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The Devil's Backbone (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (2001)

Marisa Paredes , Eduardo Noriega , Guillermo del Toro  |  R |  Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Blu-ray 1-Disc Version $23.99  
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"The Life Aquatic" Available for Pre-order on Blu-ray
The Criterion Collection's release of Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic is available for pe-order on Blu-ray. This title releases May 27th, 2014. Learn more

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The Devil's Backbone (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Cronos (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Pan's Labyrinth [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Marisa Paredes, Eduardo Noriega, Federico Luppi, Fernando Tielve, Irene Visedo
  • Directors: Guillermo del Toro
  • Format: Blu-ray, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: July 30, 2013
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00CEIOH3M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,135 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Devil's Backbone (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New 2K digital film restoration, approved by director Guillermo del Toro
  • Audio commentary featuring Del Toro
  • Video introduction by Del Toro from 2010
  • New interviews with Del Toro
  • Que es un fantasma, a 2004 making-of documentary
  • Spanish Gothic, a 2010 interview with Del Toro about the genre
  • Interactive director's notebook, with Del Toro?s drawings
  • Four deleted scenes, with optional commentary
  • New featurette about the Spanish Civil War as evoked in the film
  • Program comparing Del Toro?s thumbnail sketches
  • Selected on-screen presentation of Del Toro's thumbnail sketches
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Mark Kermode

  • Editorial Reviews

    The most personal film by Guillermo del Toro (Cronos) is also among his most frightening and emotionally layered. Set during the final week of the Spanish Civil War, THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE tells the tale of a ten-year-old boy who, after his freedom-fighting father is killed, is sent to a haunted rural orphanage full of terrible secrets. Del Toro effectively combines gothic ghost story, murder mystery, and historical melodrama in a stylish concoction that reminds us—as would his later Pan’s Labyrinth—that the scariest monsters are often the human ones.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars What is a ghost? April 18, 2013
    Format:Blu-ray
    Guillermo del Toro is currently known as the guy who made the Oscar-winning "Pan's Labyrinth," the "Hellboy" movies, and came close to directing "The Hobbit."

    But way back in in 2001, del Toro made a movie that serves as a sport of ghost-story prequel to "Pan's Labyrinth." With its mysterious specter, innocent hero and a story set during a bloody civil war, "The Devil's Backbone" is a unique kind of horror movie -- it deftly sidesteps the cheap tricks and scares that most ghost stories employ.

    Unaware that his father has been killed, Carlos (Fernando Tielve) thinks that he's being left at a remote orphanage only temporarily. Kindly Dr. Casares (Federico Luppi) sympathizes with the lonely new boy, but Carlos soon is distracted from his troubles. He keeps seeing shadows, footprints and falling pitchers -- and when he wanders down into the vaulted cellar, he catches a glimpse of a silent ghost with a bleeding head wound. Even worse, the ghost -- which was a boy named Santi -- informs him that many people there will die.

    But the most dangerous one at the orphanage is the brutal former-orphan Jacinto (Eduardo Noriega), who is searching for a cache of hidden gold. As Carlos tries to figure out how Santi died -- and what angry, miserable Jaime (Íñigo Garcés) has to do with it -- the orphanage is suddenly turned into an explosive war zone. As Dr. Casares tries to protect the remaining boys, Carlos discovers the reason Santi died -- and what he wants now.

    "The Devil's Backbone" is a movie filled with death: the orphanage is a dying institution in a time of war, filled with orphans and surrounded by sun-burnt grass. It even has a defused torpedo stuck right in the middle of the courtyard.
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    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Blu-ray
    A mysterious ghost haunts a Spanish orphange and 10 year old Carlos is determined to find out who and why it is haunting the facility in Guillermo del Toro's exceptinal ghost story set during the Spanish Civil War. This exceptional film receives a deluxe Blu-ray treatment from Criterion. Unfortunately for those who want this edition, it is Region A locked. If you're in Europe, you'll need a region free player.

    The transfer for "The Devil's Backbone" tooks absolutely stunning for this 2001 film. Detail is exceptional and there is no overuse of digital noise reduction. The film looks quite nice in its high def debute.

    The lossless 5.1 audio also sounds terrific. This doesn't feature an English dubbed version but does feature English subtitles.

