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Citizen Welles - The Stranger, The Trial, Hearts of Age (1946)

Paul Edgerton , Virginia Nicholson , Orson Welles  |  NR |  DVD
2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Citizen Welles - The Stranger, The Trial, Hearts of Age + The Lady from Shanghai
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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Edgerton, Virginia Nicholson, Orson Welles
  • Directors: Orson Welles
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: FOCUS FILMS
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2012
  • Run Time: 213 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005OSK1
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,080 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Citizen Welles - The Stranger, The Trial, Hearts of Age" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Features fully restored and Dolby Digital 5.1 remixed versions of two Orson Welles classics, The Stranger and The Trial
  • 18-minute documentary, narrated by noted Welles historian Richard France and featuring a rare behind-the-scenes look at the restoration process of these two classic films
  • Orson Welles's first film, 1934's Hearts of Age
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Still photo gallery

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

For budget-minded cineastes, this two-disc set of Orson Welles films is a welcome addition to any DVD library, even if it falls short of its claims. While the accompanying documentary demonstrates that The Stranger, The Trial, and Welles's 1934 silent short Hearts of Age have been restored, source materials are not specified, inviting speculation that the films were digitally "cleaned" from video sources in the public domain. The films do sound better than ever with a subtle 5.1-channel remastering, and the visual quality is good but hardly pristine; Milestone Video's DVD of The Trial presents a crisper, sharper image.

Those quibbles aside, the set's strengths do make for an acceptable and affordable means to appreciate Welles's visual ingenuity, stylized by cinematographer Russell Metty in Welles's conventional Nazi-manhunt thriller The Stranger, and by Edmond Richard in the brilliant, budget-constrained production of Kafka's The Trial. The films are excellent, and apart from critic Jeffrey Lyons's flaccid commentary tracks, this package treats them with all due respect. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

Features fully restored and Dolby Digital 5.1 remixed versions of two Orson Welles classics, ""The Stranger"" and ""The Trial."" Also includes 18-minute documentary, narrated by noted Welles historian Richard France and featuring a rare behind-the-scenes look at the restoration process of these two classic films. Also - Orson Welles's first film, 1934's ""Hearts of Age"", Theatrical trailers and still photo gallery

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing "Restorations". December 19, 2001
Verified Purchase
If you are a student of film, and/or wish to see anything that issued from the fertile imagination of that cinematic genius, Orson Welles, then you probably will want to purchase a copy of "Citizen Welles". However, be forewarned, the razor sharp images, clarity and impressive gray-scale range of restored vintage movies that the DVD format has made commonplace will not be found on these disks. Here we are presented low resolution, soft-focus prints that may well be clean of scratches and blemishes, but that let us see none of the crisp details that the original negative must have contained. (Does the original negative even exist?)

The cover of the DVD case states, "Fully Restored and Remixed into Dolby Digital 5.1", and a documentary on the second disk explains in excruciatingly detailed mumbo-jumbo how much effort went into the restoration process. But the results are so poor (these restorers should really be embarrassed) that I can only assume they "restored" videotape transfers of rather mediocre prints. They certainly could not have been working with the original negatives, or with fine-grain archival master prints. ("The Trial" is a shade sharper than "The Stranger", but not by much.)

I was so very disappointed when I watched these disks because "The Stranger" has always been one of my favorite movies despite the fact that Welles, and many critics, consider it to be his worst film. I think I enjoy watching as the quiet facade of an all-American small town ("Our Town") crumbles to reveal its malevolent threat.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Jeffrey Lyons doesn't get out much. December 16, 2001
Verified Purchase
The cover of this release boasts a quote from film critic Jeffrey Lyons that "This restoration is in perfect condition. Orson Welles would have loved seeing it." Yeah, seeing it burn like a sled. In his tedious and obvious audio commentary ("Note the ominous use of shadow") Jeffrey raves about how gorgeous the transfer of The Stranger is and how it's the best version he's ever seen. Huh? There are better versions of both films out on VHS, laserdisc and DVD (The Roan Stranger and the Image Trial). The restoration documentary makes it clear that the producers of this set found the (worst) looking prints of these films imaginable to restore. I've seen better ones projected in my college film classes. The only reason to buy this set is to get Hearts of Age, the film shot when Orson was 18.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably bad DVD transfer October 25, 2003
If one reads between the lines of Amazon's editorial review of Citizen Welles, you'll see a serious concern about the quality of the digital transfers of these movies. The Trial is probably passable, although very far from being "pristine". However, The Stranger is truly shocking in terms of how bad it looks. If you've ever seen a public domain movie on VHS from a fly-by-night distributor, you'll have an idea of how bad The Stranger looks on this set. Even if the source materials used for these DVDs were video tapes originally sold to consumers, it still doesn't explain why The Stranger looks this bad.
By the way, there's actually a quote from Jeffrey Lyons (who does two very mediocre audio commentaries on this set) that says "This restoration is in perfect condition. Orson Welles would have loved seeing it." I can't imagine how Jeffrey Lyons could say this, although I'm sure the money he got paid for his contribution to this DVD set has something to do with it. Orson Welles was one of our greatest directors and his movies don't deserve such shabby treatment.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
As noted by other reviewers, these films are not restored from film, but from poor video sources. The clowns in the `documentary' even admit it, if you listen carefully. The part of the commentary that I could stand was poorly prepared and repeating the obvious. Since `The Trial' is the much more interesting film of this double feature, I regret having preordered this release instead of buying the appearantly better other DVD release of `The Trial' ...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You Get What You Pay For February 7, 2006
No one is lying when they say the video quality of these prints is not great. They look okay, and that's it. It's hard to find any copies of The Stranger these days, so unless you snagged it off a TV broadcast you may have to settle for this one. The Milestone DVD of The Trial looks much better, but is very expensive.

The set is worth buying in order to add Hearts of Age to your collection, which Welles referred to not as a "film" but as "a little joke one Sunday afternoon."

The commentaries by Jeffrey Lyons are the worst I've ever heard. He should be ashamed of himself.

The soundtracks are only available in the 5.1 Surround Sound mode - for some reason the producers didn't see fit top include the original mono.

The video is okay. The Stranger looks a little bleached. I've seen much worse copies of both of these films.

If you need these for your library, go for it. Or if you feel like shelling the bucks for the Milestone Trial, then you will be better served.

Actually, the best quality DVD release of The Trial is by Studio Canal (under the title "Le Proces") - much better picture than the Milestone one.
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