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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'The 400 Blows')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/truffaut.htm
France 1959

Calling The 400 Blows a "coming-of-age story" seems somehow inadequate. The label, while accurate, does not indicate either the uniqueness or the cinematic importance of this motion picture. These days, the average coming-of-age story tends to be a lightweight affair, often tinged with nostalgia and rarely perceptive. Such is not the case with The 400 Blows, which takes an uncompromising, non-judgmental look at several key events in the life of a teenage boy. With all of the melodrama leeched out, we are able to view and understand the factors that shape his present and the direction of his future.

The title, Les quatre cent coups is literally translated as The 400 Blows; however, since it's an idiom, a direct translation is imperfect. The phrase loosely means "Raising Hell", and, while that's not an English interpretation, it's a reasonable approximation. The 400 Blows sounds like a movie about violence and abuse, or (if you're thinking in sexual terms) something salacious. When the film opened in the late '50s, more than a few viewers were treated to an entirely different experience from what they expected. (A widely circulated, possibly apocryphal story says that the Weinstein brothers attended this movie expecting a sex flick. They were so astounded by what they saw that their entire perspective on cinema changed, eventually leading them to found Miramax.)

 

 Excerpt from ReelViews (James Berardinelli) review located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release Date: November 16th, 1959

Reviews                                                                     More Reviews                                                                      DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Criterion (Dual Format) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - vs. Warner / Mk2 (France) Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Mk2 (France) Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion (Doinel Boxset version) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Criterion (Out of Print) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Ole of DVDBasen for the PAL DVD Screen Caps!

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - LEFT

2) Warner /MK-2 (France) Region FREE Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Mk2 -France - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Boxset-('The Adventures of Antoine Doinel' Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Criterion 'Out of Print'' (original) - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Dual Format as of April 2014:

 

or the 12-disc Boxset here:

 

 

Distribution

Criterion Collection - Spine #5

Region 'A'  - Blu-ray

Warner / Mk2 (France)

Region FREE -  Blu-ray

Mk2 (France)

Region 2 -  PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine #5

Region 0  - NTSC

Criterion Collection - Spine #5
Region  0 - NTSC

(click titles for DVDBeaver reviews)

Criterion (without the extras) also available in The Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films - a 50-disc celebration of international films collected under the auspices of the groundbreaking theatrical distributor. It contains Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ashes And Diamonds (1958), L'avventura (1960), Ballad Of A Soldier (1959), Beauty And The Beast (1946), Black Orpheus (1959), Brief Encounter (1945), The Fallen Idol (1948), Fires On The Plain (1959), Fists In The Pocket (1965), Floating Weeds (1959), Forbidden Games (1952), The 400 Blows (1959), Grand Illusion (1937), Häxan (1922), Ikiru (1952), The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952), Ivan The Terrible, Part II (1958), Le Jour Se Lève (1939), Jules And Jim (1962), Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949), Knife In The Water (1962), The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1943), Loves Of A Blonde (1965), M (1931), M. Hulot's Holiday (1953), Miss Julie (1951), Pandora's Box (1929), Pépé Le Moko (1937), Il Posto (1961), Pygmalion (1938), Rashomon (1950), Richard III (1955), The Rules Of The Game (1939), Seven Samurai (1954), The Seventh Seal (1957), The Spirit Of The Beehive (1973), La Strada (1954), Summertime (1955), The Third Man (1949), The 39 Steps (1935), Ugetsu (1953), Umberto D. (1952), The Virgin Spring (1960), Viridiana (1961), The Wages Of Fear (1953), The White Sheik (1952), Wild Strawberries (1957), Three Documentaries By Saul J. Turell plus the hardcover, full color 240-page book.

Runtime 1:40:02.287 1:39:39.8481:35:25 (4% PAL speedup)1:39:271:39:21
Video

2.35:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Feature: 42,015,570,074 bytes

Disc Size: 29,136,844,800 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Average Bitrate: 38.83 Mbps

2.35:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Feature: 17,668,055,040 bytes

Disc Size: 19,902,491,184 bytes

Codec: VC-1

Average Bitrate: 23.64 Mbps

2.35:1.00 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.35 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.26 slightly cropped

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.29 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

2.05:1 Original Aspect Ratio 
Average Bitrate: 5.15
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate:

Criterion Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:

Warner / MK2 Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:

Mk2

 

Bitrate:

Criterion

Doinel Boxset

Bitrate:

Criterion

original

 

Audio LPCM Audio French 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1702 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1702 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1582 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1582 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit
French (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono) French (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono)

French (Dolby Digital 1.0)

Subtitles English, and none French, noneEnglish, and none English, and noneEnglish and none
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection

