"Polanski's classic is one of my all time favorite films and Criterion has done a fine job transferring it to DVD, hence the 5-star rating. Viewers should know, however, that at the request of the director, Criterion has disabled the step frame function as well as the ability to scan forward or backward. Only the chapter up and down feature is still functional as well as the ability to place the program in still frame without single frame advance or reverse. A liner note on the inside of the package alerts viewers only to the missing step frame feature but not to the fact that these other features have ALSO been disabled. And there is no mention made of ANY of these missing features anywhere on the outside of the packaging. Needless to say, not being able to scan forward or backward is a major inconvenience since it's impossible to review a scene without returning all the way to the beginning of the chapter. This is especially unfortunate with a subtitled film. If a line of dialogue flies by while you're busy admiring the visuals, you're out of luck since there's no easy way to back up quickly. All of this might have been less objectionable if the DVD had been more heavily chaptered, but alas, that is not the case, either. Let's hope that this is one very peculiar concession to a director that is not repeated any time soon."
Great early Polanski, who usurps control of your DVD player
bdlion | Charter Oak, Covina, CA | 04/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A fascinating, suspensful film debut for Roman Polanski, who already shows great promise with his amazingly original camera angles and creative shots. However, Criterion allowed Polanski to dictate the terms of the disc in which the step back/forward function is disabled. This is maddening, especially if one misses a subtitle or two when pondering some of his amazing shots.Another complaint I have is about the subtitles. I don't speak Polish, but it seems to me there is a lot of spoken dialogue that is not translated into English. I can recall several instances when the characters speak, but no subtitles appear. A harmless error, or a glaring mistake? I don't have an answer.This doesn't detract from the movie itself, which is excellent. Five stars would have been given if not for these flaws. However, I do hope Criterion does not repeat the very rude mistake of disabling disc functions in any other future editions of their releases. Another reviewer got it right: "Polanski controls his set, not my DVD player.""
CRITERION COLLECTION OF POLANSKI'S "KNIFE IN THE WATER"
Guy De Federicis | east of here | 11/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Three people aboard a fairly leisurely sailboat excursion on a Polish lake, sounds rather dull, but Roman Polanski's first feature length film is an absorbing intense drama in which even the mundane manual rigors of sailing becomes an exciting metaphor of human manipulation. The three characters, (the only three people seen in the entire movie, as a cost saving measure Polanski tells us in the DVD extra), are as perfectly formed and developed, understated and powerful, as we could expect from an Ingmar Bergman troupe of actors. Unlike most DVD extra director interviews, Polanski's inclusion of surprising facts about the film actually enhances the viewing of it. We learn of the difficulties involved with getting a film accepted by the then, (1962), socialist minded, communist controlled Polish film board, which explains some unusual dialogue concerning the difficulties of being a university student. The dialogue was added only after the censor board determined the film was of no social value. The actress, Jolanta Umecka, in an accomplished solid performance, was discovered at a municipal swimming pool, specifically for the casting of the film, and had no previous acting credentials. The actor, Zygmunt Malanowicz, had an inappropriate high pitched voice, so it was dubbed by Polanski's own speaking voice. The film itself is perfect satisfying drama. The DVD extras, including several Polanski student films, makes it shine all the more."
Terrific Looking Transfer to DVD
Christopher Beckwith | Minneapolis | 01/26/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A remarkably satisfying disc that gives viewers a crisp, virtually flawless transfer as well as lots of extras. Criterion should not, however, have agreed to Polanski's request disabling the search/forward and reverse functions. A truly dumb move that Criterion had best not repeat in future. Polanski gets to control his set, not my remote."
alenchik | NYC | 08/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Isn't it peculiar that a film without overly dramatic twists, cliffhangers, devoid of needless talk, noise, and special effects can be so appealing, enticing, and beautiful... Body language, particularly gestures and glances, play crucial roles here. The most is said when nothing is spoken. The film is both serene and haunting. It leaves an unforgettable, yet intangible, impression that I remember very distinctly today, over 5 years after seeing it. This is an experience not to be missed."