Rediscover Jacques Feyder - French Film Master

 

Until now, Jacques Feyder has been unjustly reduced almost to a footnote in film history, but these beautifully-restored editions with stunning tints and new orchestral scores reveal him as one of the finest silent film directors in Europe. Following these accomplishments, Feyder was invited to Hollywood in 1929 to direct two outstanding films with Greta Garbo, The Kiss and the German version of Anna Christie, and to London for Marlene Dietrich in Knight without Armour; he is probably best remembered for Carnival in Flanders (La Kermesse heroique, 1935), which, unfortunately, was cut by about one-third for American release. Queen of Atlantis (L'Atlantide), based upon Pierre Benoit's best-selling exotic novel of the French foreign legion and the woman no man can resist, was filmed under gruelling conditions on location in the Sahara and in a large tent studio outside of Algiers. The desert, with its burning sun and vast expanse of sand, is the real star of this adventure, the most expensive French film until that time. It was hailed as a revelation, and ran for a year in Paris. Crainquebille is the name of a fruit and vegetable peddler (Maurice de Feraudy) who, accused of having insulted a policeman, becomes trapped in the bureaucratic web of French justice. He is sent to jail; after release, his bourgeois customers shun him, but at the point of suicide he is redeemed by an orphan newsboy (Jean Forest, an amazingly sensitive and expressive child found by Feyder on the streets of Montmartre). Feyder filmed on location around the market area of Les Halles and in some of the oldest areas of Paris. D. W. Griffith allegedly said of Crainquebille, "I have seen a film which, for me, precisely symbolizes Paris." Faces of Children (Visages d'enfants), a masterpiece, was filmed on location in the Haut-Valais region of Switzerland, with spectacular mountain scenery adding important atmosphere to the characters' complex emotions. The film is about the effect on a sensitive boy (again Jean Forest, who is heartrending) of his mother's death and his father's remarriage.

 

L'Atlantide (1920) aka Missing Husbands
Crainquebille
(1922) aka Bill
Visages d'enfants
(1925) aka Faces of Children

 

Titles

 

 

 

L'Atlantide (1920) aka Missing Husbands or Queen of Atlantis
Stars Jean Angelo, Stacia Napierkowska, Georges Melchior, Marie-Louise Iribe, Abd-el-Kader Ben Ali
Directors: Jacques Feyder
Genres: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Plot Outline - Two men, lost in the desert, meet Queen Antinea, ruler of Atlantis.

Crainquebille (1922) aka Bill
Stars Félix Oudart, Jean Forest, Marguerite Carré, Jeanne Cheirel, René Worms
Directors: Jacques Feyder
Genres: Fantasy
Plot Outline A poor vegetable peddler in Paris runs afoul of the law and finds himself ground up in the cogs of the corrupt French judicial system.

Visages d'enfants (1925) aka Faces of Children
Stars Charles Barrois, Rachel Devirys, Henri Duval, Jean Forest, F. Greffin
Directors: Jacques Feyder
Genres: Drama
A delicate melodrama as told through the eyes of a young boy whose mother has died. His depression escalates when his father remarries and he cannot bring himself to accept his new step mother. She both physically and metaphorically saves him from his darkness. The perfect photography and 'epic-like' settings harken one back to the greatest that the silent era has to offer.

Theatrical Releases: 1920- 1925

 DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Image Entertainment (3-disc) - Region 0 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

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Distribution Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 2:42:25 + 1:16:03 + 1:56:40
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.9 + 6.6 + 5.8 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

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

Bitrate:  Disc 1
L'Atlantide (1920) aka Missing Husbands

Bitrate:  Disc 2
Crainquebille (1922) aka Bill

Bitrate: Disc 3
Visages d'enfants (1925) aka Faces of Children

Audio Silent (2.0 channel)
Subtitles English, None - (only original French intertitles on L'Atlantide) 
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• none
 

DVD Release Date: October 24th, 2006
Transparent extra thick keep case

Chapters: 16 + 12 + 16

 

 

Comments:

The 3 films are spread over 3 single-sided - single-layered discs. They are all housed in a (one) thick transparent keep case - one separately - the two other discs overlapping. They are encoded in the NTSC standard and are not region-coded.

I think there are some valid reasons to shake our collective fists at Image Entertainment on this one. None of the films are progressively transferred and hence 'combing' is clearly visible (even on a tube!) - see last capture as example. There are no extras and only L'Atlantide has the original French intertitles (and optional English subtitles). The other two have English titlecards. This is typical of Image and the slipshod way that they will release film to digital.

This package is pretty stingy for what they are asking, but the films are marvelous with Visages d'enfants regarded as a true masterpiece (I was blown away!). I enjoyed the fantasy elements of L'Atlantide as well. We don't give full marks to the DVDs but the films are rare enough to be lenient with a recommendation. A must for fans of silent film!  

Gary W. Tooze

 





DVD Menus


 


Intertitle Samples

 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

L'Atlantide (1920)

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

Crainquebille (1922)

 

 


 

 

 


 

 


 

Visages d'enfants (1925)

 

 


 

 


 

 

 


Combing prevalent on all 3 DVDs
 

 


DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

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