BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Eureka/Masters of Cinema and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here.
Forum rules
Please do not clutter up the threads for MoC titles with information on pre-orders. You can announce the availability of pre-orders in the MoC: Cheapest Prices / Best Places to Buy / Pre-Orders thread. Any posts on pre-orders in any other thread will be deleted.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#1 Post by swo17 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:36 am

19 Aug

Image

One of the most important films in all of Australian cinema, and perhaps the key critical work of that country's internationally acclaimed film movement of the 1970s, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is nothing short of a masterpiece – a bracing and emotionally wrenching study of the effects of institutionalised racism and colonialism on a land's indigenous peoples, and an unflinching look at the repercussions of violence for both aggressors and victims.

Based on the early 20th-century exploits of Jimmy Governor, Jimmie Blacksmith follows its title character, a half-Aboriginal, half-white young man attempting to make his way as a farmhand, but facing only prejudice and deception from society. When the parentage of his child is called into question and he is further robbed by his white employers, Jimmie's barely suppressed rage explodes, triggering a wave of violence that would shock a nation.

Directed by Fred Schepisi (Six Degrees of Separation) from a Booker-nominated novel by Thomas Keneally (Schindler's List), The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith stands alongside The Harder They Come and Sweet Sweetback's Baadassss Song as one of the most powerful 1970s cinema explorations of rebellion and uprising, and the costs that are paid on both sides. Called "the one great Australian film that I have seen" by Pauline Kael, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is a powerful experience.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• LIMITED EDITION O-CARD (2000 units) - featuring newly commissioned artwork by Nathanael Marsh
• The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith – Australian Version [122 mins] – presented in 1080p on Blu-ray (with a progressive encode on the DVD), from a restoration completed by Umbrella Entertainment
• The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith – International Version [117 mins] – from a brand new restoration completed in 2019 from the original film elements (Blu-ray only)
• Uncompressed monaural soundtrack (on Blu-ray)
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Brand new and exclusive audio commentary by film critic and writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (Australian Version)
• Audio commentary by director Fred Schepisi (Australian version)
• Interview with Fred Schepisi [39 mins]
• Celluloid Gypsies: Making "The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith" [36 mins]
• A conversation with director Fred Schepisi and cinematographer Ian Baker [64 mins]
• The Chant of Tom Lewis – interview with Tom E. Lewis [26 mins]
• Q&A session with Fred Schepisi and Geoffrey Rush, from the 2008 Melbourne International Film Festival [34 mins]
• Making us Blacksmiths – Documentary on the casting of Aboriginal lead actors Tom E. Lewis and Freddy Reynolds
• Stills Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer
• Reversible sleeve
• A collector's booklet featuring a new essay by Travis Crawford; a reprint of Pauline Kael's original review of the film, and rare archival imagery

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#2 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:03 am

Oh, fantastic! This is an amazing and still shocking film about race and miscegenation, and the way that even on a personal relationship level promises of integration eventually turn into lies, as race always remains an ever present issue. The trailer shows it off well and the central axe massacre scene (the reason it briefly circled the Section 3 video nasty list) is still brutally shocking and upsetting even now.

It is very important that we have the contrast between Jimmie, trying to be subsumed into polite white society but always the outsider when certain events happen, and the fate of his Aboriginal brother and uncle whose appearance pushes events to a conclusion quicker than they perhaps otherwise would have done. But it probably would have ended for Jimmie badly eventually anyway, and the bleak suggestion of the film is that the attempt at integration (compared to the brother and uncle who without Jimmie's presence would have never been given work at all) especially into a hypocritical society that provides no commitment to or understanding of those left caught between two cultures, is a terrible situation to find oneself in. Perhaps it is easier to become the monster everyone is always pushing you to be? At least it leads to a more streamlined, simpler conclusion to one's story.

Hopefully with this release Schepisi's previous film from this period, the semi-autobiographical Catholic boarding school drama The Devil's Playground, might appear at some point.

User avatar
Finch
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:09 pm
Location: Edinburgh, UK

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#3 Post by Finch » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:00 pm

The blurb says it's based on Umbrella's own restoration. Has anyone seen that disc?

User avatar
GaryC
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:56 pm
Location: Aldershot, Hampshire, UK

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#4 Post by GaryC » Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:06 pm

Just when I was thinking British boutique labels have little interest in releasing Australian classics, along comes Criterion's My Brilliant Career and now this.
colinr0380 wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:03 am
Hopefully with this release Schepisi's previous film from this period, the semi-autobiographical Catholic boarding school drama The Devil's Playground, might appear at some point.
I do wonder if that's on the cards. Umbrella only have that out on DVD at the moment. Likewise the portmanteau film Libido, which Umbrella did release on DVD back in 2005, though it's out of print now - Schepisi directed one of the four segments.

Finch wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:00 pm
The blurb says it's based on Umbrella's own restoration. Has anyone seen that disc?
Yes, and I reviewed it for The Digital Fix. I did hear that some people had problems with it, notably a juddering effect which I admit I didn't see on my copy. I did spot some edge enhancement though. It's a scan derived from the 35mm interpositive.

The HOH subtitles could definitely do with improving - there are several "(MUMBLES)" " turning up and in at least one case I could make out what the words were.

