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S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
France 1970

 

Master thief Corey (Alain Delon) is fresh out of prison. But instead of toeing the line of law-abiding freedom, he finds his steps leading back to the shadowy world of crime, crossing those of a notorious escapee (Gian Maria Volonté) and alcoholic ex-cop (Yves Montand). As the unlikely trio plots a heist against impossible odds, their trail is pursued by a relentless inspector (Bourvil), and fate seals their destinies. Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Cercle Rouge combines honorable anti-heroes, coolly atmospheric cinematography, and breathtaking set pieces to create a masterpiece of crime cinema.

 

Posters

 

 

Theatrical Release: October 20th, 1970 - France

 

Reviews        More Reviews        DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

 

Studio Canal - Region 2- PAL vs. Criterion (2 disc) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL vs. Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B'- Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray

 

Thanks to Kevin Tran and Marek Mateja for the Studio Canal DVD Screen captures!

 

1) Studio Canal - Region 2- PAL LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B' Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - RIGHT

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Optimum on September 13th, 2010

 

 

Kinowelt on September 16th, 2010

 

Studio Canal on September 14th, 2010

Distribution

Studio Canal (France)

Region 2- PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 218

Region 0  - NTSC

BFI Video Publishing
Region 2 - PAL

Studio Canal Collection
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray

Criterion Collection - Spine # 218

Region 'A'  - Blu-ray

Runtime

2:14:44 (4% PAL speedup)

2:20:45

2:14:48 (4% PAL speedup)

2:20:14.739

2:21:04.873

Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.65 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.10 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.46 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,352,912,049 bytes

Feature: 26,879,520,768 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.49 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,143,309,871 bytes

Feature: 30,279,874,560 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 24.98 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

Studio Canal

 

Bitrate:

Criterion

 

Bitrate:

 

BFI

 

Bitrate:

 

Studio Canal Collection Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:

 

Criterion Blu-ray

 

Audio

French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)i2.0 Mono)

French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
 

French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1754 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1754 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DUB: DTS-HD Master Audio German 1723 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1723 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles

French , None

English, and none

English, and none

English, French, German and none

English, and none

Features

Release Information:
Studio: Studio Canal (France)

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.85:1

 

Edition Details:

• The interview of Melville by Giovanni
• Catalogues of films
• History of a film: the interview Bernard Stora
• Report on the turning of film
• The gallery of photographs


DVD Release Date: June 11th, 2003
Slim cardboard slider with plastic insert
Chapters: 15

 

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

 

Edition Details:
• Excerpts from Cinéastes de notres temps; Jean-Pierre Melville (portrait en 9 poses)
• New video interviews with the author of Melville on Melville, Rui Nogueira, and assistant director Bernard Stora
• 30 minutes of rare on-set footage featuring interviews with director Melville, and stars Alain Delon, Yves Montand, and André Bourvil
• Original theatrical trailer and 2003 Rialto Pictures re-release trailer
• Production and publicity stills, poster gallery
• 24-page booklet featuring new essays by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Fujiwara, an introduction from filmmaker John Woo, a reprinted interview with composer Eric Demarsan and excerpts from Melville on Melville
 
DVD Release Date: January 13, 2004
Keep Case

Chapters 21

Release Information:
Studio: BFI Video Publishing

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.85:1

 

Edition Details:

• Commentary by French film expert Prof. Ginette Vincendeau
• Trailer (1:47)
• Director's Biography (3:03)
• Interview with assistant director Bernard Stora (anamorphic - subtitled - 30:13)
• Introduction by Ginette Vincendeau (21:18)
• Acknowledgements


DVD Release Date: April 26th, 2004
Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Label: Studio Canal Collection

1080P Dual-layered
Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,352,912,049 bytes

Feature: 26,879,520,768 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.49 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Introduction by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau (21:30 in English with optional subtitles)

• Code Name: Melville (1:16:37 - French with option al subtitles)

Interviews (About Le Cercle Rouge):

• Bernard Stora (30:11 - French w/subs)

• Jose Gioovanni (14:37 - French w/subs)

• Rui Nogueira (26:12- French w/subs)

Trailer (1:54)


Blu-ray Release Dates: September 2010
Custom
Blu-ray package
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,143,309,871 bytes

