58 Peeping Tom

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Martha
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58 Peeping Tom

#1 Post by Martha » Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:22 pm

Peeping Tom

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A frank exploration of voyeurism and violence, Michael Powell’s extraordinary film is the story of a psychopathic cameraman—his childhood traumas, sexual crises, and murderous revenge as an adult. Reviled by critics upon its initial release for its deeply unsettling subject matter, the film has since been hailed as a masterpiece.

Disc Features

- New widescreen digital transfer, created from restored film elements and enhanced for widescreen televisions
- Audio essay by renowned film theorist Laura Mulvey
- Stills gallery of rare behind-the-scenes production photos
- A Very British Psycho, directed by Chris Rodley: the Channel 4 U.K. documentary about the life of screenwriter Leo Marks, as well as the making and critical reception of Peeping Tom
- Original theatrical trailer
- English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
- Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

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david hare
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#2 Post by david hare » Sat Feb 12, 2005 10:37 pm

Great great movie, one the top four Powells with RED SHOES, BLACK NARCISSUS and BLIMP.
Alas this is one of Criterion's earliest anamorphic transfers and they've botched it with 1.78 framing chopping the top off and cropping heads in some shots (Should be 1.66 as it was always screened this way theatrically.) ALso Universal's print leaves something to be desired - it's indentical to the Universal R4 dvd down to the macro blocking artefacts in Mark's living room (watch the bookcases in the background vibrate.) Not an ideal transfer but still a must have.

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#3 Post by Lino » Sun Feb 13, 2005 5:31 am

One of my favorite movies and a total surprise when I finally got to see it.

I especially liked the documentary included on the disc about the author of the screenplay who turned out to be a very special individual and the closest thing to a real spy/secret agent you'll ever be likely to know.

One very interesting thing to note is that the year that this one came out - 1960 - was also the year that another famous serial killer movie was unleashed to the masses: Alfred Hitchcock's very own Psycho. Two killer movies (literally!) and made by two british masters. One got lucky (Ed Gein was still hot news and that eventually helped Psycho), the other did not (prudish british mentality of the time did some considerable damage to the author of the movie and the movie itself).

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#4 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Feb 13, 2005 1:29 pm

Everyone likes to link this movie with Psycho--a very British Psycho is often the claim--and yet I've always found as much an affinity with Rear Window as with Psycho, especially because Psycho's voyeuristic themes are fairly muted in comparison.

In any case, this is all topical and doesn't carry much beyond surface value. More marketing than anything.

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#5 Post by Steven H » Sun Feb 13, 2005 3:00 pm

I agree... Definitely more Rear Window. I can almost imagine a few sequences from the Hitchcock film happening in this. I wonder what Stewart would have done if he'd been across the street from Bohm's Carl Lewis? I was also thinking about why Vivian's mother is blind in the film... or why she has a paranormal insight. A good enough reason to watch it again.

I haven't seen Kieslowski's Camera Buff, but was wondering if there was a connection to this film.

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#6 Post by iangj » Sun Feb 13, 2005 3:50 pm

harri wrote:I haven't seen Kieslowski's Camera Buff, but was wondering if there was a connection to this film.

No, I'd say.

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#7 Post by bcsparker » Tue Feb 22, 2005 9:42 pm

Definitely one of my favorites in the Collection. When Anna Massey says "show me" in Mark's room, that is a powerful scene. Anybody else develop a crush on her after seeing this? Tell me I'm not alone...

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#8 Post by BWilson » Wed Feb 23, 2005 1:24 pm

Annie Mall wrote: (Ed Gein was still hot news and that eventually helped Psycho)

Huh? Saying the film's success was due to anything but Hitchcock's having made a brilliantly entertaining film, and it being brilliantly marketed, is blasphemy. Ed Gein was not "hot" news at the time, nor was he some major part of American conciousness. If anything he only became known much later due to the success of Psycho and Texas Chainsaw.

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#9 Post by bcsparker » Wed Feb 23, 2005 1:53 pm

Hey guys, carry on the Hitchcock conversation someplace else.

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#10 Post by BWilson » Thu Feb 24, 2005 4:15 pm

Considering how frequently the two films (Peeping Tom and Psycho) are compared. I think a bit of discussion about Psycho is appropriate.

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#11 Post by oldsheperd » Thu Feb 24, 2005 4:27 pm

Hitchcock however did think Peeping Tom was the movie he wanted Psycho to be.

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#12 Post by Napier » Sat Mar 05, 2005 12:53 am

I just spun this little jewel for the sixth time!I love this DVD more with each viewing,I think it is just great!Tooze didn't think the disc was that hot, but I feel fortunate enough that Criterion brought this piece to home viewing! A triumph for Criterion, Powell, and MS, may he some day win BD 8-)

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#13 Post by Cinéslob » Thu Jun 30, 2005 7:03 pm

I just thought I'd provide a link to the BBC radio show Michael and Martin - broadcast earlier today - documenting the friendship between Powell and Scorsese, featuring an interview with the latter. No great revelations are to be gleaned from it, but it's an interesting and touching program nonetheless.

