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(aka 'Forbidden Games' or 'The Secret Game')

Directed by René Clément
France 1952

 

A girl of perhaps five or six is orphaned in an air raid while fleeing a French city with her parents early in World War II. She is befriended by a pre-adolescent peasant boy after she wandered away from the other refugees, and is taken in for a few weeks by his family. The children become fast friends, and the film follows their attempt to assimilate the deaths they both face, and the religious rituals surrounding those deaths, through the construction of a cemetery for all sorts of animals. Child-like and adult activity are frequently at cross-purposes, however.

 

A timeless evocation of the loss of innocence, René Clément’s heartbreaking Forbidden Games tells the story of a young orphan and her friend, who are forced to fend for themselves in World War II France. A breathtaking cinematic achievement, Clément’s film features brilliant performances from its child stars and won the 1952 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.

 

Poster

Theatrical Release: May 9th, 1952

Reviews                                       More Reviews                                DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 Box Covers

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 318 - Region 1 - NTSC Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

(click titles for DVDBeaver reviews)

Criterion (without the extras) also available in The Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films - a 50-disc celebration of international films collected under the auspices of the groundbreaking theatrical distributor. It contains Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ashes And Diamonds (1958), L'avventura (1960), Ballad Of A Soldier (1959), Beauty And The Beast (1946), Black Orpheus (1959), Brief Encounter (1945), The Fallen Idol (1948), Fires On The Plain (1959), Fists In The Pocket (1965), Floating Weeds (1959), Forbidden Games (1952), The 400 Blows (1959), Grand Illusion (1937), Häxan (1922), Ikiru (1952), The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952), Ivan The Terrible, Part II (1958), Le Jour Se Lève (1939), Jules And Jim (1962), Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949), Knife In The Water (1962), The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1943), Loves Of A Blonde (1965), M (1931), M. Hulot's Holiday (1953), Miss Julie (1951), Pandora's Box (1929), Pépé Le Moko (1937), Il Posto (1961), Pygmalion (1938), Rashomon (1950), Richard III (1955), The Rules Of The Game (1939), Seven Samurai (1954), The Seventh Seal (1957), The Spirit Of The Beehive (1973), La Strada (1954), Summertime (1955), The Third Man (1949), The 39 Steps (1935), Ugetsu (1953), Umberto D. (1952), The Virgin Spring (1960), Viridiana (1961), The Wages Of Fear (1953), The White Sheik (1952), Wild Strawberries (1957), Three Documentaries By Saul J. Turell plus the hardcover, full color 240-page book.

Runtime 1:26:00  1:26:15.000  
Video 1.31:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.27 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,621,904,057 bytes

Feature: 16,997,394,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate:  Blu-ray

Audio French (Dolby Digital 1.0), DUB: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)   DTS-HD Master Audio French 852 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 852 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DUB: DTS-HD Master Audio German 902 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 902 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles English, None English, French, German, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.31:1

Edition Details:

• Collection of new and archival interviews with director René Clément and actress Brigitte Fossey
• Alternate opening and ending to the film
• Original theatrical trailer
• Optional English-dubbed soundtrack
• Liner notes essay by film scholar Peter Matthews

DVD Release Date: December 6th, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 16

Release Information:
Studio: Studio Canal

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,621,904,057 bytes

Feature: 16,997,394,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Innocent Love Stories Under Occupation (30:40)
• Alternate Opening and Ending (6:19) 

Blu-ray Release Date: January 7th, 2013
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (April 2013): The new European 1080P of Clément's Forbidden Games looks bright, clean and impressive. Comparing to the picture-boxed Criterion we can see that one is either vertically stretched or the other transfer is horizontally stretched... or a little of both. I lean to the Criterion being more at fault... and the Studio Canal being more true. The capture with Paulette (Brigitte Fossey) in front of the tree is the most telling. This always becomes more noticeable in a comparison. Contrast and detail on the HD are solid and produce a highly pleasing image - especially in-motion.