Feature: 30,279,874,560 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 24.98 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• Excerpts from Cinéastes de notres temps; Jean-Pierre Melville (portrait en 9 poses - 27:19)
• New video interviews with the author of Melville on Melville, Rui Nogueira (26:14), and assistant director Bernard Stora (30:14)
• 30 minutes of rare on-set footage featuring interviews with director Melville, and stars Alain Delon, Yves Montand, and André Bourvil

Archival Footage:

- Pour le Cinema (5:20)

- Midi Magazine (4:37)

- Vingt Quatre Heures sur la deux (3:43)

- Morceaux de Bravoure (9:49)
• Original theatrical trailer and 2003 Rialto Pictures re-release trailer
• 28-page booklet featuring new essays by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Fujiwara, an introduction from filmmaker John Woo, a reprinted interview with composer Eric Demarsan and excerpts from Melville on Melville
 
Blu-ray Release Date: April 12th, 2011
Transparent
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 21

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: (March 2011) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray: Criterion's release continues to have some color disparity from the European editions. I don't know that I care to guess the Le Cercle Rouge's most authentic look any more. I have been using the pool table felt as a barometer and am intrigued to see the variations. I have no idea which is more correct but the screen captures should help some make conclusions of their own. The Criterion has the higher bitrate (more file space used for the feature) than the Studio Canal Blu-ray counterpart. The Criterion is darker, a shade browner (skin tones warmer/more orange) and has more information in the frame - notable on all 4 edges (on the pool table capture below this is readily apparent). There is both textured grain and depth in the Criterion HD-transferred image. I suspect as with the opposing standard DVDs, that the Blu-rays are from two different prints - differences are beyond digital manipulation, IMO.

 

Criterion stays authentically mono with a linear PCM track in original French at 1152 kbps. I couldn't say I noticed significant difference from the lossless Studio Canal and Demarsan`s score still sounds strong. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

 

Without diligently checking, I believe these are the same supplements as on the Criterion DVD from 2004 including the hour's worth of video interviews with the author of Melville on Melville, Rui Nogueira, and assistant director Bernard Stora - repeated in the Studio Canal Blu-ray package - plus excepts from Cinéastes de notres temps; Jean-Pierre Melville and Archival Footage; Pour le Cinema, Midi Magazine, Vingt-quatre Heures sur la deux and Morceaux de Bravoure - the original theatrical trailer and 2003 Rialto Pictures re-release trailer and a 28-page booklet booklet featuring essays by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Fujiwara, excerpts from Melville on Melville, a reprinted interview with composer Eric Demarsan, and an appreciation from director John Woo. Neither Blu-ray has the excellent Ginette Vincendeau commentary as found on the BFI DVD.

 

Melville's masterpiece is well-represented in the digital medium. Fans have many choices and both sides of the pond offer solid packages. I feel fortunate to have been introduced to the film via DVD, but now the 1080 format is continuing to diversify and this is one the titles that is positively a worthwhile addition to any digital library. 

 

 

***

 

ADDITION: (August 2010) Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B' - Blu-ray: Firstly, this is the European region 'B'-locked Blu-ray edition of Melville's film. It will be the exact same disc (transfer, menus, extras) used in the UK (Optimum), Germany (Kinowelt) and in France (Studio Canal) under the umbrella of The Studio Canal Collection. Packaging will differ due to the country language it is sold in September 2010 but all digital features will be the same. Accordingly Lions Gate should release this in North America although I have no scheduled release date yet.

 

The disc asks you immediately to choose; Deutschland, France or United Kingdom. Then the menus are in the appropriate language.

 

We can surmise that the source is the same four all 4 editions as we can find duplicate damage in the matching screen captures. I recall having numerous debates about the colors of the 3 DVDs, concluding the SC was brightness boosted, Criterion had altered the color scheme (often appearing too green) and the BFI was possibly the closest to the original appearance. It's fabulous to see the 1080P rendering of the Studio Canal Collection transfer which has improved significantly beyond all the DVDs with much tighter colors, superior detail and very visible film grain. It looks pretty sweet in motion. It is heads-and-tails ahead of any of the DVDs in just about every facet of visuals. In fact, it finally looks un-tampered and... correct.

