The Duke Of Burgundy traveled the festival circuit on both sides of the Atlantic but like most niche-interest indie fare today, it had to settle for a limited release in the U.S. before taking its chances with audience discovery via home video. It was recently released in hi-def form by Shout! Factory in this country and the results thankfully do it justice, offering a quality transfer and a solid set of extras carried over from its foreign home video release.
The transfer looks excellent, capturing the earthy color palette and ornate interiors of the house as skillfully as it does the lush nature sequences. Both 7.1 and 2.0 audio mixes are offered: the 7.1 was used for this review’s purposes and it’s a subtle but enveloping affair. The rich textures of the Cat’s Eyes score sound gorgeous in this setting.
This disc also carries over a number of extras used in its English blu-ray release. First up is a commentary track by director Peter Strickland with some gentle moderation from Daniel Bird. The filmmaker doesn’t need too much prompting as he freely discusses the motivations behind his artistic choices and offers a pretty sophisticated analysis of how each scene develops the push/pull complexities of the relationship between its two main characters.
Strickland also sits down for an interview that runs just under 12 minutes. He reveals how the idea for the film came from a remake suggestion from his producers before getting into a detailed discussion of his collaborators and the skills they brought to the film. There are also 45 minutes’ worth of deleted scenes, with each preceded by a detailed text introduction from Strickland. It offers moments that were dropped to enhance the film’s dramatic focus and thin out subplots: there’s a little more sex, some unused visual FX and additional music-driven moments.
And that’s not all the extras have to offer. “Conduct Phase” is a short that runs under 8 minutes, an impressionistic visual collage of stray dogs running around in Athens. It’s full of superimposed imagery and is set to some avant-garde music. Along similar lines is a Cat’s Eyes music video for one of the score cues from the film: with its mix of museum and medical imagery, it feels more like an art short than a music video.
Closing things out are the theatrical trailer and an image gallery. The trailer is a striking, skillfully edited piece of work that communicates the mood of the film. The gallery has just over 100 images and offers a little bit of everything: stills, behind the scenes shots, production design pix and ad art.
In short, this is a worthwhile way for adventurous film lovers to get acquainted with the surreal, antiquarian eroticism of The Duke Of Burgundy and is well worth the time for cult movie fans.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of The Duke Of Burgundy, click here.