Crime and Punishment

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released from Arrow and the films on them.

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domino harvey
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Crime and Punishment

#1 Post by domino harvey » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:21 am

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After fleeing Nazi Germany following the success of M and re-establishing himself in Britain as a villain for Alfred Hitchcock, the great Peter Lorre arrived in Hollywood in 1935, signed to a contract with Columbia Pictures. His dream star vehicle: a big-screen adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s most famous novel Crime And Punishment. His choice of director: Josef von Sternberg, already celebrated and castigated in equal measure for his seven-film collaboration with Marlene Dietrich.

Roderick Raskolnikov (Lorre) has graduated from university as a noted expert in criminology, but nonetheless lives in extreme poverty. Desperate and anguished, he murders a miserly pawnbroker, stealing her valuables before fleeing into the night. The next day, he encounters Inspector Porfiry (Edward Arnold), the detective assigned to the murder, and is asked by Porfiry to consult on the case when an innocent man is arrested as a suspect. How long until the conflicted, guilt-ridden Raskolnikov arouses the master detective’s suspicions?

One of many attempts at the time by Hollywood studios to give cinema an air of prestige by adapting great works of literature, Von Sternberg’s stylish direction and Lorre’s tour-de-force performance are ready for rediscovery in this Blu-Ray premiere of their only collaboration.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

High Definition Blu-Ray (1080p) presentation, restored from original film elements
Original lossless mono soundtrack
Isolated music and effects track
Light And Dark, a newly-filmed appreciation by David Thompson, critic and director of Josef von Sternberg: The Man Who Made Dietrich
The Double Face of Peter Lorre (1984), an hour-long German TV documentary directed by Harun Farocki
Mystery In The Air: Crime And Punishment, a 1947 radio adaptation with Lorre reprising the role of Raskolnikov
Image gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original artwork

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Adrian Martin

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domino harvey
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#2 Post by domino harvey » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:43 am

You wouldn't think you could compress the entire novel into 80 minutes, and you'd be right, but Hollywood still sometimes pulled this kind of thing off. But not this time. I don't really get the cult of JVS in the first place, which I know values this film, but I'd temper expectations going in

Jonathan S
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#3 Post by Jonathan S » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:38 pm

The German TV documentary The Double Face of Peter Lorre (1984) is apparently a double of that on Arrow's edition of The Raven, though on the sleeve of the Corman release it's identified as The Two Faces of Peter Lorre.

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knives
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#4 Post by knives » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:31 pm

I'm definitely part of that cult, but this film is definitely the weakest of his credited films because it is so hohum.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#5 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:46 pm

There was an impressive Russian version of this novel long ago (1970), released on rather grungy VHS video, which I don't believe ever made it to subbed DVD. This managed to work pretty well despite avoiding religious issues entirely (as far as I recall). It lasted a more reasonable (for the subject matter, at least) 221 minutes.

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HinkyDinkyTruesmith
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#6 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:48 pm

I watched this for the 30s project and, never having finished the novel, loved it. Quite a lot. I believe it made my top 15 for the 30s project—I don’t know what sort of justice it does Dostoyevsky but it’s an exceptionally lean Manichean melodrama and Lorre and Arnold bring to their scenes a seriously fun darkly comic energy. I know it’s sort of looked down on by most but I think it’s seriously under appreciated and hope it gets a region 1 release (or that this release is region free).

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swo17
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#7 Post by swo17 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:59 pm

If it only made your top 15 then it didn't do him justice

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HinkyDinkyTruesmith
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#8 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:09 pm

Well Peter Lorre is cute but he’s no Marlene Dietrich.

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Roscoe
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#9 Post by Roscoe » Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:21 pm

Not a particular favorite of mine -- it's so self-consciously High ART that it never quite gets off the ground, there's a lot of posing and pronouncing.

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The Fanciful Norwegian
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#10 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:26 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:46 pm
There was an impressive Russian version of this novel long ago (1970), released on rather grungy VHS video, which I don't believe ever made it to subbed DVD. This managed to work pretty well despite avoiding religious issues entirely (as far as I recall). It lasted a more reasonable (for the subject matter, at least) 221 minutes.
Ruscico's DVD has English subtitles, at least according to their catalog: https://www.ruscico.com/catalog/prestup ... nakazanie/

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knives
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#11 Post by knives » Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:32 pm

Yep, it does.

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swo17
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#12 Post by swo17 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:36 pm

The best adaptation will always be Sokurov's Whispering Pages

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knives
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#13 Post by knives » Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:22 pm

Pish, Breason is the right answer.

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david hare
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#14 Post by david hare » Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:38 pm

knives wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:31 pm
I'm definitely part of that cult, but this film is definitely the weakest of his credited films because it is so hohum.
Far from calling Jo's masterful Dostoyevsky "re-working ho hum" I would call it astonishingly successful. Like his rescue of Eisenstein's aborted American Tragedy, his own skill is paramount in reducing the sheer accumulation of detail and weight from an overpumped story like Dreiser's or an intensely existential self-ruminatve work like the Great Feodor, and his economies are sylishly amplified with wordless but expressively powerful personal mise en scene. The casting for Crime is almost perfect, the one weak link initially is the heroine played by a Columbia poverty row second stringer, Marian Marsh. But Jo gives her enough treatment with lighting, direction and staging to work her over totally in the way he did Georgia Hale for his and her debut feature, Salvation Hunters to the extent that she impressed Chaplin so much he cast her for Gold Rush.

