Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Passions of Carol: Platinum Elite Collection

You can read my thoughts on this film, and screenshots from the last Video-X-Pix release, here. I have seen Passions a number of times, and still regard it as something of a life-changing flick, so I'm thrilled VXP decided to release it restored and as part of their Platinum Elite Collection. The packaging and presentation are not as fancy as previous PE releases, and I must admit I was disappointed by the giant typo ("An Adult Adaption...") on the cover, but not every PE DVD can come with a finger puppet and glossy card sleeve. And besides, I'm just happy that the folks involved went to all the effort to restore the film itself, and get Shaun Costello's commentary recorded. I'll put the typo down to rushing to get this released for the holiday season.

Anyway, the restored film itself is beautiful -- there are colours in this copy that I really didn't know existed in the film. Seriously, look at the screenshots from the last version and compare them to the ones here. It's astounding. The greens in particular shine, and I appreciate all the work that went into trying to eradicate that buzzing sound that was so prominent in the old version. In addition, this release comes with a neat little essay written by Costello which has all sorts of behind-the-scenes memories and entertaining tales that provide some insight into the making of the film and the finished product.

The commentary, conducted by Joe Rubin, is pretty wild and scatterbrained, with a lot of the intriguing stories getting started but never getting finished (what was the sad story? Inquiring nerds want to know!). This is really due to a certain giddy enthusiasm and a rapid pace though, and it's definitely worth a listen. I wish there had been more wiggle room, but such is the nature of commentaries, and besides, we have the essay to fill in some of the gaps.

Obviously, this is a must-buy for anyone who has only seen the dingy, grimy copy previously in existence, as well those who simply love the film as I do. Those of you who haven't seen the film, now is the perfect time -- obviously, I recommend it. Oh, and if you get it now, I think you can still take advantage of the VXP sale. Sweet.


J. Astro said...

Completely unrelated, but still of interest... :)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you liked the restoration.
It took countless hours of work and, considering the less than ideal nature of the elements I was working from, the results are better than even I could have imagined.

Working with Shaun was great. This is a favorite film of his and his input and enthusiasm were crucial to the success of this project.

As for the scatterbrained nature of the commentary, that is indeed the result of there just being too many interesting stories to tell...far more than can be fit into 76 minutes.

We did the commentary in one single take, without any breaks. Shaun is a very entertaining and eloquent speaker who is also a walking encyclopedia of NYC history. He never runs out of fascinating anecdotes.

As for the "sad story," which one are you referring to? I'm pretty sure that two were mentioned. I'll fill in some blanks for you, as long as I can.

Aussiescribbler said...

This is an amazing film. I watched it on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago. I wish I could buy the special edition but importing porn films into Australia means risking having them confiscated by customs and can lead to the police coming around to check out your DVD collection. I had movies like "V : The Hot One", "Vista Valley, PTA" and Gary Graver's "Private Teacher" confiscated. The only film the police wanted to have a look at from my collection was "Snuff", but they brought that back fairly quickly, which is more than I can say for my computer which they kept for 6 weeks.

Jimmy said...

This one is in my to watch pile since I got it back in december, so I'm glad to see the quality is there (but of course that doesn't surprise me since the platinum collection equals quality). I plan to watch it soon, since all this month is dedicated to Shaun Costello at my blog.

After some lazy months I'm ready to be back and what is better to do so than a Shaun Costello month of movies?

If you like his story try to read the thread he was in at the Avmaniacs forum some years ago. I'm a fan of him since this discussion.

Gore-Gore Girl said...

Astro -- thanks for the link!

"Anon" :) -- good work. I could tell y'all did it in one take -- I think it was a good approach. It's certainly unlike most other commentaries I've heard. As for the "sad story" I can't remember anything other than Shaun saying "it's kind of a sad story" and then getting distracted by something. :) I'll happily hear either of the sad stories though!

Aussie -- yeah, it's great. Glad you like it too, as well as the other ones you mention. I've heard crazy stories about Australian censorship (not least of which is the small-breast ban...). That's nuts.

jimmy -- I'll have to check out your recent posts! Sounds great. I hope you're covering one of my favourites, Midnight Desires. Oh, and I read that AV Maniacs thread way back when I very first watched Passions of Carol -- I was looking for information on this mysterious director, came across that thread, and sat there for a couple of hours reading every single post (all the way to thrilling conclusion!).

Thanks for stopping by, one and all!

Jimmy said...

Oops... I don't have this one, I was sure that I got all the one I missed from VXP in the february sale. But I own 26 of his films. I have pre-ordered Heaven's Touch who was supposed to be release this month, but it seems cancel since it vanished last week from Diabolik. I sure ain't lucky with my purchases this year with The Lickerish Quartet delayed because of distributor move (it would have been my first real Blu-Ray purchase), The Image who was supposed to be release in april but will be delayed because of the others Synapse titles who are delayed and now the vanishing act of Heaven Touch...


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