 

The audio is lossless in original French with an optional German DUB- both in DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel. I noted no flaws (hiss, pop, sync issues) and the lossless sounded quite clean. Infrequent film-music composer Narciso Yepes did the sitting score. There are optional English, French or German subtitles with different covers for those respective country releases - although all by Studio Canal and we presume them to be the same technical transfer - as the opening menu screen allows language choice.

 

Supplements include the 1/2 hour Innocent Love Stories Under Occupation featurette about the film with an interview with Brigitte Fossey. We also get the same alternate Opening and Ending as found on the Criterion.

 

This is such a powerful and impacting film - it's hard not to endorse in the higher resolution - especially considering the picture-boxing and vertical stretching of the Criterion SD release. Recommended!    

***

ON THE DVD (November 2005) : I have a couple of questions about this release. Firstly, it looks marvelous, but I am scratching my head as to why it is window-boxed with a thick black border around the entire frame. Why in the world would they author a DVD in this fashion... totally limiting the full resolution? I can only remember Criterion doing this to Flaherty's 1922 Nanook of the North.

Although perhaps not as much of a question but an observation - Criterion have uncharacteristically added an optional English DUB. They haven't done so in a foreign language release for some time. I suspect that it is to allow children to watch the film.

The image looks very good with solid contrast and excellent shadow detail. Progressive, fairly bright - great subtitles and I enjoyed the three interview extra features. The alternate opening/ending may have some relevant interest to those very keen on the film, which doesn't need my rubber stamp of 'masterpiece'. As usual the liner notes are very professional and in my mind this is a must-have DVD for your collection. Fans have anticipated this film coming to a complete DVD presentation for a long while.

Gary W. Tooze

NOTE: There are both French and Korean releases of this film on DVD (see two captures below).

Pepsi says: "If these Korean DVD is an official release, they sure have make it to look like an "bootleg". There's not even a distributor name on the package. There's not much to compare here: Even tough the Korean DVD claims that it's based on Studio Canal's restoration, something is totally wrong here. The picture is very soft, it's taken from a PAL source (visible Combing and ghosting in motion), and someone has decided to stretch the image to new proportions, making everything look wider. I have two DVD's of this issue: the first one doesn't function after the layer change. The extra material mentioned on the menu pages doesn't exist, except from some text pages in Korean."
 

 


Menus

 

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT


 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. UNKNOWN (Korea) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. UNKNOWN (Korea) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Equally resized to see stretching/compression differences


Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
 

 


Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
 


Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
 

 More Blu-ray Captures

 

 Box Covers

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 318 - Region 1 - NTSC Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

(click titles for DVDBeaver reviews)

Criterion (without the extras) also available in The Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films - a 50-disc celebration of international films collected under the auspices of the groundbreaking theatrical distributor. It contains Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ashes And Diamonds (1958), L'avventura (1960), Ballad Of A Soldier (1959), Beauty And The Beast (1946), Black Orpheus (1959), Brief Encounter (1945), The Fallen Idol (1948), Fires On The Plain (1959), Fists In The Pocket (1965), Floating Weeds (1959), Forbidden Games (1952), The 400 Blows (1959), Grand Illusion (1937), Häxan (1922), Ikiru (1952), The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952), Ivan The Terrible, Part II (1958), Le Jour Se Lève (1939), Jules And Jim (1962), Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949), Knife In The Water (1962), The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1943), Loves Of A Blonde (1965), M (1931), M. Hulot's Holiday (1953), Miss Julie (1951), Pandora's Box (1929), Pépé Le Moko (1937), Il Posto (1961), Pygmalion (1938), Rashomon (1950), Richard III (1955), The Rules Of The Game (1939), Seven Samurai (1954), The Seventh Seal (1957), The Spirit Of The Beehive (1973), La Strada (1954), Summertime (1955), The Third Man (1949), The 39 Steps (1935), Ugetsu (1953), Umberto D. (1952), The Virgin Spring (1960), Viridiana (1961), The Wages Of Fear (1953), The White Sheik (1952), Wild Strawberries (1957), Three Documentaries By Saul J. Turell plus the hardcover, full color 240-page book.





 

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