 

The Blu-ray has resisted a fake bump with the lossless DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel audio at 1754 kbps in original French (there is also a German DUB). Like the video it tightens up... and also offers some perceived range. Dialogue is correspondingly cleaner and crisper and the aggressiveness has some buoyancy. Ditto for Éric Demarsan`s sparingly utilized score. There are optional subtitles in French, English and German and my Momitsu has identified it as being region 'B'-locked.

 

The prize of the extras is Olivier Bohler's 1 1/4 hour documentary Code Name: Melville - described as "...mixing interviews, rare archival footage and film extracts, the film shows how Melville's works were impacted by what he experienced in his youth during WWII, and how it structured his whole approach to cinema, not only in its thematic but also in its aesthetics." we certainly don't want to take away from the 20-minute introduction by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau (love that voice) and, under 'About Le Cercle Rouge' interviews with assistant director Bernard Stora (30:11 - French w/subs), writer, director, actor Jose Giovanni (14:37 - French w/subs) and Rui Nogueira (26:12- French w/subs). There is also a trailer in HD.

 

This is as good as it is going to get for classic in digital for your home theater (film-speed runtime too) - and I really enjoyed the supplements. Le Cercle Rouge may not be Film Noir in its strictest sense but it has the same, almost addictive, appeal. Melville is just magnificent and I am so happy with this Blu-ray. This has our highest recommendation. God... this is so good.    

 

***

 

 

ON THE DVDs:

ADDITION (STUDIO CANAL): I think the addition of the French Studio Canal edition helps to prove that the Criterion color is off (skin tones are far too red - greenish tinge). It is most prevalent in looking at the pool table. Perhaps Criterion used that as a reference point (assuming it should be standard green) ands hence the entire DVD's color balance is messed up. Although the Studio Canal disc has good detail and sharpness, it is blocked by the brightness boosting, which appears to be quite strong. I am going with the BFI version in image color and as well as them for the Extras (commentary). Remember: the Studio Canal has no English subs on the feature or Extras ! 

 

 

There is an obvious color disparity between these two releases and it if extremely difficult to know positively which is correct. the Criterion is very green and dark and the BFI looks to have had some contrast boosting with the colors appearing a shade colder and washed out. The Criterion is sharper and going by that I will lean towards them for the more accurate color, although Melville used blues a lot and looking at the Le Samourai Review - the BFI may actually be the true edition. Both DVDs are anamorphic and both are very worthy to own. I think real Melville fans may want both as the Extras are divided up pretty evenly. The BFI has a commentary and featurettes and the Criterion has a whole second disc of discussion, but no commentary. The BFI continue to impress me with their beautifully animated menus. If you are not bothered by the heavy green and red skin tones (and the expensive price) I would go Criterion, but the BFI commentary is illuminating and it wouldn't be a mistake if you purchased that edition. I sit pretty squarely on the fence when price comes into the picture in this comparison.  

 - Gary W. Tooze

 


Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

The Films in My Life
by Francois Truffaut, Leonard Mayhew

French Cinema: A Student's Guide
by Philip Powrie, Keith Reader

Agnes Varda by Alison Smith

Godard on Godard : Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard

Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson

Robert Bresson (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs, No. 2)
by James Quandt

The Art of Cinema by Jean Cocteau

Truffaut: A Biography by Antoine do Baecque and Serge Toubiana

Check out more in "The Library"



DVD Menus

(Studio Canal - Region 2- PAL vs. - LEFT Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B' Blu-ray

 

 


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

Screen Captures

1) Studio Canal - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B' Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - BOTTOM


1) Studio Canal - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B' Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - BOTTOM


1) Studio Canal - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B' Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Studio Canal - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B' Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - BOTTOM


1) Studio Canal - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B' Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - BOTTOM


1) Studio Canal - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B' Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - BOTTOM


1) Studio Canal - Region 2- PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B' Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

1)Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B' Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-rays

Sound:

Blu-rays

Extras:

Blu-rays although BFI has commentary

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Optimum on September 13th, 2010

 

 

Kinowelt on September 16th, 2010

 

Studio Canal on September 14th, 2010

Distribution

Studio Canal (France)

Region 2- PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 218

Region 0  - NTSC

BFI Video Publishing
Region 2 - PAL

Studio Canal Collection
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray

Criterion Collection - Spine # 218

Region 'A'  - Blu-ray

 



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Gary Tooze