On this Blu-ray for the first time ever we get the ORIGINAL 132 minute version of the film as was shown in U.S. theaters.
(Note: This is NOT the "Love Conquers All" Sheinberg/TV Edit.)
All the DVD releases before this have been the European Version/Director's Cut of the film. Even the original Universal DVD release that said Theatrical Cut on the box actually had the European Version/Director's Cut.
Unfortunately, Universal didn't really spend any time cleaning up the negative for Hi-Definition (there is very noticeable instances of dirt and debris on the negative) but it still beats the image quality found on the Universal SD DVD, and they do include an amazing DTS-HD Master 5.1. We'll just have to wait for the Criterion Blu-ray of Brazil for image perfection but serious fans of Brazil will want to get this Blu-ray edition just to have this version of the film as it was originally seen in theaters in 1985.
I actually find this 132-minute version is in many ways a superior cut of the film. Here are the differences in detail:
*In the 132-minute version you cut from Sam in bed with Jill, police sack goes
over head, then CUT TO Pull off police sack to reveal Sam in Torture
Chamber/Interrogation chair. This one cut is simply brilliant and very powerful.
In the Criterion Version you have the added scene of Mr. Helpman as Father
Christmas (completely out of charcater from the rest of the film) and the whole
interrogation scene of Sam hanging from the rack inside the police/mail pouch
which becomes narratively redundant and dilutes the impact of the final scene.
*To end it with cooling tower/interrogation room fade to clouds was a great Gilliam
wink of subversion and irreverence to the cliche Hollywood Ending. As opposed to
the European cut of just credits over cooling tower/interrogation room.
*The Samurai Scene is divided into 3 separate scenes in the 132-minute version
versus 1 LONG scene in the European cut. And you know what? Like most things,
it works better in 3's.
*The 132-minute version cuts straight to the Dinner Scene with Ida (his mother)
ordering numero deux, trois, etc. while the European version has the entrance to
the restaurant of going through the metal detector which really doesn't add
anything and is again a bit redundant when the bomb does eventually go off in
the restaurant. With the scene, you're signaling to the audience we are looking for a bomb, so we expect a bomb. Without the added scene, the bombing is unexpected and it actually shocks you so you're both horrified and laughing. The unexpectedness also works as it builds upon the bomb motif from the first explosion at the beginning of Brazil during the Ducts advert.
*And finally I just love that the 132-minute version opens on those clouds (outtakes
from The Never-Ending Story) then goes to the Central Services advert about
Ducts: "Are your ducts old-fashioned, out-of-date... " Now the Criterion version
also has the clouds opening (The Original European Cut didn't) but it's funny
because the Studio asked Gilliam to start off with the clouds for the US Cut and he
actually prefers it as quoted in his Director's commentary. Hilarious.
Little changes that add up to a tighter and overall, better film.