Brilliantly capturing the oppressive paranoia of Franz Kafka's classic novel, Orson Welles' "The Trial" is the story of a young clerk, Josef K., who is arrested, tried and finally executed--all without ever knowing his cri... more »me. Welles filmed this baroque work of genius in a deserted Belle Epoque railway station in Paris. The strange setting perfectly captures the bizarre and nightmarish world of Kafka's mythical totalitarian state.« less
Kafka is really, really intensive reading. Having read this recently, I realized that this is the sort of thing that stands up to repeated readings. The embodiment of meticulous precision.
Repetition is the mother of emphasis...one certainly gets that (overload!) here. Much of what Kafka is reacting/proacting to in all of his works is the misery imposed by the significant amount of increase in the 20th century of basic de-humanizing, de-moralising, brain-draining red-tape...the 'mechanizing' of the mind, from the federal level, down to the state level, down to the county level, down to the town/city level...down to the place of employment level...MASSES and MASSES of IT! We take it for granted everyday now...but it was foreign to mankind for millenia. Lord knows my own head feels dead at the end of every weekday because of it...
I consider this version of the book fair. Perkins does an alright job. I think the best version is the one with Kyle MacLachlan and Anthony Hopkins.
Two TRIAL DVDs are not the same quality!!
Captain Z | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There are two different DVD versions of Orson Welles' The Trial, both available on Amazon. These are not the same quality. I give a four-plus star rating to the Milestone edition, which is beautiful and has some nice extras. BEWARE of the $5.50 version!"
Now listen very very closely!
A* | New York, N.Y. United States | 06/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Trial is Welles at his best like his other masterpieces this film is confusing at times, stark, personel and a bit unnerving all of this adds up to repeat viewings. And the more you watch the more you realize how amazing and griping this story of a man accused of a crime for no reason is so damn heart stoppingly beautiful. perkins is in perfect paranoia form here stuttering and muttering through dialogue and key scenes. Welles is also very good in his brief scenes as a useless lawyer. But the true star of the film is the VISUALS. Welles knew this and decided to give the plot key scenes in edtiting instead of soundtrack cues. The scene where at Perkins job the with thousands of type writers are all typing on cue is just amazing and they all come to a halting stop to signify a change in direction cues like this are all over this flick and I love it. The camera's lense follows Perkins in such a manner as if to signify a person chasing hm through out the entire film and the use of overly large props is just priceless showing the viewer that even the characters seem not to belong in the world they live in but function in as a society. BUY this film and pay attention to detail the little nuances go along way!"
Highly influential and under appreciated
Cutter Bugspray | austin, tx | 02/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"1) to accuse this film of being confusing is tantamount to saying that picasso's works were 'obtuse' or that the music of mozart or charlie parker has 'too many notes.' 2) if you appreciate the great works of the cinema then this film is essential no matter what your tastes are. 3) i really don't see how it's possible to over-rate this film (or citizen kane or touch of evil or just about any of welles works). from stanley kubrick to martin scorsese, terry gilliam to the cohen brothers--welles has influenced virtually every important (and unimportant) american filmmaker since 1940. 4) this film (video) illustrates just how well the personal and political can be integrated in a dramatic format. the tyranny of 'the system' and the character's functions within it are explored within a complex visual field than manages to be surreal and mundane at the same time. self-conscious, but never self-satisfied--the film is so carefully layered, both thematically and visually, that it stands up to literally dozens of viewings. 5) the trial is an astounding achievement. its methods and conclusions may not be comfortable, but its creative energy and honesty offer the viewer far more cause to be optimistic than any other of the so called 'feel good' products of commercial film."
I'm so glad about this DVD...
Scott D. Cudmore | Toronto, Ontario Canada | 04/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm thrilled with The Milestone Collection for doing this DVD. There are many movies that are in dire need of a proper release (on video -and- DVD) and Welles 'The Trial' was certainly one of these. The only copies that were available prior to this was a number of very bad public domain copies that were almost unwatchable, with terrible sound and picture quality. This DVD changes all that and finally presents the film to a home viewing audience how it should be presented. The funding for this picture came from French pockets, and so it is the only film he made aside from Citizen Kane in which he enjoyed total creative control, without studio interference. Welles himself said that this was the greatest picture that he'd ever made, and I think I might even be inclined to agree with him. If you're a fan of Welles, you will love this. If you're a fan of Franz Kafka AND Welles, than this is exactly what your looking for. A brilliant, stunning film, that finally looks brilliant and stunning."
A great ride, provided you synch up the audio
Cutter Bugspray | 02/03/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film is very much in the spirit of the novel. Allusions to Kafka's other works are blended in nicely, and where Welles took directorial license to adapt the story, his choices always seem to be good ones. The audio, as others have noted, is severely out of synch with the video, which makes the movie very frustrating to watch. The timing was more appropriate for a dubbed Godzilla vs. anyone. YOU CAN FIX IT THOUGH, with many programs, including VirtualDub (which I used). Simply use the "correct audio" feature, and add 165 milliseconds to the audio and presto! you have a watchable movie. And true to Kafka, we will never know how fell asleep at the switch when they synched the audio, just they are indeed guilty."