 

2.35:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Feature: 42,015,570,074 bytes

Disc Size: 29,136,844,800 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Average Bitrate: 38.83 Mbps

Edition Details:
• Two audio commentaries: one by cinema professor Brian Stonehill and another by François Truffaut’s lifelong friend Robert Lachenay
• Rare audition footage of Jean-Pierre Léaud, Patrick Auffay, and Richard Kanayan (6:24 in HD)
• Newsreel footage of Jean-Pierre Léaud in Cannes for the showing of The 400 Blows (5:51 in HD)
• Excerpt from a French TV program with Truffaut discussing his youth, critical writings, and the origins of Antoine Doinel in The 400 Blows and Antoine and Colette (22:27 in HD)
• Television interview with Truffaut about the global reception of The 400 Blows and his own critical  impression of the film (6:51 in HD)
• Theatrical trailer for The 400 Blows (3:47)
• 8-page leaflet with essay by Annette Insdorf

DVD Included

Blu-ray Release Date: April 8th, 2014
Slip Case in sleeve

Chapters 23

Release Information:
Studio: Warner / Mk2 (France)


Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Feature: 17,668,055,040 bytes

Disc Size: 19,902,491,184 bytes

Codec: VC-1

Average Bitrate: 23.64 Mbps

Edition Details:

Bonus :
Screen tests? (6:42) in HD

Trailer (3:03) in HD

Blu-ray Release Date: October 24th, 2007

Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 20

 

Release Information:
Studio: Mk2 (France)


Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Widescreen anamorphic

Edition Details:

Bonus :
• Présentation du film par Serge Toubiana
• Le film commenté par Robert Lachenay, ami d'enfance de François Truffaut
• Chapitrage du commentaire
• Bouts d'essai des comédiens (Jean-Pierre Léaud, Patrick Auffay et Richard Kanayan) (1958)
• Portrait de François Truffaut (1961)
• Jean-Pierre Léaud au festival de Cannes (1959)
• "Les mistons" : court métrage de François Truffaut présenté par Serge Toubiana et commenté par Claude de Givray
• Format plein écran et cinémascope

 

DVD Release Date: February 20th, 2002

Keep Case

Chapters 20

 

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection


Aspect Ratio: 2.26:1
Widescreen anamorphic

Edition Details (from Doinel Boxset):

• Black & White, Color, Widescreen, Box set
• Includes: The 400 Blows, Antoine and Colette, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, and Love on the Run
• Audio commentary on The 400 Blows by film scholar Brian Stonehill
• Audio commentary on The 400 Blows by Truffaut's lifelong friend Robert Lachenay
Les Mistons (1957), Truffaut's 18-minute short
• Audio commentary for Les Mistons by then assistant director and future writing collaborator Claude de Givray
• Introduction to Les Mistons by Truffaut historian Serge Toubiana
• Rare audition footage of cast members from The 400 Blows
• Newsreel footage of Jean-Pierre Leaud at the Cannes Film Festival in 1959
Portrait de Truffaut (1961), a 25-minute documentary about Truffaut
• Introduction to Stolen Kisses by film historian Serge Toubiana
• Archival newsreel footage of the "Langlois Affair"
• Newsreel footage of Truffaut's impassioned rally to shut down the 1968 Cannes Film Festival in support of striking students and workers
• Promotional spot featuring Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut appealing for public support of Henri Langlois
• Rare footage of Truffaut and co-writer Bernard Revon discussing their notes
• Interview footage of Truffaut speaking about Antoine Doinel and the decision to continue the Doinel series with Stolen Kisses
• Interview footage of Truffaut discussing the entire Doinel cycle
• Excerpt from a 1979 TV show featuring Truffaut
• Theatrical trailers for The 400 Blows, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, and Love on the Run
• Booklet featuring Truffaut's writings, notes, script treatments, interviews with Truffaut, and more
• Widescreen anamorphic format
• Number of discs: 5

DVD Release Date: April 29, 2003
Slip Case in the 'Antoine Doinel Boxset'

Chapters 23

Release Information:
Studio:  Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 2.05:1

Edition Details:
• All Regions
• Black & White, Dolby, Widescreen
• Commentary by English audio commentary by film scholar Brian Stonehill
• Commentary by Additional audio commentaries by co-screenwriter Marcel Moussy & and François Truffaut's lifelong friend Robert Lachenay
• Theatrical trailer(s)
• Newly restored widescreen digital transfer
• New subtitle adaptation
• Widescreen letterbox format

DVD Release Date: March 31, 1998
Keep Case

Chapters 25

 

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

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - March 09': In short the dual-layered Criterion looks marvelous. It is as grainy as the single-layered Warner / MK2 Blu-ray but tends to show minutely superior contrast leaving the French edition to be slightly darker (maybe even some green/sepia infiltration) in that regard. Detail seems comparable with no extravagant advantage one way or the other that I can discern despite the much higher bitrate on the Criterion. Damage marks seems similar indicating the same source. I feel reasonably confident that I was able to match the captures accurately. Whether our static captures can give the best interpretation or not - it is evident that the Criterion, as well as having English subtitles, is the best digital presentation of The 400 Blows anywhere in the world. It is magnificent - I'm already think Blu-ray of the Year.

