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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Drôle de drame ou L'étrange aventure de Docteur Molyneux")

directed by Marcel Carné
France 1937

A huge international hit in the 30s, I suspect this seems a bit too labored and artificial now to quite captivate a modern audience the way, say, Children of Paradise still does. But the fan of 30s cinema (Marx Brothers and Carole Lombard division) will find lots to like in the collision of disparate styles-- screwball motivations (Barrault plays a besotted madman worthy of Mischa Auer) and Feydeau-farce complications (I won't spoil the delightful way in which Simon, having absconded from home and suspected of a nonexistent murder, is immediately forced to return to his house in disguise); a supposed proper Englishness (the mania for detective tales and the orderly reality beneath them) seen through thoroughly French eyes (which means that mad Gallic passion roils just below the surface). And if you know French cinema, the cast is its own reward-- stern Jouvet, as an increasingly irrational and surreal-acting clergyman, versus shambling Simon (reportedly they hated each other, in any case the clash of styles is perfect), Rosay (of Carnival in Flanders), the handsome Aumont and, most surprisingly, Barrault in an energetically black- comic role 180 degrees from his winsome mime in Children of Paradise.

From mgmax at Imdb

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DVD Review: Home Vision Entertainment  Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Home Vision Entertainment  Region 1 - NTSC
Region 1 ( North America only )
Runtime 1:38:39 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.72 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:

Home Vision

 

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Home Vision Entertai
Theatrical Release Date: October 27th, 1937

 

Aspect Ratio:

Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

 

Edition Details:
• Black & White
• New digital transfer



 

Cast overview, first billed only:


Michel Simon .... Irwin Molyneux, alias Felix Chapel
Françoise Rosay .... Margaret Molyneux
Louis Jouvet .... Archibald Soper, Bishop of Bedford
Jean-Louis Barrault .... William Kramps
Nadine Vogel .... Eva
Jean-Pierre Aumont .... Billy, the milk-man
Pierre Alcover .... Det. Insp. Bray
Henri Guisol .... Buffington, the reporter
Annie Carriel .... Elisabeth Soper
Jeanne Lory .... Mrs. McPhearson

DVD Release Date: April 29, 2003
Keep Case
Chapters: 20
Comments:
This Home Vision DVD claims a new digital transfer and I have no reason not to believe them. The picture quality is VERY strong. Good contrast and occasional piercing blacks. Resolute detail in foreground with out of focus backgrounds. This is very well done by Home Vision! A very worthy purchase indeed. Clear true sound if a little on the quiet side in spots. No Extras are the big failing here but I will still give it a resounding    out of     

- 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 French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno
French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present
by Remi Fournier Lanzoni
Truffaut: A Biography by Antoine do Baecque and Serge Toubiana

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Gary Tooze

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