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(aka 'Let Joy Reign Supreme')

directed by Bertrand Tavernier
France 1974


Bertrand Tavernier's (LIFE AND NOTHING BUT) LET JOY REIGN SUPREME, is a "rich, ambitious" (Newsweek), extraordinarily detailed and character-dense look at French monarchy, diplomacy and debauchery on the threshold of bloody insurrection. Tavernier's favorite leading man Philippe Noiret (LIFE AND NOTHING BUT, CINEMA PARADISO) plays the infamous Philippe d'Orleans, uncrowned king of a nation divided by appalling poverty and riddled with greed and conspiracy.

In the year 1720, Philippe d¹Orleans rules France as regent to the late Louis XIV's pre-teen heir. Socially liberal but financially reckless, Philippe stokes his treasury with profits from France's American colonies Louisiana and Mississippi, even while attempting to administer domestic justice with a slightly even hand. But Philippe's strongest allegiance is to a barely concealed private life of outrageous hedonism and sexual appetites. Witness and provocateur in both whorehouse debauches and court functions is Abbé Dubois (Jean Rochefort), Philippe's scheming would-be archbishop. When a hapless noble's one man secession lands him at the steps of the Paris gallows, Dubois' lust for power and Philippe's obsession with his beautiful young goddaughter create a political pressure cooker that could lead to invasion, revolt or war.

Rochefort's brilliant turn as the gleefully treacherous Dubois and Christine Pascal as Philippe's orgy accomplice and confidant Emilie lead a supporting cast of bottomless enthusiasm and charisma. A miraculous fusion of unabashed ribaldry, even-handed history, extravagant production values and directorial restraint, LET JOY REIGN SUPREME "is sumptuously beautiful, delightfully intelligent, genuinely wicked and witty." (The New Republic) 


Theatrical Release: November 7th, 1975 - Finland

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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 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

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DVD Review: Kino Video - Region 1- NTSC

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Distribution Kino Video - Region 1- NTSC
Runtime 1:54:08 
Video 1.65:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.51 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 Dolby) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Kino Video

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.65:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical Trailer (3:09)
• Stills Gallery
• Filmography 

DVD Release Date: October 5th, 2004

Keep Case
Chapters: 16




This DVD has some weaknesses. I have nothing to compare it to at present, but strongly suspect it is from a PAL source. It has all the earmarks of 'ghosting' in motion sequences. Although colors are vibrant at times, I can't help thinking they must pale in comparison to the theatrical print. This transfer does look a little hazy. Audio was also on the weak end and extras are quite limited. This is an interesting film and one that will surely get a better treatment, even if it is out of NTSC. out of

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Kino Video - Region 1- NTSC


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