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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Bob the Gambler" or "Fever Heat')

directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
France 19
55

Suffused with wry humor, Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le Flambeur melds the toughness of American gangster films with Gallic sophistication to lay the roadmap for the French New Wave. As the neon is extinguished for another dawn, an aging gambler navigates the treacherous world of pimps, moneymen, and na´ve associates while plotting one last score—the heist of the Deauville casino. This underworld comedy of manners possesses all the formal beauty, finesse and treacherous allure of green baize.

***

From Jean-Pierre Melville, the legendary director of Le Doulos, Le Samoura´, Army of Shadows and Un Flic. Suffused with wry humor, Bob Le Flambeur melds the toughness of American gangster films with Gallic sophistication to lay the roadmap for the French New Wave. As the neon is extinguished for another dawn, an aging gambler (Roger Duchesne) navigates the treacherous world of pimps, moneymen and na´ve associates while plotting one last score—the heist of the Deauville casino. This underworld comedy of manners possesses all the formal beauty, finesse and treacherous allure of green baize. Boasting a wonderful screenplay by Melville and Auguste Le Breton (Rififi, Razzia) and stunning black-and-white cinematography by Henri DecaŰ (The 400 Blows, Purple Noon).

***

Both a tribute to classic American gangster films and a source of inspiration for French New Wave filmmakers, Bob le Flambeur is the first in a series of stylish noirs that Jean-Pierre Melville made in the mid-'50s. Co-scripted by the popular crime writer Auguste Le Breton (Rififi), this is the story of ex-bank robber and compulsive gambler Bob (Roger Duchesne), who plans a heist at the Deauville casino. As in many films of this genre, he assembles a team of old friends and new acquaintances to do the job, and is determined to pull it off despite the fact that the odds are stacked against him. The overall tone is admirably lighthearted, however, and despite many stylistic and thematic references to American caper movies, the whole enterprise remains genuinely French. "This is a kind of film that we want to make!" exclaimed the young and rebellious Franšois Truffaut back in 1955. Jean-Luc Godard, in his turn, acknowledged Melville's influence by giving him an extended cameo in Breathless.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: April - 1955 - France

Reviews                                                                        More Reviews                                                                     DVD Reviews

 


Comparison:

Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Cover

   

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 150 - Region 0 - NTSC

Kino

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:42:48  1:42:19.299 
Video 1.31:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.73 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Disc Size: 36,045,922,800 bytes

Feature Size: 28,918,609,920 bytes

Average Bitrate: 33.93 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video / 1080P 23.976 fps

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0) 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1555 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1555 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion / Home Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

•  Video interview with Daniel Cauchy (“Paulo”) (21:58)
• Radio interview with Jean-Pierre Melville (23:59)
•  Theatrical trailer (unrestored - 3:26)
• 24 page liner notes

DVD Release Date: April 16th, 2002

Keep Case
Chapters: 27

Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

Disc Size: 36,045,922,800 bytes

Feature Size: 28,918,609,920 bytes

Average Bitrate: 33.93 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video / 1080P 23.976 fps

 

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Film Critic Nick Pinkerton
• Diary of a Villain - Documentary (25:45)
• Theatrical Trailer (3:39)

Blu-ray Release Date: July 2nd, 201
9
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - (June 2019) - Fans of Jean-Pierre Melville have waited patiently for some of his best work to come to Region 'A' Blu-ray. Thankfully Kino have started the ball rolling with a favorite; 'Bob le Flambeur' via a 4K Restoration. It looks wonderful on a dual-layered disc with a very high bitrate. Black levels are richer and deeper than the 2002 Criterion DVD - the image is brighter and has more detail as well as slightly more information on all four sides. The image has textured and consistent grain and, frankly, this looks even better than I anticipated. Wow.

NOTE: We have added 26 more large resolution Kino Blu-ray captures for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE.

The audio is transferred via lossless DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel mono track (16-bit) in the original French language.  The effects include some minor aggression with violence and horses at the track. The score is credited to first-timers Eddie Barclay and Jo Boyer and suits the film well - playing subtly in the background. There are optional English subtitles (see sample) and the Blu-ray disc is Region 'A'-locked.

Kino include an audio commentary by film critic Nick Pinkerton (Sight & Sound, Film Comment etc.) who does a great job of balancing anecdotes about the principles and adding some analysis of the subtext and themes. I thought it was very much worth a listen for fans of both Melville and this particular film. We also get Journal D'un Malfrat (Diary of a Villain) a new, French language, 26-minute documentary by Dominique Maillet with input from Serge Bourguignon, Thierry Crifo etc. discussing Bob le flambeur - the production, critical reception and its importance in Melville's career. It has English subtitles. There is also a theatrical trailer for the film (in French with burned in English subtitles) and trailers for other Melville films.

It was wonderful to see this after so many years and in the glory of 1080P - looking so much more film-like. The commentary and documentary add further value to this strong Blu-ray package. A very easy recommendation!

***

ON THE DVD: Oh Criterion - how much money have you caused me to spend? It almost makes reviewing their discs superfluous. How many adjectives can you use? Another strong example of why they are the best DVD production company in the world. Beautiful contrast, tight, great subtitles, crucial extras - and just the right amount of grain. There is no reason not to own this one.

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus


 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

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

 

 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 


 

Box Cover

   

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 150 - Region 0 - NTSC

Kino

Region 'A' - Blu-ray



 

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Gary Tooze