(aka "The Raven")

directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot
France 1943

 

A mysterious writer of poison pen letters, known only as Le Corbeau (the Raven), plagues a French provincial town, unwittingly exposing the collective suspicion and rancor seething beneath the community’s calm surface. Made during the Nazi Occupation of France, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Le Corbeau was attacked by the right-wing Vichy regime, the left-wing Resistance press, the Catholic Church, and was banned after the Liberation. But some—including Jean Cocteau and Jean-Paul Sartre—recognized the powerful subtext to Clouzot’s anti-informant, anti-Gestapo fable, and worked to rehabilitate Clouzot’s directorial reputation after the war. Le Corbeau brilliantly captures a spirit of paranoid pettiness and self-loathing turning an occupied French town into a twentieth-century Salem.

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Theatrical Release: September 28th, 1943

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DVD Review: Criterion -  Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Criterion Collection Spine # 227  Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:31:18
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.97 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:

 

Audio French (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion / Home Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• New digital transfer, with restored image and sound
• Video interview with Bertrand Tavernier, director of Coup de Torchon
• Excerpts from The Story of French Cinema by Those Who Made It: Grand Illusions 1939 – 1942, a 1975 documentary featuring Henri-Georges Clouzot
• New essay by film scholar Alan Williams, author of Republic of Images: A History of French Filmmaking
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

DVD Release Date: February 17th, 2004

Keep Case
Chapters: 24

Comments:

This disc shows occasional damage and I suspect the print it was taken from may not have been in the best of shape. It doesn't have the, now usual, high level of Criterion sharpness and tight contrast. It is still good, mind you, just not as one might expect. I suppose that is the problem when you raise the bar so high - people expect it from you later. The image is restored, shows good balance, the subs are good, but is just a notch blow Criterion sharpness.  The audio is also restored and there are excellent Extra Features.    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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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Criterion Collection Spine # 227  Region 1 - NTSC

 

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Gary Tooze