Eureka seem to have ported over the extras from the Umbrella disc, apart from apparently Schepisi's introduction (which is twenty-five seconds long). Added in this version, other than the booklet, is the Heller-Nicholas commentary and the presence of the international version. Schepisi did cut the film after its original release (by how much varies by source) but the 35mm archive print struck as part of the Atlab 50 in 2000 is the 122-minute version, and that's the one I've seen on DVD and Blu-ray so far. I think I saw a shortened version on Channel 4 in 1987, but I can't be certain of that.

I understand the 117-minute cut (which appears to be the version released on pan-and-scan VHS in the UK) loses the scene where Jimmie and Mort and their captive McCready hide at a rock which has been defaced with graffiti - historically accurate, and in Thomas Keneally's novel, but apparently audiences found it distracting. That scene does run about five minutes, so that could be the only difference.

User avatar
Finch
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:09 pm
Location: Edinburgh, UK

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#5 Post by Finch » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:26 pm

Thanks for that, Gary. Seems like key Australian films continue to get less than ideal transfers for the most part. I'm keen to see the film though and it's the most interesting MoC acquisition in a while for me personally.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#6 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:22 am

It is also rather fortuitous that this release is coming out around the same time that Thomas Keneally's latest novel The Book of Science and Antiquities (original Australian title "Two Old Men Dying") is getting the author the most press in the UK that he has had in recent years (including an interview with him on BBC Radio 4's Front Row on Monday, during which he briefly mentions his novel of Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith as "...too much cultural appropriation I think. It is a plunder I would not do now, particularly since there are so many very good Aboriginal novelists appearing who can do that")

User avatar
GaryC
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:56 pm
Location: Aldershot, Hampshire, UK

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#7 Post by GaryC » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:46 am

Finch wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:26 pm
Thanks for that, Gary. Seems like key Australian films continue to get less than ideal transfers for the most part. I'm keen to see the film though and it's the most interesting MoC acquisition in a while for me personally.
I wonder if encoding/authoring might make a difference with this new release?

With you on the Australian film releases - many classics aren't on Blu-ray even in their home country, just DVD.

According to the BBFC, they passed the full-length version (121:48) for cinema release back in 1978. If the shorter cut did play in UK cinemas, it wouldn't have been the first time that the film was shortened between BBFC certification and release. That said, the Monthly Film Bulletin review gives the running time as 122 minutes. The two video certifications in 1987 and 1994 are both 112 minutes, which would correspond to 117 with PAL speed-up.

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#8 Post by tenia » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:55 pm

Update : the Travis Crawford essay will be dropped.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#9 Post by swo17 » Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:18 pm

Uh, what happened to this guy? He also just got dropped from the Who Saw Her Die? release

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#10 Post by tenia » Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:31 pm

I'm wondering too. Maybe he's just having temporary health issues that made him fall behind on these.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#11 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:21 pm

From what I can glean from his Facebook page (or at least from what others have posted on it, as he appears to be involuntarily offline right now), he recently had a very dramatic and unexpected change in his personal circumstances.

I can easily sympathise with this, as I had to cancel a planned commentary last year after the bloke in question was unexpectedly given a notice of eviction, so he suddenly had to find somewhere for him and his family to live at very short notice. Unsurprisingly, he was in no fit mental state to record a commentary, which I know from my own personal experience is an extremely demanding thing to do (in preparation at least as much as actual recording), although at least in this case it was cancelled (just) before the announcement.

M Sanderson
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:43 am

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#12 Post by M Sanderson » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:54 am

So, was the issue with the Umbrella release encoding, and is the MoC an improvement?

User avatar
Aunt Peg
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:30 am

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#13 Post by Aunt Peg » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:21 am

M Sanderson wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:54 am
So, was the issue with the Umbrella release encoding, and is the MoC an improvement?
It has edge enhancement and whilst the picture quality is good its not a stellar presentation.

However, it should be noted that the Australian disc is the version screened in Australia. The international cut, which MoC are releasing, will probably end up being overall better quality (this is a guess). The MoC release also has the Australian version but I'll wager that no additional work was done on that version.

You'll have to wait for actual reviews of the disc to come out to confirm this. For myself I'm not double dipping because even if the international cut is of better pictures quality I can't imagine even watching the film with the missing scene as the Australian version is all I have ever seen (see above posts for details of the missing scene).

nitin
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:49 am

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#14 Post by nitin » Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:32 am

International version looks to be from a print or has really weird contrast:

http://10kbullets.com/reviews/t/the-cha ... dvd-combo/

User avatar
Aunt Peg
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:30 am

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#15 Post by Aunt Peg » Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:42 pm

Ouuch. The Australian version looks much better.

User avatar
L.A.
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#16 Post by L.A. » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:24 am


User avatar
willoneill
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:10 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#17 Post by willoneill » Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:40 pm

I was just looking up the specs for this release on dvdcompare, and I noticed this note:
The Australian version opens with the Umbrella Entertainment logo while the international version opens with a Shout! Factory logo.
If the U.S. release is from Kino, why would there be a Shout! Factory logo?

User avatar
The Fanciful Norwegian
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
Location: Teegeeack

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#18 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:59 pm

Shout has some U.S. rights to the film; the version streaming on Amazon Prime is credited to them, not Kino. I assume MoC used the same master.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: BD 212 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

#19 Post by MichaelB » Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:11 pm

It may well be the case that the Kino version opens with the Shout logo too.

Post Reply