seconds shots cut earlier, you find them at 1:23:33 in the 2001 resto.
Then at 1:18:18 when the 2001 version has ended at 1:27:07 (there are some modern credits which take up the rest of the running time) the 1950 version has a happy ending added which was clearly shot after the war (aspect ratio changes to 1:37) and shows the lovers reunited as reflection in a pond.

I don't know who made the decisions not to insert the missing parts and why but it's an even bigger mystery why the 1950 epilogue was kept in the Edition Filmmuseum disc. Anyway keep your discs and don't sell them, both have their strengths and maybe someone will be able to cut both discs together in a way that better represents the film than they do at the moment.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:30 am 
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Thanks a lot, Lubitsch. I'm almost shocked to hear about this. I never got around to buying the Filmmuseum version (basically because I don't think the "Secrets of a Hollywood Star" docu is very essential), and now I'm very happy that I still have the Image disc. What I find surprising is that the 1950 version used for the Filmmuseum disc is apparently in the correct aspect ratio, whereas the restored 2001 version is cropped to 1.33 (at least on the Image disc and the Spanish edition). I would have expected it the other way round with the 1950 version being reframed to the standard 4:3 of the time.

However this may be, hiding away all this information is not exactly Filmmuseum's style. One would have at least expected the different scenes and edits to be appended as an extra, although your suggestion of cutting the two versions together would have certainly been the best alternative. Perhaps they felt unsure about all this themselves, which might explain why they released the film only as an 'extra' on what is nominally a set with the Dubini doc as the main feature.

Time for a proper re-release, then. A nice Machaty three discer together with "Erotikon" and "From Saturday to Sunday", for instance....


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:12 pm 

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I know this thread has been silent for over 2 years but it's been very helpful to me when I was recently researching the versions of Ekstase, so I'd like to offer a couple of additional points.
While the Filmmuseum version and the Filmarchiv Austria (same as Image Entertainment, Impulse etc) version seem to be the best ones accessible today (the first for much better framing, and the second for including more footage), neither is really complete. There are different kinds of evidence for this.

First, I have found additional authentic footage in other, lesser-quality past releases (non-DVD). For example, the old release from Video Yesteryear (on VHS and 8mm video tape) shows Emil (the husband) wiggling his toes after he gets rid of the shoe that was causing him discomfort in the opening scene, and then we see his exaggerated happy expression (as if carrying Hedy the bride was not reason enough for happiness). The toe-wiggling was left out of both DVD releases. While it's a brief fragment, it certainly adds to the comedy of the scene.

Second, anyone familiar with cinematography can tell that the Hedy's nude swimming and running scenes were shortened. You know where this occurred when you see a cut while the camera is in the middle of panning. This happens at least in 2 obvious places: in the swimming scene, right after Hedy turns over to swim on her back; and in the running scene, when the camera begins to pan diagonally upwards from Hedy's reflection towards her actual self. In the former instance, we also have the famous still of Hedy swimming on her back, used in lobby cards etc, to support the notion that the original swimming scene was much longer (long enough for Hedy to reach a position perpendicular to the camera angle).

If any one reading this knows of a source for any additional footage (not included in the DVD releases), or any additional insights, please give me a holler!


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