    The special feaatures are a highlight on this set. We get an introduction by del Toro (in English), del Toro's 2004 commentary from the Sony release, deleted scenes, sketches, a 30 minute behind-the-scenes documentary (that is excellent)as well as a 15 minute interview with del Toro discussing the creation of one of the most memorable characters in the film. We also get an excellent featurette on the designs for the film featuring del Toro.

    We also get "Director's Notebook" an interactive feature that allows us to dig in to the director's notes on the film. "Spanish Gothic" is an interview with del Toro, deleted scenes, a series of side-by-side comparisons of del Toro's thumbnail illustrations and the finished film. We also get a brief featurette with Spanish Civil War historian Sebastian Faber and the trailer for the film. As with all Criterion editions, this features a booklet with an essay on the making of the film.

    An exceptional film from director del Toro, this edition of "The Devil's Backbone" is an improved on Sony's 2004 release and is recommended.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great film, great transfer August 13, 2013
    Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
    The Devil's Backbone is a del Toro masterpiece. The story is psychologically scary, contains some minor, light humor and tons of atmosphere.

    The story goes that a giant unexploded bomb (supposedly defused) sits in the center of an all boy's orphanage. Each child seems to be there based on the fact that their parents have died in the Spanish Civil War. In the opening a young boy dies and the rumor persists that the boy's ghost haunts the orphanage.

    Mix in some greed and you have a tale that will leave you thinking.

    Region A locked Blu Ray.

    Video:

    The best this film has ever looked. The darkness is properly exposed and there are no compression issues to be spotted, especially in the darkness shrouded areas. In the age of Blu Ray, thankfully improperly mastered video is a true rarity.

    Criterion have gone back and cleaned up 1000s of instances of dust, dirt and scratches, so there really isn't any place where any of that appears in the video.

    MPEG-4 AVC encoded with high bit rates.

    Audio:

    DTS-HD 5.1 Spanish language with optional English subtitles. Given this is the original language track, it's no surprise this is the only option on this release given Criterion's love of authenticity. Had someone else already created an English overdub, it would likely have been included, so I assume no such dub exists.

    The Devil's Backbone is not an action heavy scare fest with lots of explosions. There are some scenes of explosive violence, but it's not the focus. Dialog is crisp and clean. Sound envelops you nicely with the surround options.

    Extras:

    10 featurettes are included, along with a commentary and trailers.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Del Toro strikes with a beautiful ghost story.
    Del Toro takes inspiration from Grimm fairy tales, wherein the children are usually eaten or killed when they misbehave. Read more
    Published 20 days ago by THOMAS BRANDSTETTER
    4.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie original plot
    This is a great movie if you can get past the subtitles you'll enjoy it. Del Torro knows what he's doing
    Published 1 month ago by Jerrod Plummer
    5.0 out of 5 stars True Style
    This Film is a must , for fans of Beauty and Terror , Which seems to be Guillermo Del-Toro Trade marks , I was fortunate to purchase
    a signed Blu Ray Criterion . Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Andrew Zindilis
    5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and Meaningful.
    This is one of Guillermo's best movies. It is a landmark in film achievement. a must see for all. Highly recommended.
    Published 2 months ago by B
    4.0 out of 5 stars Great early movie from del Toro
    Before he got really big he was doing great "smaller" flicks like this that show his style and story-telling. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by dcw
    5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry on screen - A classic Ghost story
    Some people think horror is about busty teens and young rebels being picked off by mysterious killers or lots of gore from a made up creature. Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Alexander G.
    5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best
    This is a beautiful, well-told movie that shows how humanity is capable of greater horrors than the supernatural. Not a big CGI spectacle, but better for it.
    Published 5 months ago by Christopher D. Estes
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
    This is probably one of the best movies in the thriller/horror genre. Guillermo Del Toro is a brilliant filmmaker and this is in my opinion his finest film.
    Published 6 months ago by Jason HIlton
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie! Criterion so you know it is a great blu-ray as well.
    The movie looks incomparable to older versions. The picture and sound on this transfer are leaps and bounds above what you will find anywhere else. Read more
    Published 6 months ago by Joshua Pfister
    4.0 out of 5 stars A Frozen Moment in Time
    Watching this movie I could not help comparing it to Pan's Labyrinth. Both movies share the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War and concern themselves with the lives of children who... Read more
    Published 7 months ago by Matthew Simmons
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