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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "The Cry of the Owl" or "Il Grido del gufo")
Italy / France 1987


Claude Chabrol's "The Cry of the Owl" bathes in private technique. It's awash with impressive images, montage and other cinematic values. But amid the aesthetics, something vital is missing.

In a sense, that omission is precisely what French director Chabrol is after. Only he'd call it restraint. The maker of understated psychological dramas, he is known for dramas about softspoken characters whose still waters run deep and frequently murderous. His 1987 adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel, which changes the book's American setting to a French one, is no exception.

Parisian draftsman Christophe Malavoy, separated from a psychologically abusive wife, has left Paris to work in the Vichy countryside. He becomes infatuated with beautiful Mathilda May, whom he spies on for months. May becomes aware of his eerie attentions and confronts him one day. Her lifelong fascination with death figures attracts her to the gentle, handsome -- but depressive -- stranger.

Engaged to jealous, unappealing Jacques Penot, May realizes she's not in love with her fiancÚ. She becomes obsessed with Malavoy, who rejects her newfound passion. Their indefinable relationship is attacked by everyone, from her fiancÚ to Malavoy's wife, who decides to exploit the triangular situation for her own Machiavellian amusement.

Excerpt of Desson Howe's review at The Washington post located HERE.


Theatrical Release: 28 October 1987

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DVD Review: All Day Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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All Day Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 2:09:20

1.57:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.30 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.


Audio French Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles English (burned in)
Features Release Information:
Studio: All Day Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.57:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by film historian Ric Menello and David Kalat
• Picture Gallery (a poster and 11 lobby cards)

DVD Release Date: March 19, 2002

Chapters 21




Comments We don't often categorically tell people not to buy a DVD - but don't buy this one! Certainly not for the image quality. It is a very poor non-anamorphic, non-progressive transfer with burned-in subtitles and is most likely extensively cropped. Note the print damage on capture # 5 and 'combing' on captures #6 & 7. In the only real bright spot is that the commentary is very informative. Tack onto all the listed negatives - the DVD is very expensive. We strongly suggest waiting for a superior edition.

 - Gregory Meshman



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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 Claude Chabrol (French Film Directors)
by Guy Austin
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

Check out more in "The Library"

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:


All Day Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC


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