My only response to this great news is Finally! Now for someone somewhere to find a reliable source element for Shanghai Gesture. Wild SIde had scheduled it two plus years ago but nthing has ever eventuated. Anyone know?
Last edited by david hare on Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dwk
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#15 Post by dwk » Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:40 pm

HinkyDinkyTruesmith wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:48 pm
I watched this for the 30s project and, never having finished the novel, loved it. Quite a lot. I believe it made my top 15 for the 30s project—I don’t know what sort of justice it does Dostoyevsky but it’s an exceptionally lean Manichean melodrama and Lorre and Arnold bring to their scenes a seriously fun darkly comic energy. I know it’s sort of looked down on by most but I think it’s seriously under appreciated and hope it gets a region 1 release (or that this release is region free).
Arrow's website says it is region free.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#16 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:05 pm

Looks like the Ruscico DVD is OOP and going for $50 (on Amazon, at least). (I sort of gave up on Ruscico long, long ago...)

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knives
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#17 Post by knives » Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:05 pm

david hare wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:38 pm
knives wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:31 pm
I'm definitely part of that cult, but this film is definitely the weakest of his credited films because it is so hohum.
Far from calling Jo's masterful Dostoyevsky "re-working ho hum" I would call it astonishingly successful. Like his rescue of Eisenstein's aborted American Tragedy, his own skill is paramount in reducing the sheer accumulation of detail and weight from an overpumped story like Dreiser's or an intensely existential self-ruminatve work like the Great Feodor, and his economies are sylishly amplified with wordless but expressively powerful personal mise en scene. The casting for Crime is almost perfect, the one weak link initially is the heroine played by a Columbia poverty row second stringer, Marian Marsh. But Jo gives her enough treatment with lighting, direction and staging to work her over totally in the way he did Georgia Hale for his and her debut feature, Salvation Hunters to the extent that she impressed Chaplin so much he cast her for Gold Rush.

My only response to this great news is Finally! Now for someone somewhere to find a reliable source element for Shanghai Gesture. Wild SIde had scheduled it two plus years ago but nthing has ever eventuated. Anyone know?
I was speaking relatively. I like it well enough, but unlike American Tragedy I could easily see someone doing a better adaptation and it definitely doesn't stand strong against his other films.

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Aunt Peg
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#18 Post by Aunt Peg » Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:40 am

Funnily enough I finally got around to watching my American DVD of this earlier in the week which it an impressive visually. I enjoyed the film 30 years on the big screen and enjoyed it again but I'm selling my DVD and passing on the Blu Ray release.

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Re: Crime and Punishment

#19 Post by Calvin » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:57 am

Reverse Cover:

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david hare wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:38 pm
My only response to this great news is Finally! Now for someone somewhere to find a reliable source element for Shanghai Gesture. Wild SIde had scheduled it two plus years ago but nthing has ever eventuated. Anyone know?
Couldn't agree more, David. Crime and Punishment might contain Lorre's finest performance, and Sternberg does a more than admirable job of capturing the tone of Dostoevsky cinematically.

Re: Shanghai Gesture, I haven't checked it out myself but it is available for streaming on Amazon in HD credited to 'Films Around the World'. Films Around the World are also the credited copyright holder for a Film Foundation-funded preservation/restoration (unspecified) of the George Eastman House's 35mm holding as per their website listing.

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L.A.
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#20 Post by L.A. » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:43 am

Hopefully I can mention the French version Crime et Châtiment (Georges Lampin, 1956). Great performances from Jean Gabin and Robert Hossein (who looks a bit like Anthony Perkins). Very good Blu-ray available from Gaumont with English subs.

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R0lf
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#21 Post by R0lf » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:16 am

Calvin wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:57 am
Re: Shanghai Gesture, I haven't checked it out myself but it is available for streaming on Amazon in HD credited to 'Films Around the World'. Films Around the World are also the credited copyright holder for a Film Foundation-funded preservation/restoration (unspecified) of the George Eastman House's 35mm holding as per their website listing.
The Amazon 720p isn't really an improvement over the DVD. It looks sharper but most of the detail which you can clearly see on the DVD is lost to black crush on the 720p. On the up side the 720p doesn't look like a swarm of digital artefacts like the DVD does just clumpy frozen grain instead. If you're not sitting directly on your TV I'd still recommend the noisy picture with the greyscale still intact on the DVD.

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david hare
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#22 Post by david hare » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:53 pm

That Eastman House listing has been out there for many years. I still have no idea where a good 35mm (say) fine grain might exist. The dreaded copyright speculator Galeshka Moraviof who “owns” Films sans Frontières” is responsible for the current PAL disc, which is not much different to the old Image disc (and earlier Laserdisc.) but has deeper black levels. I live in hope that Gesture will experience the same miraculous “rebirth” as Losey’s M two or three years ago when, out of the blue FsansF released quite a good PAL disc in France of M after years of shit bootlegs. Then, out of another blue Sidonis released a superb quality BluRay of M.

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JamesF
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Re: Crime and Punishment

#23 Post by JamesF » Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:39 am

In addition to the extras listed above, the final Arrow disc also includes a 35-minute select scene commentary by Stephen D. Youngkin, author of the indispensable Peter Lorre biography The Lost One.

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