I wasn't quite sure where to post this, so please, feel free to move if needs be.

Anonymous

#14 Post by Anonymous » Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:03 am

Hi. I saw Peeping Tom at the National Film Theatre's Powell retrospective in London in August and I saw a shot I'd never seen in it before. At one point, a blue veil is pulled back from in front of the camera (I think it's before or during the birthday party sequence).

It's not on the UK Region 2 release and I'm pretty sure it's not on the Criterion. It's also not mentioned in any study I've read of the movie. Is this a rogue print? Please help if you have any info.

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#15 Post by david hare » Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:14 pm

Facinating! Can you pinpoint the scene in which this occurs?

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#16 Post by soma » Wed Sep 13, 2006 4:57 pm

I haven't seen any Powell as yet, but I'm considering grabbing this on a blind buy. I guess I'm wondering how good it is and whether I'll like it as much as I'm anticipating. If I love films such as Psycho, Les Diaboliques, Rear Window, Blow Up... is it pretty much a given that I'll appreciate this?

I'm also wondering if anyone has heard news on a potential re-release from Criterion? Should I hold off? Or is this as good as it's going to get for the foreseeable future? Is this release even that bad??

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#17 Post by david hare » Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:13 pm

I viewed it again recently. Honestly if you can get it cheaply enough (like the OOP R4 UNiversal disc) yes, but frankly it suffers from serious compression atrefacts which really are inexcusable these days. Not to mention the overcropped masking. Whether it's ever done again depends on Studio Canal I suppose.
This is one of at least three Powells that needs completely remastering - like Red Shoes and Blimp.

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#18 Post by tryavna » Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:29 pm

As far as your enjoyment of the movie itself is concerned, I think you'd like it -- based on the movies you listed. It has many obvious parallels with PSYCHO. As David points out, the disc could stand an improvement, though it seems even less likely than RED SHOES and BLACK NARCISSUS (based on what's going on in R2-land). But there's always the possibility of renting it.... Or getting it used or during the next Deep Discount sale.

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#19 Post by soma » Wed Sep 13, 2006 7:43 pm

Cheers david and tryavna for the replies. I might rent this for now - definitely look forward to seeing it.

And yes, hanging for the next DDD sale in November. Massive order awaits!

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#20 Post by david hare » Wed Sep 13, 2006 9:42 pm

Soma, ezydvd locally still has the Universal R4 (identical transfer) listed for 14.95. You might also find it on the JB HiFi shelves for even less. I certainly wouldnt be paying bigger bucks for the Criterion despite the doco (and the dreadful Laura Mulvey commentary. Phallic central as usual.)

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#21 Post by Tribe » Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:59 pm

davidhare wrote: the dreadful Laura Mulvey commentary...
Not the best commentary, but not that awful..I mean, how else does one look at Peeping Tom if not from a phalo-centric viewpoint?

Tribe

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#22 Post by david hare » Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:12 pm

Apart from generally loathing Laura Mulvey's monothematic writing, while there's a (completely obvious) phallic dimension to Mark's camera and tripod/knife, the subtext of the act of moviemaking itself (thru to Powell's and son's personal appearances in the home movies) is one of the most fascinating levels, but hardly touched on by la Mulves. The doco on Leo Marks "A Very English Psycho" is very entertaining. But soma has to weigh up whether it's worth paying 27 odd USD for this as a Criterion against roughly 10USD (14AUD) for the local disc.

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#23 Post by Greathinker » Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:59 pm

I think this film is in need of an update on DVD. Is criterion still the best way to go? Anyone own the studio canal version or know of its image quality?

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#24 Post by Gordon » Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:08 am

I'm not sure if a new edition would be viable - but then Grey Gardens (a terrific film) has been revisted, so maybe anything is fair game. I had to turn off the Mulvey commentary, which I found lumbering and repetitive. As for the video quality (Beaver review) it is a classic example of the 'waxy transfer' - very unnatural colour, very grainy in places and those are qualities that one doesn't associate with Powell, but it was late-50s British Eastmancolor which usually looks like poop, but Anchor's transfer of The Lady Killers (saw it again the last night - laughed my head off) also shot by Otto Heller, is very beautiful. Criterion's transfer was from the "restored 35mm interpositive" which seems odd as a restoration is usually finalized with a negative; maybe it is just clumsy wording. High-def and sensible clean-up and colour-correction would greatly improve the image, no doubt.

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#25 Post by david hare » Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:50 am

Gordon I've seen Peeping Tom a few times in imported 16mm prints and they looked terrific. Eastman stock at that time was particularly good with blues and reds (altho the latter not to the richly saturated degree of Technicolor.) There certainly used to be very attractive prints around (and in the correct ratio.)

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