Where the MK2 went for the fake 5.1 bump - Criterion stick to original mono - in an uncompressed Linear PCM track. It is pure and clear sounding probably as close to perfection for that 1.0 channel as possible. I admit to liking the DTS-HD but for purists this Criterion audio is the ultimate for appreciating the film.

Extras remain stacked to the gills with the same two audio commentaries available on the previous SD-DVD release - one by cinema professor Brian Stonehill and another by François Truffaut’s lifelong friend Robert Lachenay. The other digital supplements are all in HD with 6.5 minutes of rare audition footage of Jean-Pierre Léaud, Patrick Auffay, and Richard Kanayan, another 6-minutes of newsreel footage of Jean-Pierre Léaud in Cannes for the showing of The 400 Blows, an excerpt from a French TV program with Truffaut discussing his youth, critical writings, and the origins of Antoine Doinel in The 400 Blows and Antoine and Colette. This runs 22 minutes. There is a short television interview with Truffaut about the global reception of The 400 Blows and his own critical impression of the film with optional English subtitles. There is an HD theatrical trailer for The 400 Blows and finally an 8-page leaflet with essay by Annette Insdorf as well as production and transfer information.

This Criterion release is almost perfect with the only authoring flaw that I could see was that the folder and file name for the Blu-ray disc itself is 'El_Norte' ?!? which will affect absolutely nada for your viewing pleasure. This is one of the Blu-rays to own as far as I am concerned. No serious home theater should be without it. 

***

 

ADDITION: Warner / MK2 - Region 0 - Blu-ray - December 08': This is more a precursor to the upcoming Criterion Blu-ray of The 400 Blows available on March 24th, 2009 HERE. We will add it to this comparison. This single-layered 1080P transfer improves upon all the DVD releases - most notably in the textures of the black and white contrasts which exhibit a more pronounced depth. Although visually, in static screen captures, this may appear slight - for this particular film it can have an enormous effect on your viewing experience (it did me.) Some other quick observations; more grain/less noise, detail superiority (through toggling with the Doinel Box version), a shade more information in the frame, marginally brighter with different damage marks indicating either restoration or a alternate source from the previous MK2 SD-DVD. In my notes I have an instance where the aspect ratio seems a bit skewed with characters heads appearing abnormally oblong - but the anomaly didn't seem to repeat itself.

Regarding the audio - the music sounded fabulous to me in this DTS-HD Master 5.1 track with those interspersed plucking zither-like guitar strings giving a crisp, tight, more pure chiaroscuro aura to The 400 Blows. For me, it was one of the more delightful aspects of this Blu-ray.

Although my French is far too rusty to trust, the extras seem to include a screen test (or interview) with a couple of the boys including Jean-Pierre Léaud. These are almost 7-minutes long, in 4:3 but presented in HD - as is a 3 minute trailer for the film. 

This French Blu-ray is out-of-print in a lot of locations and has no English subtitles. Honestly, this was one of the most touching viewings I've had of The 400 Blows. With over 4 times the bitrate of any of the DVDs the film had a far deeper expression of realism. I'm very anxious to see the Criterion now, which we assume, will improve upon the Warner MK2 Blu-ray. It will, most likely, be dual-layered - with an even higher bitrate (MPEG4 instead of VC1), definitely have English subtitles and more extra features. It is presently very reasonably priced - you may lock-in at the current Pre-order discount and cancel anytime prior to the release date*

*NOTE: Presently it does not indicate on Amazon that it is a Blu-ray - but it is.   

***


ON THE DVDs: (written in 2003) The new "The 400 Blows" from the Antoine Doinel Criterion Box set appears to be slightly horizontally (in comparison to the old Criterion) and vertically cropped (compared to the Mk2). The contrast of the new Criterion is far superior to the old 'Out of Print' version but on a par with the Mk2. Most noticeable to me is how the faces of the new Criterion version are fatter and in the old Criterion version they look slimmer. This is similar to the 'Jules and Jim' controversy we had in the comparison of the Mk2 vs. the Fox Lorber. Sharpness goes in a slight edge to the newest Criterion over the Mk2 - PAL. All in all, these three editions are not totally dissimilar, with nice extras on each. Be happy with whatever you have and if you don't have any, buy the Criterion Boxset.

- Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus

(Mk2 -France-Region 2- PAL - LEFT vs.
Criterion Boxset-new - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Criterion 'Out of Print'-old - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 


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

 

Screen Captures

To adequately see the aspect ratio manipulation of the Criterions please put your mouse over the following image. The initial image is from the new boxset, the appearing image when moused-over is from the 'Out of Print' version. I can assure you that this is the very first frame after visibly seeing the game board while Antoine is locked up. It is a huge difference!

 

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Warner /MK-2 (France) Region FREE Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Mk2 -France - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Boxset-('The Adventures of Antoine Doinel' Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Criterion 'Out of Print'' (original) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Warner /MK-2 (France) Region FREE Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Mk2 -France - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Boxset-('The Adventures of Antoine Doinel' Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Criterion 'Out of Print'' (original) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Warner /MK-2 (France) Region FREE Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Mk2 -France - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Boxset-('The Adventures of Antoine Doinel' Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Criterion 'Out of Print'' (original) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Warner /MK-2 (France) Region FREE Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Mk2 -France - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Boxset-('The Adventures of Antoine Doinel' Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Criterion 'Out of Print'' (original) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Warner /MK-2 (France) Region FREE Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Mk2 -France - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Boxset-('The Adventures of Antoine Doinel' Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Criterion 'Out of Print'' (original) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM

NOTE: Notice how the slight damage is more prevalent in the original Criterion DVD version.

More Blu-ray captures

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Warner /MK-2 (France) Region FREE Blu-ray -  BOTTOM

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Warner /MK-2 (France) Region FREE Blu-ray -  BOTTOM

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Warner /MK-2 (France) Region FREE Blu-ray -  BOTTOM

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Warner /MK-2 (France) Region FREE Blu-ray -  BOTTOM

 

1) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Warner /MK-2 (France) Region FREE Blu-ray -  BOTTOM

 


 Hit Counter

Box Covers

Dual Format as of April 2014:

 

or the 12-disc Boxset here:

 

 

Distribution

Criterion Collection - Spine #5

Region 'A'  - Blu-ray

Warner / Mk2 (France)

Region FREE -  Blu-ray

Mk2 (France)

Region 2 -  PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine #5

Region 0  - NTSC

Criterion Collection - Spine #5
Region  0 - NTSC

(click titles for DVDBeaver reviews)

Criterion (without the extras) also available in The Essential Art House - 50 Years of Janus Films - a 50-disc celebration of international films collected under the auspices of the groundbreaking theatrical distributor. It contains Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ashes And Diamonds (1958), L'avventura (1960), Ballad Of A Soldier (1959), Beauty And The Beast (1946), Black Orpheus (1959), Brief Encounter (1945), The Fallen Idol (1948), Fires On The Plain (1959), Fists In The Pocket (1965), Floating Weeds (1959), Forbidden Games (1952), The 400 Blows (1959), Grand Illusion (1937), Häxan (1922), Ikiru (1952), The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952), Ivan The Terrible, Part II (1958), Le Jour Se Lève (1939), Jules And Jim (1962), Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949), Knife In The Water (1962), The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1943), Loves Of A Blonde (1965), M (1931), M. Hulot's Holiday (1953), Miss Julie (1951), Pandora's Box (1929), Pépé Le Moko (1937), Il Posto (1961), Pygmalion (1938), Rashomon (1950), Richard III (1955), The Rules Of The Game (1939), Seven Samurai (1954), The Seventh Seal (1957), The Spirit Of The Beehive (1973), La Strada (1954), Summertime (1955), The Third Man (1949), The 39 Steps (1935), Ugetsu (1953), Umberto D. (1952), The Virgin Spring (1960), Viridiana (1961), The Wages Of Fear (1953), The White Sheik (1952), Wild Strawberries (1957), Three Documentaries By Saul J. Turell plus the hardcover, full color 240-page book.


Report Card:

 

Image:

Criterion Blu-ray

Sound:

Criterion Blu-ray

Extras: Criterion Blu-ray
Menu: -

 


Recommended Reading on Truffaut /  French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

The Films in My Life
by Francois Truffaut, Leonard Mayhew

François Truffaut
by Annette Insdorf
HITCHCOCK (REVISED EDITION)
by Helen G. Scott, Francois Truffaut
The French New Wave: An Artistic School
by Michel Marie, Richard John Neupert, Richard Neupert
A History of the French New Wave Cinema
by Richard Neupert
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"






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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...