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Saragossa Manuscript (Widescreen Restored Edition)

Zbigniew Cybulski , Iga Cembrzynska , Wojciech Has    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Enter a dazzling, mysterious world of the supernatural courtesy of "The Saragossa Manuscript," a magical text discovered during the Napoleonic Wars by a pair of opposing soldiers. Capt. Alphonse van Worden lives out the book's intricate, devilish storylines as he embarks on a journey across scenic Spain, now populated with ghosts, alluring demons, debauched royalty, and mystical priests. Spanning centuries and nations, the manuscript's reach encompasses a wide array of stories both humorous and horrifying, gleeful and grotesque, before the final chilling revelations bring this one of a kind book to a close. Critically applauded and embraced over the years by such admirers as Jerry Garcia, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese, this swirling tapestry has been restored to its original, full length director's cut with all of its labyrinthine riddles intact.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Saragossa Manuscript is absolutely delightful Aug. 17 2003
Format:DVD
The Saragossa Manuscript (Rekopis znaleziony w Saragossie) is a classic Polish film directed by Wojciech Has. The story is not straightforward and resembles a complicated tapestry. It begins with two men from opposing armies finding a book during the Napoleonic wars in Spain. The book describes the adventures of one of the soldier's ancestors, Alfonse Van Worden (Zbigniew Cybulski). We watch Van Worden's adventures and the people he meets tell him their stories. Like a nesting egg, the movie becomes a story in a story in a story. The stories interlink and overlap, each filling us in with details the others where not aware of.

The Saragossa Manuscript looks beautiful in black and white, its music is just as appealing and acts as a frame to this wonderful portrait. The theme of this film also adds to its richness as it combines the supernatural with great storytelling. It nearly resembles a horror with creepy ghosts and ghouls, but is also humorous and erotic. The buxom women in this film are beautiful and give it an alluring aura and invigorating energy. Albeit the story is sophisticated, many of the tales are about normal people and even resemble a romance at times. We are left to wonder if the supernatural events are actual or just tricks.

I think The Saragossa Manuscript is absolutely delightful. Running three hours in long, every minute is enjoyable and adds to the overall story. I consider it to be a one of the best Polish movies of all time and may even appeal to those who usually don't watch world cinema.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
People have loved storytelling since the beginning of time. Stories that captivate us, stories that give us chills, stories that excite us, and stories that make us think are all great, but some stories do all of these such as The Saragossa Manuscript (Rekopis znaleziony w Saragossie). The Saragossa Manuscript is quite possibly one of the best Polish films ever made and is one of my favorites. Based on the novel written by Jan Potocki, this classic Polish movie directed by Wojciech Has is not straightforward, but rather resembles a complicated tapestry.

During the Napoleonic wars in Spain, two soldiers from opposing sides become fascinated by the same object. A French officer finds a manuscript on the second floor of a tavern, but the town is soon captured by the Spanish. The Spaniard, seeing the importance of the tome, translates it to the Frenchman who is unable to read the book as it is written in Spanish. The book describes the adventures of one of the Spaniard's ancestors, Alfonse Van Worden (Zbigniew Cybulski). Humorously, when the Spanish troops tell their commander 'we are being surrounded' he only tells them 'close the door, you are letting in a draft.'

Alfonse Van Worden is trying to pass the Sierra Morena Mountains of Spain in the 18th century on his way to Madrid. But his passage is no simple task, as ghosts, gypsies and inquisitors complicate his voyage. On the hillside is an inn that is cared for by people who too afraid to spend the night there themselves. Van Worden disregards the superstitious people, only to be taken to a basement of the inn by a mysterious woman. In the basement, he meets two beautiful Moorish princesses that want him to be their husband, but quickly make him drink from a chalice made from a human skull.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
The Saragossa Manuscript (Rekopis znaleziony w Saragossie) is a classic Polish film directed by Wojciech Has. The story is not straightforward and resembles a complicated tapestry. It begins with two men from opposing armies finding a book during the Napoleonic wars in Spain. The book describes the adventures of one of the soldier's ancestors, Alfonse Van Worden (Zbigniew Cybulski). We watch Van Worden's adventures and the people he meets tell him their stories. Like a nesting egg, the movie becomes a story in a story in a story. The stories interlink and overlap, each filling us in with details the others where not aware of.

The Saragossa Manuscript looks beautiful in black and white, its music is just as appealing and acts as a frame to this wonderful portrait. The theme of this film also adds to its richness as it combines the supernatural with great storytelling. It nearly resembles a horror with creepy ghosts and ghouls, but is also humorous and erotic. The buxom women in this film are beautiful and give it an alluring aura and invigorating energy. Albeit the story is sophisticated, many of the tales are about normal people and even resemble a romance at times. We are left to wonder if the supernatural events are actual or just tricks.

I think The Saragossa Manuscript is absolutely delightful. Running three hours in long, every minute is enjoyable and adds to the overall story. I consider it to be a one of the best Polish movies of all time and may even appeal to those who usually don't watch world cinema.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Film Like No Other April 1 2002
Format:DVD
Having read the book twice , I was quite prepared for the journey of Alphonse Van Warden in the high mountains of Spain and the many characters that he encounters, but don't let that stop you from joining him on his wild and often perplexing journey. The film is as truthful to the book as can be expected (but alot had to be trimmed to even make this 3 hour cut), and much of the horror, mystery, confusion, and romance is still present. Unfortunately my favorite stories of the wandering Jew are absent, but you still have the stories of Don Toledo, Busqueros, The hermit, Pasheko, and so many others brought to life before your eyes.
The disc looks wonderful, video is in a stunning 2x1 black white anamorphic video taken from Wojciech Has' original and only complete print of the film. Some washing can be seen in the begining outdoor shots but this can also be from the original lighting. Burn marks are still evident for signifying the reel changes but this does not take away from the picture quality itself, little or no artifacting is present and some very minor and almost unnoticeable scratches in a few sequences. Overall a pretty darn good video presentation.
Sound is a Dolby Digital mono track in Polish - voices (especially the Gypsy chief) are much more robust if the subwoofer is turned up. There is also an isolated soundtrack also in Dolby Digital mono which is a mixture of the actual score and the many sounds that Krysysztof Pendericki (he also did the scores for the Shining and The Exorcist)used for an otherworldly feel in the film. English removeable subtitles are also present.
Rounding off extra features are filmographies and an extremly brief (8 or so) still gallery.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A surreal tale
I loved this film. A magical surreal tale - kind of like a shaggy dog story as related by Bunuel or Lynch. Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2010 by Alain Teventer
5.0 out of 5 stars labyrinthine surreal funny mysterious ... haunted
I adore this film. It is made by a Polish director with Polish actors based on a Polish novel but the look of the film is decidedly Spanish surrealism. Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2003 by Doug Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars book vs movie
Last time I saw the movie was in late 60s. Great actors and director. Then I read the book. It's a masterspiece of Polish literature. Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars The story within the story within the story within...
This is a wonderful film. I had the chance to see it in obscure screenings and was blown away today when I discovered the DVD at our great neighborhood video store. Read more
Published on June 23 2002 by Hernan Epelman
3.0 out of 5 stars Legends
The history of cinema is littered with the mangled remains of potentially great films shredded by censors or greedy distributors. Read more
Published on May 17 2002 by Charles S. Tashiro
5.0 out of 5 stars an unexpected gem
The best reason to hunt around Amazon's mechanism of suggestions and consumer referrals is the hope of chancing upon some little treasure that eluded critical mass on initial... Read more
Published on March 30 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of classics
By something of a miracle, this Polish masterpiece finally makes it to DVD -- and it's beyond special. Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2002
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