The Saragossa Manuscript [Region 2]
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During Napoleon's invasion of Spain, two soldiers discover a strange manuscript at an Inn. The book chronicles the adventures of Alfonso van Worden (Zbigniew Cybulski - Ashes and Diamonds). Alfonso's passage through the dangerous Sierra Morena Mountains is repeatedly interrupted by seemingly random encounters with an assortment of larger than life figures. Tunisian princesses inform Alfonso that he is their cousin and their betrothed; an occult scholar ensnares Alfonso with confounding stories about feuds between Merchants and hardships faced by gypsies. And of course, Alfonso never did expect the Spanish Inquisition. Adapted from explorer Jan Potocki's magnum opus, Wojciech Has' The Saragossa Manuscript is a major cult film of the 1960s. Its admirers include film-makers Luis Buñuel and David Lynch as well as musician Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead. Its approach to storytelling, admiringly described by comics artist Neil Gaiman as 'a labyrinth inside a maze', features stories within stories; alternatively frightening and comical in its mind-bending exploration of human nature.
I love the Saragossa Manuscript ... exceptional --Luis Buñuel
Simultaneously horrific, erotic and funny ... this is one mother of a film --David Lynch
You don't have to take drugs to watch this movie (Jerry Garcia's favorite), but you may need some afterward --Bright Lights Film Journal
Top customer reviews
The disc looks wonderful, video is in a stunning 2x1 black white anamorphic video taken from Wojciech Has' original and only complete print of the film. Some washing can be seen in the begining outdoor shots but this can also be from the original lighting. Burn marks are still evident for signifying the reel changes but this does not take away from the picture quality itself, little or no artifacting is present and some very minor and almost unnoticeable scratches in a few sequences. Overall a pretty darn good video presentation.
Sound is a Dolby Digital mono track in Polish - voices (especially the Gypsy chief) are much more robust if the subwoofer is turned up. There is also an isolated soundtrack also in Dolby Digital mono which is a mixture of the actual score and the many sounds that Krysysztof Pendericki (he also did the scores for the Shining and The Exorcist)used for an otherworldly feel in the film. English removeable subtitles are also present.
Rounding off extra features are filmographies and an extremly brief (8 or so) still gallery.
Overall a great deal for the money, especially for a film which had a limited release here in the states in the mid 60's and then disappeared until the late 90's only for another limited release. Do yourself a favor and see this film - you've never seen anything like it before and probably never will again. Words can't bring you into the full depth of the plot and its many convolutions, just sit back and enjoy the ride.