(aka "Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution" or "Alphaville, a Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution")

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/godard.htm
France / Italy 1965

One of Godard's most sheerly enjoyable movies, a dazzling amalgam of film noir and science fiction in which tough gumshoe Lemmy Caution turns inter-galactic agent to re-enact the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice by conquering Alpha 60, the strange automated city from which such concepts as love and tenderness have been banished. As in Antonioni's The Red Desert (made the previous year), Godard's theme is alienation in a technological society, but his shotgun marriage between the poetry of legend and the irreverence of strip cartoons takes the film into entirely idiosyncratic areas. Not the least astonishing thing is the way Raoul Coutard's camera turns contemporary Paris into an icily dehumanised city of the future.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 5 1965

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison: 

Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Optimum Home Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. Optimum Home Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Criterion Collection - Spine # 25

Region 0 - NTSC

Optimum Home Entertainment

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:39:33 1:35:15 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.31:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.91 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.75 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate

 Criterion

Bitrate

 Optimum

Audio French (Dolby Digital 1.0) (192Kbps) French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.31:1

Edition Details:
• 4 page liner notes with essay by Andrew Sarris

DVD Release Date: October 20, 1998
Keep Case

Chapters 21

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.31:1

Edition Details:
• Introduction by Colin MacCabe (5:15)

• Featurette: Alphaville Peripheries (28:37)

• Posters

• Trailers

DVD Release Date: January 7th, 2008
White Keep Case

Chapters 24

 

Comments ADDITION: Optimum - PAL - June 08': Even though I suspect the Optimum to have some boosting - I still lean to it as the superior image with both black levels and brightness dramatically more predominant on the PAL issue. The heavier brightness on the Optimum does remove some detail from the image and compared to the Criterion - it is cropped a shade - mostly on the side edges. The Criterion is not totally unappealing with the minor noise coming through as grain (see Martin's comments below) but there are enough muddy contrast scenes to elicit a recommendation to the opposing UK edition - it depends on your personal preference. If we could put contrast on an even footing I'd say detail is about the same - but with the blacks boosted the Optimum appears minutely sharper. So I'm not totally dismissing the Criterion, but on my system (and screen captures) enough differences exist to make a choice.

Although 2-channel on the Optimum I didn't discern any extravagant variances in the audio department. I like the PAL releases subtitle font (see sample below).

Extras go the way of the Optimum with a decent 5 minute intro by Godard and cinema expert Colin MacCabe (I'd like to hear more from this guy) and a 30 minute featurette, Alphaville Peripheries, with various input and interviews. There are also some static screen with a multitude of posters and some trailers.

What with the bonus supplements the Optimum is a good release that Godard fans may wish to pick up. It's one of my favorite by the director but don't suspect it will come to Blu-ray anytime soon. The Optimum is the definitive, English-friendly edition, at this stage.  

Gary Tooze

ON THE CRITERION: This early release from Criterion was very disappointing upon my first viewing. Revisiting the disc after all this time has made me rethink my earlier judgment. Visually, the disc shows some excellent film grain and detail. The print used exhibits frequent damage and is slightly wasted out, which gives the transfer some pretty flat looking black levels. Contrast isn't too bad and at least it doesn't seem to be artificially manipulated. The audio is rather hard to judge considering the film makes use of a lot of strange audio que's and silences. Overall everything sounds rather crisp and there doesn't seem to be any obvious damage to the track. With regards to extras, Criterion has seen fit to include nothing but the essay in liner notes. Not even a trailer is to be found.

Considering the age of this DVD the A/V presentation is very solid. A few extras or commentary would have been most welcome, especially given the films importance.  out of

 - Mark Balson

 

 



DVD Menus
(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. Optimum Home Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)
 

 

 

 


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Optimum Home Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Optimum Home Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Optimum Home Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Optimum Home Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Optimum Home Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Optimum Home Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Optimum Home Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

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 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

 

 

Check out more in "The Library"


 

DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Criterion Collection - Spine # 25

Region 0 - NTSC

Optimum Home Entertainment

Region 2 - PAL

 




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