"This is truly a wonderful film. Moreau, Mastroianni and Vitti are perfect in Antonioni's expression of banality and dispassion in the modern age. Those put off by Antonioni's work, due to vagueness and slow pacing, will find "La Notte" extremely approachable. Also, I was amazed to how similar "La Notte" is to Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut." The portraying of the emptiness of the main characters marriage not through dialog but imagery, the story structure, the wealthy friends party (end of "La Notte," beginning of "EWS"), the personal odysseys Moreau and Mastroianni venture on to spark up passion in their lives are all reminiscent of Kubrick's last film. I haven't heard of Kubrick being influence by Antonioni or not, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised.Being that "La Notte" is such a visual treat, it is frustrating that the Fox Lorber DVD is so poorly put together. It skips, the audio often doesn't sync up with the actors mouths, there is a hiss that keeps on going on and off, and there are many scratches and smudges throughout. Oh well. Hopefully Criterion will pick this one up and do to "La Notte" what they did for "L'Avventura." That is the treatment this film deserves."
A TRULY GREAT FILM; A TERRIBLE DVD
TUCO H. | Los Angeles, CA | 10/09/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A film that Jean Renoir called "Magnificent" and Orson Welles said he couldn't stand, "La Notte" is arguably Antonioni's most flawless, concentrated and deeply layered masterpiece (the late great critic William Arrowsmith has put forth the most masterful argument in favor of this high opinion in his fantastically unconventional and myth-debunking, chapter-long review of it in "Antonioni: Poet of Images"), and it certainly deserved better than the amateurish & just plain awful transfer it has gotten from the philistine cheapskates at Fox-Lorber. The film's influence on other filmmakers & especially the most famous of American directors such as Scorsese, Coppola, and De Palma is IMMENSE: for direct proof check out Scorsese's homage to the famous silent-conversation-in-the-parked-car-in-the-rain scene in "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," where Ellen Burstyn is seen grieving silently in the closed capsule of her car in the pouring rain for her son who has run away. Some people also mention Kubrick's final pretentious mediocrity "Eyes Wide Shut" as being similar to this film. Well, it figures, and no real film fans are too surpried since "Barry Lyndon" and "2001" were also both practically Antonioni films in their deliberate, super-concentrated compositions and slow pacing, and also because back when he was still a great director (in 1963) Kubrick listed "La Notte" as his 7th favorite film of all-time.The picture quality of this DVD version Fox-Lorber-Winstar has thrown on the market is maybe SLIGHTLY better than a mediocre VHS copy, but that's about it! The ONLY reason to buy the DVD is to be able to get to your favorite parts quicker. The picture is undermatted, has annoying lines and moving dots through it throughout, and the sound sometimes has weird pops and crackles in it as if it was recorded off a scratched LP! Not only that, but the English Subtitles are NOT REMOVABLE and their text in this version is BADLY TRANSLATED, making the non-Italian-speaking viewer miss quite a few conversational points that I, for one, know by heart, through having watched my old Video copy of the well-translated JANUS Collection Print (perfectly matted by the way) recorded off a TV Showing on BRAVO many years ago, many times (I truly LOVE this film and unlike some other Antonioni films which I had to 'grow into,' was instantly hypnotized by its poetry the FIRST time I saw it in a visceral way I haven't experienced with any other film except maybe Godard's "Breathless," Truffaut's "Shoot the Piano Player" and Scorsese's "Taxi Driver"). Needless to say, I'm a big dupe, and I bought this DVD the day it came out and was totally disappointed, and what I could only hope for, and it doesn't seem likely because, apparently, Fox-Lorber own the DVD rights to this classic film, is for a CRITERION transfer of "La Notte," "The Eclipse," and every other Antonioni film to go along with their pristine version of "L'Avventura," and maybe even with commentary as great as Gene Youngblood's on all of them! When will Fox-Lorber learn to give classic works of cinematic art the respect they deserve?"
Yes, the DVD IS watchable
Peter Henne | San Pedro, California United States | 04/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Several respondents here have criticized the transfer quality, citing cropping, hisses, wobbling, etc. Most of the "cropping" is attributable to television overscan, and you notice it more on this DVD because Antonioni makes such deft and unusual use of the far edges of the screen. There are DVD players available which can help compensate for overscanning, a problem originating from standard television sets and not this particular DVD. Regarding hisses, those recurring, distant industrial sounds you hear are on the original soundtrack. Undoubtedly they are meant to serve an emotional mood. One respondent reports that the image is so jumpy he couldn't watch the film; I simply didn't have the same viewing experience. A number of Criterion releases have more image wobble than this one. In fact, I'm impressed by the great sound and picture quality of this DVD. It's a huge improvement over the muddy version which Bravo used to broadcast, and notably cleaner than theatrical prints available in the US in the 1990s. While not perfect, this DVD delivers the aural and visual clarity which Antonioni deserves."
Another Antonioni Masterpiece
robb0117 | 01/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While "L'Avventura" was a film about mystery, and about the discovery of mystery in our lives, this follow-up is darker, stressing the loss of mystery--along with the loss of love and of value in life. Like "L'Avventura," it's supremely beautiful to look at, and it also focuses on the Italian upper-class world of the early 60s. Here, Marcello Mastroianni plays a celebrated novelist who's in the process of burning out, and Jeanne Moreau is his wife--who's burning out too, but unlike him, she's aware of it. She (and he, to a lesser extent) embarks on a sort of odyssey of self-discovery in the course of a day and night; among the many brilliant episodes is a long night party at the home of a millionaire (who, we learn, "collects" intellectuals such as the novelist, and then seeks to buy them). The millionaire's speeches are brilliantly written, as he gradually caricatures himself, and as he implicates the intelligentsia in the process of emptying that the modern world is rapidly accomplishing. Moreau herself has never been more expressive--well, maybe in "Jules and Jim"--and Mastroianni is also at his best. As if that pairing weren't enough, about two-thirds of the way through we meet the magnificent Monica Vitti, playing the 18-year-old daughter of the millionaire, and giving endless shadings to her character--as she usually does.The DVD is good, though not as good as it might have been. The film is letterboxed, and the image is good and crisp. The subtitles are good, but often bits of dialogue aren't translated, especially bits in the party scenes. There are very few extras, but the filmographies are good. The DVD promises weblinks, but the main link is to the Internet Movie Database, which anybody likely to watch this film will probably have bookmarked long ago. Still, for anyone interested in Antonioni, or in the greatest films of the era, this is well worth the purchase price."
Intense...a complete film about real and disturbing feelings
Alexandre Travassos | Rio de Janeiro, BRASIL | 04/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Communication is the primal source of this Antonioni's masterpiece. Are there any possibilities of understanding between people? Is it possible to establish a monogamy-based relationship in a world full of desire and curiosities? The director presents a work that shows how dangerous it can be when love twists itself into an ordinary living convenience.With wonderful performances by Mastroiani, Moreau and Vitti (which plays the personification of desire and lost youth), Antonioni presents love as the only possible salvation with beautiful images and strong dialogues. An immortal movie based on an immortal subject."