Knife in the Water

Knife in the Water

Leon Niemczyk
Director: Roman Polanski Cast: Leon Niemczyk
Leon Niemczyk
, Jolanta Umecka
Jolanta Umecka
, Zygmunt Malanowicz
Zygmunt Malanowicz
Roman Polanski

DVD (Black & White)

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To those who love DVDs, it goes without saying that the name Criterion Collection is virtually synonymous with top quality. Their tireless efforts to release the most comprehensive versions of important, historical films has earned them a reputation as the best in the business, and their release of director Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water is certainly no exception. Presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the image is virtually flawless. At the time of this Criterion release, the film was over 40 years old, though the transfer bests other company's releases of films that are only half that age. The crisp, black-and-white cinematography stands as strong as the day it was filmed, with solid blacks and no artifacting and a remarkably clean transfer. Of course, Knife in the Water was filmed long before recent advances in sound technology, but the solid, well-balanced soundtrack presented in Polish Dolby Digital Mono (with English subtitles) is full bodied and free of any hiss or distortion. Criterion truly has done an exceptional job in presenting this film in the best possible form. As good as the presentation of the film itself is, however, the aspect of this release that is likely to truly peak interest in film fans is the inclusion of Polanski's much sought-after short films. As with the presentation of the feature itself, these films look nothing less than remarkable considering their age. Filmed in black-and-white for the most part, the images as presented offer pitch-perfect contrast, with the rare color segments well balanced and vivid. A video introduction by Polanski and co-screenwriter Jerzy Skolimowski, while on any other release would likely only skim the surface, goes on for nearly 20 minutes, offering minute detail on every aspect of the production from location to casting to the film's jazzy score. Rounding out the disc is an impressively comprehensive collection of rare publicity and production stills. The only possible omission that fans may fault this release for is the lack of a commentary track by the director; given that Polanski has such a rich history in film, it would have been great to hear him talk about the production. This said, it should be noted that the director hesitates to participate on such tracks for almost any DVD release of his films, so the inclusion of his extended introduction and some great liner notes make this omission one that is easily overlooked. A fantastic release and another score for Criterion.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/16/2003
UPC: 0037429149324
Original Release: 1962
Rating: PG
Source: Criterion
Presentation: [B&W]
Sound: [Dolby Digital Mono]
Time: 1:34:00
Sales rank: 2,892

Special Features

New high-definition digital transfer; video interview with director Roman Polanski and co-screenwriter Jerzy Skolimowski; a collection of rare publicity and production stills; English subtitle translation by Roman Polanski; monaural.

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 -- Knife in the Water
1. The Hitchhiker [7:37]
2. The Dock [7:44]
3. "Are We Moving?" [6:20]
4. The Reeds [2:32]
5. Noon [6:30]
6. Lunch [5:04]
7. In Circles [5:22]
8. Sailing [6:17]
9. Aground [3:20]
10. Forfeit [11:43]
11. Light Sleepers [7:44]
12. Overboard [6:40]
13. "You're Just Like Him" [9:09]
14. "Where Are We Going?" [8:16]

Customer Reviews